How to design App Store screenshots to increase downloads?

UI/UX categories

How to design App Store screenshots to increase downloads?

Apple guidelines advise you to use unedited screenshots for your iOS app, but if you do that, you give a big advantage to competing apps. We provide you a complete guide to improve screenshots for your app and its features to help boost your iOS app installs.

Why are App Store screenshots important?

Often, cool apps go unnoticed by users, and this is due to the fact that a small number of installations does not allow such applications to reach the top in the category.

The easiest thing to do to grab the attention of users and increase the number of installs in the App Store is to change iOS app screenshots.

60% of mobile app users are guided by the visual part of the screenshots and decide to install the app in the first 5-7 seconds (according to StoreMaven research), and less than 2% of users click the "Read more" button, and some of them completely ignore the app description. At the same time, screenshot optimization tends to increase app conversion by an average of 18% (according to SplitMetrics research). This is not surprising, people perceive information that is presented graphically much better. 

Screenshots and videos are the ones that are most likely to grab attention. The basic rule is to show the main advantage that the user will get after installing the iOS application: interesting puzzles in the game, safe money transfer or beautiful photos.

App Store Screenshots requirements 

Before preparing screenshots of the iOS app, you need to decide on the advertising concept, on which the format of the visual content will depend.

Submission formats:

  • "Strict". The main screens are taken to show app features.

  • "Advertising". Beautiful background behind the screen, talking inscriptions. You will need the help of a designer.

The main purpose of screenshots is to give the user an understanding of what the mobile app is about. Therefore, the first App Store screenshot should be as informative and attractive as possible. The rest of the screenshots show the various functionalities of the application.

Screenshots can be signed - this directly affects the number of app installs. The design of captions on screenshots can be very diverse - there are no restrictions on the location of the text.

App Store Screenshot Requirements:

  1. you can add up to 10 vertical or horizontal screenshots. Additionally, you can add an App Preview video that will be displayed both in the search and on the iOS app page. If not, the App Store will take the first three vertical or one horizontal screenshots from the app page.;

  2. screenshots should not contain alpha channel - information about the transparency of the image. When saving the final version, turn off the alpha channel if you decide to prepare images in PNG format;

  3. no more than 72 dots per inch;

  4. color shaping scheme - RGB;

  5. PNG or JPEG format;

  6. if you are taking screenshots for iPad, in the screenshots for iPad Pro 2nd generation the device should have a home button, and for iPad Pro 3rd generation - without a button.

All App Store requirements for screenshots are available here.

Tips to create great iOS App screenshots

Screenshot orientation

The first question that will arise in front of you when creating sales screenshots: should you take vertical or horizontal screenshots? Surely, you could see both options in App Store. The answer is simple - screenshots orientation depends on the iOS app orientation.

For example, for games app, horizontal screenshots are most often used, because gamers are accustomed to horizontal screen orientation and this does not scare them away. But this does not work for all types of games. By contrast, custom apps are mostly vertical.

In the App Store, in the application preview, you can see 3 screenshots in portrait orientation, and only 1 - in horizontal orientation.

App screenshot colors & backgrounds

When choosing colors for iOS screenshot design, the best choice is a color palette that is used in your app design. The color should reflect the style and essence of the application.

We offer several practical life hacks regarding colors used in graphic ASO:

  1. The color should not be forgiving the general concept of the Apple app;

  2. The colors should continue the app idea and correspond to the chosen corporate style;

  3. Do not use too many bright colors, choose 2-3 base colors and 1-2 bright colors for accents;

  4. The color should match the preferences of your target audience.

A well-chosen background helps to grab the attention of users and highlight the main elements of usability.

Incipia looked at the Top 100 Free Apps on the App Store and got the following results:

  1. Custom background increases the chances of the app's success;

  2. A blurred background is used more often than a detailed one;

  3. Colorful backgrounds and an abundance of vibrant colors are most commonly used in categories such as social media and shopping;

  4. Blue and white are most often used in background colors;

  5. The vast majority of apps used screenshots from the apps themselves.

Screenshot gallery styles

One of the most important steps in graphic ASO is the correct presentation of the content. There are several different approaches to designing screenshots in an app in Apple App Store. We will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Classic

Classic-style screenshots are screenshots of the main app screens without any design tweaks, changes, or improvements. However, the majority of users consider such a presentation not very attractive and do not readily download such applications.

Such screenshots can be easily and quickly created on your own, besides, classic screenshots clearly show the interface, which will be an absolute plus if the application has unique functionality or beautiful graphics.

If your app has hidden features or too simple design, then ordinary screenshots will look very boring and get lost in the background of other similar applications.

This approach may work for games and fitness apps.

Solid background and device

The algorithm for creating such a screenshot is simple: choose a background template, place the device in the center, and add a short title.

It is very easy to create such a screenshot; moreover, it perfectly emphasizes the app  functionality and highlights the main advantages.

However, this design is too common and will hardly help you set your app apart from the rest. Besides, not all screens will be well readable when reduced.

You can use this approach if you don't have your own designer. This style can be used for all categories.

Blurred background and device

This style is similar to the previous one, but instead of a background color, a blurred image is used, thus the screenshot looks more stylish and interesting.

