What You Need to Know About iOS 8 App Store Video Previews

Apple announced the long awaited debut of App Store video previews at the Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday. Rumors about videos accompanying App Store listings have been swirling since last year after it was discovered that Clumsy Ninja had one in the UK Store. While Apple hasn’t announced when developers will be able to begin publishing trailers, it’s best to begin preparing now.

For Android developers, the idea of an App Store video trailer is nothing new. Google Play has long allowed them with their app listings; however, their reasoning made since due to their ownership of YouTube. Google actually rewards developers who use video trailers through improved search ranking. How much is unclear. With Apple consistently tweaking their search algorithm, my guess is they’ll do the same. That means video trailers need to be another factor in your iOS 8 App Store optimization strategy.

A great app trailer video is short enough to convey what your product does, while also providing a sense of excitement. Even if your video is 15 seconds long, within the first three or four, someone will have made up their mind whether they’re interested in downloading or not. On one hand, a screencapture trailer using Xcode Simulator isn’t going to cut it, even though it’s the most cost effective. On the other, the video preview will take up the entire screen so it can give users a glimpse at what the app looks like on their device.

If you’re invested in creating a great app that generates buzz, take the time and some of your marketing dollars to produce a video trailer that tells potential users why to download your product instead of how it works. Screenshots already do the sales job on what your app looks like and what it can do, but it’s hard to convey the “why” with them. That’s where the App Store video trailer comes in.

The most important tip I can provide you is to remember your audience. What I mean there is you’re largely targeting potential downloaders who are browsing on their mobile device. A song can take your trailer to a new level, but it needs to go hand-in-hand with what’s appearing on screen. Your video trailer needs to make sense with or without the audio on. Make sure your video content is clear and understandable even if the guy on the bus is browsing for a new app while standing on a crowded bus.

With iTunes Connect Analytics landing in developer’s hands in the coming months, we’ll be able to see how many page views our App Store listings receive. Video trailers will now be another component of that to evaluate as we optimize conversion. It would be great to get metrics on how many video plays there are, but I don’t foresee that being in the initial rollout of the tool.

Many of the details surrounding App Store video previews are still unknown (as detailed below), including whether they’ll be viewable in portrait and landscape, if they’ll replace a screenshot or be in addition to, and if they’ll be included in search results or just within an app’s listing page. The fact that Apple is taking this step to appease developers tells me they’re listening. From my dealings with them, I know they are.

What We Know

  • Previews will be playable from within an app’s listing
  • Previews will appear alongside static screenshots
  • Previews will take up the entire screen when played

What We Don’t Know

  • What the aspect ratio, file size and time length threshold is
  • If preview in landscape format will be allowed
  • Will developers be able to decide which screenshot slot the video appears
  • If trailers will be playable from search results or only within an app’s listing
  • Will the video replace a screenshot or be in addition to it
  • If trailer views will be part of Apple’s new iTunes Connect Analytics tool
  • Will including a video in listing improve search ranking

Do you plan on making an App Store video trailer? What do you think makes a great video trailer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.