How to design conversion-driving App Store screenshots

Anyi Sun
Mar 19, 2017 · 4 min read

A user is browsing your app on the App Store. Are your screenshots good enough to have her download the app?

Just like a landing page, an app page has an ultimate goal of converting a user. Among all components of the app page, screenshots are one of the most critical sections. Optimizing app screenshots can lead to a 20% increase in app store conversion rate (i.e., the # of people who install the app/the # of people who view the app page).

Whenever a user wants to download your app, they will need to go to your app’s page on the app store. With screenshots taking up the majority of the screen, brands are provided the opportunity to visually showcase key features of their apps .

Unfortunately, many apps tend to neglect the design of app page screenshots. They spent hours crafting their marketing strategy, yet they are missing out on the opportunity to significantly increase their app store conversion rate. To avoid that, below are some practical tips to optimize your app page screenshots.

Tell a story

Storytelling is an exceptionally effective way to engage users. When browsing an app page, a user’s goal is to understand what the app can help them achieve. To meet this goal, brands can present key features in a logical way that reflects the user flow.

For example, on Lyft’s app page, core features are presented in an order that matches with the user flow of requesting and completing a ride. Theses screenshots not only highlighted their key features but also become a part of the onboarding process. By enlarging the UI that corresponds to the texts, Lyft crafted a user story with concise texts and visual cues.

Lyft’s screenshots from the App Store

Treat it as a banner ad

The goal of screenshots is to convey a message to users in limited pixel size. Sounds familiar? It is also the purpose of banner ads.

Furthermore, the first two screenshots are the most important ones, because 1)only these two images show up in search results and 2)once on the app page, many users won’t scroll to the right for more screenshots.

With that in mind, some apps cleverly converted the first two screenshots to a banner ad. As shown below, Shazam was able to effectively answer the question “what does the app do” while capturing users attention.

Shazam’s screenshots from the App Store

It’s a part of your brand identity

When a user goes to your app page, they are already engaging with your brand. Therefore, it is important for the app page to convey the same brand identity as your app, and that includes color palette, typography and brand voices (i.e., the copy). In the example below, Headspace closely followed its screenshot presentation with it’s brand guideline, creating a consistent user experience.

Headspace’s screenshots from the App Store

Be concise

The copies on screenshots should be concise and to the point. Long texts not only take up too much space but also are ineffective in delivering the message. Always keep in mind that users will have very limited attention span when browsing your app page, so you will need to make every word count.

In the example below, letgo enlarged key texts in each screenshot, thereby delivering their messages effectively even if the user is just scanning through the page.

letgo’s screenshots from the App Store

Test, test, test

Have a crazy idea for screenshots but don’t know if it would work?
Should I use phone mockups or not in the screenshot?
Not sure which copy will convert more users?

These questions can only be answered through testings. Don’t be afraid to experiment with bold ideas and design nuances through A/B testings. Ultimately, it would help you optimize your app page and convert more users.

Conclusions

  1. The app page is like a landing page with a single goal of converting users to install the app.
  2. Browsing the app page is a part of a user’s journey with your app, so it needs to be a part of the UX design.
  3. Treat screenshots as if they are banner ads. Make it concise, engaging, creative and visually-appealing.
  4. You will never know which design is better until you test them.

Anyi Sun

Written by

Anyi Sun

Creator and collector of experience. I write about design and technology.

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