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Making The Most Of Your App Store Presence: An Introduction

Posted by on 08/18/2015


If you want to achieve success with your app, you need to ask yourself what people will experience when they find it in the app store.

The fact is, poor icon design, snarky review comments, crappy screenshots, and bad grammar do you no favors.

Your app store presence should be a display of your skill and finesse. So don’t leave potential users doubting your skill and questioning your finesse before they’ve even hit the download buttonConsider that without a strong, well-developed app store presence, they may not hit the download button at all.

Here’s a basic overview for newcomers of how to make the most of your very own place in the app stores.

Designing An App Icon That Doesn’t Suck

There are several aspects to consider when strategizing your app store presence. Begin with the first thing your user will see when they locate your app: The icon.

Don’t get so caught up in designing your app that you forget how crucial the app store icon is. No one will experience the fruits of your arduous design labor if an awful icon sends them running for the digital hills.

First, you need to design an icon that is easy to read. If you’ve got text or images bleeding off the edge of the icon, it won’t tell the user what to expect.

Take this example:

Bad Icon.jpg

Do I want to download this app because I’m hungry for Chinese food or because I need a new pair of hipster-approved skinny jeans? Considering I can’t really see the “R,” I’m not even sure I have the right word in mind.

Keep in mind that you’re designing an icon, not writing dissertations or practicing your newfound artistic talent. Furthermore, a well-executed logo incorporated into an icon doesn’t have to contain the company name.

Nordstrom’s (Android, iPhone) does this particularly well with their app store icon. Why try to squeeze the word into a tiny square when one well-known letter will do?

Finally, don’t let yourself be limited by what other developers are doing. Stay at the front of the pack by keeping ahead of the trends.

One recent fad are designs that have a flat white icon on a single color background, like Snapchat (Android, iPhone).


At the opposite end are icons that pop in 3D – pun intended – like the Perfect Popcorn app from Pop Secret (iPhone only).

Pop secret.jpg

Above all, remember that your icon is a form of visual marketing. In this case, thinking inside the box isn’t such a bad thing.

App Store Description: What Does Your App Do?

Once someone has been pulled in by the brilliant design of your icon, the next chance for you to wow them is in the description.

Although it may not seem like much at the time, investing in quality translation or hiring someone to write a compelling description can make or break your app.

Try making sense of this one:

Yes, this is the description for what looks like an epically bizarre game called “Human Fish Face Evolution. It’s a shame the description isn’t more clear, because their icon has some seriously arresting imagery:

Based on the icon alone – even though it’s in Japanese – you can’t deny wanting to know what the heck this game is all about.

Even so, one can design the most eye-catching icon in the world while still losing their audience to a description that sounds like it was written by a sex ed teacher channelling H.P. Lovecraft.

Be clear. Be concise. Be descriptive.

Read more about how to write excellent developer description copy.


Treat User Reviews Like Gold

According to a 2014 survey carried out by the games market research organization Newzoo, app reviews are universally cited as the main reason why someone does – or does not – download an app.

Not fair, right? After all, you don’t have any control over what a green-haired teenager taking his angst out on your poor app might say.

While that’s true, you do have control over how you respond. There are few things consumers enjoy less than spending their hard-earned time or money on a product only to be treated like a whiney toddler.

Going into an app review response with this kind of attitude will win you no fans:

Instead of viewing users who leave a bad review as useless trolls waiting for a developer to publicly shame them, consider the audience. Everyone will be seeing your reply.

When you have the high ground, why give it up? Turn potential marketing disasters into epic saves by treating your users like, well, people.

Not only is this response worded well, but the developer didn’t even have to reply in the first place. The user wasn’t asking a question. But replying may have earned them some kudos in the eyes of an unhappy user. Maybe they even discovered an unknown glitch by reaching out in this manner.

The point is, no matter how seemingly insignificant, users appreciate it when the developer responds to their critique, especially when it’s negative.

Which leads to the next problem: Developers that respond using a preform script. What’s the point of teasing users with your attention if they aren’t getting it? Instead they’re getting some hackneyed, canned response that serves to merely infuriate them further.


In these examples one review is decent and the other not so much, yet they both get the same canned response filled with meek platitudes and poor grammar.

If you don’t have the time or resources to leave a thoughtful reply in response to your users, should you leave one at all?

Although the jury may still be out on the most effective way to handle user reviews, canned, sarcastic, or outright rude responses are definitely not the way. These are the only chances you may get to interact with or influence your users. Respond wisely.

Polish Your Image With Screenshots Of Your App

Before putting the final touches on your app store presence, be sure not to forget about the visual representations of your product.

Use all the available screenshot slots you are given. There’s no reason to leave marketing opportunities sitting on the table.

Above all, make sure you use only the very best, most descriptive images to showcase your app. And be very careful not to confuse your users.

Take this screenshot as an example:


Wow! Who knew you could x-ray your hand with your cell phone. How cool, right? Well, no, because you can’t. This is a prank app.

But tell that to the hordes of people who have cratered its app store review ranking because they thought it really could X-ray scan their hand.

A simple “Play X-ray scanning pranks on your friends!” in the white space at the top of the picture would have been nice. Would it have fixed everything? No, but it certainly would have helped mitigate any confusion.

Don’t be afraid to put words into your screenshot image. They help potential users identify what they are downloading.


There’s so much going on in this screenshot, I would have no idea this is a side-scrolling brawler with tap controls without the description and tapping finger graphic.

The developers also packed three images in over a cool background for maximum effect. But did they get it perfect? No. The grammatical error in that description is so obvious it hurts.

I realize I’m returning to grammar again, but there’s a reason for it. It’s important. Think about it, if you can’t even put a sentence together properly, how much confidence do you think a potential user will have in your product?

Read more about choosing the right screenshots of your app.

Does Your App Have Digital Curb Appeal?

Imagine your app store presence as a piece of virtual real estate. If you’re trying to woo customers, you need to make sure you’ve got digital curb appeal.

Whether it be your icon, review responses, descriptions or screenshots, you’ve got one chance to capture that click.

Remember, your app store presence is your user’s first stop on their way to downloading your app. Don’t turn them off before they’ve ever get the chance to experience the product.

Learn the skills, find your finesse, and max out your app store presence.

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