Apple, for some reason, quite often seem to lag behind when it comes to the simple things. App previews have been available on Google Play and the Amazon App Store for some time now, and yet it is only with last month’s (somewhat dodgy) launch of iOS 8 that Apple has finally caught up with the pack. But hey, it’s here now, so it’s time for you to start thinking about how you can produce the very best ones possible.
There’s no doubt that the arrival of App Previews is great news for App developers and marketers. Video on the App Store means that you can advertise your new Apps with a lot more oomph and a lot greater clarity in terms of how your App functions than ever before. Screenshots can only tell a user so much, and even a beautifully written description can only ever give an impression of what the App might be like and why someone would find use out of it. But with a video preview you can make your new App shine as bright as can be, can show off all the features and functions, the UI, the colours, the fun and the magic.
So, you’ve got 30 seconds in which to create a conversion – what do you include?
Firstly, let’s quickly summarise some of what Apple advises on its website.
- App Previews are device specific, which means that you will need to create different Previews for iPhone and iPad.
- The Previews should comprise primarily (so that’s not to say entirely) of device-captured footage.
- A Preview should not look like an ad
- Are between 15 and 30 seconds long
Apple certainly has a very clear idea over what it wants from developers, and perhaps the most important thing to note from the bullets above is that your App Preview should not look like an ad.
A Preview Is Not An Advert
This is key. App Previews are not meant to be in-your-face commercials telling the viewer that they simply cannot live without this latest innovation in application technology. Rather, that they should simply display the core functionality and key features of your App. It’s a Preview of what users can expect to find upon purchase and download. It’s a taster, not an advert.
That of course, however, is not to say that your Preview won’t function as a sort of advertisement for your App – of course it will. But what Apple want (and it of course has to approve all Previews before allowing them to be published on the App Store) is for App shoppers to be able to get a better idea of the App itself, and not be brainwashed with a mind-twisting advertisement. So, you cannot, for example, produce some footage of someone flicking through their recipe books in their kitchen at home only to be uninspired by what they find as a means to promote your new cooking App. Rather, you must keep to the device-captured footage, and not compare your App to other Apps or anything else.
How To Create An App Preview
Apple have indeed been very kind to developers by including a very easy way to capture real-time footage from your device. You will need QuickTimePlayer on OS X Yosemite on a Mac, and of course iOS 8 on your device.
The process is simple. Once you’ve connected your device to your Mac using the Lightning connector, it’s simply a case of firing up the App and recording it in use.
Next, you edit the footage using whichever software you like – iMovie or Final Cut Pro X Apple recommend (perhaps unsurprisingly).
You will now want to overlay some audio. Again, as a means of reinforcing the functionality of your App, Apple recommend that you include the actual sound effects of your UI. Don’t just stop there, however. Choose some music to go with the Preview that captures the essence of the App – and make sure that you adhere to all licencing regulations if you’re not using a score that you’ve composed yourself especially for the Preview.
If using voiceover as a kind of walkthrough guide, then you must also make sure that the audio equipment that you use is of great quality, and your recordings contain no background noise. If going down this path then you might want to consider hiring an actor to perform the voiceover to ensure that professional feel. However, you only get to produce one of these in one language only, so a voiceover might not always be the best option if you want your App to be a global hit, so bear that in mind.
A Few Other Things To Consider
So those are the basics of putting your App Preview together to showcase your new creation to the world. I would say that it’s absolutely essential that you create a Preview for the App Store now that the option has finally become available, simply because if you don’t then you can bet your bottom dollar that your competitors will be. So, as well as all of the above advice, when you come to putting your Preview together, here are a few other things that you will need to take into consideration:
- Previews must be 4+ appropriate
- No violence, profanity or adult themes
- Ensure all text is legible and remains on screen long enough for users to be able to read it
- Avoid referencing specific times or seasons, such as ‘Coming This Summer!’
- Leave out pricing information in your Preview – the price is already displayed on the product page
- If your App requires a login or uses a subscription model, this should be made clear in the Preview
- If you decide to display features that are only available through In-App Purchases, then this must be made explicitly clear in the Preview
- Disclaimer copy can be included
Have fun making your previews. Make them fun, and keep them clear and simple.Image: Apptweak