See The Exact Before And After Keyword, Screenshot, Icon And Description Changes Of Any App

This post will show you how to find out what changes an app has made to its keywords, screenshots, icon and description so you can learn what is working for them.

You already know that your app icon and screenshots are a big influence on if a person decides to download your app or not. But icons and screenshots are not like keywords where you can really put a numerical score on how well they are performing on the App Store.

That being the case, we asked ourselves how we could help you identify what is working when it comes to app icons and screenshots. We decided that the best thing to do is to keep track of when apps update their icons and screenshots so that you can get an idea of how much those changes have helped an app.

But that's not all, we also have two more exciting ways that you can track the changes that an app has made. Continue reading to find out what these two other key bits of information are and where you can get them.

Spy On What Other Apps Are Doing

It all starts with the Review Breakdown Per Day graph on our public App Profile pages. We currently only have this data for iOS, but we are working on making the Android data available soon.

The light purple vertical lines on the graph show when an app update was done. When you put your mouse over each one, you will now be able to see if an app made the following changes:

  • Icon Change

  • Screenshot Changes

  • Keyword Changes

  • Description Changes

Icon Change

When an app makes an icon change, you will be able to compare the design of the current and previous versions. If this app didn't make any other changes, then chances are pretty good that this change was largely responsible for any positive or negative effects.

Of course, there is no way to absolutely sure that this change was responsible, but if there are no other changes listed and you don't see any changes in their release notes, then it gives you a clue as to what is working. This goes for any other change on this list. Without having direct access to the developer of an app, there is no way to know exactly what they are doing. But insights like this can help you fill in a more complete picture.

Screenshot Changes

When the screenshots are changed, you will be able to see which ones were added and removed. We break this down separately by iPhone and iPad. Here is an iPhone example from the Terraria game.

Keyword Changes

This feature is particularly useful for your keyword research. Now you can find out which specific keywords were removed and added to an app's keyword list. Knowing this and tracking their keyword rank can tip you off to new keyword opportunities.

Description Changes

Finally, you may not think that people read the description of an app. For the most part, you would be right.

But the description can be the final deciding factor that determines if someone downloads your app or not, so it pays to write the best description you can. Being able to see description changes in other apps can give you good ideas on what to write.

The red highlights show what was removed and the green ones show what was added. Watch what the top apps are doing and how you can emulate their strategies.


So take a look at these new features and see what you can discover about the top apps in your category. What are some common strategies that seem to be doing well? How might you be able to differentiate yourself from the crowd?

Just like anything else in App Store Optimization, it all comes down to testing in live conditions. But being able to spy on what others are doing can save you a lot of time by giving you clues as to what is working for others. Keep in mind that this information will only be available for updates done on March 4, 2014 and after.

UPDATE (June 3, 2014): This feature is now only available to Enterprise subscribers.

What are some interesting insights that you have discovered by looking at the description, keyword, icon and screenshot changes of other apps in your category?

Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?

Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: March 2014

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