stunning-app-store-screenshots

Are you trying to increase downloads through App Store Optimization?

Did you know that improving your screenshots can lead to more downloads?

Optimizing your store listing is one of the most important things you can do for your app’s positioning within the app store. It amplifies organic user acquisition on the app store as well as your own marketing efforts.

In this article, you will discover how to create stunning screenshots for both Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Number 1 Mistake in Creating Screenshots

Screenshots are probably the last thing we think about when preparing our app for launch.

We’ve researched our keywords, done our press outreach, and designed an engaging app icon, but when it comes to screenshots we typically default to whatever we can capture while testing the app.

And that’s the number one mistake that app publishers make. We think of screenshots as, well, screenshots and not marketing assets.

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Screenshots should be treated like advertising banners.

Think of App Store screenshots as advertising banners that engage the user into wanting to learn more about the app and then download it.

In fact, Genera Games reports that they’ve increased app downloads by six percent just by optimizing their screenshots. While six percent doesn’t seem like much, it can add up to quite a bit in the long run.

For example, let’s say you are averaging 1,000 downloads a day. With a six percent improvement, that would yield an additional 1,800 downloads for FREE after 30 days!

From a PR perspective, having stunning screenshots is an indication that your app is worth a closer look. Reporters are judging your app on just a few seconds, so having a stunning design will catch their eye and make them want to learn more about the app.

Creating Stunning App Store Screenshots

While we developers focus on external marketing channels such as PR, advertising, and content marketing, we forget that internal marketing, such as optimizing our screenshots, can yield even greater results because it impacts not only our app store presence but improves our external marketing campaigns as well.

As I stated earlier, Genera Games reports that optimizing their screenshots increased downloads by six percent. That’s free downloads without doing anything differently within the app or spending money on marketing.

That’s the power of optimizing your screenshots. Here’s our process for creating stunning screenshots that sell.

#1: Create the Story

I’ve written about incorporating a copywriting technique called A.I.D.A. into creating your screenshots, but let’s do a quick recap.

A.I.D.A. is an acronym used in marketing and advertising that describes a common list of events that may occur when a consumer engages with an advertisement.

  • A – Attention (Awareness): Attract the attention of the customer.
  • I – Interest: Raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits (not features).
  • D – Desire: Convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
  • A – Action: Lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.

Using a system like this gives you the understanding that each one of your screenshots plays a crucial role in getting users to download your app. Your screenshots should move customers through the “download funnel.”

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Using the AIDA formula to create screenshots.

Think of your screenshots from a copywriting perspective and make sure you highlight everything you would in a landing page.

Having a formula like A.I.D.A. ensures that you don’t overlook any critical parts in trying to convert the user.

#2: Capture Stills Within the App

Now that you have the marketing story in place, you know exactly what kind of screenshots you’d like to get from the app.

To load a test version of your app, you can use TestFlight for Apple or beta testing on Google Play.

Once you have the app loaded on your phone, it’s time to capture a few screenshots of the app in action.

How to Take Screenshots on iOS

You can capture the screen on your iOS device using the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.

Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the top or side of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, then immediately press and release the Home button. The screenshots will appear in your Photos app. If your device is on iOS 9, they’ll be conveniently placed in a Screenshots album within your photo library.

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You can capture the screen on your iOS device using the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.

How to Capture Screenshots on Android

For the vast majority of Android phones and tablets, to take a screenshot you simply press and hold the power and volume-down buttons together. There is a slight knack to this action: press the power button too soon and the display will switch off; press the volume-down button too soon and your screenshot may be marred by an onscreen volume slider.

After a few seconds the screen will flash and a notification will appear in the drop-down bar at the top of the screen, giving you options to delete, share or edit the image. You can also access the screenshot from your Gallery.

#3: Frame Screenshots in Device (Optional)

I like my screenshots to be framed in a device. However, there are plenty of really nice looking screenshots that are NOT framed in a device, so the choice is completely up to you.

Here are some of my favorite tools for framing screenshots in a device.

Placeit.net

Placeit has thousands of stages that you can utilize. In fact, it’s the place we go when we are creating lifestyle photos for our press kits. You simply drag and drop your screenshot onto the screen.

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The service is free for the 400×300 image, but anything larger and you will have to pay.

Frame

Frame is the free alternative to Placeit.net. However the selection of stages is limited compared to Placeit.net.

Still, you can’t argue with free and it has enough options to get the job done.

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Screenshot Builder by Launchkit

A very easy to use tool that allows you to create screenshots for all the existing iPhone screen sizes.

While the design layouts are limited, the service is free and you can customize the colors and fonts of the screenshots. And the best part is that all the sizes for the iPhone are created for you. No need to resize.

#4: Use Canva

Canva is a very easy to use design tool. In fact, I make all my blog header images using the tool and even this cool looking PR vs advertising infographic.

Recently, I started using Canva to create Google Play screenshots. Google Play’s guidelines are not as strict as Apple’s so you can a lot more wiggle room in terms of dimensions and layout.

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Google Play Screenshot created using Canva.

Canva has some stunning preset designs that you can customize and they even allow you to filter your photos.

I highly recommend it as a great tool for non-designers. Here’s a screenshot that I created for Apple using Canva.

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Apple App Store Screenshot created using Canva.

#5: A/B Test Screenshots

On Google Play, you can now run experiments to find the most effective app icons, screenshots and text for your app.

You can use experiments to test variants of your app against your current version to see which one performs best, based on install data.

Note: You can run one experiment per app at a time. Once you’ve completed or stopped an experiment, you can start a new one. You can only run experiments on published apps.

Avi Charkham, VP Product & Marketing at EverythingMe, says that “when it comes to product screenshots we invest our energy in the visible ones.” Avi reports that getting the right screenshots increased conversions by seven percent.

In a guest blog post on The Next Web, he states that:

Google lets you add multiple screenshots to your app page. Getting the first, visible, image right is the most critical aspect in improving your page conversion. It took us time but it was worth the effort. One other thing we always do is make sure we include actual screenshots in our designs.

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Conclusion

Optimizing your store listing is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your app’s acquisition, because it affects traffic coming from all sources.

It also amplifies organic user acquisition on the app store as well as your own marketing efforts. Use the tips outlined above to start optimizing your app store screenshots for more downloads.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 8 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.

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