From movie trailers to autoplay ads, the impact of video on audience engagement is undeniable. Nearly everyone with a brand, be it a large corporation or a YouTube star, seems to be capitalizing on this format. With this blog, we will focus on how to optimize Appe App Store preview videos.
The good news is, you too can harness the power of video for marketing your app. In fact, it’s a great way to boost app store optimization (ASO) and should always be a part of your strategy.
App preview videos are an excellent way to increase downloads.
If you’ve only focused so far on text element and static images for ASO, like writing magnetic descriptions and choosing great screenshots, you may not know where to start when it comes to creating an App Preview video.
Beginning with iOS 8, Apple allows a 30-second video to be displayed alongside an app’s screenshots in the App Store. But it’s not as simple as creating any clip you like and uploading it.
In this post, we’ll cover technical specifications and requirements you need to meet for your video, best practice for creating an awesome clip that actually converts, and some tips for how to get started even if you’re not a Final Cut Pro expert with unlimited budget.
App Store Videos: Requirements You Need to Know
First things first: the App Store has published guidelines that you must follow in order to get your preview video published along with your app.
It’s a good idea to bookmark that page as a reference, but here are a few must-meet requirements for your Apple App Store preview video:
- Video must be 15 to 30 seconds in length
- Only include on-screen capture within your app itself – you can’t use over-the-shoulder angles or fingers tapping the screen
- Don’t violate copyrights, plagiarize, or show any material you do not have the legal right to display, including music, film, or other intellectual property assets unless you have appropriate licensing rights
- Correct resolutions for your video on different devices, including specs for both portrait and landscape, can be found here
- Only one localization is accepted, so be sure your video makes sense in languages other than English if your app is available for those audiences
- You must disclose if you show features only available through in-app purchases
- Your preview video is not an ad and should not show pricing or timelines
Even more specs, like max frame rate, target bit rate, and so on, can be found in the iTunes Connect Developer Guide here.
Always keep these requirements in mind and use them as checkpoints as you develop your video. There’s nothing more disappointing than creating something you’re excited about and then getting rejected because you don’t meet a small technical specification.
Now that the requirements are out of the way, let’s cover something arguably more important: how to make a video worth watching that ultimately boosts your downloads.
Creating an App Store Video People Actually Want to Watch
With your app preview video, you have 15 to 30 seconds to capture your audience’s attention, showcase your app, and convince your viewer that they should press the download button.
But actually, you really only have about five seconds to do that.
Most of your viewers are going to decide almost immediately whether to continue to watch all the way to the end or move on to the next thing. As mobile phone users, we’ve gotten accustomed to bite-size entertainment–short video clips that pack a punch.
Watching your app preview video is entirely opt-in, so it’s crucial to ensure that your video is both engaging and useful.
Here are some examples of great app preview videos that can inspire you:
- Highlights a good amount of features in a short time
- Showcases the brand (including visuals, logo, tagline)
- Immediately captivating with sound and visuals
- After the initial hook, uses actual app footage
- Employs music rather than words, consistent with the style of the app
There are a few things to keep in mind when recording your app preview video for the App Store.
First, your preview video should be just that: a preview. It should highlight several of the most valuable features of your app, showing the in-app experience, without coming across as a tutorial or advertisement.
In order to achieve this, plan ahead. Everyone’s style will vary, but taking the time to develop an outline, storyboard, or script will help you focus on the top features and avoid coming across as too instructional or sales-oriented.
Plan the timing for changing scenes and other visual elements. Set up any test accounts you’ll need. And give yourself a chance to rehearse before starting to actually capture the video.
The audio experience is important, but keep in mind that many viewers will have your phone on silent. Make sure that the preview video makes sense even without sound.
Using text can be effective, as shown in some of the examples, but it’s important to make sure the copy adds to the video and doesn’t create any confusing cultural or time-sensitive discrepancies.
Once you’ve planned out your app preview video, taking into account these recommendations as well as the App Store requirements, you’re ready to actually create it.
How to Create Your App Store Preview Videos
Apple recommends using iMovie to create your app store preview videos, but you actually have several options. Final Cut Pro, another Apple product, offers even more capabilities for capturing screen recordings and editing. Learn more here.
If you do decide to use iMovie, you’ll be able to capture screen recordings from your iOS device, and perform edits like adding titles, transitions, and voiceover. One major benefit of using iMovie is that when you export the app store preview videos, it automatically renders at the correct resolution based on the device from which you captured the clips. That takes care of one App Store requirement so you don’t have to worry about it.
Another great tool for creating app store preview videos is AppShow by TechSmith. At the time of this post-publication it’s in technical preview, but if you’ve ever used other TechSmith software like Camtasia, you know you can look forward to powerful, easy-to-use video tools with this product. They also offer some helpful best practices.
The Poster Frame
Last but not least, don’t neglect your “poster frame,” or the thumbnail that viewers see before pressing play. Here’s what Apple has to say about the poster frame:
Ideally, your preview poster frame should convey the essence of the app. If the default frame selected from your footage doesn’t convey this, you can select a new frame in iTunes Connect. Please note that changing the poster frame on previews that have already been approved will require a new binary version.
So you’ve planned out your video, recorded or captured it using the tool of your choice, met the App Store guidelines, and you’re ready to show off your app store preview videos.
App store preview videos, when done well, can engage your potential audience and create a base that doesn’t just download your app but continues to use it over time. The rich medium of video creates an opportunity to showcase elements of your app that might otherwise not get shown in the app store.
Pat yourself on the back–you’ve just employed a great App Store Optimization strategy.
About the Author
Rachel Wilson is a writer, marketer, and content creator living in NYC. She’s worked for technology companies like BetterCloud and Microsoft, and believes her English degree prepared her to write about pretty much anything. She misses the ocean and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest but can’t give up New York pizza.
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