App store preview videos are among the most powerful and effective tools to get more people use your app. If you are not familiar with creating, utilizing, and evaluating app preview videos, then you might not get the results you desire.
That’s why in this guide, we are here to help you. You will learn:
- What app store preview videos are
- Why you should and should not have App Store previews
- How to create an app preview video
- What poster frames are
- Which App Store preview resolutions you should use
- The technical app preview requirements you need to meet
- How the iOS 11 affected App Store preview videos
- Design tips in creating app previews
- App preview guidelines you need to follow
- Tips in using copy and audio
- Importance of localizing your app preview
- How to test your App Store preview videos
So, if you want to learn any of these topics, stick around. After reading this post, we can assure you that you will have the essential knowledge to create the best app store preview videos for you.
Let’s dive in!
What are App Store preview videos?
App Store preview videos are videos used to give users a quick idea of the features, interface, and functionality of an app or game published in Apple App Store.
In the App Store, a promotional video for your iOS app is called “App Preview.” Basically, it is you, the app developer or owner, who will produce the video. You can then upload your videos to the App Store.
The best App Store preview video examples
To give you an idea of what App Store preview videos are, here are some quick videos to watch:
Evernote – App Store Preview Video
VSCO – App Store Preview Video
TuneIn Radio – App Store Preview Video
As you can see, these videos are attention-grabbing, sleek, and impressive. Imagine having the same quality of app preview for your app. You would surely get more exposure and visibility in the App Store. Eventually, your app ranking would go up.
Why should you have an App Store preview video?
There are different reasons why you should create your own app preview. According to StoreMaven, ever since the release of iOS 11, App Store preview videos have increased the conversion rate of apps by more than 47%.
As you can see, you can’t simply ignore the power of app previews in improving your app’s success level.
Here are some of the best reasons why you should have app previews:
- App previews are the most, if not, visible creative assets in the App Store.
- Potential users are more engaged in watching videos than reading text or viewing still images.
- With more than 2 million downloadable apps in the App Store, app developers are not surprised to see how difficult it is for any app to stand out. Since the majority of apps don’t have app previews, you can easily rise above the competition when you have one.
- App videos are statistically known to increase app conversion rates, download rates, and user engagement.
- Videos simply work. This is the reason why YouTube is one of the most visited websites today. Not only that but you would notice how the Facebook feed is filled with so many videos nowadays. Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and Twitter are following the same trend as well.
- App previews have the highest potential of allowing your users to know what your app is all about in the shortest period of time. Your video serves as a “demo video” that gives your potential users a realistic experience of what it feels like to use your app.
- Videos allow users to make informed decisions. This means that users who download your app after watching your app preview will less likely uninstall your app because they already know what they are downloading.
- You can use your video to boost your pre-order campaign. Apple has an app pre-order feature on their App Store. If you wish to get more engagement, create a buzz, and have more people get interested in your app, the app video should help. With an app preview, you can have thousands of downloads even during the first day of your launch.
It is worth noting that more than 8 out 10 Top 100 free games in the US have at least one app preview on their App Store page. This gives you a quick overview of how app previews can, directly and indirectly, affect your app ranking.
Why should you not have App Store preview videos?
As you can see, an App Store preview comes with so many benefits. However, it also comes with a few downsides. You need to consider them before creating and uploading your video.
Here are some of the few reasons you may not want to add an app preview:
- App previews are known to be among the most expensive pieces of marketing assets for your app. Thus, if you’re planning to do A/B testing, creating a variety of App Store preview videos might drill a hole in your pocket.
- Aside from the cost, videos are more difficult to create compared to screenshots and other marketing materials, as they require creativity and extra time.
- There’s a great chance that you need to regularly change your app preview videos. Due to the constantly-evolving nature of app technology and app stores, changes force developers to create a video that should stand the test of time.
- Compared to Google Play Store, Apple App Store comes with more stringent app preview guidelines and rules. This presents a big challenge to app developers.
- Poorly created app store previews could chase away potential users. Instead of promoting your app, users may be turned off and go elsewhere. That’s why you need to invest a lot of time, energy, and effort to ensure your app preview is impressive enough to convince people to download your app.
Creating App Store preview videos
Now that you already know the reasons why you should and should not have app store preview videos, it’s time to have an overview of how to create them.
Most app developers choose to hire professionals to create app videos for them. So, it is not something they really need to get familiar with anymore, as they can easily outsource it to others.
