Well, are they?

Let’s face it, you have a very limited amount of space to capture a potential user’s interest in a VERY  short amount of time.  Along with your video, which we talked about in another post , your screenshots are the most effective way to grab attention and hold it long enough to entice someone to download your app.

Focal points –

Choosing the focal points for your screenshots is a tricky enterprise, and quite often you may have to do some testing with different images until you come up with the most effective combination.   One of the best ways to do a bit of A/B testing with your screenshots is by hosting a set on your own web page, outside of the app store where your product is purchased.   You can see what potential users react to by tracking the click through ratios to the app store itself, if you make the screenshots clickable links.   You can also do this same sort of testing in your email marketing and with your press releases; just keep it reasonable and don’t spam your contact list in the process.

What screens are effective?

Choose images that have the maximum impact.  If you’re developing an app that creates infographics on the fly, for instance, then a series of screens showing the process of building final image would be appropriate, especially if they depict the ease with which the finished product is made.  If you’re selling a game, then select screens that are representative of the exciting parts of the game — “oh no, I just got killed!” – “oh wow, I’m about to finish this level!” – encourage potential users to investigate the game on the app site or investigate the trial version (if that’s your monetization model).  If you’ve got REALLY good reviews (meaning lots of them and in the 4 to 5 star range), then you might want to include a screenshot of the app store itself on your own website, but don’t waste the real estate on the app store with a redundant screenshot of something they can see for themselves in the same space.

And the Don’ts?

Don’t use a series of screens that are indistinguishable from one another!  If the potential user can’t tell that there is an exciting, engaging app to be downloaded, then you might as well use screens of the credits or the login…  think of your screens, as a series of print ads that you would pay to publish in a magazine.  They would be ordered logically so that subscribers would understand the ad, and make a concise point – “what a GREAT app this is, I should download it NOW!” – as well as being easy on the eyes.  No one wants to see a busy screenshot with so much stuff on it that it’s impossible to tell what’s going on (and PLEASE, make sure your app doesn’t come across that way on the users device either!!!) or a muddy looking series of brown and green blobs.

After all, they don’t call them highlights for nothing.