— 2 May 2018

10 Insights into Creating Pitch-Perfect App Preview for App Store

Liza Knotko

Video app preview is considered a dark horse of store product pages. Some publishers are in the mistaken belief that uploading any video will favor conversion rate growth. The truth is app previews can skyrocket your conversion as well as drive potential users away.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that video quality is a major game changer when it comes to the efficiency of app previews. However, different types of video previews work for different kind of apps.

How to reduce a gambling factor of placing app preview on your store product page? A/B testing is the answer. Optimize your video assets properly, make sure they are able to boost conversions and only then update your App Store page.

SplitMetrics and Apptamin, the agency for app videos, prepared the list of insights based on the experiments launched within our A/B testing platform and Apptamin’s experience of creating app previews. These tips can help you get bearings and nail a perfect video preview for your product page.

App preview insight #1: don’t duplicate images and captions from screenshots

You app previews will show better results if they do not duplicate images and captions used in screenshots of the product page.This easy yet effective tip reminds us to use App Store visitors attention span wisely.

For instance, we’ve seen tests where variations with app preview captions duplicating all screenshot captions showed conversion decrease of about 5%. Thus, when it comes to your product page, every second of users attention matters so try to engage the audience without repeating yourself and cover different aspects of the app.

App preview insight #2: keep videos up to 20 seconds long

The length of the best-performing app previews is normally up to 20 seconds. This unsaid time limit encourages you to create clear and straight to the point videos that do not contain small, hard-to-read and fast-moving texts and avoid screenshots duplication.

FFStudio experimented with app previews for their game Bombastic Brothers.  The 15-second video became the winner showing 16,9% conversion uplift. All other variations exceeded the 20-second limit and had less impressive results. For example, the conversion improvement of the runner-up variation was more than two times worse compared to the winning one.

App preview length testing with SplitMetrics

App preview insight #3: start with your value proposition

Your app previews should have a strong start focusing on the value proposition of the app or game without going into too much detail at the beginning. Your app preview can slow down a bit after but should still remain an “overview”.

Just like an ad in a Facebook feed, your App Preview can be skipped with just a scroll in the search results. And on the Product Page, you want to make a good first impression. So try to show something that embodies the value proposition of your app, and if possible something that is visually appealing.

app preview showcasing appealing features

Without going to the extreme, it’s best if this first part of the video doesn’t dive into details and instead gives a quick glance at the app.

Using easily readable copy can also be a great way to have a strong start. You can find a good use of copy below. Never make it smaller than this.

Using captions in video app preview

App preview insight #4: lean toward 2 short videos

If a publisher wants to uncover different sides of one application within their app preview, it makes sense to split features into several app previews 15-second each. In the majority 2 short app previews focusing on 2 different features win performing better than a couple of 30 seconds videos.

App preview insight #5: avoid using all 3 videos

Store product pages with 3 app previews hardly ever win. We’ve seen 3 app previews outperforming 1 and 2 videos only once, but even then users didn’t watch them until the last seconds. It once again speaks in favor of 2 short and eloquent app previews.

For instance, Zimad A/B tested 3 variations and each had one, two and three app previews per page respectively. The page with two videos won with 11,5% conversion rate improvement.

SplitMetrics experiments with App previews

It’s curious that the control page with one app preview showed the second result while variation with 3 videos showed 9.3% decrease in conversion. It proved the trend we’ve mentioned above once again.

App preview insight #6: choose your poster frame wisely

Don’t forget about a well-chosen poster frame that complements your screenshots set. It’s true that the videos autoplay diminishes the importance of the poster frame. But it doesn’t mean you should neglect it.

Try to think about your app preview frames and screenshots as a whole. The poster frame needs to be a frame of your video, so you should plan it at the same time as you plan your video preview.

The poster frame of the first App Preview will be displayed in the following cases:

– for a very short time before the App Preview starts playing in the search results on the App Store. But still enough time for most users to see it (try it yourself!);

– while the App Preview of the app below or above (competitors) is playing in the search results. For example, while the Candy Crush video plays, we see the Jelly Splash poster frame;

chosing poster frame for app preview

– before the App Preview video is fully visible on the Product Page;

– in India and China;

– for any users that have disabled autoplay in the settings.

App preview Autoplay settings in iOS

App preview insight #7: mull over your priorities before choosing video orientation

It is better to avoid using landscape app previews on store product pages with portrait screenshots. In such cases, a video is placed in the Closer Look section which basically means that it has very little or no influence on CVR. However, it may make sense to use landscape app previews with portrait screenshots to increase TTR in Search and keep CVR on the app landing page unchanged.

Thus, you need to sort out your priorities before deciding on the orientation of your app preview:

  • If you rely on organic traffic, it’s definitely worth focusing on increasing TTR in Search and experimenting with landscape app previews;
  • If you focus on paid traffic, avoid orientation mismatch of app previews and screenshots which puts a video in the Closer Look section.

App preview insight #8: make all details distinguishable

Mind that a user should be able to perceive mute app videos in the preview mode. So make sure that all captions you use in your app preview are easy-to-read and all details are distinguishable.

All videos autoplay in the mute mode so don’t rely on narrative aspect of your audio. The footage of your app preview should speak for itself.

App preview insight #9: know Apple guidelines

Know the guidelines and have a backup plan when experimenting in the “grey area”. It goes without saying that it’s essential to study Apple app preview guidelines carefully before getting down to your videos to avoid any problems in the course of product page reviewing:

  • App preview length should be between 15 and 30 seconds;
  • It’s forbidden to use UI outside of your application so use only the footage captured within the app itself;
  • Showing features available within in-app purchases, it’s obligatory to put an in-app purchase disclaimer;
  • Your video is to be appropriate for ages four and older;
  • Creating your app preview, it’s highly important to avoid objectionable content, violence, profanity, etc.;
  • It’s necessary to update your app in the Store in order to upload new app previews or poster frames;
  • App Previews in the App Store are device-specific so mind the required resolutions:
App preview restrictions
Source: https://www.apptamin.com/blog/ios-11-app-previews/

Historically Apple’s guidelines have been pretty strict. It seems that Apple has loosened up a bit, and browsing the App Store it does not take long to find videos that would definitely have been rejected before.

Exploring the “border guidelines” can be interesting if it helps you better portray what your app is all about. But a review by Apple is still a manual process, which comes with subjectivity. So it’s almost impossible to know for sure what Apple will approve or not.

That’s why if you experiment with something (showing a live-action video behind a text screen, a short animation on a screen, special effects over your gameplay, etc.), you should plan it in a way that it won’t “break” your video in case Apple rejects it and you have to redo it.

Have a backup plan!

App preview insight #10: make attention-grabbing your major priority

App previews should be aimed at covering the Attention stage of the A.I.D.A. model (stands for the terms Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action). So make attention-grabbing your main priority creating your app previews.

Only an intelligent approach brings significant results. It also may be sped up with experts assistance. That’s why we partnered with Apptamin and offer a special pack of up to 3 app previews and unlimited A/B tests so you can find the combinations that lead to a conversion uplift on the App Store and drive maximum installs.

Keep in mind that app previews don’t ensure a higher conversion on the app store page by default. However, app preview done right is definitely worth the investment.

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Liza Knotko
Liza Knotko
Ex-Marketing Manager at SplitMetrics
5 years of experience in mobile marketing, responsible for helping app publishers, such as MSQRD, Prisma, ZeptoLab, Rovio and Wargaming, succeed in their conversion optimization strategies.
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