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Top mobile app video tricks that pros use

She LOVED the video

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I have had my share of successes and failures when it comes to App videos. App videos are a tricky business. Get them right and they look just brilliant. Get them wrong, and you’re left with a shoddy looking app that users will turn their noses up at. Discussed here are a few key tricks worth taking note of when it comes to creating an app video, all broken down into the four key elements: Purpose, Concept, Content and Production.


Think long and hard about what you’re making this video for. Is it for an advert? Is it to create brand awareness? Is it for training? Is it an app preview (the most common type of app video)? Any of these are fine, but the point is that different video types require different approaches (video length, production source and price). An advert will be very short and sweet. An app demo will be considerably longer. Adjust your budget and time schedule according to the purpose of the video.
App preview in the Google Play store
App preview in the Google Play store

Completely off topic, BUT… Want some free stuff?In-post_option_8Concept

Gain inspiration for the concept of your app video by looking around at your competitors and other similar apps. Check out their YouTube channels and find the app videos that got the most hits. Listen to your friends when they talk about videos, and understand the kind of concepts they liked. Conduct thorough research online to see which app videos have been making waves. All this information will lead you to a concept that’s right for your own app video.

Competitors YouTube channel.
Check out your competitors YouTube channels


Your video should be mostly comprised of app captures, but try to integrate motion graphics, text, voiceover, music, highlights, your brand logo, your app icon, and a tagline where possible, as well as a Call to action at the end.

The key thing to remember with app videos is that they need to be short and to the point. Studies show that viewers tend to lose their patience after around 60 seconds. Make sure the essence of the app is conveyed in the first 20-30 seconds, or you’ll simply bore the viewer – no matter how glossy your video may be. We’re an impatient species with a short attention span, especially nowadays. 

Focus on 2 or 3 of your best features, and pack them into the opening 20-30 seconds of your video (especially if the video auto-plays and you want users to keep watching it). This is the point where you’ll have the viewer’s attention.

app preview - Audience Engagement GraphVistia

Remember that an endless list of features will baffle viewers. Instead, make sure you convey your app’s benefits in the context of your users’ lives. Show users what your app will allow them to achieve. This TripAdvisor app video is a great example; it clearly states how users will be able to book their dream holiday using the TripAdvisor app.

Tripadvisor's app Video example

Some other content tips:

  • App previews can’t be localized – keep that in mind when you do the voiceover and text callouts. Don’t be too generous or overly sophisticated with those.
  • Make sure to include an overlay that says: “requires in-app purchase” when you show something that requires an in-app purchase
  • Write a script and sketch it on a storyboard. If it’s a short video (let’s say around 30 sec), don’t use a lot of words. Around 70 words should be ok.


When it comes to the process of production for your app video, you have three main options:

  • Companies that specialize in app demo videos such as Apptamin (mid–range prices).
  • Online market places for service providers such as Vidme (low prices).
  • DIY automated solutions (free or very low prices) such as go animate. These are only recommended if you have a really simple video in mind, or if you know your way around the production process.

Pricing – The cheaper the price is, the more work you’ll end up doing by yourself (naturally), so if you choose the less pricy options, be prepared to pay in time. Vidme is a good option, but keep in mind that finding the right service provider will take you more time than you can imagine. Also, if your app is a complicated one, you’ll want the production to really understand it in order to produce a simple, easy to digest video.  This will require quite a lot of hours for the production team to spend with your product team. In that case, cost effective options, which are usually not that personal, are probably not the best way to go.

The prices for production companies in the western part of the world varies according to the type of video and its length. A 30 sec. video with no live footage can cost us around 600$. We’ve done a 2 min video for around 2000$. But the prices can reach thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It all depends on the production company, the type of video and its length.

Timeline – Creating a quality app preview video takes around a month and a half from the kickoff meeting. Just think of all the back and forth needed around the script and the storyboard. If it’s just a simple short ad video, than 2 weeks is a reasonable time.

Finding the right production company – There are a lot of great ones out there. You can follow my lead and check out app videos you liked and ask them for a reference.  Consider the location of the production company since you may want to hold F2F meetings to show demos, share storyboards ideas and so on.

If you’re working with a production company, a couple of other key requests to consider are:

  • Asking for a short version of the video (20-30 sec) so that you can use it for other purposes such as video ads.
  • Asking for various video formats (such as MP4 and WMV and AVI) and different sizes, so you’ll be able to use the video in different ways.
  • Asking for the videos to be in open files – allowing for simpler modification later on, with other cheaper, providers if needed.

Saving the best app video tricks for last…

Here are some tricks I found especially useful:

  • To save a little cash while making an impressive wow effect for your video, try creating a live shot feeling by using static imagery and animating it. Check out this Drupe app video and you’ll see just what we’re talking about.

drupe app - Animated app video example

  • A great way to test your video and understand what your audience thinks of it, is using Facebook ads, because Facebook provides great targeting options and analytics.  

Final words

App videos can be a real asset if done right. You’ll end up using your app video for ads, store previews, PR pitches and all sort of other materials. Indeed, there is a lot to know in order to get it right. Making a great app video, one that captures the essence of the app, but is not long and tedious, is a challenge, no doubt – but it is also an enormous fun and totally worth it in the long run! Hope this article helped taking you a step further in the process. Feel free to share some great app videos in the comments field!

Renana is Product Marketing manager. She has years of experience in the digital marketing world, offering specific expertise in product marketing, content, UX, social media and more
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