Game’s go through a lot of stages from ideation to executing and testing during the publishing cycle. But having a game published and up and running in the app stores is only the first step in making it accessible to the widest audience possible. For game creators, the app stores are the main point of contact with users, and they are the place where users will decide if a game is worth downloading or not. So, in order to put everything in your favor, you will need to make sure your game is presented in the best possible way, with its main features displayed and with images and wording fully optimized. That’s where app store optimization (ASO) comes into play.
Every element of the app store page has the power to drive downloads to a game. Some time ago, app store optimization's main focus was on texts—names and descriptions would include keywords and be fully optimized to showcase the app's attributes while earning the first spots in search results. While this is still the case, lately the focus has strongly shifted to optimizing the visual aspect of the app store page, and now elements such as icons and screenshots are prioritized when attempting to drive downloads to a game. And this is what we’re going to tackle in this article.
Welcome to the app stores
Before digging into the keys of image optimization for the app stores, let’s go over its four main elements and needed assets:
- Icon: Along with the app name, the icon is one of the the first things a user will see when entering the app store, and is essential for a good first impression. Simple and recognizable, make sure the game’s icon is not only visually appealing, but also a strong reflection of what the game is about.
- Feature graphic: This image will appear everywhere the game is featured in Google Play Store, so it should synthesize the entire gameplay experience. Also, if you have a video, this image will be used as its cover.
- Screenshots: They are also meant to communicate the user experience. Screenshots are a chance to showcase an app’s UI and to convey its features, capabilities, and look and feel. In gaming apps, they are also an opportunity to display the game narrative. The first three screenshots are critical, since the user may not scroll through the end of the bunch.
- Video preview: Although not mandatory in neither Google nor Apple’s app stores, videos are a very compelling way of showcasing an app. A game’s video preview should clearly show the gameplay and follow the five seconds rule: the main message must be clearly stated in the first seconds and the user should easily understand the content of the game in that timeframe.