iOS App Submission Screenshots Help

What are App Store Screenshots Best Practices?

Adding screenshots of your app when submitting to iTunes Connect seems simple enough, right? Take screenshots, upload the files, done.  However, the screenshot area is a very important part of how users perceive your app and you should be sure to know the answers to these technical and strategic questions.

Why are there different sizes?

One of the benefits of past-gen iPhones was their single screen size.  This made it easier for developers to make an app without having to worry about a consistent user experience across multiple devices; everyone had the same sized device.

Now that there are different iPhones with different screen sizes, developers must keep them each in mind when creating and submitting apps.

Do I really need all of them?

If your screenshots are not available in the newer iOS dimensions, it’s a red flag to users that the app hasn’t been updated in a long time.  Some users may not give your app a second thought if it looks out of date.

Even if your app was designed with only the smaller iPhone screen in mind, you can still show users how it will look on multiple devices.  Having this option shows that you still care about maintaining your app in the modern App Store- even if the app itself is a bit outdated.  Updating your screenshots can be very beneficial- and it’s a lot less difficult than redesigning your entire app!

What sizes do I need?

iTunes Connect now asks for 4 different iPhone sizes when you’re preparing your app.  If your app works on iPad, it’s important to include that as well.

Remember, dimensions are displayed “width” by “height.” These are portrait dimensions; if your app is shown in landscape, just switch the numbers around.

  • * 4.7 Inch:
    • 750 x 1334
    • Used for iPhone 6
  • * 5.5 Inch:
    • 1242 x 2208 (scales down to 1080 x 1920)
    • Used for iPhone 6 Plus
  • * 4 Inch:
    • 640 x 1136
    • Used for iPhone 4 & iPhone 5
  • 3.5 Inch
    • 640 x 920
    • Used for iPhone 3
  • iPad:
    • 1536 x 2048
    • Used for all iPads

* What’s great about the 4, 4.7 and 5.5 inch screenshots is that they are all about the same aspect ratio.  Just make the largest one first and scale it down to make the other two!

What file type should I use?

When you’re exporting your images, remember to keep them high quality. Use PNG-24 or JPEG format.  When using JPEG format, don’t compress the file too much or your users will see unsightly JPEG artifacting.

Now that you’re a technical expert, what should you do with these images?

What should my screenshots say?

Calling these images “screenshots” is something of a misnomer.  Many successful apps use the screenshot area to display a mixture of in-app screenshots, text overlays and other artwork to create images that are both informative and engaging.

Have a look at what the widely popular Heads Up uses for screenshots:

headsup-screenshots

Imagine if these were in-app screenshots, rather than people using the game with instructional text.  Doesn’t sound very appealing, or informative for that matter. These screenshots tell a story about the app and engage the user.

The point of the screenshot area is not to copy and paste pictures from the app; rather, it is to grab a user’s attention, let them know what they are in for and get them excited enough to tap “GET.”

What order should they go in?

Always put your best screenshot first.  In app store search and on iTunes pages, users will only see the first screenshot- this screenshot should be able to tell a story and engage a user on its own.

phones-optimal-screenshots

The first screenshot on the left communicates how a user will use the app right away; the one on the right simply shows an out of context screengrab from the app, which doesn’t communicate much.

Make sure your first screenshot says it all.  Once a user is interested in your app and scrolling through the other four screenshots, they will have a context to go off of and you can show technical details about how the app looks.

Anything else I should know?

Along with the technical and communicative ideas to keep in mind, remember these:

Use a high resolution source image. Your source should be much higher than the final sizes you are exporting to.

Make sure the text is legible. Keep in mind users will be reading this on phones, not a computer monitor. Look out for jaggles- watch the anti-aliasing!

Have a healthy mix of art, instructions and real screenshots. You want to make your images interesting and informative, but users still want to see some in-app images so they know what they are downloading.

Hope that helps!  Remember, on mobile App Store search results, the 1st screenshot takes up 50% of the screen.  Your first screenshot is going to be your best shot at getting a user interested in your app.

If you want insight into what your screenshots are communicating to end users and how they may be improved, try running them through a mobile app focus group. Sometimes the end users respond in unexpected ways!

Keyword Competition in App Store Optimization

There are many opinions in terms of how to determine the “competition” on a keyword in the App Store. Unfortunately, many of these are derived from concepts from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the way mobile search works is very different from web search. We’re here to help debunk all of the myths and assumptions coming from the vast corners of the web and tell you what the facts really are, from people who actually conduct optimizations all day long.

1. The number of apps listed in results for a keyword determines competition = FALSE

Many ASO tools (and bloggers) will tell you that the number of apps that are listed when you search for a keyword determines competition. The theory here is that the more apps “competing” for a keyword, the harder it will be to rank for that keyword. We understand that optically this is an easy concept for developers to understand (and an easy data concept to sell) however it is completely inaccurate.

Just like web SEO your ability to rank for a keyword is determined foremost by the relevance of your app v.s. the keyword that you are targeting. Avoiding “competitive” keywords purely based on the number of apps listed is the worst thing that you can do for your app. You’ll be cutting yourself off from traffic that you may easily obtain if your app is determined to be highly relevant.

It is possible for any app to rank in competitive keywords with proper ASO
Beating out Home Depot for “Home Improvement” keyword

 

2. Your Description doesn’t matter for App Store search = FALSE

The content of your description is a key indicator regarding the context of your application for the purpose of App Store Optimization. When Apple and Google are trying to determine whether your app is stronger than any other for a particular keyword and phrase, the description matters. Don’t discount the importance of a concise first paragraph and a detailed feature listing to justify why you deserve to be ranked for important keywords.

