WINNING SCREENSHOTS AND ICONS - App Trillionaires: How To Become An App Developer: Enjoy Life, Make Money, and Live Your Dreams! (2013)

App Trillionaires: How To Become An App Developer: Enjoy Life, Make Money, and Live Your Dreams! (2013)


To create winning icons and screenshots, you want to start by telling a STORY! Customers love a brand and a story, especially in apps! I’ve seen apps that are horrible when you download them, but when you see the screenshots, the stories and icons you end up hitting the buy button. That’s where we get the term, PEOPLE BUY THE SIZZLE, even if the food tastes bad, it’s all about the hype.

Now if you mix your hype with a great product, you’ll have even more downloads, but I’ve seen too many AMAZING APPS go dead and into Oblivion. Some solid apps have been thrown out, not due to them being horrible, but because their screenshots and icons and description were just not good enough, people disregarded the app.

Great icons and screenshots and descriptions all tell a GREAT STORY! They show the EMOTIONS that a user will be able to get out of a product and go over the fun parts of their apps in an EASY way. Rather than discussing “Feature A”, “Feature B”, etc., great apps discuss a STORY!

Below is a summary of what you want to do when creating icons and screenshots:

1. Winning Icons

a. Keep it simple and to the point (KISS METHOD)

b. Follow your THEME (If your screenshots have a certain theme, keep the colors and images similar)

c. Make it STAND OUT!

d. Add little things like CALLS TO ACTION inside the icon. For example a simple banner saying the word “HOT” can increase your sales. It worked for one of our apps and got our downloads to increase. Black text on yellow banners tend to work really well.

e. Detail in icons can go a LONG way!

f. Think about how your icon will look amongst other icons in a search

g. Draw attention to your icons using your target market. Ex. If your app targets children, putting in a sexy woman would probably not attract that audience. If however your target market was males ages 18-35 a sexy woman may just do the trick! If you were targeting a certain demographic, knowing what you are targeting WILL HELP!

h. Know your market so you can target!


j. Your icon is the FIRST thing a person sees along with your app title, make it COUNT!

k. Try NOT to have text in your app icon if you can avoid it. Text in an app icon just in most cases does not work well.

l. As you grow and gain more apps, start BRANDING! Redo your icons with a BRAND symbol so your apps are RECOGNIZABLE! Your customers will start to follow your branding.

2. Winning Screenshots

Once you have successfully created your app icon, creating corresponding screenshots is very important! Here are the top things you want to do to make winning screenshots!

a. Always draw your screenshot inside of a frame or tablet. This tends to give a better presentation of your app. In some cases depending on app, this may not be the best thing to do, but in most cases drawing your app screenshot inside of a virtual device/photo frame (like a Polaroid picture) in a screenshot usually has a more powerful effect.

b. List single phrases in your app or single lines in your app for how to use your app or telling a story. DO NOT overpopulate your screenshot with text, that’s horrible!

c. Don’t overload your screenshot with images either. LESS IS MORE!

d. If you have a game or an app ALWAYS try and use your main stars to promote your app! People like to see characters/people promoting an app and definitely love when a character promotes an app. For example if you have a video game, use the video game characters to help you sell your app!

e. Have a color scheme that matches your icon. Always try and make the icon and screenshots match.

f. 3-4 screenshots are always best!

g. ADVANCED SCREENSHOTS are those that are made up of 3-4 images side by side to create an entire image. People use this technique to draw attention to their app. Its another great trick that can be used to get attention to your app.

h. UNDERPROMISE…Over Deliver! If your screenshots show a basic set of things that your app does and the user downloads it for that and they get even more, they will LOVE YOUR APP!

i. The easiest thing to do is list your main features and emotional touch points. Ask yourself, “What will my app help a user do/feel?” For example a calculator app may help someone overcome their taxes. A feeling of relief when they achieve their math homework or complete a math assignment. You could use this emotion of relief as a simple statement, “Easy and fast, helps take care of even the most challenging math assignments and will make your accountant smile!” Rather than putting, “Has 10 buttons.”

j. Make it relevant to your TARGET MARKET!
Here are statements for a calculator for various target markets (NOTE: These would be DIFFERENT calculators made based on the target market):

i. Children
“Fun and colorful with large keys for the smallest of fingers!” (Show an image of a child/children)

ii. Seniors
“Large fonts so you wont need your glasses!”
(Show an image of a senior with glasses)

iii. Men
“Helps take the guesswork out of that next home DIY project!”
(Show a man standing with a tape measure)

iv. Women
“Stylish and sexy buttons with various themes to choose from!”
(Show a stylish woman in professional attire)

v. Those late on taxes
“Get those calculations done right every time and make your accountant drool!”
(Show a person sitting with paperwork on a table looking stressed out)

vi. High School Students
“Cool tools built in so you can ace any math exam!”
(Show a teenager with a backpack holding books)

k. Putting extra thought into your screenshots can help make your apps sell better.

3. Winning Descriptions

Great app descriptions are SHORT, spell-checked and highlights key features, differences and a call to action to buy!

Now we know that most users rarely look at descriptions. In fact only the TOP part of the description (usually the first three lines) is read most of the time with the bottom half being skipped on most occasions. Knowing this should help you to put the most relevant info AT THE TOP!

Any awards, reviews, rankings or anything that is a SPECIAL thing about your app should be placed at the very top of all your descriptions.

Has your app been given a 10/10 star review? PUT IT AT THE TOP!

Has your app been featured in New and Noteworthy? PUT IT AT THE TOP WITH THE DATE IT WAS FEATURED!

Has your app gone on sale for a few days? PUT IT AT THE TOP WITH THE PROMO DETAILS!

Users will rarely click on the MORE button to read a description, most users have already decided to make a purchase from the icon and screenshots. In fact the way a user goes through an app is usually as follows:

1. Icon

2. Screenshots


4. Description (If they have not been sold already)

That being said, a winning description tends to do little with your actual app and more with what your app has accomplished or achieved. Of course you want to put what your app does inside your description as well, but place that information right after all the noteworthy things.

For example for the calculator app above (which we were talking about) you could put all the full features and functionality right AFTER all the winning details.

The biggest mistake is hiding the points that make your app shine! Too many people leave out new and noteworthy items or app rankings or even app reviews.

REMEMBER à You’re goal is to CONVERT the user to a sale, not simply describe something to them. You want your features there, but your focus should be first on how wonderful your app has done and what others have been saying.

Imagine a cereal box at your local store. Have you ever seen a cereal box that lists all the nutrients and all the ingredients as the FACE of the box? NEVER! It’s always tucked neatly away on the side as ADDITIONAL information.

On the front of a cereal box you see the AWARDS and RECOGNITION the cereal company has or new things that make the cereal so great.

Always put a call to action whenever you get a chance! Something that makes the user want to hit the buy button ASAP!

We used this technique in Melina’s Conquest and that helped increase our sales after the app went into Oblivion:

Now you know the secrets to creating winning app icons, screenshots and descriptions. This methodology will help you increase your sales for sure!

“It takes just as much energy to think good thoughts as it does to think bad thoughts…so start thinking of the best! You deserve it!

— Abhinav Gupta