Save your seat for Streaming Media NYC this May. Register Now!

How to Create a Video Preview for Your Mobile App Listing

Using video in your app store listings can significantly help you win users according to a study by Tune, a company that provides mobile analytics for marketers. Apps that use video get higher ratings and rankings. Most app store listings use a series of screen captures to show potential users the app's features. "About a year ago, both stores began to support the use of video in their listings," says John Koetsier, mobile economist for Tune. "So far only 7 to 10 percent of apps are doing this." Since there are currently 4.2 million apps out there, using video in your listing can help if not make you the life of the party, at least get you invited to the affair.

appvideo1Video lets users see how apps works without first having to download and install them. Essentially, buyers get a full-fledged preview, understanding the app's value proposition and general features or gameplay. With video previews, users tend to be happier with their choices. The awareness of what they're getting leads to more affinity for the app.

Tune looked at the top-ranked apps in both stores. "I have a large data set on the top 50,000 apps on iOS and Android," Koetsier says. He studied the leading apps, paid and free, in each category. "I wanted to see what makes the differences between being 250th and being number 1 in terms of downloads and installs."

Koetsier found a significant difference in ratings for apps with a video and those without. The average rating for apps with a video is 4.24 stars, vs. 3.81 stars for those without a video. Star ratings impact how apps are ranked and listed. According to Tune's study, moving up in the rankings matters. Rising from 150 to 15 is enormous in terms of download velocity—easily providing a 10x to 100x boost. Velocity is a measure of how often an app is downloaded.

The top three things consumers look at in an app listing are the rating, description, and appearance. The most important thing, according to Tune, is the rating, with the description coming in second, and the description (which can include a video) coming third.

"If you pass through the first filter because you had decent ratings and reviews, and then you pass through the second filter of being interesting, the question people are asking at that point is what would it be like to have this app?" Koetseir says. "What would it be like to use this app? Is it something I can see myself doing?"

Being able to visualize themselves using an app helps move someone from a browser to a customer. Veed.me says 52 percent of the top-grossing apps in the App Store and 84 percent of the top-grossing apps on Google Play have videos. StoreMaven says app videos increase conversions by 20 percent in the App Store, and 35 percent on Google Play.

appvideo2Both app stores suggest video is a great way to show features, but Apple thinks less is more: Its video clips are limited to 30 seconds. Creators can upload an app preview only when the app is in an editable state or when submitting a new version.

The Google Play store is more flexible: Its suggests videos should be between 30 seconds and 2 minutes in length and hosted on YouTube.

If video helps apps rank higher in both browse and search, and also helps increase conversion rate, why do so few developers use it?

One developer said the problem is apps change frequently, so videos can become out-of-date. But consider that the user is paying less attention to the interface than the overall experience and feature set.

What works for app store videos? Look to the Waze app, says Koetsier. "You really, really quickly need to get to actual app experience. In 2 to 3 seconds you have the core app selling point, which is—in this app's case—the fastest driving route. Then, in 10 seconds, you know why it works, you have some proof of concept, millions of users are using it. The rest of the time you're explaining why it's worth going beyond [their competitors]."

So, no sales pitch, no drawn out animated logos, just a quick overview of how the app works. We tried to do this for the Streaming Media Magazine App. Here's a quick how-to based on that:


Use a Mac running OS X Yosemite or newer, any video editing software, and an iOS device with iOS 8 or later. Connect the iOS device to the Mac using a USB cable. Launch QuickTime Player to record the app interaction. Choose new movie recording and set the camera and microphone inputs to the iOS device.

Pick one orientation for the screen capture. Next, record footage from your app using QuickTime. Apple requires developers to submit different videos for each device, so capture screen details for all supported devices.

Take the raw app video footage and bring it into a video editing program. iMovie and other applications have a setting under the file menu called App Preview. According to Apple developer notes, iMovie exports the final video at the correct resolution.


There are a few different approaches possible fro Android. One popular application is AZ Screen Recorder - No Root which lets developers take app screen captures. It requires Android 5.0 or newer. Or, try Mobize, which requires Android 4.2 or newer. Bring content into a video editor. Since Android allows for longer video length, be a bit more indulgent but remember that less is more. Since Google Play content can be viewed on both a desktop and a mobile device, be sure the imagery is clear on a smaller screens.

Android developers host video via YouTube, and the developer notes identify placing in the promo video field an individual video's full YouTube video link (for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yourvideoid). They do want you to use a shortened link.

Points to Remember

  1. Show your key selling points in the first seconds.

  2. Within first 10 seconds show why your app is trustworthy

  3. In the remaining time show the user experience

  4. Use audio, if possible. Here, video plays with the audio on.

  5. Tweak the poster image if the default picture isn't strong.

  6. Create videos for each device, if needed. Apple allows publishers to submit multiple video files.

  7. Show the video to people unfamiliar with the app and get their feedback.

What Not to Do

  1. Don't show people using the app. Stick to the interface.

  2. Don't include a long introduction. The video has seconds to capture someone's attention. Don't even start with a company logo.

  3. Don't use small on-screen text. Keep it large and readable.

Creating an app preview video is a quick and easy way to boost visibility. It's a great use of time for any app developer, and really helps an app stand out from the other 4.2 million apps trying to get users' attention.

Nadine Krefetz's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Companies and Suppliers Mentioned