Reviews are also an important indicator of which keywords your app might be most important to rank for. Be sure to collect as many reviews and ratings as possible from end users, because this user feedback is weighed highest when determining context for your application v.s the keywords that you choose.

There are some great resources to increase reviews for your app organically including:

Appirater: https://github.com/arashpayan/appirater (organic, from your traffic)

Be careful not to incentivize reviews with cash or be taken advantage of by dubious services online that “guarantee 5-star reviews” because frequently Apple and Google track activity of these services and you could land in hot water. Reviews are best when they are organic and not incentivized with cash.

3.   Go broad and stuff with as many diverse keywords as possible = FALSE

Indeed, it is true that you want to maximize your keyword/phrase reach in the App Store, but stuffing your title and keyword list with random words that are perceived to have high volume is the wrong approach. When you are choosing keywords, be sure to select ones that complement each other and will clearly communicate what your top two or three priorities are for the app. Don’t forget that almost 80% of searches in the App Store are 2-3 word phrases, so build in complimentary “connecting” words.

This strategy is relevant to competition, because the way that you structure your metadata and select your keywords helps you overcome competition on quality keywords and phrases. Just like the web, where Google makes it “easier” for more relevant websites to rank – the algorithm only understands that you are relevant if you feed it appropriate data. When it is linked together, this data must make sense to the computer that is trying to understand what your app is all about.

4.   Avoid “competitive” keywords and target “lower volume” or “long tail” keywords = FALSE

This advice has no logic whatsoever. While you may get some degree of satisfaction typing a phrase and seeing your app listed near the top, if nobody else is searching for that phrase it is effectively worthless to you. Developers need to focus on making their app relevant where it counts, not ranking for sub-par keywords that won’t really matter in the long run. The sooner you get started targeting the higher volume keywords more aggressively the better you will be in the long run – as long as you know how to maintain your ASO every month.

When you take advice for App Store Optimization, it is important to keep in mind where that advice comes from. Often advice will be flavored by what a particular technology or tool can or cannot do, instead of focusing on how the App Store really works. While Gummicube is a technology company (with our own stellar ASO tools!) because we actually conduct optimizations on behalf of partners we don’t have to curb our opinions based on available features of any particular tool.

Following this methodology has helped Gummicube make 1000’s of apps successful in App Store search. Give it a try yourself or contact Gummicube today for help with your App Store Optimization!

 

Gummicube wins #Pitchforce competition at #Runway SF

Gummicube announced as 1st place winner of Pitchforce competition.

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Gummicube is shaking things up in San Francisco taking home the gold at #Pitchforce hosted by #Runway SF.  Our business is flourishing as are the download stats for all of the developers that work with us!

Gummicube – the #topemergingstartup in #Silicon Valley and the BEST technology for #AppStoreOptimization

Gummicube, Patient Army, Piggyback Media selected as Fund-able 50 @ Private Pitch & Demo Meeting Q1 2014

Gummicube Inc, Patient Army Inc and Piggyback Media were selected as Fund-able-50 at the Private Pitch Demo event held at Perkins Coie, Palo Alto. First-place Winner Gummicube, Inc(is also the Winn…

Gummicube, Patient Army, Piggyback Media selected as Fund-able 50 @ Private Pitch & Demo Meeting Q1 2014 

Gummicube wins back-to-back awards as top emerging Silicon Valley startup

In the last two years the team at Gummicube has had the privilege of helping hundreds of amazing developers and cutting edge startups with App Store Optimization for their apps.  In fact, nearly 2,000 campaigns later we have more experience navigating App Store Search than any other company in the world.

We’re happy helping our partners shine, building great businesses with mobile technology – but in the past month the attention turned on Gummicube, which received some serious recognition among top startup communities in Silicon Valley.

On January 25th, 2014, Gummicube won Startup of the Month at the SVEntrepreneur Demo Day.  For readers who may not have heard of SVEntrepreneur, it is the second largest Meetup group in the world  (next to the founder of Meetup.com) and one of the largest startup communities in North America.

Winning this kind of event against a crowded field of innovative Silicon Valley startups is a great honor – and validation of App Store Optimization becoming an essential marketing component for every application.  If you have a website you know how important it is to be on page one of search results and the same is true for mobile apps.  ASO is the bedrock, the foundation of  marketing for any application to be successful.

The house was packed with developers watching Gummicube present

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Gummicube was then invited to pitch at the Launchpad: Idea to IPO event at startup acceleratornestGSV. The Launchpad event was attended by hundreds of developers, entrepreneurs, investors and other contributors to the Silicon Valley startup community.  The event judges were also great – partners and representatives from Wasabi Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Harvard Angels and Kiretsu Forum all attended.

After many great startups presented and some deliberation among the judges, Gummicube won the event.

Gummicube wins Launchpad event at nestGSV

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Successfully optimizing an app for App Store Search requires leveraging mobile data from inside the App Store.  While some view Google search trends as an analog to what is happening in the App Store, this information is often anecdotal at best.  Gummicube  is focused on a mobile centric approach to App Store Optimization – leveraging exclusive mobile data and technologies.

The web and mobile are fundamentally different platforms – the biggest startup tech communities in Silicon Valley agree.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing