Landscape vs Portrait (Which Is Best?): Visual Optimization Guide For The App Store And Google Play Store

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Visual optimization is as equally crucial to any ASO strategy as traffic acquisition. After all, the latter primarily deals with conversion, which determines the success of your entire campaign. And, as any mobile app marketing company can attest, one of the most important aspects of visual optimization is deciding whether you will opt for landscape or portrait as the primary orientation for rendering your app’s screenshot gallery and preview video.

It may seem like a mundane problem, but the answer to it is rarely simple, and arriving at the most appropriate one can certainly give that much-needed conversion boost. At best, the answer is determined by the app itself. 

That said, it also won’t hurt to know the exact factors that divide landscape and portrait orientations, particularly its pros and cons, so you’ll be able to construct a more substantial App Store listing checklist and for your app to adhere to Google Play guidelines as well. This shall be followed by a guide for your complete reference.

Key Differences Between Landscape and Portrait Orientations

Landscape

  • Only a single screenshot or video is displayed at a time, but it is relatively wider and larger. The majority of mobile games are played horizontally so it’s often recommended for game owners to choose landscape. It’s a given as a portrait is virtually incompatible with such apps.
  • The relative size of the image makes it easier to grasp the visitor’s attention and allows him to focus on it, without being distracted by other images or videos.
  • Landscape galleries, based on data, tend to enjoy a significantly higher 24% install rate. 
  • As a con, the landscape orientation tends to require the user to spend too much time and effort just going over the images and video you include. 

Portrait

  • Three images or one video and two screenshots will be displayed, giving visitors a better overview of your app’s features. In most, this is beneficial, especially as users tend to want to spend as little time as possible looking over what an app offers. 
  • This same benefit extends to when iOS or Play Store searches are performed. The same three screenshots will be displayed.
  • Stats show that portrait galleries tend to have 13% more engagement than their landscape counterparts. 
  • The downside of a portrait orientation is that it can be a double-edged sword as displaying too many images might end up overwhelming the visitor. 

Main Screen Orientation Factors that Affect Conversion and How to Optimize for Them

Since the end goal of visual optimization is to raise conversion, it’s also important to know the factors that ultimately affect the latter. Here they are as follows:

  1. Screenshots

The content of the screenshots, its size, and even the number you include can impact conversion. It’s best to showcase a full range of features, especially the most pertinent ones. You may need to go through App Store or Google Play guidelines for specific requirements as well, to avoid encountering hurdles during verification. 

Also, take note that the limit to the number of screenshots you can include in the App Store and Google Play are 10 and 8, respectively. Since stats reveal that users tend to look at only the first two screenshots, then it’s best to make sure you use images of your app’s main features for them. If you are optimizing for both, then chances are high that you would have to prepare different screenshots for either one. 

You also need to consider compositions, which bring their aesthetics to the table. These are often rendered in a panoramic way, with separate screenshots merging together to form a single image. Certain app types fit perfectly with this kind of presentation like navigation software, for example. 

  1. App Icon

The icon is the first image seen by the visitor and is therefore one of the most important. It has to immediately give a good impression and be as memorable and unique as possible. There’s no exact way to optimize the icon since every app is different. It’s best to try out multiple icons to pinpoint that best-performing version. 

  1. Video Previews

According to statistics, an effective video preview can actually boost conversion rates by as high as 35%. And like icons and screenshots, video previews often require A/B tests first to truly find out the most optimal one to use. You might even try running tests on an App Page that has a video preview and one that does not. If you’re planning to add more than one video, data shows that including three is actually bad for conversion rates.

  1. Benefits of the App

And we’re not just talking about the specific features as revealed by the screenshots. You can also highlight the reputation that your app has already acquired — even better if it has already won awards. Focus more on outlining advantages rather than functions. Outline every essential piece of information, while prioritizing brevity. 

Should your app undergo an update and add new functions, then it’s best to update the screenshots as well in order to inform users about them. 

  1. Image Locality

Obviously, most apps are shaped by the local audiences that they are targeting — their culture and language. If your app is specifically focused on a specific local market, then it’s only right to make your images more appealing and in-tune with your audience’s tastes. 

The term for this is culturalization, so be sure to pay attention to the factors like local cultural nuances like symbols, patterns, and photographs when deciding which screenshots to display — besides, of course, using the right language. 

Other Tips to Consider

  • Anticipate Dark Mode when deciding which icon, video, and screenshot to use. Having a dark background might dull your visuals’ impact — if not overwhelm it completely.
  • If your iOS app gets chosen for Product Page Artwork, then be sure to prepare a dedicated image for it too. Refrain from including information like prices and taglines and other elements like icons or devices. 

Conclusion

The importance of knowing the distinctions between landscape and portrait orientations only underscores the fact that it’s never enough to simply use high-quality images to promote what your app has to offer. You should always place the same focus on how you present them via the said orientations and the factors mentioned above. More often than not, the best course to take is to simply experiment between the two, especially if your app appears to be a good fit for both.