10 tips for making great mobile app promo videos

Bloggers, reviewers and potential users watch promo videos or trailers to decide whether mobile apps deserve a second glance. Luckily you don’t need a big marketing department or huge budget to make memorable videos. Here are 10 tips for developers sitting in the director’s chair.

1. Keep it short

You’re asking people to invest time in watching your promo videos, and they’re generally willing to give you 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes. Of course, tutorials and demos can be a bit longer, but we still recommend breaking them up into topical 5-minute segments.

2. Keep it simple

Your promo video needs to answer two questions for users: What does your app do? Why should they download it? Delivering a clear, uncomplicated message beats fancy graphics and effects every time.

3. Focus on benefits, not features

Does your app help users save time? Avoid traffic? Put cute mustaches on photos of their pets? Spell it out, focusing on benefits to the user. For example, “Book a 4-star hotel in just 3 clicks” (user benefit) rather than “We’ve developed a revolutionary new way to book a hotel” (process/ feature). You may spend hours perfecting your interface, but users only really care about what’s in it for them.

4. Show, don’t tell

Skip extensive narration and things like loading screens, getting straight to the good stuff. It’s much easier for users to understand what your app does if they can see it in action. For example, show the path from search to booking a hotel room or your solo and multiplayer game experiences.

5. Be conversational

You’re making a promotional trailer, not writing your college admissions essays. When speaking on-camera, using voiceovers or writing captions, strike the right tone by imagining you’re explaining your app to family and non-developer friends.

6. Pay attention to production values

Some developers run their apps on simulators and record the experience while others find it easier to record device screens. If you’re doing the latter, invest in (or borrow) a good HD camera, pay attention to lighting to avoid glare and try a couple different angles to ensure you show the screen to its best advantage.

7. Tell people where to download your app

The last screen of your video should tell users where to download your app. We’re amazed at how many developers forget this step.

8. Plan it out

Reviewers will tune out if they sense you’re winging it, so take time to plan out a simple storyboard and script. They’ll keep your video focused and also ensure you have all the footage you need.

9. Optimize for search

Help people find your app trailer on YouTube by filling out all the descriptive fields when you upload your video.

10. Promote your video

Video is one of your most powerful marketing tools, giving you a huge opportunity to market your app and boost downloads. Attract viewers by linking to your trailer from your app store descriptions, press releases, website and any emails you send directly to bloggers and reviewers.

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