How to make your app stand out in the App Store and get featured
With 1.5 million apps already in Apple’s App Store, it can be difficult to make your app stand out from the rest of the competition. It can be easy to feel that without the big marketing budgets of the major app distributors, your app will simply pass by unnoticed and join the pile of forgotten apps swept to the back of the App Store.
But don’t lose hope just yet. There are some things you can do to stand a chance of being noticed and also even increase your chances of getting featured, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It just requires a bit more time and considered thought.
1. A stunning App Icon
Users have a lot of apps to scan through when they’re browsing the app store. Whilst these users are browsing through the lists upon lists of apps, the only thing significantly differentiating your app from others is your icon. From looking at your icon, the user will be spending a millisecond judging whether they should investigate further and find out more about your app, so you really need to make this count or your app will be overlooked in a flash.
Since iOS 7, the visual trend has been towards flat design. You don’t have to follow this trend, but in not doing so you risk making your app look outdated and not worth looking into.
Your icon also needs to encapsulate a small essence of what your app is about and quickly communicate this to the user. If you app is utility based you’ll need to give a feeling of uniformity and efficiency. If your app is entertainment based you’ll need something bright and vibrant. Just have a look through the App Store now based by category and you’ll see certain visual patterns based on app genre.
Users are subconsciously looking for these visual patterns to help them make judgements about the quality of the apps they’re browsing. So accommodate for this with your app icon design, but also remember you can still add your own small twist within these genre paradigms to stand out.
2. Great Screenshots
Users are mostly going to make judgements about your app by the visuals they are given. Most of them are not going to have the patience to read your app descriptions, no matter how well written they are. There’s a lot of apps to scan through, and the quickest way for a user to do that is based on the visuals they see.
So if a user happens to be intrigued enough by your icon to venture into your app page description, they will be now looking at your screenshots to decide whether they want to invest in downloading your app.
The best way to go about this is to have your app screenshots superimposed on to a device, and also have a small caption on each screenshot. This is your chance to succinctly describe the features of your app in each screenshot. Don’t use more than 10 words per screenshot – users hate reading large portions of text. And when you describe these features, phrase it in a way that explains what problem it solves for the user.
3. A great preview video
Since iOS 8, app developers can now add a preview video along with their screenshots. This is a fantastic opportunity to quickly convert these app page views into app downloads.
First, plan the goal of the video. Do you want to show off a particular feature, or maybe you want to show off a particular part of the UI? Think about what makes your app great, and show that off in the video.
There are two ways you can go about the video. The first way is to do a ‘one-take’ 30 second screen recording of the app being used. This will give the most realistic impression how of your app works and will come across as authentic to the user and may give them some reassurance of what they are likely to get if it’s an app that costs money to download initially.
The second way is to create an edited video which pieces together different screen recordings of the app’s features. This way can be ideal for games or apps which are very feature heavy. Just be careful how you transition between scenes in your video as it might imply your app does something it doesn’t do which might mislead the user.
Also remember that if a particular feature you’re showing in your video requires further purchase, you must clearly show this in your video with some explanatory text.
4. Use the latest technologies
Apple really like it when developers make use of the latest technologies that come about with every iOS release. So keep this in mind when making your app as this can increase your chances of being ‘featured’ on the App Store.
5. Contact the App Store team
The ‘featured’ section of the App Store are a collection of apps which have been handpicked by a team of people. It updates once a week and it has been shown that being featured can significantly increase app downloads.
Just before you are about to distribute your app, it can be worth trying to email the team that curate what gets featured on the App Store. In your email you’ll need to explain what your app is about, what makes it special and also include some screenshots. This is not guaranteed to get you featured, but it’s a step in the right direction. You can reach them with these emails:
6. Have a polished high quality app
Apple are advocates of quality, so having a polished and well considered app will be your best chance of getting featured on the App Store.
We at Fivestar Apps have the experience to help you create high quality mobile apps from conception all the way to distribution. Contact us today to talk about your project or idea.