App Screenshots » How to Design Amazing Screenshots for the app stores

app store screenshots and aso screenshots

What would make you go inside a store? You check from the outside, the store looks pleasing, and it has the thing you need because you can spot it before entering it, right? App Screenshots are the same; they invite the user inside.

One can say that screenshots do not influence ASO, but this is wrong. It might not affect your app store ranking directly, but it carries a significant role in conversion optimization, which is a vital part of App Store Optimization. The right screenshots can make your conversion rate 18% higher.

Why Screenshots Are Important for App Store Optimization

App preview videos and screenshots allow you to demonstrate the functionality and interface of your app. They were displayed on the app’s details page on Google Play and iTunes (Apple App Store). Moreover, they help potential users make the decision, whether the app is a fit for their needs. Additionally, proper app screenshots avoid “test run”-traffic on your app page as users already have an idea of what the app looks like and how to use it.

Regardless of how you bring potential on your app listing page, they all set eyes in a certain way on your screenshots. One of the most important and striking elements on your app listing or search rank is your screenshots.

How your app listing page looks different on App Store and on Google Play
Apple App Store vs Google Play App Listing Page

Although visuals have no direct impact on your app’s store ranking, the screenshot set and video preview are powerful tools to convince users. They will be the main determinant for most of your users to download your app. In fact, 50% of users make their purchase decisions based on the first impression, so your screenshots must have the best appearance. Every second user decides about purchasing an app based on the first impression only.

There are various ways to design screenshots. No matter if you choose feeling-oriented, feature-oriented or art-oriented design, your users should be attracted by those images.

All in all, screenshots demonstrate the functionality, look & feel of your app. Well designed and pleasing previews give users a glimpse of the app. They are great tools to create an immersive story with and to humanize your app for users (visual storytelling). Commonly, screenshots describe the best features of an app. They are welcomed by users, as a majority will not read through the whole app description to find out, what your app is about.

App Screenshots for Apple App Store

Let’s remember that iOS 11 brought a whole new app store layout, which made app screenshots appear slightly different in App Store search and on the product page now.

  • In iOS 11 search, the screenshots appear on a smaller scale, which means that the resolution of the images must be perfect. Plus, the text font must be large enough, so the potential user can read straight from the app search page.
  • In addition, three screenshots are shown on the app search page, which is great. It makes easier to create a story sequence or create a whole image using three screenshots.
  • Thanks to the new layout, you can see more than one app for a scroll in iOS 11 search results. You can see one whole app with its three screenshots, plus a second one almost entirely.

Your screenshots should draw attention so that the potential user focuses on you and not on the other app that is sharing the page with you. Bear in mind that if you are using landscape screenshots, only one will be shown on the app search page. If you are using a video, it will be shown in the first screenshot and will autoplay straight on the search page.

The app store design has changed a lot, and it is crucial that your app fits the new store. Harmony is comfortable for the eye, it is an extra motivation for the user to go to your app page.

SEE ALSO:The Ultimate Guide for App Store Screenshots

Requirements for Screenshots in the Apple App Store

On Apple App Store one screenshot per localization is required and up to ten more screenshots are optional to add.

App screenshots have to be flattened JPEG or PNG RGB image files with 72 dpi resolution and without transparency. Additionally, on the Apple App Store they have to respectively fit the specific screen resolutions summarized below.

  • iPhone 3 (3.5 Inch): 920 x 640 px
  • iPhone 4 + 5 (4 Inch): 1136 x 640 px
  • iPhone 6 + 7 +8 (4.7 Inch): 1334 x 750 px
  • iPhone 6 Plus + 7 Plus + 8 Plus (5.5 Inch): 1242 x 2208 px
  • iPhone X (5.8 Inch): 1125 x 2436 – This isn’t required; Mind that the difference is that the screenshot in iPhone X will be shown with rounded corners,
  • iPad (12.9 Inch): 2048 x 1536 px

Apple’s guidelines are very specific about showing your app in use. You can have a screenshot only made up of text, and use text on your screenshots. However, you must have at least one screenshot showing the app itself. You should always show data from a fictional person as you are responsible for all the rights of the material used on your app screenshots

Use mockup sites such as Placeit.net, to better visualize how your screenshots will look like on different screen sizes.

App Screenshots for Google Play

In contrast to the Apple App Store, your screenshots published in Google Play will be merely available inside your app page (store listing). The screenshots will only be shown at the search results, if the user search specifically for that app.

Once you are inside your Google Play store listing, the screenshots call less attention than they do in the iOS version. While in iOS screenshots are the most important visual asset, on Google Play Store many visitors won’t look at them. According to StoreMaven, 85% of visitors on Google Play store listings won’t even see your screenshot gallery.

Due to the layout, Android users rather focus on the feature graphic and short description.

Screenshot Requirements for Google Play

On Google Play Store up to 8 screenshots for each supported device type can be added onto an app page. This means it is possible to add app screenshots for Smartphones, Tablets (7 inch &amP; 10 inch), Android TV and Android Wear. To publish a store listing for your app, there have to be at least 2 screenshots provided.

