Video-App-StoreThe addition of app previews, or short videos, in the Apple iOS 8 App Store is a huge opportunity to give potential customers a taste of your app before they download it.

Video previews will display as the very first ‘screenshot’ on your app’s page and can be up to 30 seconds long. So rather than relying on short blurbs of text, bullets and a few screenshots you can tell the story of your app, what it does and why the end user would want to download it.

Apple specifies that they want the majority of the video to be focused on the user interface. To assist with this, Apple also added a way in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite for on screen video capture. This is a great tool, but doesn’t tell the story of most apps completely. What it leaves out is the user. The problem with direct screen capture is it can be difficult to follow because you don’t see the user interaction, for instance, where screen taps are occurring or swiping from left to right for the app to perform an action. To truly show the benefit to the user, you need to “include” the user interacting with the interface while still focusing on highlighting the app interface. While Apple advises “not to film people interacting with the device (such as over-the-shoulder angles or fingers tapping the screen)”, a good producer can help achieve “interaction” while staying true to Apple’s guidelines.

Apple recommends “telling a cohesive story so that users get a sense of the journey they will experience when using your app.” In other words: it’s not an ad, don’t treat it like one. Obviously your goal is to convince viewers of your app in the store to download it. So while it shouldn’t look like an ad, you still need to tell that story and “sell” the viewer on why they should download your app. You just need to explain the benefits of what your app does in a non salesy way. You need to focus on the features and functions of your app that solve WIIFM or “What’s In It For Me”.

Because of how short and focused the video is, you also don’t need to include a logo or “intro” either at the beginning or end of the video. The user is already on the app page, so you don’t need to waste time introducing the app or ending with a branding statement. They are already on the page and have at least shown enough interest in the app to watch the video, so keep that video focused on the benefits of the app.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while it is acceptable to show some onscreen text, it is not recommended because the App Store is global and on screen text cannot be translated or localized. It’s a better idea to focus more of your time on the user interface of the app and keep it simple, elegant and intuitive.

A good frame of reference with your App Preview video is to think like Apple. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, if it isn’t highlighting what an elegant interface it is, if it isn’t showing how it makes the user’s life simpler – remove it from the App Preview video.

Using App Previews, you’ve never had a better opportunity than now to tell the story of your app and engage viewers in the Apple iOS App Store. There are over 1.2 million apps available in the iOS App Store, take advantage of App Previews to truly make your app stand out from the crowd.



Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts