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App Preview Videos: Should you make one?

App Preview videos have been around for a long time on Google Play, while Apple took their time and introduced them with iOS 8.

Not being a video guy myself I wondered if they are worthwhile. They can be time consuming as well as costly to create.

I dug into what the top developers do, other people’s experiences and a bunch of research by others to find the answer.

app preview - clash of clans screenshot

What the pros do with their App Preview

I went through the top 50 grossing apps on the US iPhone store. 22 of the 50 had app previews. Or another way to look at it is actually the majority of top grossing apps hadn’t made an App Preview.

I was pretty surprised.

These companies are making many thousands a day on their apps, why would they choose to not make a video?

What Apple feature

Next I looked at 50 apps that Apple had featured on the front page of the App Store. 27 of the 50 apps (54%) of the apps had an app preview video.

Again I was pretty surprised. I was under the impression that an App Preview was almost a prerequisite to being featured. But still the majority have a video, indicating that Apple prefer apps that do.

What Yahoo! Advertising found

Yahoo! Advertising surveyed people to find what the most important factors are when people search app stores. “Video showing the experience” came in right down the bottom of the factors.Yahoo Advertising survey results screenshotThis indicates that resources should go elsewhere first. Things like reviews and ratings, your pricing strategy, description and so on.

Other research

The research I could find by others also focused on the negatives:

Why all the negativity?

The general consensus is that videos delay the user from downloading your app and time to download is critical for conversion.

Should you make an App Preview?

Like everything, it depends.

  • If you’re an indie developer with limited resources and can’t make an amazing video then you are probably better off skipping it. Focus your resources on more important factors like reviews, screenshots and the description.
  • If you want to stack the odds of an App Store feature in your favor and you have the resources to make an amazing compelling video then definitely go for it.

And don’t forget there are now amazing analytics tools to measure the impact of changes you make. Add a video and see if your conversions go up.

More Experiences

Do you have any experience in adding an app preview, either good or bad? I’d love to hear it via email or Twitter.

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