CAN APP PREVIEW ATTRACT DOWNLOADS TO An APP?
19 January 2017

BACKGROUND

When it comes to increasing app exposure and accelerating app downloads in the App Store, here at Bamboo Group, we are not afraid of discovering new marketing optimization techniques. With the launch of iOS 8.0, Apple brought app previews to the App Store and they seemed to be an amazing tool that would lead to more educated and engaged users thereby boosting retention. We decided to take advantage of this new format while developing Velcom Recommends app for our respectful customer Velcom TAG. To realize this project, we partnered with Lemon Digital, a company, that has 15+ years of experience in creating video previews, ads, and presentations for various products and services.

WHY YOUR APP NEEDS A VIDEO PREVIEW

An app video preview is a 15-30-second video that allows potential customers to quickly assess your app before downloading it. Apps with a video Preview are presented on the App Store slightly differently from an app without.

So how can a video preview be your secret weapon in the app market?

  • Videos are enlightening, attractive and engaging. They provide quick first impression and they are capable of pushing potential users to come to a decision faster.
  • The first image users see when looking at the app in search results will be the poster frame of the App Preview.
  • The App Store has a featured category for the apps with video previews only. If your app is listed in that category, it can gain more organic traffic.

All the information you need to know about the app preview (its format, requirements, and limitations) can be found in Apple’s official docs.

THE PRODUCTION PROCESS

What is the main goal of an app preview?

Regarding Velcom Recommends app, the core purpose of the video was to make it clear for a subscriber on how to manage his personal account via the app, how to activate and use customer services provided by the mobile operator, Velcom TAG.

This isn’t rocket science but a well-thought-out scenario is a key to an app’s video success. Our starting point was to write a storyboard divided into three parts (we used Google Spreadsheet). The left column contains timing, the central one - what is happening at this time in the application interface, the right - voice over texts.

Storyboard for Velcom recommends app video preview

As Velcom Recommends app provides a self-care mobile experience available to all Velcom TAG subscribers, we decided to go beyond the traditional video preview to the video, combining elements of app promo techniques and a step-by-step tutorial. For Velcom Recommends app, we wrote the tutorial-like storyboard to describe an actual ‘user story’ based on the 5 features we wanted to highlight. While some app publishers focus on a single killer feature of the app, we consider this approach not to work with utilities. So we recommend to let a viewer follow from screen to screen instead of demonstrating overdesigned animations and video effects.

Along with the app’s icon and screenshots, app video thumbnail (a ‘poster frame’ visible on iTunes) has a crucial role in making the first impression. Don’t use the images that are not part of the app. Video poster frame must cohere with other graphics on the App Store product page. In our case, by picking up the picture of the ‘dashboard’ we wanted to make the app look the same in the eyes of those who had watched the video and those who had not. For the same reason, the app icon is shown at the start and at the end.

Although Velcom Recommends app doesn’t require specific gestures, it’s very important to show real-life interactions in the video preview. We added hotspots (or so-called ‘nubs) that simulate a finger sliding around the app to make it clear for a viewer where and when the taps occur.

If you want to let your app speak for itself, it is generally best practice to use a voice over with a little music in the background. A typical mistake is to make it sound too much like an ad. In our case, the narration just conveying the app’s purpose and features seemed to be the better solution.

PUTTING ELEMENTS TOGETHER

After 3 days of conceptualizing, filming and editing we put all components together and we would like to show you the app preview we made for Velcom Recommends app. The application has been approved by Apple review team. Now you may watch the video preview on the product page in the App Store or just press ‘Play’ button on the video below.

CONCLUSION

We have four major recommendations you should consider when making app video previews:

  • Prepare a detailed storyboard that describes the scenes that will be in the app preview and include details about copy, transitions etc.
  • Avoid overdesign and complicated effects in your app preview. Reproducing an actual ‘user story’ based on app features is a win-win approach.
  • Keep your App Store message consistent between the app preview and the app screenshots. The app must look the same in the eyes of those who had watched the video and those who had not.
  • Use touch hotspots and voice over. Your viewer is seeing your app for the first time, so you should lead them from start to finish.

We think app previews have already become an expected part of browsing the App Store, and apps that don’t have them are going to miss out on downloads and sales.

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