Frostborn: Coop Survival blends elements of co-op gameplay, survival mechanics and civilization building wrapped in deep Viking lore. Featured as Apple’s Game of the Day, Frostborn has pillaged its way from ranking below 100 into the top 30 in the Strategy Games category in less than a week, indicative of the increase in downloads its featuring is bringing.
But an Apple App Store featuring is not Idun’s Apple of Immortality. Once the feature ends, will Frostborn be able to continue converting users to download? In today’s App Store Spotlight, we focus on some of the elements critical to conversion and maintaining downloads- App Icons and Screenshots - to see what Frostborn does well and where it can look to grow.
Apple App Icon
Frostborn’s app icon displays a viking warrior taking a contemplative rest on a rock along an ocean shore, sword balanced on his shoulder and longships awaiting in the distance.
This intricate image creates a story in a user’s mind, a sense of anticipation, and is undeniably viking. When enlarged, the icon is revealed to be more akin to something of a AAA box art asset than an Apple App Icon, complete with atmospheric layering as elements recede into the distance and subtle textures in the foreground’s grains of sand.
But when shrunk to a scale made for iPhone search results, the complex imagery can become muddled, the minute details lost. While its storytelling is undeniable at high resolution, it doesn’t quite carry through on a device screen. The environments of search results and the product page are arguably the most important ones to consider when making an icon; here, instant visual communication of the concept of the app is critical to achieve a download.
Common design elements among competitors for “viking game” and other relevant search terms include:
- A headshot depiction of a viking or armored warrior
- Simple runes or simplified norse line art, light on a dark background
- A viking character in motion, either building or fighting
With the above strategies considered, Frostborn may benefit from testing different versions of their icon to see what leads to the best conversion rates. Developers should keep common competitor designs in mind when testing creatives, as a high ranking for a given keyword is indicative that these apps are the ones getting the most clicks in search results.
A strong attention to detail is unquestionably executed in Frostborn’s icon. But given the battlefield where Frostborn is fighting for clicks against competitors- an iOS device screen- the attention to detail may actually be a shortcoming rather than a strength.
App Store Screenshots
Most of Frostborn’s five landscape screenshots include in-app gameplay depicting tasks such as cutting down trees, socializing by a fire, building the town and forging a sword. The third screenshot breaks this pattern, focusing on three large characters and the game’s variety of available weapons and armor.
The explanation on what these screenshots display requires just that- an explanation. Frostborn does not use any text to describe the gameplay, leaving the potential user to try and figure out what each image “means.” By adding explanatory text to each screenshot, potential users can more quickly absorb the information they need to understand the app and want to download.
Frostborn may particularly benefit from testing the first screenshot. When using a landscape layout, whether for App Store Screenshots or for the Poster Frame of an App Preview, this image is arguably the most critical to conversion as it is the only one that appears in search results.
Currently, the first screenshot shows an in-app snapshot of a character cutting down a tree. Aside from inferring what the game might be like from its Diabl-esque isometric camera projection and ubiquitous MMO HUD, there may not be enough information for the user to understand the breadth of the game.
Earning the honor of Game of the Day is not just a great accomplishment, but a great opportunity. A prominent feature like this can bring an influx of new users and online buzz around the game. But to fully benefit from this initial exposure, the app must convert. Continued growth after the feature relies on improved conversion to an even higher degree.
Maintaining a top search ranking position requires continued clicks and conversion relative to other apps that appear, indicating that top ranked apps resonate with users searching for a given keyword. Users searching for these types of strategy / viking terms are the audience Frostborn will need to captivate after the featuring ends.
Examining competing apps relevant to core game mechanics and a viking theme is a good place for Frostborn to start on its road to creative testing and conversion growth. After all, as it is written in Eyrbyggja Saga, “Often it is that what happens to most others will happen to you.”
Want to learn more about App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.