Update 05/01/2013: Apple change its rule regarding using special characters in App Store metadata. No more ★ or ✓!
Update 09/18/2012 : changes in the new App Store (and new elements on the “Chomp” update) had effects on how your app description is displayed, so we updated the post accordingly.
We already talked about how to choose your app name and keywords for an iPhone app, which are the most important things to do to get found by a search in the App Store. But once a user found your app, you still have to convince him to download it. The first steps are your app icon and your app ratings, and if the user decides your mobile application is still worth looking at he will then proceed to your app page.
You’ve gotten your user all the way here (or he got here after reading a review about your app) so this is your one shot to convince him…Don’t scare him off! Although an app’s description is no longer searchable, it plays a big role in your app marketing.
What to put in your app description
The first 3 lines of your app description: get them right
One thing you have to be aware of is that for people visiting your app page on a desktop computer or iPhone/iPad, only the first 3 lines of your app store description are directly visible, along with your app icon and the first 1 or 2 app screenshots. In all cases, the description is now below the screenshots on the devices and users have to tap the “More” button to read the rest of it.
So try to put the most important information there, like your best app pitch for example: a sentence that explains clearly what your app does and why it’s better than other ones. If you received a specific award that most people know, you might consider putting it there too.
A LOT of users don’t read your full app description before making their choice so keep as a rule to put the most important stuff on top.
Just after your app pitch, what you want to do is show visitors that your app is well liked (if it isn’t, seriously consider changing it or building a new one). If any, start by mentioning the Apple selections your app got since people would trust Apple choices. Then you can put a line about the famous blogs, newspapers or tv channels that talked about your app.
Just after that I like to put the best quotes the app got from blog reviews, of course mentioning the blog’s website. People trust these reviews too, especially if they know the blog. Also, it’s a good way of thanking the blogs that talked about your app.
Even though Apple now forbids to use special characters in the App Store metadata (like ★), try to find a way to highlight those reviews/quotes.
No app reviews or good quotes yet? If your app is any good that will come. In the meantime, try putting some user reviews, or quote your mom.
App benefits and features
Now that people basically know what your app does and that everyone loves it, you can get into more details for the ones that haven’t already gone back to your app screenshots. You can list the main benefits of your app and explain more in depth how it works. You can then get into some technicals aspects by listing features using + for example, and then explaining in a line what it is.
Call to action
In some places of your app description (after explaning cool benefits for example), invite users to download your app. Something like “Download XX now to enjoy YY”, in order to trigger the decision.
Info about you or your other apps
Don’t miss an opportunity to cross promote your apps! At the end of your app description, you can put some information about your company, how users can reach you (remember, you can’t answer them on this page) and mention other apps they might like.
Your app description WILL change
Just as your app website, your app description has to evolve. Some things like social proof you won’t have from the beginning, so you’ll need to add them as they come. Also, it’s never too late to work on a better app pitch to convince users that they need your app.
Although I’ll probably make a post about it, it’s worth mentioning here: think about the additional users you could get by localizing your app description. Even though some of them might speak English, promoting your app in several languages will improve your downloads. Translating your app description is a no brainer if your app is available in another language, and is a probably a good idea to do just so that people understand what it does before downloading it. Don’t Google translate it though; a bad translation won’t serve you.
What you want to avoid
- Keyword stuffing: simply useless (on the AppStore, not on Google Play) and will scare people off,
- Typos and grammatical errors,
- Being too technical,
- Lying (that’s bad, and payback will come in the form of bad ratings).
So here are a bunch of ways to improve your app description. As you can change it whenever you want, there’s no reason not to get started right now and to experiment. If you want to keep up to date with the other aspects of App Store Optimization, check out our App Store Optimization page and our App Developer’s App Store Optimization Cheat Sheet.
What about you? Any other advice or question on how to write the best app description?