Obviously, hiring someone to create the video for you would cost money. With this in mind, you might want to know the quickest or easiest way to produce your app preview.
Thankfully, you can actually DIY your video. Of course, this would still need some level of technical skills.
Recording your video
The easiest way to create your app preview is to do a screen recording. Since you would need different videos for various devices, you would have to do screen recording on various Apple devices.
Thankfully, Apple comes with its own screen recording software — the QuickTime Player (version 10). The steps in recording your app would depend on which device you’re using.
When recording iOS apps:
- Get your Lightning cable and connect your iOS device to your Mac
- Run QuickTime Player
- Select File and go to New Movie Recording
- Hit the down arrow next to the Record button
- Choose your device under Camera and Microphone
When recording macOS apps:
- Open your app
- Launch QuickTime Player
- Choose File, then New Screen Recording
- Hit the down arrow next to the Record button
- Choose Internal Microphone
When recording tvOS apps:
- Using a USB-C to USB cable, connect your Apple TV to your Mac
- Launch QuickTime Player
- Choose File then New Movie Recording
- Hit the down arrow next to the Record button
- Choose Apple TV under Camera and Microphone
Editing your video
Recording your video is just half of the work. You still need to edit your video to ensure that you trim it down to the required video length.
Feel free to use any other application you are familiar with.
Important tips to remember when producing your App Store preview videos
Creating your app preview can be very complicated. There are a lot of things you need to consider. From deciding what to highlight in your app preview to following the guidelines of the App Store.
No matter which way you go or whatever design you want, you need to follow these quick tips:
- Have different orientations for your videos. Your video should be viewed in both landscape and portrait orientations.
- Balance between gameplay and animation. Both of these video types come with their own advantages. So, be sure to have both of these elements in your video.
- Add some texts or copies in your video. Since your video would be auto played in mute, adding texts should help your user get more ideas about your app even if there’s no sound. Of course, use text or copy as needed.
- Keep your app previews as short as possible. On average, app previews in the App Store would range from 25 to 30 seconds in length. Nevertheless, remember that most people would only view a video between 4-12 seconds. So, if you can showcase the best features of your app within just a few seconds, then that would be great.
Creating the best poster frame
We get it: the app previews would now auto-play the moment you view a page where it is located. So, you might wonder, why bother with a poster frame? What is a poster frame anyway?
Well, poster frames are the still image you see before the app preview plays. In effect, they serve as a thumbnail for your video.
There are a few instances when poster frames would still prove to be useful and necessary. Here are some examples:
- For slow connections, your app preview may not play immediately. So, before that happens, your poster frame is what users will see.
- On the App Store, only one app preview is played at a time. Depending on which your user’s screen is highlighting, that video would play. There are situations when videos are stacked together. So, while the app store plays one video, your app preview can be visible above or below.
- Auto plays can be manually turned off, depending on your user’s setting. So, in times like this, your poster frame should come in handy.
- There are phones that stop auto-play when they are running low in battery. When this happens, it would be nice to have your poster frame ready.
As you can imagine, your poster frame plays a vital role in your app review. So, it should not be ignored.
By the way, if you don’t select a poster frame, the App Store would select it for you by default. If in case you don’t like the chosen poster frame, you can select a different one through the App Store Connect.
One problem you might encounter is the tedious process of submitting a new poster frame. The reason is that if you want to submit a poster frame, you would need to submit a new app preview version as well to the App Store for approval.
For more details, please read Apple’s own guide to setting an app preview poster frame.
What are the App Preview Resolutions?
Unfortunately, there are different app preview resolutions you should know about. You can’t simply upload one video and expect it would play nicely across all Apple devices.
Thus, it is highly encouraged that you upload videos with different resolutions for various devices.
Thankfully, you don’t really need to create videos for every single Apple device variant. At most, you would have to create at least three types of videos. These include a video for all regular iPhones, a video for iPhone X, and a video for iPads.
In summary, here are the app preview resolutions that you should remember.
- App preview resolutions for iPhone 5, 6, 7, and 8 and iPhone 6 Plus, 7 Plus, and 8 Plus.
