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How to Write an Effective iOS App Store Description: 5 Important Steps

Learn how to write an app description for the iOS App Store. Check out the best tips, dos and don’ts of how to write an effective app description to drive sales and downloads. Atlanta Mobile App Development – Winnona Partners.

Written by Jonathan Richter

5 Best Practices for How to Write an Effective App Store Description:

1. Familiarize yourself with Apple’s guidelines
2. Research competitor or “Editor’s Choice” app descriptions
3. Carefully craft your first sentence (140 characters)
4. Speak directly to your audience
5. Complete your full description & list of features

If you’ve done all the hard work to conceptualize and develop your mobile application for the iOS App Store–congratulations! You’ve already accomplished what many ‘wantrepreneurs’ seek to do but never fully commit to finishing.

As your project gets ready for launch, however, one of the most important preparatory steps left is to write a compelling app description to complete your product page for the App Store.

Just like any business, your role as a founder is to help potential customers/users navigate through the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer’s journey (the HubSpot mantra).

But what happens after you initially drive traffic to your app’s product page through social media or other advertising campaigns (awareness – consideration)? You want people to tap that download button (consideration – decision). Therefore, the app description is one of your last chances to convince prospective app users to take the final step and !

The app description is the place to convey your brand’s identity in a way that resonates with your audience. So let them know who you are and what your app is all about.

With so much riding on acquiring a new user, the importance of the App Store description cannot be understated.

Wondering how to create an app? Check out our free guide to get started.

List of 5 Best Practices for How to Write an effective app store description. 1. Familiarize yourself with Apple's guidelines. 2. Research competitor app descriptions. 3. Carefully craft your first sentence. 4. Speak directly to your audience. 5. Complete your full description and list of features.

What Should Your App Description Include?

So how does one write a compelling App Store description? Generally speaking, your app description should include concise and informative introductory paragraphs, followed by a short list of core features.

Here’s 5 steps to write a compelling app description that inspires people to download your app:

1. Familiarize yourself with Apple’s guidelines
2. Research competitor or “Editor’s Choice” app descriptions
3. Carefully craft your first sentence (140 characters)
4. Speak directly to your audience
5. Complete your full description & list of features

1. Familiarize Yourself with Apple’s Guidelines

While Apple does encourage creativity with your app description, there’s some app metadata guidelines and rules to be aware of.

Above all, keep in mind if these guidelines aren’t followed, your app could be rejected in the app review process. As a result, your app release could be delayed.

Here’s some of the well-known standards we recommend you follow:

• Avoid using the word “app” in the description, such as “this app” or “the app can…”. Instead replace those phrases with the name of your product or service. Because people are already viewing your product page in the App Store, it’s already obvious that you’re promoting an app!

• Only list features that are actually included in your app.

• Don’t repeat information unnecessarily.

• Avoid including pricing details in your app description. Pricing is already listed on the product page, so there’s no need to duplicate it. Furthermore, the price you write in the description may not accurately reflect the price for all countries or regions.

• Don’t list a bunch of keywords for the sake of trying to improve your search results.

• Write an honest description that is clear, unique, and informative.

Keep in mind the product page metadata guidelines are subject to change. So we recommend you familiarize yourself with the most up to date rules here.

2. Research Competitor or “Editor’s Choice” App Descriptions

Chess pieces on a chess board, a metaphor for researching and defeating your competition in the App Store

Struggling to find inspiration? One of the best ways to get started with your product page is to look up other popular and successful apps and see how they’ve composed their app descriptions.

You can either analyze the descriptions of your direct competitors, or look up Apple’s “Editor’s Choice” apps. How are these app descriptions effectively reaching their target audience(s)?

More often than not, you’ll find the format of these descriptions to be similar (introductory paragraphs, short list of features). However, researching successful app descriptions can also show you how these brands are able to strike a unique tone with their audience.

In addition, word choice, sentence structure, and the amount of information provided all plays a role in how an audience may perceive your product.

How are your competitors speaking to your audience? What are areas where your service or product is superior to your competitors? and How can you make that known in your app description? These are the types of questions you’ll want to ask yourself as you compose your effective app description.

3. Carefully Craft Your App Description First Sentence

Although your app description can have up to 4,000 characters, the first sentence or two of your app description (approximately 140 characters) is the most important. Why? Because this is the only content that’s displayed without a page visitor needing to tap to see more:

App Store description snippet, showing that you can include approximately 144 characters
App Description: First Sentence Snippet of My Typewriter, a Winnona Partners client.

