Are your App Store Screenshots up to date? Keeping up with holidays, events and other seasonal themes can help show users your app is current and relevant, boosting clicks and engagement. We can see this in action with some of Apple’s top trending apps, such as Toca Life World.
How does Toca Life World use its screenshots to capitalize on seasonality and App Store Optimization best practices? We take a look in today’s App Store Spotlight.
App Store Screenshots
The first things we need to look at when assessing Toca Life World’s App Store Screenshots are the specific choices for layout, design and recurring elements. Is there a consistent style across the screenshots?
Each screenshot consists of some common elements:
- A handset with the app screenshot on the right side of the image
- A character from the mobile game on the left side
- Short screenshot copy in a text box that describes a value proposition or feature
- Colorful but unobtrusive backgrounds with varying effects
- Landscape mode
These designs follow many best practices for App Store Optimization. The screenshot copy is short, clearly visible and concisely states the feature or value so users can understand at a glance. The in-app imagery displays distinct aspects of the app, such as the locations or character customization. Utilizing characters alongside the screenshots shows users what kinds of characters they’ll meet and interact with in the game.
The screenshots are the same on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Toca Life World uses six screenshots on each store, which is well below the maximum, so it could potentially add more screenshots if there are any additional features to showcase.
With Halloween almost upon us, many mobile games and apps are updating to highlight the holiday. Toca Life World is one such app, and it makes that clear in the first screenshot.
When users see the app in search results or visit the store listing from an outside source, they will immediately see that there’s a Halloween event. Like the other screenshots, this includes a character from the game, who is dressed up as a ghost and carrying candy.
This signals several things to users. In addition to informing users about the special event (which they may miss out on if they don’t download the app soon), the new screenshot also signals that the game is still actively updated. Keep in mind that if the developers don’t change the screenshot back after Halloween, it could make the app look outdated.
It’s advisable to update screenshots when there are new events or trends to capitalize on. Placing the Halloween screenshot upfront lets Toca Life World highlight its seasonal update first and foremost.
What Competitors Are Doing
How does Toca Life World compare to its competitors? We can examine other apps on the App Store and Play Store to see how their App Store Screenshots differ or share design elements.
My Town World of Games
On Google Play, Toca Life World ranks #1 for “World Games,” followed closely by My Town World of Games. Like Toca, My Town World uses screenshots that focus on the gameplay and characters, all in landscape mode.
While Toca’s screenshots feature the gameplay off to the side in a handset, My Town World makes them the focus of the screenshot. Characters are still included off to the side, along with unique items from the game.
The screenshot copy is placed on the bottom of the screen, but still uses bold and clear font to convey the features clearly.
The first screenshot on My Town World appears as a “welcome” image, focusing on the branding and design rather than specific features. Most of the characters shown here are dressed in costumes, indicating a Halloween event, but there is no screenshot copy stating as such. One of the later screenshots talks about creating player avatars, so it’s unclear if there is a specific Halloween event or if the costumes are just more avatar designs players can use.
On the Apple App Store, Miga Town is a children’s app that’s competing with Toca Life World, ranking a few results below it in searches for the “Toca” brand. The mobile game utilizes a similar artistic style, but its screenshots fall short of Toca Life World’s.
Miga Town does not use screenshot copy on any of its images, leaving them to stand alone. Without the copy, it’s more difficult to understand what features each image is trying to convey. The screenshots do include characters prominently facing the viewer, but those appear to be there as part of the in-game image, rather than added to provide additional character information.
Miga Town does not have any screenshots showcasing Halloween events. There is possibly seasonality for the winter holidays, but it is subtle. The creative set begins with a video, and one of the earliest images in there shows a Christmas tree set up in an in-game room. There’s no attention drawn to any special events or updates that could relate to the holiday season, so it does not tell us much.
The screenshot designs, more current seasonality and screenshot copy all help Toca Life World’s screenshots stand out better than Miga Town’s.
Other Halloween Events
Toca Life World is not the only mobile game to incorporate Halloween into its creative set. We can see several games showcasing their seasonal events, such as Lords Mobile, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and even Barbie Dreamhouse Adventure.
In these instances, we can see recurring motifs that help the screenshots stand out. Each one includes Halloween themed imagery, such as jack-o-lanterns or characters in costumes. In the case of Lords Mobile, it includes pumpkin-headed enemies that players must fight. In two of these cases, the screenshots also include copy to help highlight the event. Users viewing these apps will quickly see that there’s a Halloween event, like they can with Toca Life World.
The App Store Screenshots for Toca Life World follow many ASO best practices. They utilize seasonality, screenshot copy and clear designs that focus on core features to inform and appeal to users. Competitors in the same field can consider what Toca Life World does well and incorporate these learnings into their own designs for testing.
While Halloween is almost here, there are still many more holidays coming up that app developers can utilize for their screenshots. Incorporating seasonality into creative sets, like Toca Life World does for Halloween, can help an app stay relevant and engaging.
Want to learn more about App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.