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Basic App Marketing Video Ingredients Indie Developers Overlook (Have You?)

Creating an app marketing video can be fun, but it can also bring up a lot of questions. One of the most common questions we get from people who have already created a video, is: What is my video missing?

So in order to help you include as many of the key ingredients of an effective app marketing video as possible…before you start video production, here are five essential elements of an effective app marketing video that we recommend you include.

Command Attention in the First 5 Seconds

There are basically two schools of thought on getting a viewer’s attention in an app marketing video. The first says:

“Grab the person’s attention as early as possible and lead with your best feature.”

The second says:

“Build curiosity, get the person interested and finish with a bang.”

Which one is better? Obviously nothing will work best all of the time.

But in general, we have found that it is best to capture the viewer’s attention as soon as possible, so they can decide if the app is for them, or not.

This means making the first 5 seconds as enticing as possible. It’s much like how news articles are written.

You don’t really need to read most of an article. The inverted pyramid (or summary news lead) structure in journalism gives you all the important facts at the beginning of a news article.
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From top to bottom, it goes:

  • Most newsworthy info: Who, what, when, where, why, how?
  • Important details
  • Other background information

This helps readers because they can decide if they really want to dig into the details of the story or move on.

Just like viewers on the app stores.

To put this another way, salespeople are taught to look for buying signals from prospects during the entire sales process. One common mistake is for an inexperienced salesperson to keep trying to “sell” a person, when the prospect has clearly already expressed interest in handing over her credit card.

At that point, the salesperson needs to shut up and graciously accept the customer’s money. If the salesperson keeps talking, he will probably talk himself out of a sale.

If you have ever had to sell anything, then you know what I mean.

It’s the same thing with an app marketing video. You need to give the viewer reasons to download…early and often.

Otherwise you may just talk yourself out of a sale.

Use Your Best Stuff

You might think that this is common sense, but it is anything but. There are two reasons that we believe that a developer might not put their best app footage into a marketing video.

First, since they have been been working on their app for so long, they can take the best parts of their app for granted. They may have forgotten how cool some of the features really are.

I’m sure that you have experienced this on some projects that you have worked on. Certain things become so common that you don’t think twice about them.

Second, they may have put so much time and energy into their app that they just want to get it out the door, so they can take a break. This is also understandable and especially true for indie app developers.

In either of these scenarios, it is helpful to talk to someone who has never seen your app before. Ask them what they are excited about when they first use your app.

When you get enough similar responses, you can be sure that you are including your best app footage in your video.  

Look Great on Mobile

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An app marketing video may look great on your desktop computer, but terrible on mobile. You want to get people excited about your app on mobile, so they download your app right away.

Again, this may seem like common sense now. But when you are in the process of making the best video possible, it can be easy to lose sight of this goal.

If people get excited about your app on a desktop computer, they may jump over to their mobile device and download it.

But that’s a big “maybe.”  

Have a Call-To-Action

Next, it can be easy to forget to tell people what you want them to do…download! One exception is the Apple App Store, where you cannot have a call-to-action.

But in every other case, you should remind people watching the video how to download your app. Here is an example that has both app store buttons at the end of the video.


You might want to have the voiceover person remind people to download your app. But if that isn’t your style, you should at least include a clearly visible app store download button.

Be sure to put this on your checklist.

Integrate Your Video Well on Your App Store Page

Once you are done with your video, there is one final step that you might overlook…a step that could make all of your previous work for not, if you don’t do this right.

In this example, we will look at App Preview videos on the Apple App Store. But this would apply to any app store that you create a preview video for.  

When publishing your video on the App Store, be sure that your poster frame and first screenshot complement each other. In other words, make sure they they both tell a compelling story.

Why should someone download your app? What are the two best features of your app?

If you want to encourage more people to watch your video, you could also use your first screenshot to “point” to your video. In this example, notice how the bull is subtly pointing to the play button.

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Since our natural inclination is the scroll to the right to see the next screenshot, having a visual cue that points back to the video can get people to stop and tap the play button.

Now, I don’t know anything about how well this particular video/screenshot combination converts. But this “pointing” technique is often used for banner ads and landing pages, to encourage readers to take a certain action.

Here is a stock template from the landing page library at LeadPages. Notice how the woman’s eyes focuses the reader’s attention on the opt-in box.

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There are way too many variables to say that one thing will work for everyone. But test these ideas and see what works best for your app.

A video/screenshot combination that tells a compelling story and encourages the viewer to learn more in your video can go a long way to improving your pageview to install rate.

Final Thoughts on Overlooked App Marketing Video Elements

Those are a few of the basic elements of an effective app marketing video that we advise our clients to include in their projects. If you are currently in the process of creating your own app promo video, keep these tips in mind.

We recommend having a checklist handy, before you start your video project, so you can be sure to include everything on the list.

Now go get some downloads!

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