Screenshot requirements for Android apps are not as strictly as they are for iOS Apps. Google Play Store demands the following requirements for Screenshots:

  • JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha)
  • Minimum dimension: 320 px
  • Maximum dimension: 3840 px
  • The maximum dimension of a screenshot can’t be more than twice as long as the minimum dimension

Good to know: Some sections of Google Play Store shows recommend games by using their screenshots, but the game must have at least 3 screenshots uploaded on landscape mode (16:9 aspect ratio).

Google Play Visual Specifications Guide

Your Guide to Google Play Visual Specs

Need help keeping track of what sizes your designs need to be for Google Play? Here are all the visual specifications for app assets including App Icon and App Screenshots

Get the Guide

How to Design Amazing App Store Screenshots + Best-Practice Examples

App screenshots are an extremely important factor when it comes to both ASO and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Most App Store visitors make the decision to install an app based off of their first impression.

What elements make up the first impression for apps? That’s easily the creative assets or visuals. Your app listing’s visuals (app icon, app screenshot, and preview video) are the elements that immediately catches someone mid-scroll.

To ensure that you’re making the best first impression possible and converting from an impression or page view to an install, here are the best ways to design your app screenshots.

1) Show them how your app looks and behaves

The main purpose of app screenshots on an app listing page is to show what the App Store visitors what your app looks like and what its main functions are. App Store visitors want a quick visual sneak peek into your app and its features before they decide to install it. That’s why you should use all available screenshot slots to clearly show how your app benefits its users.

Instagram's App Store screenshots
Instagram’s app screenshots are extremely minimal due to their well-established brand

Screenshots like those of Instagram, are the easiest form of providing this impression. They use standalone screenshots without any additional text, background or images. With these type of screenshots, App Store visitors can quickly ascertain what the app is about. Although, such minimal screenshots do not work for every kind of app. This strategy fits well for Instagram because of their extremely well-established brand.

2) Describe your app’s main features

Besides showing visitors how your app looks like, also make sure to highlight its main features. Users should quickly know what your app’s main purpose is. Remember when you started your ASO process? You can describe the screenshots with some of the chosen keywords.

Whatsapp uses their app screenshots to clearly show its main functions

WhatsApp follows this rule. As the app’s purpose mainly is about real-time messaging, they put the screenshot describing this feature at first place. They added text to clearly describe the visualized feature on the particular screenshot.

3) Tell a story

Screenshots are a very powerful tool to keep potential users on your app page. In fact, the term “screenshot” by now is a bit misleading. The most successful app pages do not only upload random screens but use rich imagery to visually tell a story. This means you should try to reach your visitors with powerful screenshots so that you can engage them to download your app. The story that you should tell is, how your app is going to solve the potential user’s issue.

Skyscanner uses emotion in the their app screenshots to pull new users in.
Skyscanner App Store screenshots attract users with a story

Skyscanner did some great job designing their screenshot gallery. They not only provide well-designed app visualizations but use them to tell a story. The first screenshot entices App Store visitors to tap through with the phrase “Find your next adventure”. The first screenshot addresses human emotions with compelling imagery and text. Then the following screenshots explain exactly how Skyscanner is going to help its users find their next adventure.

4) Localize your images

On App Store and Google Play, one screenshot per localization is required and up to four (App Store) / seven (Google Play) more screenshots are optional to add. This means if you offer your app for different localization with different languages, you should make sure to offer your screenshots in the correct language. If you don’t want to take screenshots in different languages, you should at least adjust the additional text in the screenshots.

Remember that localizing is more than translating. Check which feature of yours is more important for a certain country. Apart from that, Asian countries have more interest for images with animes or cartoons, so, how your screenshot should be designed for each audience.

1Password changes the text in their App Screenshots to match the native language of the audience in the different App Store storefronts
1Password App Screenshots for different languages example

A good example for this is 1Password. They really put effort into their screenshots and provide different screenshots adjusted to different countries.

5) Use the right dimensions

Different mobile devices mean different screen resolutions. While Google Play only demands a minimum and maximum dimension for screenshots, Apple makes this whole story a lot more complicated. Offering your app within the Apple App Store, you have to add your screenshots for every possible iOS screen size. This might get very time consuming if you want to take a screenshot of your app on every available iOS device. A possible workaround could be seen in the following example.

Snapchat uses clean and direct app screenshots to communicate their already well-known brand
Snapchat uses clean and direct app screenshots to communicate their well-known brand

Snapchat, for example, uses a very efficient approach of providing screenshots for different screen dimensions. They put simple screenshots into matching devices surrounded by an abstract, colored frame. This classic frame delivers a high recognition value and keeps you flexible in designing your screenshots for different screen dimensions. Of course, this imagery especially works excellent, because Snapchat already established its branding.

See also

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