The Psychology Behind Writing A Successful App Store Description

This post will show you the real reasons peope buy apps and how your app description can appeal to them.

After all the sleepless nights that went into developing your app, you may find that writing a great app description for the App Store just might be the hardest task of all. If so, this post is for you. We will get into the specific details on how to grab people's attention and what to say in order to give your app the best chance at getting downloaded.

Keep Your Best Content "Above The Fold"

When newspapers were the primary form of news distribution, the prime real estate of any issue was the part of the paper that was displayed above where it was folded in half, because that is what people would see when the paper sat on news stands or was in the hands of a paperboy. It had to be snappy and command the attention of a passerby immediately.

lt="An app description is like a newspaper ad

This is where the term "above the fold" comes from and it has carried over into the world of website design and even App Store descriptions. So when you are writing a description for your app, the first thing you must do is take into account where the "fold" happens and what you need to do above it.

First, let's take a look at the formatting on the iTunes Preview website, on an iPhone, and on an iPad. We will use the Color Splash FX app as an example. Here is how their screens look:

iTunes Preview Website

lt="iTunes preview website


lt="iPhone app detail example


lt="iPad display of app information

Let's break it down and see how many characters you have available to make a great first impression. In the iPhone example, "More" appears after 225 characters (including spaces). Since that is the smallest form factor, you should use 225 characters as the limit for your "above the fold" text. With that in mind, here is what you should write.


No, we are not talking about a Nintendo podcast. It stands for "What's In It For Me". Really think about why someone should download your app. Does it streamline their life? Is it a fun and challenging game that they can play with their friends?

People could really care less about the fact that the toolbars of your app are hidden in full-screen mode. Concentrate on the biggest benefit of your app and create a concise statement in 225 characters or less. But before you start writing, there is one more thing you have to keep in mind.

Appeal To Emotions, Not Logic

It is a funny thing, we think that we buy things mostly on logic, but we really don't. Most people buy for emotional reasons.

You might visit a particular coffee shop every morning, not because the coffee tastes better or costs less, but because you really like the barista that works there. You may have chosen your current car over another, not because it was more reliable or more fun to drive, but because that model had a shade of blue that you liked a lot better.

The bottom line is that most of the time, emotions come first, logic second. If you want to persuade someone to download your app, you have to get them excited about it. What makes it so great? Why should THEY be so excited about it?

Here are a couple of examples of how plain descriptions could be made more appealing:

  • Choose photos to edit from your camera library --> Enhance the quality of the photos of most important moments of your life

  • This multiplayer game features 12 levels --> Beat your friends at the most challenging and highest rated driving game on the App Store

If you are looking for a more in-depth look at how to do this, read Influence by Robert Cialdini or a blog like Copyblogger.

Before we move on, let's get one thing straight. We are not talking about using Jedi mind tricks or manipulating anyone into buying your app. But just like with programming, there is a sales "language" that you must use if you want to give your app the best shot at success.

What To Write Below The Fold

Now that you have written a great attention grabbing opening to your app description, you have the other the other 3,775 characters to write the rest of your app description. Continue to illustrate what is in it for the person who downloads your app and the emotional benefit.

Using our Color Splash FX example again, here is what they wrote below the fold. They do a great job of using bullet points, but they could make some of the descriptions more interesting.

lt="Color Splash summary

Since you have more space, think about some objections that someone may have when considering your app and put those objections to rest. Also consider adding any awards your app has received or customer testimonials, for social proof.


When you are looking at code all the time, writing an effective app description may be a huge shift in thinking. But if you keep the above points in mind, you will be able to write a more effective app description that can help you get more downloads.

Do you have any additional tips for writing an effective App Store Description? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credits: paperboy

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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: July 2013

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