How to write an app store description (lessons learned from scraping the Top 100 FREE and PAID iOS app descriptions):

As a copywriter, I wanted to give you advice about how to write the description section for an app on the iOS app store.

However if you’re searching for this info, you’re probably a bit of a nerd.  And nerds like actual data, not the opinions of some random brown dude in Austin.

So we  stole  gathered some data for you to help you understand a little more about app description sections:

  • Broke up the study into two categories: Paid Apps, and Free Apps.
  • We scraped data from the Top 100 Paid iOS Apps.
  • We scraped data from the Top 100 Free iOS Apps.
  • App Store data was scraped on May 1st, 2016.
  • Data Scraped: App name, developer name, app store ranking, price, In-App Purchases, number of promo images, current version rating, overall rating, app description, word count, and if the description contains bullet points.

You can see the raw data for both the free and paid apps by clicking these big blue buttons below (the large text blocks of descriptions make it a bit messy, my apologies):

Top 100 Free Apps Raw Data  paid-apps-data 


Top 100 Paid Apps Findings:

Developer with most number of apps

Number of paid promotional images for apps

App Description Number of Words

Bought Every App

Paid App Pricing

In app purchases number of apps

Paid word counts in apps


Top 100 Free Apps Findings:

Top 100 Free Apps Description Word Count

Most Free Apps Developer Google

Free apps bullet point usage

Free apps not using bullet points

Promotional images in free apps

Free apps that have in-app purchases

Free app word counts chart


So after learning all this, how do you write an app store description?

Quite honestly, from looking at the data, there seems to be no super-strong correlation between your app store description and the ranking you will receive. So here’s some tips to follow:

Tip #1: You “really” have less than 50 words to describe your app.

You can see evidence that a lot of people aren’t interested in the full app description by the iOS App Store snipping the amount people auto-load.  This is what people generally see.

App Store Description Length On Phone


Tip #2.) Focus on your icon and promotional images….not so much the description.

The bulk of the “Downloading Decision” will come from your app icon and promotional images. These images are viewed far more than the description text.

If they are looking for a calculator…..make your calculator app icon look something like….you know, A CALCULATOR:
calculator app icons

Don’t try to be “too clever” and design your icon as some inside joke.  It can botch the users split-second “Download Decisioning.”  Keep it ultra ultra ultra self-explanatory.

You can follow the same advice with your promotional images (almost all the Top 100 apps have 5 promotional images). Make sure they clearly demonstrate what your app does either through screenshots or demonstrations.

Here’s a good “demonstration” example by Duet Display, who shows some features and testimonials of the app right inside the promotional images:

App Description Images iOS

Here’s a “screenshots” example of the game War Tortoise where it just shows screenshots of the game:



Tip #3: Find inspiration from reading some other Top 100 app descriptions:

Short App Description Example:

This description is the most common length for paid apps (between 200 and 300 words)
App: True Skate
Price: $1.99
Developer: True Axis
Description Word Count: 245
App Store Description:

“The Official Street League Skateboarding Mobile Game.#1 game in 80 countries. Loved by skaters all over the world.

Touch Arcade review – 4.5/5 – “”True skate is clearly something special””

Note: True Skate comes with a single skate park and contains additional content only available by In-App purchase. See below.

– Realistic touch based physics.
– Flick the board to make it react exactly how you would expect.
– Drag your finger on the ground to push.
– A beautiful skate park to get lost in including ledges, stairs, grind rails plus a bowl, half pipe and quarter pipes. (Additional skate parks are now available as an In-App Purchase)
– Smooth graphics.
– Slow motion.
– User challenges
– Replay sharing
– Global leaderboards.

Available by IN-APP PURCHASE only:
– Additional skateparks and locations.
– Street League Skateboarding courses.

Optional IN-APP PURCHASES: (The same content is also available for free by spending True Credits earned by doing tricks and finishing missions)
– Unlock all missions.
– Unlimited slow motion.
– Unlimited board image changes.
– Unlimited wheel color changes.
– Unlock lists.

