App Preview Guide: Convince Users to Download Your App in 30 Seconds
Your 30-second opportunity to persuade consumers to download your app is an App Preview. Done correct, in your app’s arsenal, it can be the most effective user conversion tool. However, crafting an App Preview can be more challenging for certain individuals than designing the app itself.
We understand first-hand just how complicated an App Preview can be. Back in 2009, at the very beginning of app stores, our team at Savvy began developing applications. We have seen the growth of app stores since then, providing more opportunities for app developers to sell their products. We regularly help our customers think about their App Previews, and hope to extend the same awareness to you with this resource. Follow along as we use the App Store’s latest Jellies App Preview as well as our previous experience to address:
- Crafting a good tale (in 30 seconds)
- Structuring your story with an AV script
- Create your process of production
- Aligning your video with the brand and style of your app
- Having the app stand out from the audience
You’ll have a clear idea of how to step on with your own App Preview when you finish reading,
What is an App Preview, Really?
An App Preview is a 30-second video inside your app that gives users a sneak peek. It lets them decide if before committing to an installation, your app is indeed the one they want. Your App Preview does this at a simple level by:
- Introducing your brand of app
- Give visitors an idea of how the user interface operates
- Providing a description of the key features and principles of your app
Take a look at the App Preview we recently created for Jellies, for example.
Jellies, at its simplest, is a video app for children. From the App Preview video, you can see that. Hopefully, however from the video, you get the impression that Jellies is far more than that as well. That leads to the center of this exercise, and why many app developers find it so difficult. Your App Preview needs to go beyond communicating what your application is and does in order to persuade visitors to commit to a download.
A good Product Preview tells the app’s story through:
- Eliciting emotions and creating tension in the audience
- Transmitting the importance of your app and why it is suitable for the consumer
- Showing the visitor how and what your app can do.
Your Product Demo is always the first thing a user can see about your app, so it’s your first chance to make a good impression. The perfect first impression depends on creating an innovative, entertaining video that catches and holds the attention of your audience and shows them precisely how your app is a solution to their needs. But how can you be sure that the story you want them to hear is being told? How should you go about this story being told? And finally, how can you ensure that your first impression becomes an audience-to-user conversion?
Do I need an App Preview? In technical words, no. With just screenshots, you can apply your App Store listing. But it would be a disservice to your app to do so. With not only one Product Preview, but three, more and more apps are releasing. Users are getting more used to seeing videos in listings in the App Store and are becoming more focused on using them to assess the value of an app.
How to Tell Your App’s Story in an App Preview
30 seconds is not a long time to convince the world why your app is great. In such a short video, telling a simple story depends on how well you understand the value of your app and how through a good story structure you express that.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR CORE VALUE PROPOSITIONS
After seeing your Product Demo, it’s important that your audience comes away knowing why your app is valuable and special. We first made a list of what we thought were the most relevant features to highlight and value propositions to share to hone in on the value for our Jellies App Preview.
The quality of videos (not only what we add, but what we eliminate: unboxing, kid celebrities, toy play), the protection of the app, the ease of use for parents, among many others, are some of our biggest values for Jellies users. We also recognize that endorsements from media sources such as TechCrunch and safety certifications mean a lot to consumers of Jellies.
We then further prioritized the ones will make it into the App Preview until we outlined the key value propositions for Jellies. Based on their critical significance, how entertaining they are and how easy they are to visually comprehend through our user interface, we selected value props. Looking at all of these elements made it easier for us to concentrate on the most important stuff in our App Preview. Prioritizing your messages guarantees that you tell your prospective users the right story.
Don’t be afraid to leave some of the smaller value propositions of your app out, especially if they are more complicated to explain or not visually engaging. An App Preview is like a film’s trailer, it doesn’t have to tell the viewer about every point of the film’s story, it just needs to get them excited enough to see it. Or download the app, in our case.
STEP 2: FIND OPPORTUNITIES TO ALIGN VISUALS AND VALUE PROPS
You not only need to explain to consumers the value your app brings, you need to give them a sense of how the app functions. The easiest way to do this, due to the 30-second time limit, is to find ways to do both at the same time.
To do this, take your list of core value propositions and compare them with the features of your app to find compatibility or reinforcing points. These alignment points reflect some of the best stories in the App Preview to concentrate on. Not only do they display that the user experience perfectly represents the intended intent, they are visually symbolic of how the value would be obtained by your customer.
When we did this, we found that it would be better to express certain value propositions in the 30-second App Preview than others. For instance, since Jellies is a video platform, we understood that the variety and quality of the videos we curate and provide to our users was a large part of the value of Jellies. It was important for us that this concern be front and center.
Thankfully, just showing clips of some of the amazing videos in the app was a matter of communicating the variety and quality of videos in the App Preview. We were able to take this a step further however. We leveraged our in-app footage to tell the tale of how a user could pass through the app and see certain videos instead of only sharing various video clips.
You don’t see just a random video of hot air balloons in the illustration to the left. Instead, you fly through the Ages 2 and up group from the Jellies main screen, tap the Hot Air Balloons topic, see the informative topic screen, then experience the video. This shows the audience how if they activated the app, they could travel through the Jellies interface and what their experience would be like.