- Portrait orientation: 1080 x 1920 pixels
- Landscape orientation: 1920 x 1080 pixels
- App preview resolutions for iPhone X, iPhone Xs Max, and iPhone XR:
- Portrait orientation: 886 x 1920 pixels
- Landscape orientation: 1920 x 886 pixels
- App preview resolutions for iPad and iPad Pro
- Portrait orientation: 1200 x 1600 pixels
- Landscape orientation: 1600 x 1200 pixels
To give you a more detailed list of app preview resolutions, let us copy here the video specifications laid out in the App Store Connect Help.
App Preview Resolutions
More technical app preview requirements
There are other app preview guidelines you should meet before your video could be published. Here are some of them:
- Maximum file size: 500 MB
- Minimum and maximum video length: 15 to 30 seconds
- Default poster frame setting: 5 seconds
- Orientation: Should be both portrait and landscape. However, macOS can only accept landscape app previews.
- OS version: iOS 8 or later
- App Store Connect upload and playback: Safari 8 and macOS 10.10 or later
What is changed on App Preview with iOS 11?
In September of 2017, the iOS 11 was released. While it has already been a few years already, iOS 11 made a huge change in how app previews are created and how they work. The effect of these changes can still be felt today. So, it’s worth noting how the iOS 11 affected app previews.
Let’s highlight some of the most important changes made by the iOS 11 update:
- Autoplay app previews – when you open an app page, if present, the app preview would play automatically, but in mute. App previews are also auto-played in search results and Apple Search Ads. Users have the option to tap into the app preview to watch it with sound. It also plays in loop.
- The number of app previews – amazingly, Apple allows you to have a maximum of 3 app previews. This is something interesting because, in the past, you can only have one app preview.
- Localization – iOS 11 update allows app developers to provide an app preview video in different languages, which is not possible before.
- The use of copy – in the pre-iOS 11 era, Apple discouraged developers to use text in their app preview. Now, it has changed due to the autoplay feature. Since by default, people see your preview without sound, then adding text would improve user engagement.
- iPhone X – along with the release of iOS 11 is the availability of iPhone X. Apple has introduced a new screen resolution, which you need to take note of when creating app previews.
Now, there are a lot of things we can talk more about iOS 11 and its effect on app previews. However, that would be a completely different topic for another blog post.
For now, the most important thing you can do is ensure that your app previews are created with the new autoplay in mind. This means that you need to give your app store preview videos with a strong start to immediately capture people’s attention. Not only that, but your videos should make sense even without sound.
Finally, be sure to get familiar with the App Store video guidelines in relation to the iOS 11 updates and other future OS changes that Apple would make.
Designing the best app preview
What makes an app preview impressive and effective? The answer is found in the planning stage.
As early as possible, you should already have a concept of how you want your app preview to look like. Checking app previews of some of the most successful apps in the App Store should give you an idea.
You can also consult various app video production companies who can advise you on how you should go through the process.
Whatever your decision might be, be sure that you focus on featuring your app’s core features and content. The video should give your users a comprehensive walkthrough of your app while doing this in the shortest period of time.
Remember, you can create up to three app previews. If in case you decide to create more than one video, be sure that each of them highlights different aspects of your app.
As mentioned above, videos autoplay on the App Store. Use the first few seconds to get your users engaged and interested. Tell them quickly what makes your app unique and why they should download it. As much as possible, use your strongest visual elements at the beginning of your app preview.
Avoid using countdown, app icon, or splash screen as your initial video clips. That won’t trigger any interest in your users. Remember, you only have 4-5 seconds to capture people’s attention.
In this stage, having a storyboard would definitely help in planning every segment of your video. You can devote each segment to show the user interface of your app, the features, and benefits.
Important app preview guidelines
Apple is known to follow a strict approval process for each app submitted to the App Store. Even if you have the best app in the world, if it doesn’t meet their requirements or it violates their guidelines, your app may get rejected or you’ll receive stiff penalties if it is already live.
So, it pays a lot to stop and consider their guidelines when creating or modifying app previews.
Here are some of the most important guidelines you need to remember:
- Use appropriate videos – app previews are shown in various places in the App Store. Thus, it should be created with every audience in mind. This means that your app preview should be suitable for people as young as four years old.
- Use footage captured within the app – Apple doesn’t want you to be using videos taken outside of your app. For example, an over-the-shoulder angle of your app or a person tapping the screen won’t pass Apple’s requirements. You shouldn’t even use behind-the-scenes clips in the development of your app. In short, only show footage found inside your app.