You can create such a screenshot yourself, without involving designers. Such a design favorably emphasizes the app features, and generally looks attractive to download.

But the disadvantages remain the same as in the previous version.

This style of screenshots is especially popular with cooking apps and photo editors.

Tutorials

This style is a custom screenshots set with basic recommendations for using the application.

You can demonstrate how to use the app correctly if its functionality is not intuitive. The design tutorial looks stylish and interactive, which attracts users and increases the number of installations.

However, if you use too long headlines or an instructive, stern tone of storytelling, the delivery can turn off your audience.

This style of screenshots works best for applications where the flow is not obvious or there are innovative solutions.

Panoramic

The panoramic style assumes that all screenshots are combined into one coherent picture. To do this, you need to create a whole picture in a graphic editor, place design elements on it, then cut it into parts according to the size of the screenshot. Thus, each screenshot will be a continuation of the previous one.

This kind of design can be really interesting and fun for users. But it requires a professional approach and time.

This style suits any application and is gaining popularity across all categories.

Screensaver

Splash screenshots are banner ads that showcase the app's features and explain its meaning. As a rule, such screenshots do not describe the app functionality, but the main message that it carries.

This is the best way to stand out from hundreds of similar apps and designs. You can convey the main message to the audience, tell about the app value and benefits.

It is important to think over the design concept well so as not to make people associate it with intrusive advertising. Of course, this style requires the work of professional designers.

Photos

You can do a photo session for your application. There are many options here, from illustrating its real benefits in everyday life to subject shooting. Of course, this style will set your application apart from others. With a smart concept, it will help to hook the user and boost the number of installations.

But before opting for photographs, study the preferences of your audience.

Combined

As you might guess, a combination style is a combination of 2 or more styles. This allows you to realize even the most daring ideas and does not limit your flight of fantasies to anything. Naturally, this requires the work of professional designers and understanding the exact goals that you want to convey to the user.

The main thing is not to make a mistake and not add everything at once. Remember, whichever style of screenshots you choose, it should be harmonious and reveal the essence of the application.

Screenshot localization

Even if a potential audience in a new country for you uses English-language versions of applications, this does not mean that they are searching in English. Any localization starts with optimization for app stores in foreign languages. To make it easy for users to find your application, the first step is to translate its title, description, and keywords. The application interface is then translated to improve the overall user experience.

Search indexing in several languages ​​is possible in the iOS App Store depending on the country. To clarify in which languages ​​it is performed in the store of a particular country, developers can use a special Apple list.

But localization is more than a language; it requires full authentication with the country and its inhabitants. You should research the preferences of each market, from background color to presentation style.

For example, Uber thinks through screenshots to the smallest detail for each country. Everything changes: maps, destinations, currencies, etc.

Each new localization is an entry into a new market, which must be taken seriously.

Best tools to design iPhone app screenshots

Huge assortment of design tools and ASO allows you to take screenshots yourself without the help of designers. We bring you a selection of the very best instruments:

  1. Appure is a great tool for creating screenshots for any smartphones and tablets. The service allows you to create custom designs with changing backgrounds and images, applying gradients, using frames, and much more. The advantage of this tool is the ability to localize iOS screenshots in different languages ​​absolutely free.

  2. AppToolKit gives you the ability to create cool Apple Store screenshots for free (you have to pay for screenshots for Android). The basic version has 8 iOS layout options with the ability to change fonts, backgrounds, images and sizes. You can also adapt screenshots for different models and sizes of devices.

  3. Apply Pixels offers a set of standard app screenshot templates for all tastes for iPhone, iPad, Android and Android tablets. A huge variety of ready-made templates and the ability to integrate with Photoshop and Sketch are two main advantages of this service.

Conclusion

We know that it may not be immediately clear where to start, so we have prepared a small checklist that will help you create selling screenshots for your iOS application.

Check list

1. Graphics are highlighted and remembered. Consider your competitors for queries. It is important that your color scheme is significantly different from your SERP competitor, otherwise users may miss you when examining the SERP.

2. Get inspired by big apps and study their promo materials. Often the techniques used by them can be adopted.

3. Consider the color themes of the interfaces. The App Store has dark and light themes. It is important that your icons and screenshots do not blend in with dark or light backgrounds. You can add glow along the path, gradients.

4. Carefully choose the first two screenshots - 60% of users will not scroll through your gallery.

5. One screenshot - one message. Do not try to tell in every picture everything about your application at once, about all its functions and possibilities.

6. Use screenshots to talk about benefits, not features. It's important for people to solve existing problems, and not just admire all the wealth of individual features that you have in the product. What are you doing? What kind of user pain are you relieving? What sets you apart from the competition? By and large, you only have 2 pictures to tell about it.

7. Add awards and real reviews. If your app has won awards, featured editorial reviews, or received good reviews from the press, show it on screenshots in the App Store. Testimonials are an important part of app marketing. It makes sense to show your accomplishments from the beginning.

8. Localize them for each supported language.

9. Conduct regular A/B tests to determine the best performing screenshots.

10. Design all elements in one concept.

11. Demonstrate interface elements and gameplay (for games).

12. Several resources for inspiration: Scrnshts and Screenshotcreator.

Need help from professional designers? Write to us and we will do everything in the best possible way.

 

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