Copywriting for Apps: Above-the-Fold aka Short App Description Part 1

Copywriting for Apps: Above-the-Fold aka Short App Description Part 1

App Graphic

Apps are everywhere. They are on iPads, iPhones, iPods, Android phones, Kindles, Windows devices, and more. How do apps make money?

Like any other business, they have to bring in money. Some are "paid apps" that you have to buy before using. These used to be one-time purchases, but more apps are switching to a monthly subscription.

Yet, most apps are free. These apps can make money less directly by offering enhanced features within the app for a price. For example, to turn off all in-app ads, you must pay a fee. Other apps, especially games, make money from selling all types of things, from in-game currency to power-ups that help a player get past a level.

Even beyond this, some apps are completely free without any in-app purchases. Many of these apps promote a company by pushing out deals, coupons, ways to win money while watching a game show live from home, and more.

No matter the goal of an app, the ultimate goal is to get a person to take a specific set of actions that boost their company's revenue.

Copywriting is a powerful tool for this goal. Apps might heavily rely on visuals, but words are used all over the place. Crafting those words to get people to act is crucial.

For today, let's look at the first part of the app description someone sees in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, the two biggest App stores on Planet Earth. This first part of the description is called the "Short description" by Google and copywriters call it the "Above-the-Fold" description. “Above-the-Fold” is a term that comes from what appeared above the horizontal fold of a newspaper's front page.

The full app descriptions in both stores are limited to 4,000 characters. The short descriptions are even tighter at 80 characters on Google Play, and three rows of text on the Apple App Store. The total number of characters varies across Apple devices.

You have to tailor your copywriting for each of the stores and the various devices they serve. An app has to grab the user's attention in this short amount of text and get them to take a positive action. This action could be to expand the description text, check out screenshots, or install the app.

I'll dig more into this next week. Thanksgiving has shortened my week and I have a deadline to meet!

But here is a preview:

Lead with the main benefits of the app!