- Use video elements you have permission to use. It is no secret that we must respect the intellectual properties of others. Thus, Apple would like you to avoid using protected content such as video clips, music, trademarked characters, and brands. If ever you need to use copyrighted materials, be sure to get the right legal permission.
- Be wholesome. Apple strongly discourages the use of profanity, objectionable content, violence, and adult themes in app previews.
- Be honest. Don’t try to mislead users in any way. Show only features that your app actually has.
- Add disclaimers as necessary. If your app includes features that can only be accessed through in-app purchases or subscriptions, you need to disclose it. A product disclosure statement can be done through the app video.
- Use gameplays. Show more gameplay in your app preview rather than cutscenes. Cutscenes are traditionally known to easily mislead people as they can give a false impression of the app.
Tips in using copy
As previously mentioned, Apple has changed their view with the use of copy. In the past, before the iOS 11 was released, they strongly discouraged the use of text in app store preview videos. That all changed with the introduction of muted autoplay.
Here are a few tips you should remember when adding copy to your app preview:
- Use copy to give context to your video clip.
- Choose your words carefully. Make sure that you avoid highfalutin words, jargon, and hard-to-understand words, terms, or languages.
- Your text should be easy to read. Give enough time for people to read it while the App Store plays your video.
- Use evergreen text. Avoid using copies that relate to specific times, dates, events, and seasons. Of course, you can do so if you intend to change your app previews regularly. But if you don’t have the luxury of time and money, use text that would always be relevant no matter what date or season it is shown.
- No need to add price or rates in your app preview. This information is already shown on your App Store page. Not only that but since app previews are seen across the globe, your rate may not be accurate or applicable to all territories.
- Copies can also be used as a disclaimer. You have the option to show it at the end of the video or within the video.
Tips in using audio
Now, we know that the App Store offers autoplay on mute.
This is the reason that your app preview should work with or without sound.
If a person doesn’t tap on your app video, then that’s okay because you know that seeing the visuals would already impress your potential user.
However, if ever a person taps into your app video, then that’s where your audio comes in.
When choosing audio, make sure you have the legal rights to use it on your app preview. Consider using audio from your app itself so people can easily relate your app preview to your app.
Aside from that, using one musical score throughout your app preview is encouraged to establish continuity. You can also use sound effects from your app to further give your user a feel of your app.
Just in case you want to use voiceover as your audio, make sure it is professionally made. Lest people may not take your app seriously. Without a great audio quality, your app can become dull and unimpressive.
Localize your app preview
There are more than 40 languages available in the App Store right now. Each of these languages gives you the unique opportunity to get exposed to various types of audiences.
Thankfully, app previews can give you the tools to reach more people in various territories or countries. Ever since the release of iOS 11, you can now create localized videos. This means you can target more accurately the people you want to target.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. Going local requires a lot of research. From choosing the right spoken and written words to suiting your app to the right culture, localization may take a lot of work. However, if done right, you can dramatically increase not just your app’s visibility, but also your revenue.
Test your app store preview videos
Like any other elements of your App Store page, you need to test out your video if it is really working or not. To tell you honestly, having an app preview will not automatically spell out success for you.
To be successful, in combination with other ASO best practices, you also need to have the best app preview.
However, how can you say it is the best? How can you say your app preview is working well? How can you measure your app preview’s success?
That’s where testing comes in. It allows you to quantify success and measure your progress.
There are different aspects of your video that you can test. Here are some of them:
- Test the content of your video. There are limitless ways to create your video. You just have to find the best combination of video elements.
- Test whether the presence of your video itself improves your app’s visibility and conversion rate. You can test the performance of your app by having no video, having one video, having two videos, and having three videos. This way you’ll know which variation would give you the best result.
- Test the sequence of your videos. If you have multiple videos, you shouldn’t randomly set which one should come first. You never know, a simple change in the order of your videos can lead to dramatic increases in your app downloads.
Testing your app video can be difficult if you’re just doing it manually. You need the best app store optimization (ASO) tool.
Metrikal allows you to gather relevant data in one place and helps you make data-driven decisions. With Metrikal, you can easily evaluate your app previews’ performance and improve your app’s overall ranking.
Achieve more with the right app store preview videos
You just read our ultimate guide to app store preview videos. You now have a better understanding of what app previews are, how they work, how to create them effectively, and how to drive more results with the right videos.
The next step you should take is to apply the things you learned from this post. So, go out there and produce the best app store preview video and see how your ranking will go up!
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