Even though your app maybe all new and shiny it still needs to get to your customers and the only way to do that, unless you have a particularly advanced carrier pigeon, is through the App Store.
Submitting to the app stores can be a daunting process and there is a fair amount of data and imagery needed to make it a success. However, do not be afraid!
We’ve developed this brief guide so that you can ensure all the the bases are covered. Don't miss our sister guide for the Google Play Store.
As the name suggests the Apple App Store is part of the iTunes system and is almost always the only platform used for distributing applications to the public and their iOS devices. The steps below will help you provide all the information needed to give your app the best chance of success on the App Store.
Every single application submitted to the store has to go through a review process which consists of automated and human testing. In most cases the review process takes up to 2 weeks, so getting it right first time is important. Rookie errors can easily add a month to 6 weeks onto your release date.
STOP: Read these before you go any further:
Your app probably already has a name and that’s the name that will appear under the app icon on users devices. What you may not be aware of is that the name on the App Store can be different and that the words it contains are automatically indexed as keywords. This means that developers often include a short description (up to 50 characters) of the app in the App store listing.
The app store is broken up by categories and if you want your app to achieve dizzying heights of success by being ‘featured’ then choosing the correct category is important. On the App Store you get two categories and it's up to you if you want to use both, but we would advise using both (if you can legitimately do so) to maximise the chances of someone finding your app.
The list of categories is: Sports, Health & Fitness, Education, Photo & Video, Travel, Music, Lifestyle, Productivity, Food & Drink, Social Networking, Business, Entertainment, News, Utilities, Weather, Navigation, Finance, Medical, Reference, Catalogues, Books, Newsstand, Games, Kids
Remember that every submission is reviewed by Apple and they will reject your submission if they think you’ve tried to sneak it into an inappropriate category. So keep it simple and in the most obvious category for users to find your app.
The only required URL is a support URL. This often is just a link to your company/organisations homepage so that users have a means of getting in touch with you if need be.
Keywords are vital for users to discover your app within the store. You have 100 characters for keywords and it's important to choose words that you think users will search for. There are lots of tools out there for choosing the best keywords, but the main things to remember are:
The description is reasonably important for your app, but do take into account that the description isn’t indexed and so it won’t affect how easily users can search for your app. Think of it as the marketing copy for your app and an opportunity pitch your product.
Remember you have a character limit of 4000. Our tips are:
Metadata is the App Store information that accompanies your app and includes everything noted above, there are a few other smaller pieces that are listed below:
Only some of the metadata that accompanies your app can be updated when the app is ‘live’. In the App Store the status for live is called ‘Ready for Sale’. The information you can change is:
Anything else will need a new build (version) to make changes, including the app name.
The icon is one of the most important parts of your app and its design should be well thought through, why? Because, it sits on your users screen and is your chance to reinforce your brand to that user every time they pick up their device.
A number of icon sizes are needed when developing the app and the icon bundled into the app that appears on the user's screen should match the one that is displayed in the App Store.
A few key points are needed for the app icon design:
To get all of the sizes you need for development and submission we always use http://makeappicon.com/ which is a great site. Just drop your 1024x1024 design into and it will spit out all of the different sizes you need.
Wow your app looks amazing! Well that’s what we hope people will think as soon as they see your screenshots.
From our experience most users are much more likely to look at your screenshots than read your app description.
There are a few approaches to screenshots and it can be a bit of a minefield, but there are some really useful tools out there to help you keep it simple.
To maximise your chances in the App Store you will want to submit screenshots for all of the devices sizes that your app will run on. You have to submit at least 1 screenshot and you can submit up to 5 for each screen size.
You should make sure the screenshots are of the same section of the app and just resized appropriately.
For iPhone you have 4 sizes of screenshot to provide:
For iPad there are 2 sizes of screenshot to provide:
Note: Currently, you only need to provide an iPad Pro screenshot if your build indicates that it will run on that device.
How to create screenshots
There are usually 4 ways of creating screenshots:
Some developers have taken screenshots significantly further by using the screenshot as an opportunity to sell the app and explain its function. This is a really good idea if it's appropriate for your app. And it can also be done quite simply using https://launchkit.io/screenshots.
If you want to go all out, then definitely get them fully designed and have a think about how to use those 5 images to their full potential.
If appropriate it's a great idea to have a simple video of your app being used as a preview in the App Store. It can really help users understand your app and gives you a chance to show it off in a way that flat images can’t achieve.
There are some guidelines to the kinds of things that you can and can’t have in an app preview, but the main thing is to stick to footage of the actual app as much as possible and attempt not to include other imagery.
Whether you have a professionally put together video or do one yourself is totally up to you and dependant on the type of app you are doing and your user demographic/marketing strategy. If you go the DIY route, Apple have a couple of great guides for using iMovie and Final Cut Pro X.
In most cases your developer (or us of course) will be happy to help guide you through this process.
Just get in touch .
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