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Are Your App Store Screenshots Good Enough?

You’ve invested a lot of time and at least some money in the development of your app. You’ve removed all the bugs and the app is finally ready for release. Here’s the thing, though: if you don’t advertise your app properly, it’s very likely to fail – even if it’s the best app ever made. Many good products have been ignored by the audiences only because their creators didn’t know how to advertise them the right way. Despite their qualities, they were unable to secure a place in a highly competitive market.

If you’re an app developer, app stores are your marketplace; that is where you’ll be selling your product. Your success will depend on a few important factors, the quality of your product’s presentation being perhaps the most important one. When people first visit your product page, they will see your icon, the text description of the product and its features, and the screenshots you provide. If a visitor is having second thoughts about installing your app, great screenshots are a surefire way to win them over.

Why Screenshots Are Important

We are visual creatures, which is why our first impressions of someone or something are always based on their appearance. Judging a book by its cover is never the right thing to do, but that’s what we do by default. As an app developer, it is your duty to anticipate this behavior and use it to your advantage.

People who visit your app store product page are looking for an app just like yours that will help add convenience to dull everyday tasks. They are searching for an app that caters to their specific needs, one that will keep them entertained for hours on end, all the while being well-organized and easy to use. In some cases, they are looking to replace an app they don’t like anymore with a new one that provides a better user experience and more useful features.

You’ve invested a lot of time and at least some money in the development of your app.

In all likelihood, there are already some apps that offer similar functionality as yours does. One thing that will surely make it stand out from the rest is the quality of the user interface and additional features. The best way to showcase them is by including a few relevant screenshots as an illustration. Most people don’t want to go through the hassle of downloading and installing the app just to be able to see what it looks like. They will base their decision on the screenshots provided on the app page.

Finally, it’s much more convenient to have a handy preview of the app and its features than to read about them in text form. If people like what your app looks like in the screenshots and recognize its value over the competition based on what they can see, they will happily download it to their smartphones.

App Store Screenshot Requirements

The majority of today’s smartphones are running one of the two most popular operating systems – iOS or Android. If your app is iOS-ready, you’ll advertise it on the Apple Store. If it’s designed for Android-based smartphones, users can download it from the Google Play Store. Both stores allow app creators to include screenshots in their descriptions. As a matter of fact, they strongly encourage it.

Apple Store allows you to post between one and five screenshots, depending on how many features of your app you want to show off. You can upload them in either JPEG or PNG, although the latter has better compression levels and is thus more recommended. As far as the size goes, you don’t have to upload separate screenshots for all the different devices. If you upload a 5.5-inch (1242x2208px) screenshot that matches the screen size of the iPhone 7, the Apple Store will resize it accordingly.

Uploading screenshots to Google Play Store is similar: you get to post between two and five images in either of the two formats mentioned above. In terms of dimensions, the width of the screenshot can’t be under 320 pixels, whereas its height mustn’t exceed 3840 pixels. If you want your screenshots to be optimized for different devices, you will have to upload images for each of them. Otherwise, Google Play Store will automatically downscale their size to fit the screen.

Choosing the Right Style

Although your screenshots will depict different aspects of your app, their overall style should be the same. To help you with this, you can use a photo editing software like the Adobe Photoshop, or something better suited for screenshot making like the Screenshot Maker Pro or the Promotee.

You’ve invested a lot of time and at least some money in the development of your app.

When it comes to style, you should always go for the one that best reflects the spirit of your app. If your app is feature-heavy and has a user interface you’re very proud of, you can go for the classic style, where each screenshot showcases a specific feature. Make sure that neither of them feels out of place when seen next to the other screenshots.

Similarly, you could also show how your app looks on a specific device. To do this, take the screenshot, paste it on the device screen, and then add a nice, unobtrusive background to be used across all the images. To make your images even more engaging, you can add a short text on top that describes the feature illustrated in the screenshot. Use easy-to-red fonts, preferably those that match the style of your app. Also, don’t go overboard with the text: keep it short, sweet, and to-the-point.

There are plenty other screenshot style choices you can go for. For instance, while new apps will benefit from showcasing their features in the screenshots, more established players can use them to tell a story. The images don’t even have to include the device, but can serve as a tutorial of sorts. You can even opt for a combination of several different styles, where the first screenshot serves as a cover and the others show off the app’s features. As always, make sure all screenshots look as if they truly belong together.

Updating Your Screenshots

Don’t forget to update your screenshots whenever you make major changes to your app. The images you choose to display on your app store page should always reflect the latest look and style of the app itself. If the most recent version of your app is a vast improvement over the one shown in the screenshots, you’d surely want to advertise it. What’s more, you don’t want to risk disappointing your users after they download the app and realize that it looks nothing like the screenshots you provided.

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By interactivated • on August 31, 2017

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