Apple's App Store first launched more than nine years ago, and since then, it's grown to become one of the most popular ways for app developers to be seen and earn downloads. Today, with more than 2 million apps listed and tens to hundreds of millions of users worldwide, if you can get your app trending, or at least make it appealing on the App Store, you have a serious chance of becoming successful.
In September, Apple released a completely redesigned version of its signature App Store, as part of its new iOS 11 operating system package. Originally previewed in June, the design is meant to improve app discovery with new features like:
- The separation of apps and games.
- More editorial content.
- Daily refreshed features like the "App of the Day."
One of the most notable new features for entrepreneurs and developers is the fact that app preview videos, which showcase how your app is designed to work, now auto-play. This breakthrough has huge potential for app marketers, who are now scrambling to make the best possible video they can.
Agencies that specialize in video creation are recognizing the opportunity to help marketers take advantage of the new feature, as well. One such example of an app preview video can be seen here, created by LNC Productions for Audible, a popular app for listening to audiobooks. I spoke with Eddie Nuvakhov, a co-founder of LNC Productions, who told me:
"This is a completely new category of video that has its own needs, its own rules, and its best practices in order for it to be effective. This video is a touchpoint with your potential consumers -- it shouldn't just be a screen recording of your app, it should be taken as an opportunity to represent your brand in the best light possible! There is a great business opportunity here, because brands struggle everyday to stand out in markets as saturated as the app store."
Why a Preview Video Is So Important
The App Store has always allowed many ways to explain what your app is like, including preview images, text descriptions, and reviews, so why are preview videos such a massive step forward?
- Instant first impressions. First, the autoplaying functionality of app videos means you'll have a chance to make an instant first impression--and sometimes, with users who otherwise might not notice you. The App Store was redesigned with discoverability in mind, so apps like yours could be found more easily--but you still only have one shot to grab a user's attention.
- Video demand. Users are getting used to relying on videos to make their purchasing decisions; even back in 2013, 57 percent of consumers said that product videos made them more confident in their purchases. With more consumers relying on video to make their decisions, this is a perfect opportunity to show off your product.
- Differentiation. Not all apps in the App Store will have videos, and users will gravitate toward apps that have them. Merely offering a video can help you stand out, and if your video is high-quality and original, you'll stand out even more.
- Conversion rate impact. According to AB tests by StoreMaven, apps with app preview videos tend to get 20 percent more conversions in the Apple App Store, and 35 percent more on Google Play. With the right video, those conversion rates could skyrocket even further.
- User experience. The human brain processes images and visual information up to 60,000 times faster than text, since 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. That makes app videos the perfect opportunity to show off the average user experience when interacting with your app.
- Competition. If you don't include a video for your app soon, you may fall behind the competition. A whopping 9 out of 10 digital marketers already include video in their mobile marketing plans, and with the App Store's new format, you can bet your competitors will soon be scrambling to create and showcase the best video for their apps.
What Makes a Successful Preview Video
Now let's take a look at what makes a successful preview video. What exactly do you need to do to make your app more successful in the App Store?
- Take advantage of the format. The new App Store allows you to upload up to 3 30-second video clips showcasing your app, so make sure to take full advantage of those slots. If you don't, you're wasting the opportunity.
- Prioritize quality. This isn't a video you can scrap together last-minute. If you want users to get the full picture of how your app works, wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing package, you need to work with a professional. The higher-quality your video is, the more impactful it's going to be.
- Work for muted and non-muted audiences. Many users will have their phones on mute while interacting with the App Store, so it's important to have a video that can be interpreted without sound. However, it's still important to have high sound quality for users with sound, so you need a video that works in both formats. According to David Levy, co-founder and Director at LNC Productions, "This type of video really shows that you need to be intentional in crafting your videos -- the two most important things to keep in mind are that, unlike your typical marketing video, videos in the app store not only autoplay, but autoplay while muted. Most people will be consuming your video without sound, at least for the first few seconds before they turn it on. This means you have to craft a video that plays perfectly both with sound and without, to ensure that you can communicate your message without the need of audio. On the other hand, you also have to make sure that when a user turns up the volume, the soundtrack is pristine and works perfectly with your video."
- Show off your best features. You want users to be excited about the opportunity to interact with your app, so make sure to show off the best and most innovative features you offer.
- Hit audiences within the first few seconds. Since videos auto-play and most users will be scrolling almost infinitely, you need to grab your audience's attention in the first few seconds of the video. Hit them with something surprising, something visually striking, or something completely original.
The new App Store offers a wealth of opportunities for developers and marketers alike. If your video is original, true to your brand, and instantly appealing enough to capture your audience's interest, you could quickly start dominating the competition.