Every application on the App Store, be it for Mac OS or iOS, needs one, but not every app description gets the love and attention it needs. In this post, I’m going to outline what makes up a great app store description, to help you get the most out of this vital app marketing tool.

Why should I care about what’s in my app store description?

Your app store description may be the first piece of content curated by you that your potential customers see. It’s your opportunity to get the tone right, explain what your app does, and set expectations. All three of these are incredibly important in setting up the sale/download, and ensuring that your customer knows what they’re getting - leading to higher satisfaction rates and a lower churn rate. This aspect is what I’ll focus on in this post.

Secondly, the app store description is a good way to add some keywords to your app listing. Keywords that Apple will use to categorise your application within their search algorithm. Whilst I won’t go into this in detail in this post, there’s a great post over on the Tapdaq blog by Laurie Palazzo on how to optimise your app description for discoverability.

The 3 Keys to a Great App Store Description

Social Proof

When we’re looking to buy or download something, we look for reasons for and against the decision. This will often take the form of asking opinions on Twitter or Facebook, searching the web for reviews, or looking through the ratings and reviews for the application on the App Store.

For this reason, social proof is an incredibly powerful and valuable part of any great app store description. If you can bring positive reviews into the description itself, you set a positive tone for the whole transaction.

For Sketch 3, available on the Mac App Store, this was as simple as including a reference to their previous Apple Design Award and being featured amongst the App Store’s Best of 2012. Apple is known for its taste and celebrating great apps, so both of these work in Sketch’s favour.

Example of Social Proof in the Sketch 3 App Store description: Winner of an Apple Design Award and amongst the App Store's Best of 2012.

When producing the App Store description for Spark, a new email client for iOS by the team at Readdle, we had no previous design awards or positive App Store reviews to look back to. The app was brand new.

When it comes to this, having one or two high profile people or publications included in your app’s beta can be invaluable. They’re able to feed back on the design and direction of your app, and they are well placed to give you a quote or one-liner that you can put into the App Store description as social proof.

This is what Readdle did. This meant that when Spark launched, its description was headed by positive reviews from The Verge, TechCrunch and Lifehacker. All of which are leaders in their categories.

Positive reviews of Spark from The Verge, TechCrunch and LifeHacker, as seen in the app's description on the App Store.

In both cases, these examples of social proof have helped the application.

For Sketch 3, the focus on the quality of the software Bohemian Coding has made before, and how this has been awarded and recognised by Apple, instilled confidence that the software was a continuation of a well-made line.

For Spark, these early reviews from blogs and publications in specific areas - tech and productivity - helped answer doubts potential customers may have about a brand new email application. If LifeHacker and TechCrunch are shouting about this, why wouldn’t you like it?

Focus on the Benefits

As outlined in great talks and a book by Simon Sinek, it is best to start with why when discussing anything to do with a product or service. Our brains are well versed at understanding and seeing the positives when things are presented as how they will improve our lives. For this reason, it is key to focus on the benefits your application brings, rather than the features, in the opening salvo.

For Sketch 3, designed for interface and graphical designers, these benefits are quite “tech-y”. We focus on some of the common problems and issues designers face everyday, and highlight how Sketch can solve them. This means you end up with terms like “boolean”, “symbol” and “rendering”. Whilst these may sound like feature terms, we’re instead outlining the benefits in a language that designers will understand.

With Spark, an application more designed for anyone who deals with email to use, we stay a little higher level with the benefits, but they are still the main focus. We picked a couple of pain points:

  • Knowing if an email is important or not
  • Achieving inbox zero/marking all emails as read
  • and, Quickly replying to an email

And focussed on how Spark can benefit you when achieving this. You can see in the screenshot below how this was achieved.

A screenshot showing how we outlines Spark's benefits on the App Store

By focussing on the benefits, rather than the features, from the off, we’re able to sell customers on how an application will improve their lives. We do a lot of the thinking for them, and we answer some questions before they ever come up, so they’re more likely to buy from us.

Outline the Features

Whilst I always recommend starting with the benefits, you do have to appeal to those who like to see a nice list of features - which is all of us at one time or another. For this reason, great App Store descriptions tend to end with a list of features and widgets.

When writing this feature list, you could just have a bulleted list of just the features. In my experience, it works better if you use this space to reiterate a benefit for each of the features you list. You’ll see that we did this with both Spark and Sketch 3.

For example, in Sketch 3’s description we have:

  • Symbols, for reusing elements in your design
  • Redesigned inspector, giving you quicker access to everything
  • Presentation mode, go full screen and hide all controls, perfect for showing off designs

In each instance, we could have just outlined the feature with a list that read “Symbols, Redesigned Inspector, Presentation Mode’, but we didn’t. By adding the benefit alongside, we reinforce the message and give an idea of what that feature does.

Note: This approach can be very important when writing a description for an update. Listing the new features in that update, as well as a short benefit, helps outline what customers are upgrading or paying for and the reason they would want that feature. By answering those questions in your description, you can dramatically boost sales.

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Crafting a great App Store description is about bringing the right elements together to tell a story. It’s about answering some questions before they come up, and overcoming any doubts your potential customers may have.

With these three key ingredients, you should be up and running with a pretty decent App Store description in no time.

Do you need a killer App Store description for your iOS or Mac app?

When launching an app, it’s incredibly important to work on your marketing. You can’t just launch it on the App Store and cross your fingers. A great App Store description is one of the pieces of that marketing jigsaw, and can help you lock down a sale.

If you need an App Store description written for your app, get in touch. You can see examples of my work at http://www.samhutchings.co/portfolio. Let’s chat!