Launching your iOS app - Part One

As you are nearing the end of beta testing your iOS app and preparing for its submission to the App Store (and subsequent deployment out into the real world!), it’s easy to forget about a crucial part of your app’s success: the product page. Nothing has a greater impact on driving downloads and acquiring users than your App Store product page. Done correctly, your product page really can set your app up for success in the market. As you’re planning for the launch of your iOS app, make sure the following details are being thought through.

Your App Store Product Page Details

  • App Name: Your app’s name is pretty straightforward and by the time you are planning for its release, the name is likely already established. Besides your keywords, the name of your app has the single biggest impact on discoverability within the App Store. The name should be simple, easy to understand and descriptive of the service you are offering. Apple recommends name lengths should be limited to 23 characters or less.

  • App Icon: This is the first visual a user will see of your app in the store, as well as the long-term visual users will search for on their device to launch your app. The icon should be simple, focused and recognizable. More on Apple’s icon requirements. 

  • Category: You can assign your app two categories in the App Store, a primary and secondary. Though most apps have an obvious primary category from the get-go, others have the potential to fall into a few different categories. Your primary category is what affects search rankings and discoverability, so choose wisely and think about where your targeted users are most likely to be exploring. More on Apple’s categories, including special cases.

  • Demo/Previews: A video demo or preview of your app’s core functionality is a great way to make a lasting impact on potential users and drive downloads. Videos should be short at 15 to 30 seconds in length and show your app in action. More on Apple’s Preview recommendations here and here.

  • Screenshots: You can (and should) add up to five screenshots of your app to your product page. The first two screenshots are shown automatically in search results if a demo is not present, so it’s important that they capture users’ attention and draw them into your product page for more information. More on Apple’s screenshot properties. First time creating screenshots? We’ve had a lot of success using Launch Kit.

  • Description: The first two to three lines of text are key real estate when describing your app’s functionality and features. Apple only displays this limited amount of text before appending a “more” link, which users are forced to click in order to reveal the entire text. When crafting your description text, bear that in mind and put your most compelling details first. As a whole, your messaging should provide an overview of your app’s functionality as well as a list of key features.

  • Keywords: Besides your app’s name, keywords play the most critical role in search result rankings. Apple limits your keywords to 100 characters total, including commas to separate words. It’s important to be strategic when choosing your keywords. Think through what search terms your target audience will be using when looking for an app like yours. Be specific and focused.

  • “What’s New” section: While not necessarily important for your launch, it’s worth noting that the “What’s New” section will be valuable real estate beginning with your first update. Here you should not only describe the changes, fixes and added features being released, but you should also use the space to strategically communicate with users.

  • Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions: Apple, and the law, require your app to have a published Privacy Policy and/or Terms and Condition page if a user’s personal information is being “accessed, collected and transmitted” within and/or from your app. You must also gain a user’s permission before “accessing, collecting and transmitting” personal information. It is your responsibility to consult with legal representation to determine when a Privacy Policy is needed and what it should contain. More about Privacy Policies, including examples.

Come back next week as I continue this series on launching your iOS app with part two: Marketing Your App. We’ll be discussing creating a marketing website, social media, press kits and more! Update: the series continues here.