App Previews: Five Tips To Make Your Promo Video Succeed

George Osborn

In App Marketing

December 3, 2014

App Previews are the latest addition to iOS 8 that has had mobile marketers a little bit stumped. Adding further to the already multidisciplinary nature of the field, mastering video has become extra important since Apple allowed you to lead your app promotion efforts with a 30 second video trailer.

But what are some good tips and principles for you to follow when designing or watching over your app preview? Here are our five favourite thoughts to keep in mind when creating your previews.

Note: We’ve linked to longer Youtube videos for this video to ensure anyone reading on non-iOS devices can view the trailers. Head to the app’s App Store listings if you want to see their 30 second trailers.

1) Inform Your Viewers

Your big goal with your video (nay, all app marketing assets) is to inform the people watching it about what your app actually does.

Despite the fact that marketers have the advantage of glitzy videos, animations and the dynamism of video to help them out, you’d be surprised how often informing the user gets pushed down the priority list.

So set out to make informing your viewer your number one goal. In a similar manner to designing good screenshots, you should take the time to list three to five of your key app features and showcase them in a clear narrative order.

By doing that, and marrying that text to complementary well produced visuals, you’ll have a solid base to build a really engaging 30 second clip to entice the punters in. And if you can do it in similar style to the great trailer for the game Framed, then you’re really motoring.

2) Keep Things Interesting

At the same time as being narrative, you want to make sure that you’re being one other important thing as well: interesting! In a world where bloggers like PewDiePie can turn playing video games into hilarious fun and Zoella can draw in the fashion conscious crowd, there’s an understandable expectation that video is accessibly intriguing.

Which means that you’ve got to think about the best ways to be engaging. If you’re a game developer, then things are probably a bit easier. The natural rhythm of any game will mean that there will be natural peaks to show off (unlocking a cool new character, an awesome combo effect), so cram them in.

But if you’ve got another type of app, never fear. As long as you focus on the great features you have in app, show that how useful they are and create a polished and slick video to show them off, you can equally keep hold of user interest successfully.

3) Focus On Your Strengths

Hey, you may have guessed that this point was coming judging from the rest of the piece. But zeroing in on what you app really is strong at doing and demonstrating it visually is a key to getting your preview right.

Sometimes that is easier said than done. Swiftkey No’s predictive text magic can be shown to be demonstratively better than regular text, while the Hunger Games: Panem Rising uses the iconic Katniss Everdeen as a visual hook very effectively.

But if you can clearly identify what that strongest feature is in your app and put your effort into communicating it, then you’ll be able to position your app as something more than a product for sale; you’ll make it feel essential.

4) Be Pithy

Your app is amazing, I am sure of that. Well, I’m not sure if your particular app is amazing but I bet that you think it is. But unless you can get that across to me in an entertaining way in 30 seconds, then you’re not going to convince me to download.

So your app preview, as with your other app assets, really must be pithy and to the point. While you want to communicate your strengths, you need to make sure that you keep things laser focused, carefully timed and scripted to ensure each key feature gets time to breathe without outstaying its welcome.

And beyond that, as I alluded to in an earlier point, that pithiness stretches to retaining the enthusiasm that video allows you to get across. Whether you’re making a high grade utility app or an engaging puzzle game, communicating that using your app will be a positive (preferably entertaining) experience is essential to app preview success.

5) Call to Action

And in a piece of advice that will feel refreshingly familiar to anyone who has ever done any marketing or sat near a blabbering marketer, a call to action at the end of the video is a must.

Why? Well, there are two reasons. One, you want to make sure anyone watching is reminded at the end to actually hit the download button. You don’t want to spend 30 seconds convincing a mobile user that your app is great and then to miss out on a download because their attention wavered.

Second, it allows you to use the trailer elsewhere in your marketing efforts successfully. That 30 second trailer can head out into video ad networks, onto your Youtube channel and offer out into the social media ether, meaning that you can multiply the effect of the app preview beyond the store.

So at the end of the video, make sure you place a nicely designed static screen with your app name, icon on it and a call to action to give people all the information possible to remember to grab your app. It’s a cruel world out there and a little difference like this could help you out a lot.

And that’s it for this piece. App previews are a bit tricky to get right at first, but if you follow these tips and put time and effort into designing your trailer then you really can make a pitch perfect promo video to show off your wares. Nice.

If you want to see some great trailers in action, check out our video version of this piece below.