3 Keys to Writing Effective App Copy

Scott DeVaney

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copywritingSo, you’ve just developed an amazing app. It’s incredible. A game changer. Maybe even disruptive (ugh, sorry). Anyway, the internet is gonna freak out when they see this thing.

Now comes the tricky part… marketing.

There are many facets to successful app marketing. Today we’ll focus on one of the most basic, yet overlooked, aspects of giving your app a good shot at success: the app description.

We’re talking about the copy that appears on your app’s landing page on Firefox Marketplace (or any app store for that matter). This is your chance to pitch your app to prospective installers. They clicked on your app to get to its details page, so they’re obviously interested. They want to know more about it. Here’s where you tell folks why your app is worth their time, memory space, data usage, and possibly money.

Here are three fundamental rules to follow when crafting app copy:

1. The first sentence means everything. Don’t waste time getting to the hook. Let people know why your app deserves their attention right away. This can be a simple statement of what your app does (if it does something unique), or a detailing of how it does something distinctly different (e.g. there are a lot of calculator apps; how is yours different?).

2. Less is more. Your app is your baby, and like a lot of proud parents you have difficulty resisting the urge to drivel on and on about your precious little bundle of joy. But 100% of the time, nobody cares as much about your kids as you do. Respect your audience’s time. Cut to the chase. Only mention what is critical about your app, and not a word more.

3. Find someone capable to proof your copy. Poor grammar and spelling is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, coding is your language of choice. So find a trusted friend, family member, or colleague who has some level of comfort with the written word to look over your copy for glaring mistakes. A dumb typo can undo otherwise brilliant work.

Now, let’s illustrate these points with a simple test case… Let’s say we’ve just created an app that turns a Firefox OS device into a jetpack. That’s pretty sweet! I think people would download that!

Jetpackr. This Firefox OS app is going places!

Jetpackr. This Firefox OS app is going places!

Our app is called Jetpackr. Below we have an example of BAD copy for Jetpackr, and then we have GOOD copy.

BAD Jetpackr copy

With surprisingly intuitive UI, responsive touch controls, and efficient use of your phones battery life, Jetpackr is like no app you’ve ever experienced. Download it for free today and find out why everyone is talking about Jetpackr! You’ll be glad you did. Irregardless of whether rush hour traffic is driving you crazy, or maybe you just want to spice up you’re trips to the mall, Jetpackr is the game-changing app that transforms your Firefox OS phone into a fully functional jetpack.

Why this copy doesn’t work:

    Everyone likes nice UI and touch controls, but these are complementary components to an app—not central to its primary experience (flying!). The opening sentence basically says nothing of real value to the discerning user.
    The copy focuses on non-specific statements like, “Jetpackr is like no app you’ve ever experienced,” “You’ll be glad you did,” and “find out why everyone is talking about Jetpackr.” Empty phrases like this don’t lend an air of mystery to our app—they just confuse people.
    “phones battery life” should have a possessive apostrophe “phone’s battery life”… “Irregardless” isn’t a real word… and “you’re trips to the mall” should be “your trips to the mall”… with such poor attention to detail I’m starting to wonder if I should trust this developer with my life.

GOOD Jetpackr copy

Turn your Firefox OS phone into a jetpack. With surprisingly simple touch controls, you’ll be soaring with the birds in no time. Download Jetpackr for free today.

Why this copy works:

    The lead sentence directly conveys the app’s core appeal.
    It correlates peripheral elements— in this case, simple UI and touch controls—to the app’s core appeal (“you’ll be flying in no time”).
    It’s short and to the point. The reader clearly understands exactly what this app will do for them.

If you have a lot of app features you’d like to detail, no problem. It usually works well to break those out into bullet points below your primary intro paragraph. Just make sure your opening paragraph is as enticing as it can be, lest your readers never make it to the bullet points.

I hope these copywriting tips have been helpful. Happy app marketing, friends!

Editor’s Note: Have you created a remarkable app on Firefox Marketplace? Drop us a line at editor@mozilla.com and let us know about it—maybe we’ll feature your work!

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