Categories: Developers / iOS / Mobile Apps


Mobile app developers know that App Store discoverability is a tough problem. Building a great product is one thing, but making sure that people find it is another altogether.

The way you present your mobile app on the App Store is crucial to converting users. After all, it’s generally where your first impression is made – and where the user experience begins. Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your App Store listing to drive discoverability and downloads.

Begin with an awesome icon

Writing a great App Store description is hard work.

Writing a great App Store description is hard work.

Icons are, well, iconic. Users see them right up front – and will come to associate them with the very essence of your app. You have a small amount of space to work with here, so use it wisely. Your design should be clear and distinctive. It should also indicate the essence of what your app does through metaphor or highly relevant graphics. A weather app might show an image of weather elements. A chat app might show a speech bubble. Go for recognizable and meaningful, and make sure it’s legible at all sizes.

Pick a great name and subtitle

Names are hard. The good ones are short, memorable, easy to spell and pronounce…and not taken by someone else. The App Store gives you 30 characters for your name, which may tempt you to stuff your title with keywords. Avoid the temptation, and add these essentials to the subtitle section instead. You have another 30 characters here, so pick something relevant, descriptive and evocative. Perhaps it’s an ultra-fast pinball game. Or a app to track shared budgets. These help users see at a glance what they’re getting.

Pick some amazing screenshots

Describe the crucial stuff up front - then get into details.

Describe the crucial stuff up front – then get into details.

On iPhone and iPad, Screenshots appear above the description of your app, while on a Mac, they appear below it. Only two display immediately, with users having to scroll for the rest. Make sure that these are representative of your app while looking great. You can annotate them, so use this text to really sell the benefits of your app. Tools like LaunchKit can help make your screenshots look as good as can be.

Describe the critical stuff first

On a computer, iTunes displays the “Description” part of your app’s page front and center. On an iPhone or iPad, it sits beneath your app’s screen shots. But you’ll notice on all that the description truncates after 170 characters. That means that it’s essential to put the key differentiators and selling points of your app right up front. Tell users exactly what it does and why they need it in that first sentence or two. Users intrigued enough to click “read more” will get more info, while the ones who don’t will still know what they need to know. Effective app descriptions usually fall between 200-300 words, and white space is your friend. You can only update this text when you push a new version of your app, so get it right.

Mobile app developers, meet keywords

Keywords can give your app a boost in the search results. You have 100 characters to work with here, so pick them wisely. Keep them relevant and specific for greatest impact. Avoid using plurals when you already have a singular form (eg map, maps), as this just wastes valuable characters. Similarly, don’t use words like “app” or App Store category titles. Other no-nos include using trademarks and competitors’ app names. Ask yourself: what would you type in if you were searching for your app? If you need some help, try this Keyword Tool.

With all that done, you’re pretty much ready to push your app live! Before you do that, we highly recommend that mobile app developers do some user testing to see whether they’re on track. You can get some tips on how to do that here.



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Touchtap is a mobile development agency specializing in mobile development. Learn how to get mobile applications developed.

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