The two big players when it comes to app stores are undoubtedly Apple and Google, so chances are good you’re planning on submitting your app to one – or both – of them. You need to know that there are some significant differences between the two with regards to the procedure to submit an app to the store as well with app store optimization (ASO) and specifications for app videos you want to include with your submission.
An important note to our readers: Both Apple and Google are constantly updating and changing their submission processes and requirements. This information will become dated at some point, so be sure you check their websites for the most up-to-date requirements.
Store Submission Process
Google Play’s submission process is open and simple: you pay the fee, complete the uploading process and information, and hit the submit button. After that, assuming it doesn’t contain malicious code, your app will be available for purchase in the Google Play store in 24 hours or less.
Apple’s App Store process is very different from Google Play. Apple’s submission protocols are very strict and detailed; there is no wiggle room, so be sure you follow them to the letter. We recommend you read them before you even begin development so you don’t inadvertently do something that will cause you headaches further down the development line. Every app is reviewed much more thoroughly; rejections are common – but don’t despair if you do receive a rejection. The review team will send you a response. Read it carefully, as it’ll tell you why your app was rejected and what you can do to fix the problem(s) before you resubmit.
With all the extra work required by Apple, you might wonder why anyone would choose to put their app on the Apple App Store. The answer is simple: despite Google Play having more overall downloads, Apple’s App Store brings in more revenue.
App Store Optimization (ASO)
Google Play’s search algorithm is robust and smart; it works much like its regular search engine. This means that app developers have a lot of flexibility and freedom with regards to the keywords and phrases they can use. There’s a drawback to this, though: being too flexible with your keywords can hurt your search results if you’re not mindful about your keywords. Google Play’s algorithm will be pulling from your app’s description, so make sure to pack your description with strong, relevant keywords.
Google Play only allows you to place your app into one category, so choose carefully. Google allows titles of up to 30 characters – and the important thing to remember about your title is that Google’s search algorithm will look at your app’s title along with its description.
Apple’s App Store has a much simpler algorithm, and relies heavily on Apple’s keyword field. And while Apple’s search algorithm doesn’t look at the description, you should still optimize it for SEO because Google’s search engine does crawl through iTunes and Apple’s App Store for indexing and ranking.
Unlike Google, Apple is more generous when it comes to categories. You app can be listed in two categories – three if your app is a game. Use this to your best advantage to get your app in front of the eyes of multiple audiences. It’s also got more robust title options; you can use up to 255 characters, and Apple’s search algorithm does look at the title. One caveat, though – Apple will reject an app if it decides that your title is guilty of keyword “stuffing” – so just craft a good title with your strongest keywords.
One of the best ways to showcase your app and make it stand out from the millions of other apps is to have a demo video. A demo video lets your potential customers see and experience your app; it’s your chance to demonstrate your app’s most important features and functionality, and show a user how your app can help them.
Be aware, though, that Google and Apple have different video specifications and requirements—as well as certain best practices—so a video made for one store can’t be used in the other. Apple started to expand its video options and capabilities with its iOS 11 update, but they still have far more requirements and restrictions your video will need to follow. Google, on the other hand, is much more flexible with regards to video allowed on Google Play.
Quick Look at Video Specs
- No restriction on number of videos allowed – any screenshot slot can be used for a video.
- Video alignment is usually horizontal/landscape – and if your app is a game, a landscape alignment is required if you want your video to appear in game collections.
- Video length is not restricted, but Google suggests 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- No restrictions on video content.
- A/B and Split Testing: built-in capabilities, but you still may want to use a third-party tool.
Apple App Preview
- Allows up to three App Previews (videos).
- Video alignment is usually vertical/portrait (with the exception of apps that run primarily in horizontal orientation), and have device-specific formatting requirements.
- Video length is strictly limited to 15 to 30 seconds.
- Video content limited to “captured footage of the app itself” – this means no stock video or other non-app-related content – and must be suitable for minor-aged audiences.
- A/B and Split Testing: no built-in capabilities, so you’ll need a third-party tool.
There are a lot of things you have to think about when developing your app and getting it submitted to an app store, but you don’t have to stress about the video. We have extensive experience developing videos for all app stores, including Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Let us work with you, and you’ll be assured your video is of the highest quality, and 100% optimized for your chosen app store(s).