As you can see from the screenshot above, the first sentence snippet is relatively short, so every word counts! Keep in mind, the amount of text displayed may vary depending on a user’s screen size.

Furthermore, try to be creative and inspiring. At the same times describe why your app is the best solution to the problem at hand.

Note: Other articles state that the app description snippet shows up to 255 characters. However, as of 2020 this seems to have decreased significantly down to 140 characters.

4. Speak Directly to Your Audience

When you’re crafting your app description, make sure you’re speaking directly to your intended audience. Occasionally we see app descriptions where people are simply describing the app or how it works as if they’re talking to an outsider.

For example, broad sentences like these may read something like following:

“Our app can help people find workout routines. Users can buy an in-app purchase if they want to focus on specific workout styles.”

While this type of description may be useful for an investor or the general public, the app description should really address the need your app is satisfying head-on. Instead, use the exact language that will resonate with your potential user. As a result, users will feel like you’re speaking directly to them!

Now that we’ve seen the rather dry example sentence above, let’s look at the opening sentences from one of our client apps, BODIED, which reached #4 in the Health and Fitness category:

“With these exclusive routines by professional instructor Jenelle Butler, working out has never been easier. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight, increase speed and agility, or improve your diet, BODIED workout solutions are just a tap away!”

Firstly, notice how this example hits all the major pain points a potential user may be facing. Want to lose weight or increase speed? Then this is the app for you!

Secondly, the app description sentence validates the quality of the app by referencing a well-known fitness instructor.

Finally, the description sentence makes a user feel like working out will be easy. In other words, all you have to do the download button and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals!

Promo image of BODEID app, ranking #5 in the app Store
BODIED

5. Complete your full description & list of features

The opening paragraph is important from a first-impression standpoint. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of the app description.

You have up to 4,000 characters to tell your story. That means you have 4,000 characters to prove that your app is worth someone’s valuable time and money. To that end, we strongly recommend you write an app description that is thorough and nearly fulfills that 4,000 character mark.

After one or two introductory paragraphs, it’s a good idea to include a short list of features that highlight what your app can do and what makes it unique.

This “list” of features could be a bullet list with short snippets of information OR it could be a list of features written out in longer form with a more detailed description of the feature.

Here’s an example of both formats with content from the BODIED app:

Bullet List of Features:

PERSONALIZED ROUTINES
• Create a profile
• Instantly calculate your BMI
• Track your workout goals with a calendar
• Premium Challenges available as an In-App Purchase

Written Form of Features:

PERSONALIZED ROUTINES
Create a profile for quick access to your favorite videos. You can also instantly calculate your BMI by providing basic info such as your birthday and weight. The Bodied calendar helps you track your workout goals and routines. You can even purchase premium Challenges to guarantee you get the most out of your workout.

Both description formats can be effective at conveying your feature set, so you and your team should try exploring both styles and discuss which format work best for your situation. In this instance, BODIED went with the “Written Form” text.

Conclusion

Your app description is the perfect opportunity for you to provide a detailed description of your app features–and your brand identity–directly to your audience. Consequently, as the App Store gets more and more crowded, having a clear and effective app description that sets you apart from the competition is a necessity.

Remember, you can always change your app description with an app update. Spruce it up from time to time as your company grows, awards are won, or new features are introduced.

So get your creative writing hat on, make sure you have some form of spell check to ensure you don’t make any typos, and get ready to write an app description that is convincing and unique!

We hope you found the tips in the article helpful. If you have any questions about app descriptions or the app development process, please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to assist you!

You can also check out Apple’s Product Page Optimization content for more information.

Got an amazing app idea but aren’t sure where to get started? Learn how to develop an app here.

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By Jonathan Richter

Jonathan is CEO of Winnona Partners, a custom software development company based in Atlanta, GA that specializes in helping startups and small businesses thrive. He's also a classical guitarist, and has studied Chinese language, music and culture extensively.

One reply on “How to Write an Effective iOS App Store Description: 5 Important Steps”

This is very helpful. As we’ve discussed, our team has struggled with who we are actually speaking to in our description. It’s tough to switch from speaking about the app, to directly speaking to your audience. Thanks for sharing.

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