Your mobile app development is well underway. You’re about to shift gears and start thinking about how best to market the app now that launch in the app store seems imminent. While it’s tempting to jump right into the social media, PR, and paid search strategies that soon will be eating up a bunch of your time, three key ingredients of mobile app branding and positioning critical to app success are often ignored. What are they? The icon, name, and summary description for your app. The value and impact of these items on downloads might seem small, but most consumers base their purchasing decisions on them.
What is the first thing people see when searching for your app or a similar app in the app store? Yep, the icon. It’s only 57 by 57 pixels, yet this image must tell consumers something about your app. Your app icon is the first tool in your branding toolbox. Even a 57 pixel picture is worth a thousand words.
Does your icon explain the app? What images would communicate the app’s purpose and experience without words? Choosing the right icon requires a fair amount of design and copywriting work, as well as effective market and competitive analysis.
Many consumers will not find your app directly. Instead, they’ll stumble on it searching keywords or for a competing app in the same category. What are your chances of appearing in those searches? A lot is riding on your app’s name. The right name has a huge impact on app store visibility. Do your keyword research as if you were optimizing your website (and if you don’t have a website for your app, you need to get busy fixing that issue). Ron Jones posted an article on ClickZ about app SEO last summer that’s worth a read.
Finally, while the app icon and name can help you stand out, the description is your hook – it can reel customers in or send them looking for other apps. Writing a compelling description for your app is hard. It should be given the same attention, if not more, than writing copy for a direct marketing campaign, landing page, or print advertisement. It needs to differentiate, on the first read, your app from the competition.