Who Should Produce Your App Store Preview Video?

Ian Griggs Ian Griggs | 21.6.20

With their ability to bring your app to life, demonstrate its flow, and get users excited about it, app store preview videos are one of the wisest investments you can make in your ASO. There are many ways to go about creating one, from doing it in-house with free online tools to using a professional video production company, so there really is no excuse not to have one.  Regardless of which direction you choose to go, either in-house or with a full-service video production company like Clutch, the following are the key factors to consider when making the choice of who to create your app store preview video.

Writing For The Small Screen

It may be a video production company, but well before you get to the visuals it’s all about the writing.  With only half a minute to work with maximum, and the average attention span less than that, your video must be written in a way that tells its story in a compelling way in virtually five seconds or less.  In other words, it needs to be as light on fluff and tight as possible.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It’s also important that the writer of your app store preview video be experienced in writing for that particular medium.  Just like writing for blogs and banner advertisements differs, the same can be said for app store preview videos.  This is because of the various nuances in the rules and guidelines for each app store.  

For example, Apple is extremely strict about the content of app store preview videos and requires it only contains footage found in the app.  If the video your production company delivers is of a promotional nature it will not be approved.  Thus, all that time and money you’ve invested in your production company will be for naught should that be the asset you receive from them in the end.

Video in Portrait Orientation

On the other hand, Google is much less restrictive when it comes to their preview videos, especially when it comes to giving them a more “salesy” flair.  Consequently, in order to capitalize on this opportunity, it’s important that your production company’s writer has either advertising and marketing writing experience, especially when Google is giving you the chance to make it exactly that! 

Lastly, it’s important that the production company’s writing talent is a wellspring of creativity and not just a one-trick pony.  You may have a good idea of what type of video will resonate with your audience, but until it’s put into action you won’t know for sure.  For that reason, it’s important to A/B test with several video variations, and in order to do that, you’ll need more than one video concept to compare it against.

The Ability To Meet Your Video Needs

Any video production company can create a 30-second “teaser,” but preview videos are specialized and require an “app expert” touch.  This requires being able to show the benefits of the app in an eye-catching way.  Therefore, your video’s producers must have a strong understanding of what makes for a good UI, and thus what parts of it should be placed front and center when presenting it.  It’s one thing to tell your audience what your app can do, but it’s no comparison to the impact of actually showing them.

Additionally, not all preview videos are created equal, and that is certainly the case when it comes to apps in the Google Play Store. It’s less restrictive guidelines when it comes to frame size and orientation provide app publishers with the opportunity to mix and match in their gallery.  This is particularly helpful for gaming apps who want to display their still-image screenshots in portrait view in order to encourage scrolling, while displaying their video in landscape – the way in which gameplay is most commonly presented.  That said, what works for one type of app doesn’t always hold true for another, which is yet another one of the values of working with an experienced app preview video production company.

Video in Landscape Orientation

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

– Jan van de Snepscheut

It’s one thing for a video production company to know how to tell a story visually, but being able to deliver on that promise is quite another.  Moreover, it’s incredibly hard to make a splash with a cutting-edge preview without a mastery of the technology utilized in today’s video making.  From two dimensional animation to 3D effects, the video production medium is an ever-changing one, meaning more than just a familiarity with the latest style and trends is an absolute necessity. 

Track Record

Beyond the creative and technical skills required to produce an amazing app store video there’s another factor that must be taken into consideration, your production company’s track record and their ability to execute.  Before turning the keys to your vision over for it to be brought to life you must be sure they’re up for the task.  

First things first, ask for references from past clients.  Unlike financial investments, when it comes to video production, past performance is usually indicative of future results. These should be easy to procure and the company should be happy to provide them assuming they don’t have something to hide.  Perhaps, the production company is new and has not had a chance to work with anyone yet, and while everyone needs that first shot in order to break into the industry, think long and hard about whether you want to be their maiden voyage.

Now, as helpful as hearing from their past clients is, “seeing really is believing” when it comes to the quality you can expect to receive.  Here is where past work samples come into the picture.  The company’s “showreel” or “sizzle reel,” is a great place to start, and if a company doesn’t have one, well that’s a red flag.  Assuming they do, besides all the fancy effects, pay close attention to what’s actually on it.  Do they have experience producing app store videos? If so, what do they look like?  Also, find out which of the samples are from paying clients.  Videos made on spec are a great way for a company to show off its talent, but won’t give you any sense of their actual experience. 

Final Thoughts

With only a limited amount of time and strict guidelines to follow, creating an app store video is its own distinct creature.  Having a writer who can generate multiple concepts to A/B test is absolutely a key to success, and one with marketing or advertising experience can give you a significant advantage.  Constantly evolving technology and styles requires a company with its finger on the pulse of trends if you want to make a splash.  Plus, with app store video guidelines constantly changing, not being up-to-date on their parameters can be a real-time and budget waster.  It may seem trivial to put a price on years of app store video production experience, but a lack of it will more likely than not result in a costly expense.  While not many one-stop shops can bring all that to the table, at Moburst’s full-service video production and design studio, Clutch, we’re always up for the challenge.

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