Lesson 4

Differences Between the App Store and Google Play

While largely alike, there are important differences between the stores that you’ll need to keep in mind. Both the Google and Apple stores have different emphases, and what works well in one won’t necessarily work in the other.

The primary difference is their respective user base. Generally speaking, Google Play is more popular, particularly in emerging markets, while iOS App Store users tend to generate more revenue per user. To build a substantial user base you’ll likely need to be active in both stores, but keep an eye on which store delivers better performance for your app and adjust your efforts accordingly.

Let’s take a look at the specific differences, moving from the top of the screen to the bottom:

Google Play

  • Top Image or Video: The large, horizontal graphic should communicate the most important aspect of your app. If using video, it will replace the feature graphic.
  • App Icon and Title: Immediately below the featured graphic.
  • Ratings, Downloads and Category: These show up below the app icon; there’s also a download count. Selected reviews are highlighted on the bottom of the page.
  • Description: Only a very short tag line displays; users have to click to see the full details.
  • Screenshots: These appear below the fold; you can use up to eight (users have to scroll to see more than the first three).

iOS App Store

  • Top Image: While some large publishers are able to work directly with Apple to add an additional top image, for most there is no feature graphic or video here, which is a major difference from Google Play.
  • App Icon and Title: These are the most prominent, appearing at the top of the page.
  • Ratings, Downloads and Category: No information immediately displayed; users have to click to read. There’s no download counter or select reviews displayed.
  • Screenshots: Unlike Google Play, these appear above the description (you can only include five). If video is included, it takes the place of the screenshots (and your video thumbnail image, called a poster frame, will act as the primary visual). Testing and changing poster frames can generate significant gains.
  • Description: Close to 200 characters display (unlike the very short Google Play description), and users can click to read more.

The app stores routinely update their design and guidelines, too, so be sure to review them regularly to ensure your creative assets are optimized to take advantage of your space in the stores.

Let’s look at the Facebook app in each store to see the differences. Most notably, in the App Store, the screenshots are more immediately visible, while in Google Play, a user has to scroll down to see them. Also, in Google Play, downloads and ratings are far more prominent.

Keep Learning

In our next lesson learn more about A/B testing.

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