App Store Screenshots - Which Orientation Should My App's Screenshots Be?

May 05, 2016

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App Store screenshots are phenomenally important for your app’s organic growth. Given that over 60% of downloads are from users searching in the App Store, your screenshots are very much at the forefront of the conversion funnel. Aside from user ratings, once store browsers reach your app in the search results page, allure your screenshots’ design will decide whether they click through and download it or not. If your app supports both Landscape and Portrait mode, then choosing the right orientation for your store screenshots will matter as well. Previously, the App Store would display your Preview Video’s poster screen and screenshots in Portrait mode, even if they were Landscape orientated, requiring users to rotate their phones or awkwardly turn their heads to properly view them. However, Apple changed this policy around October 2015 - now you can display your screenshots properly in landscape, portrait, or even combined. So the question is, which orientation is best suited for your app? Screenshots Landscape screenshots fill up the width of the screen in the App Store listing page, giving you space to create solid images that cleanly highlight features, display call to actions, and exhibit your gameplay or app flow. It also benefits your app description as users can see an app’s features at a glance when they arrive at your app’s listing. pic5 While landscape screenshots may shine in the listing page, they definitely stumble when presented on the App Store search results. Your landscape screenshots would make your graphics and texts harder discern. Screenshots in portrait mode consume over 38% of the screen space, granting far more exposure than the 12% offered by landscape screenshots. Portrait screenshots allow your images to be more discernible and give you more advertising space to attract the attention of users.

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Video Portraits If you have an App Preview video, it will the very first creative asset a user sees beneath the icon. App Previews can be an instrumental element to showcase what your app is about. It’s preferable to create your preview videos in Landscape mode, even if your app is native in Portrait mode, as it gives you free space around the Portrait frame to adorn it with eye-catching or complimentary designs. pic9 It’s also possible to have your App Preview poster in landscape and your screenshots in portrait, or vice-versa. But, as demonstrated below, it will result in a lot of unused white space in both the Search Results and Landing Page, making it look awkward. It’s advisable you stick to one orientation and avoid mixing. pic11 pic12 If traffic to your app is organic, we recommend that developers use two portrait elements as opposed to one landscape App Preview. With two portrait elements, an app has more space to display core features to possible end users.

iPads

But what about iPad users? Unlike iPhones, the App Store isn’t locked in Portrait orientation on iPads, so users will be able to browse it in a landscape manner. Unfortunately, even with all the extra real estate, Landscape screenshots are still not given fair treatment on the Search Results page, and continue to look compact and compressed. pic13   Key Takeaways

  1. If you have an app Video Preview, it’s best to make both that and your screenshots in Landscape orientation. Video previews are the best tool to convert a browser into a downloader, are best viewed in Landscape mode, and should have the screenshots complimenting it.
  2. Otherwise, although Landscape images look better in the Landing Page, Screenshots in Portrait orientation really excel in the Search Results page due to commanding far more screen space. As the Search Results page comes first in the organic conversion funnel, your screenshots are your first (and possibly only) shot at catching the interest of shoppers. If you only have screenshots, Portrait orientation will be your best bet.
  3. Always conduct A/B, multivariate, and focus group tests to inform your decisions, no matter how obvious the decisions would seem. Not everything is always as clear-cut as it appears; your end result findings may surprise you.
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