Trick Possibilities:
50 50 grind, 5 0 grind, boardslide, rail slide, tail slide, nose slide, darkslide, dark 50 50, suski grind, smith grind, feeble grind, salad grind, nose grind, crooked grind, lazy grind, overcrook, losi grind, bluntslide, noseblunt, kickflip, heelflip, pop shove-it, 360 pop shove-it, backside 180, frontside 180, ollie, nollie, impossible, hard flip, 360 hard flip, inward heelflip,360 inward heelflip, varial kickflip, nightmare flip, 360 flip, varial heelflip, laser flip, late tricks and more, or what ever else you can make the board do.”


Long App Description Example:

This description is on the long end, and goes through all the features and benefits of downloading Facetune. Only 12 out of 100 Top Paid Apps have a description in the 500+ word range like this one.
App: Facetune
Price: $3.99
Developer: Lightricks Ltd.
Description Word Count: 504
App Store Description:

•”Facetune helps you look your Hollywood best, even in photos taken on mobile phones.” – Roy Furchgott, The NY Times
• Facetune is a fun and powerful portrait & selfie photo editor!
• #1 Photo and Video App in 127 countries!———————————————————

Professional photographers and graphic designers constantly photoshop models to perfection, and now so can you! Without the expensive price tag or complicated tools, Facetune gives you the ability to retouch and add artistic flair to selfies and portraits with ease, from the convenience of your iPhone.

Praises about Facetune:
• “Facetune helps you look your Hollywood best, even in photos taken on mobile phones.” – Roy Furchgott, The NY Times
• “One of the Most Powerful Mobile Apps I have Ever Encountered… Facetune Can Truly Be Called Magical.” – Hillel Fuld, Huffington Post
• “I have been seriously impressed with the patch quality FaceTune does. You get pretty much a Photoshop editing job in the palm of your hand.” – Allyson Kazmucha, iMore


Every photo could use a touch up. That’s why magazines use expensive and complicated tools like Photoshop to make people look their best. But now, there’s Facetune! Facetune provides easy-to-use, powerful tools (previously reserved only for the pros) to perfect every photo or selfie, making each one look like it came straight out of a high-fashion magazine. Now you can be sure that all your portraits show only the best version of you – whether you’ll be using them for your professional profile or simply sharing online with friends.


What can Facetune do for you?

• Widen or refine your smile
• Whiten and brighten your teeth

• Smooth and rejuvenate your skin
• Remove temporary imperfections like pimples and blemishes
• Brighten dark circles under your eyes

• Emphasize your eyes for a penetrating gaze
• Change your eye color
• Remove red and white-eye effects

• Color over grey hair
• Fill bald patches
• Remove stray hairs

• Refine jaw lines
• Heighten cheek bones and brows
• Reshape your nose
• Enlarge or shrink a specific area of the image
• Totally transform your face into alien or other fun shapes

• Apply any shade of blush and eye shadow
• Add volume to your lashes and shape your brows
• Add color to your lips
• Add intensity to your natural lip color

• Focus the photo on you, by defocusing or blurring the background
• Improve lighting or add special effects
• Create customized filters
• Add unique textures and customizable frames
• Rotate the photo or flip to its mirror image

• Add artistic touches to make your photo your own
• Customizable filters can be applied to the entire photo or to specific areas

• Instantly share your edited photos with your friends & family through social media or e-mail

• Compare your work with the original photo at every step of the way, with only one tap
• Having trouble? Facetune offers informative graphic and video help screens for each feature

• iPhone 6S, 6S Plus: 12.6 MP
• iPhone 6, 6 Plus 16.8 MP
• iPhone 5, 5C, 5S: 12.6 MP
• iPhone 4S: 8 MP
• iPhone 4: 4.1 MP

If you want to see more app description examples, you can see all of them in the raw data:

Top 100 Free Apps Raw Data  paid-apps-data 


Download all the scraped Top 100 App Data:

Wistia video thumbnail - App Store Post Download Video

-Make a copy for yourself in Google Drive-
-Download in Excel format-
-Share with app developers-


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