The easiest way to communicate the value of your mobile app is through a detailed description. Both users and mobile app stores determine the benefits of your app using the information provided. For the App Store and Play Store, a detailed app description is important to beat the challenge of rankings in search, similar apps options, and recommendations.
This optimization challenge is faced by all developers, especially in industries that are already being dominated by big players. The good thing is, using the right factors, you could be getting to their audience, even when they are searching specifically for those big players. An app description is the best optimization tool for your app to be discovered and engaged with.
If everything else has been set up and tested for usability, here are the steps you need to take to write a fantastic mobile app description.
A Guide to Writing a Fantastic Mobile App Description
1. Include a clear introduction
If a user can’t tell what your app can offer with the first two lines, you might lose their attention immediately. The introduction should answer the question: “What does this app do?”. You need to capture the interest of the user by telling them what problem they can solve using your app. Avoid using adjectives (in the beginning), that talk about how users have felt/might feel after using the app. You can do that later, but the first sentence should take a problem-solving approach.
2. Use popular apps as a guide
Copying another app’s description can get you flagged, but it won’t hurt to borrow ideas. Search for the popular apps in your industry, and study their approach to writing an app description. What type of information do they include? What keywords do they use? How do they make it all so easy for readers to scan through and get the needed details?
Once you figure this out, then you need to apply this knowledge in creating your own description model. You don’t need to go over the top just to sound different. In fact, you should have a similar voice to other apps as that is what your target users are familiar with.
3. Use sub-headings and broken text
Most mobile users scan, not read. Including you. You’re most likely scanning through this article. I understand this, which is why I’m using subheadings to make it easier for you to understand the article without picking through each word.
Long texts with no subheadings make it easier for points to get lost. Since most readers digest information by reading the headline and the few lines that follow, users may not get the full scope of what your app does if you don’t break your text.
For the App store specifically, a general rule is to keep each section to 50 words or less. It is important that after scanning through your content, users get the full overview of everything they can do using your app.
4. Create a how-to guide
The app stores provide enough writing field to include a how-to guide, so why not use that? The most popular apps have detailed how-to-use guides in their description pages. This is because they understand the complexity that comes with navigating a new app, and they know that users often return to the app page (after download) for usage guidance.
Beyond that, a how-to guide also helps with search optimization. The keywords used in this guide are functional, which means they could be the terms that users are searching for.
Even with all the space provided, avoid going too long. Too much text will scare most users away. Ensure that every word included is important and keep the guide helpful, but short.
5. Use storytelling
Even though you’re not writing fiction, you still need to capture the attention of your readers and hold it till the end of your text. This means that your description needs a flow. It must be interesting. If your app was created to solve a problem, spin that into a story by using conversational English. As the developer, you might know all the technical terms, but your audience doesn’t. Even with the best functionalities, most users will not download your app if they don’t understand all the big words.
You can test the readability of your app description after writing it. Send it to a few people you trust, who have no idea what your app is, or can do. Ask them to answer the following:
- Was the description interesting to read?
- Using what you read, what do you think my app is about?
- Were some sections unclear to you? If yes, please let me know which.
Their feedback is important because the concerns raised will probably be noticed by other users. Keep editing and testing the description until you are satisfied with it.
How to Optimize your App Description for Higher Downloads
If your app is new, or your company hasn’t created anything popular yet, downloads probably won’t pour in as fast as you want them to. To increase your download rate using your description, here are a few actions to take.
1. Use social proof
Users are skeptical about downloading new apps that have never been tried before. There’s no indication if it can provide the solutions promised, if it will be worth their time, or if their devices will be safe from bugs. This means that you need to supply social proof that shows that your app has been tested by other users. The easiest type to attain is user reviews. Even if your app hasn’t started raking in downloads, you can still get reviews from your early (beta) testers, and friends and family who you’ve encouraged to try it out. If you have a substantial amount of international users, you can also indicate the number of countries where your app has reached certain rankings.
2. Use authority voices
Use your reach in the industry to your best advantage. Try to find as many authority voices/influencers who are willing to try out your app, and give a review. They don’t have to do anything big; a sentence is enough material to add to your ‘brag list’. This brag list should be published on your description page, specifically at a very visible point. For example, if you’ve developed a gaming app, there are recognizable names in the gaming industry to ask for reviews. The effect of their names on your description page will be almost immediate as a majority of your target users recognize those names.
Make sure that you do not approach influencers with demands. Form a relationship first, and see how working together might benefit the both of you. Remember that they also place value on their time and the brands that they give public credit to.
3. Link to your social profiles
Don’t forget to boost your credibility by leaving links to your website and social media profiles. Users often see need to check out a company, confirm that they really exist, research what they’ve done in the past, and so on.
Other times, users contact developers through social media for user support. This is a better option than leaving negative comments under your product and scaring other users away.
Also, your app description is often copied automatically to review sites, so this is even more opportunity to leverage your reach by sending traffic back to your social profiles.
What to Do if You Can’t Write Well Enough
Writing goes beyond putting words on a page. Even though you know more than anyone else about your app, if your writing isn’t simple and readable, it’s not going to do much for your users. If you don’t have the time or ‘finesse’ to create the type of description you want, you can always outsource that task. Here are three recommended ways to do this:
Using freelancer sites
You can find writers on freelancer sites such as UpWork and Fiverr. These platforms are notoriously known for low-quality work, but those complaints often come from people who are only willing to pay minimum rates. There are a lot of freelancers on these platforms with impressive writing skills, but they do not charge the basic rates.
Search for writers who write specifically for the tech niche (so they understand the type of content you need), and who have enough writing experience. A good way to determine their experience is by looking through their reviews. If they have a great score and seem easy to work with, then they’re probably a good option.
When you find a few candidates you are impressed with, you can ask them to send in samples of their work for evaluation. This will give you insight into their writing style, and how well it can fit your brand voice.
Alternatively, you can decide to post your requirements on the job board and have writers bid on it. Note that if you use this method, the majority of writers that will pitch will be new (probably inexperienced) writers who are still trying to build their profiles.
Using high-quality job boards
If your skeptical about freelancer sites, and would rather go straight to writing professionals, then I recommend that you use a high-quality job board. One of my favorite ones is the ProBlogger job board. It is frequented by expert freelance writers. This is a paid job board, which means that you will be charged before your request is published.
ProBlogger does a great job at keeping its site clean, but you should still expect to do some research on writers who apply, as applicants don’t have to pay for access. Basically, this means that anyone could be applying. You will still be required to conduct adequate research on applicants’ skills.
Asking for a recommendation
Don’t have the time to search for a writer? You probably know one or two other developers. You can ask them to recommend a writer they trust with their content needs. Before asking anyone, you should glance through their own content to see if it’s what you want for your own platform.
The key elements I’ve shared above cover everything you will need to write a fantastic app description. Regardless of how much you spend on marketing and advertising, if your download page isn’t promising, most users will turn away. This final optimization step is very important and should be handled so to improve both visibility and download rates.