For some of the other value propositions, it wasn’t as straight forward. We quickly ran into an obstacle as we worked through our list of core value props. We thought that with user interface video, sharing Jellies’ accolades (TechCrunch, WSJ, KidSAFE) was not possible. While these accolades are definitely important to us and our customers, inside the Jellies app there is no mention of them. Instead we had to figure out how to portray them in a way that suited the rest of the video’s vision.
In order to not only share the value proposition, but also enhance the reasons why Jellies stands out among other children’s video apps, we decided to combine the accolades with some exceptional footage from our curated videos. Doing so helped us, while still telling a compelling part of the Jellies tale, to remain productive with the time we had available. In the example to the right, see what we did.
STEP 3: STRUCTURE YOUR STORY
It is helpful to set out these objects in order after identifying the most relevant value props and aligned visuals, and shift them around until they make sense in context. We used a diagram, for example, to map out our Jellies App Preview concepts.
Try to keep things straightforward when setting out the ideas. For any video, the story structure is important, but only because it helps you to plan out what you want to say before actually spending time saying it. It is only useful to use post-its or some other model if you don’t start “doing the job” until you “know where you are going.” If you find yourself tempted to begin writing” before outlining, take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts so you don’t forget them, but note that a model of structure is just like an airplane model. It is nowhere near as difficult or as big as an actual aircraft, and it was never supposed to be.
You will find that you do not have enough time to say the story you want because the App Preview is so brief. Go back to your system, if that’s the case. Instead of trying to shorten individual beats, see which ones you can fully merge or omit. In my view, getting a shorter but simpler tale is always better than one that is longer but confusing. So cut something you find you can’t transmit in less time than you have at your disposal.
STEP 4: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER IN AN AV SCRIPT
We wrote an Audio Visual (AV) script from our structural outline. An AV script is an established, commonly used industry tool that even if you’ve never seen one before, is simpler to read than a conventional screenplay and easy to understand. We use it to map out not only what we want the viewer to see and hear in the App Preview from moment to moment, but also how they move from one moment to the next.
An AV script helps ensure clear communication between team members about the App Preview, which is particularly useful when recruiting technical support. In your App Overview, it reliably records timing, shot numbers, notes, and adjustments to all the moving pieces. What’s more, identifying where audio and visual elements intersect is a simple way. Making sure everybody knows what to expect avoids time-consuming and expensive miscommunication between all components and iterations of your App Preview.
We built a bonus AV script template to get you started, which you can use to prepare your App Preview. To download the instructions and the prototype in your preferred file format, click the link below to (.docx, .pages, .pdf).
How to Make Your App Preview Stand Out
Take a moment to consider how to make your preview stand out from the crowd, until you know what story you want to say and how to tell it.
LEARN FROM EXAMPLE
Reviewing other videos and finding those that you want is one perfect way to enhance your App Preview. Don’t limit yourself to the direct competitors of your app. Across all divisions of the App Store, there is a lot to learn from common apps. Among some of our favourites are:
- Waze: With in-app video, this app preview clearly tells a single user story. Its titles reflect the application’s playful and fun art style.
- Actions by Moleskine: While extremely basic, this preview does a fantastic job of explaining what the app is and can do. The titles are plain text, white over black, and just like the game, the transitions are uninflected and simple. This App Preview tries to get out of the way of a user while communicating how the app makes it a painless and easy process to remain organized and efficient.
- Calm: This App Preview highlights their app’s user interface while emphasizing key points with titles close to their app experience. The preview video, as a whole, feels “calming.” This aligns with their primary value proposition, offering meditation and other app components with a calming user interface.
USE VISUAL ELEMENTS TO SUPPORT YOUR STORY
Decide how the narrative of your app and your users can contribute to your visual elements. It was crucial to us for instance, that the Jellies App Preview represented the feel of the actual app. Since discovery and fun are major themes in Jellies, in our backgrounds, text, transitions, video clip collection, and app footage, we have based our artistic efforts on evoking those feelings.
Backgrounds, text, and transitions: When they watched the App Demo, we tried to make our viewers feel like they were going on a short journey. We used movement in our text, video, and visual elements to ignite the feeling of momentum, to make them feel like they were along for the ride.
Clip selection: Jellies provides thousands of videos on hundreds of subjects. Although this suggests that we could have chosen footage of almost anything, we opted to concentrate on clips that promoted imaginative play and discovery of the real world.
App footage: Instead of showcasing individual features, we chose footage that imitated the way a user would navigate through the actual app. This strengthened our philosophy of taking the audience through the app experience on a journey. Our editors concentrated on developing a flow that made sense to our audience and encouraged them to install the app to explore it more instead of jumping from Jellies’ timer feature, to Kids Mode, to Parents Mode in a disorganized and unintuitive manner.
We have used the same Jellies blue gradient that exists in the app, the website, and other Jellies promotional materials in our style frames for the Jellies App Preview. We also made sure we were using the main font of the Jellies. The textures of the background bubble or bokeh were more of an abstract element influenced by Jellies brand elements.
To consider applying similar touches to your App Preview, try mocking up various looks with style frames. Select key moments from your story to “freeze” and visually design to establish a style structure. I think of these moments as the places where the video stops.” It’s far easier to fill in what goes between them in your App Preview once you’ve picked a few styles or “key frames. Remember to reference the structure of your script and story to make sure that the moments you pick are the best and most impactful.
Sergio, a MavenDigital blogger, frequently discusses application design & creation and the future of technology at outlets ranging from Bloomberg TV to Google TV.He currently works as Fingentent’s mobile app development in dubai.