Hopefully you’ve noticed by now, but Google sneakily overhauled its entire Play Store without so much as an official announcement a couple of weeks ago.

The old Play Store layout is out the window, and everyone’s carefully planned creative strategy has gone with it.

Sound like a reason to panic? Well, ordinarily it might be, but here at Yodel Mobile we’ve carefully dissected the new Play Store to bring all you app leaders the definitive guide to adapting to the new layout, and the changes you’ll need to make to your creative strategy. [SPOILER ALERT: A lot!]

Screenshots

Whereas before screenshots were hidden below the fold, they have now been bumped up with the removal of the Feature Graphic from the top of listings. This has resulted in gallery scroll rates rising to 3-6 times that of the old style gallery.

This is great news for apps with well-optimised screenshots, as they can finally take the limelight and do some heavy lifting for your conversion rates. In the absence of a video (we’ll come to that later), EVERY visitor to your Play Store listing will see your first screenshots.

Just how many they see, however, is down to the size and aspect ratio of the screenshots you’ve uploaded, as well as the device they’re viewed on. This number can be anywhere between 1.9 and 3.7 for portrait screenshots. You’ll need to decide whether you want visitors to see fewer big screenshots, or more small ones, and plan your screenshot sizes around that.

1.9 Screenshots  //  2.5 screenshots  //   3.7 Screenshots

Now that your screenshots are so much more visible, you’ll need to make sure they’re working as hard as they can. The following best practices can be applied to most apps, but you should always stop and check that the screenshot strategy you choose makes sense for your specific app.

Creative Checklist:

  • Put your strongest screenshots first, so that ‘decisive’ visitors are persuaded  imminently, without needing to scroll
  • Use flowing screenshots to encourage gallery scrolling
  • Utilise as many screenshots as you can, for all supported devices
  • Incorporate lifestyle images to communicate the app’s value
  • Use real app screenshots highlighting specific features
  • Ensure each screenshot is framed in an up-to-date device
  • Use clear, persuasive, and engaging copy to explain the value proposition that each screenshot is highlighting
  • Users tend to prefer portrait screenshots, but this is not always the case – games and apps which primarily function in landscape will usually use landscape screenshots to better demonstrate the app
  • Pick an aspect ratio for your screenshots, based on how many you want to be visible upon landing on the listing, then create your screenshots in the largest possible dimensions to ensure they are of optimal quality, and aren’t shrunk by Google

    mytaxi have a strong set of screenshots

 

Remember, you still need to make sure you’re complying with Google’s requirements.

Google Play Store Requirements Checklist:

  • To publish your Store Listing, you must provide a minimum of 2 screenshots, and the maximum is 8 for each supported device (Phone, 7” Tablet, 10” Tablet, Android TV, and Wear OS)
  • JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha)
  • Minimum dimension: 320 px
  • Maximum dimension: 3840 px
  • The maximum dimension of your screenshot can’t be more than twice as long as the minimum dimension

Promo Video

The Promo Video used to sit at the very top of listings, within the Feature Graphic. Despite its prominent position, the watch rate of videos in the old design was around 6%.

If you have a promo video now, it will have moved to be displayed before your screenshots in the gallery. It’s still shown as a play button overlay on your Feature Graphic, so you’ll need one of those too if you want to have a video.

UKTV’s Promo Video

This new position has a great benefit, with users now 60% more likely to watch your video than in the old design. On top of this, a good video can increase CVR by up to 40%.

However, there are also some big negatives to consider. Firstly, including a video in your app listing will shrink your portrait screenshots by 23% due to promo videos being landscape. Secondly, including a video actually decreases the gallery scroll rate by 51%.

This makes the decision about whether to include a promo video a very difficult one. On the one hand, it can be a great way to demonstrate the value propositions of an app, and convince visitors to install. However, if it’s not done properly, it could be severely affecting your CVR by preventing visitors from seeing your screenshots, and greatly reducing their aesthetic impact.

Therefore, we recommend only including a promo video if it’s exceptional, as the pros simply don’t outweigh the cons for anything less. If you do decide to go for it, here are some tips.

Promo Video Checklist:

  • Keep your video short and sweet – between 30 seconds and a minute is optimal
  • Make sure your video is slick and well-produced, with good animations
  • Lead with the strongest value proposition – users will drop off all the way through, so you should go straight in with why they should download your app
  • Make sure the app UI and any copy is large and clear enough to read on a phone
  • Keep the video moving at a reasonable pace so users aren’t bored, but not too fast to follow!
  • Music should be included to establish continuity between scenes and set the tone of the video
  • However, most users will watch without sound, so text should explain what’s going on, and a voiceover is usually unnecessary
  • Remind users to download with a CTA and Google Play Store badge at the end of the video

Your promo video will need to be provided via a YouTube link, and should measure 1920 px by 1080 px.

Feature Graphic

The Feature Graphic is probably the most noticeable change about the new Play Store. While it was initially reported by some that ‘the Feature Graphic is dead!’, rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.

In fact, as explained in the Promo Video section, if your listing has a video, the Feature Graphic will be used as the poster frame, and be positioned before your screenshots in the gallery. Promo Videos still don’t autoplay, so it will be displayed until visitors tap the play button.

It’s also still the case that in order for your app to be featured anywhere on the Play Store, you’ll need to have a Feature Graphic. Therefore, we recommend that you have one uploaded even if you don’t have a Promo Video (with no Promo Video, your Feature Graphic won’t be displayed on your app listing).

If you’re using a Feature Graphic with a Promo Video, you’ll need to bear in mind that it will be the main creative asset visitors see when they first land on your app listing, so it’s important to optimise it properly.

Feature Graphic Checklist:

  • Include some branding in case your app is featured, as your Feature Graphic may displayed without your App Icon, but don’t let it dominate
  • Remember there will be a play button in the middle, so don’t place anything important in that area
  • Use your strongest value proposition and make sure it’s clear and concise
  • Consider showing a screenshot from your app within an up-to-date device to demonstrate the value proposition

Hatch have a well-optimised Feature Graphic for their poster frame

If you’re using a Feature Graphic without a Promo Video, your Feature Graphic can focus much more on showing off your brand and creative.

  HD Poker’s Feature Graphic has strong branding and slick creative

Either way, your Feature Graphic should be submitted in JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha) format, and should measure 1024 px by 500 px.

Summary

All in all, that’s a lot to take in! Here are a few key insights to summarise.

  • Creative is now more important than it used to be on the Play Store, especially the screenshot gallery
  • You should only use a Promo Video if you’re confident that it’s exceptional
  • Experiments are still the best way to improve your listing
  • The Play Store is now much closer to the App Store, which should make transferring experiment learnings more reliable, but remember to bear in mind the differences in design and user base of the two platforms

Good luck optimising your Play Store listing!

Want to find out more about optimising your app and keeping up with the latest OS capabilities? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. You can also get in touch by visiting the Contact Us page. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #mobilemarketingUK LinkedIn group.