App Store Optimisation in 2020 - App Store Preview Videos

We all know that apple has come up with a slew of devices over the past few years.

The screen recording ability was added by iOS 11. Before that you had to record the screen by connecting your phone to your mac and use quicktime. iOS 11 made the job of creating an App Store Preview Video a little easier. But it was the easiest part anyway.

The more difficult part for application challenged people like me, is editing the video to make it look professional and enticing.

Do you need to have an app preview for your app?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Then hundreds of pictures (frames) in a video should be at least worth a million words. (I’ll show myself out, thank you).

Bad jokes aside, a video is a way to quickly show the users what’s unique about your app, along with the features & functionality. Where screenshots give the users a preview of your UI, a video gives users a preview about your UX. This helps potential customers to quickly decide whether your app is useful to them, and hence whether to download it. People who download your app after watching the app preview tend to be higher quality, more qualified and more likely to regularly use your app.

App Store Video previews were put under spotlight after the App Store was redesigned in 2017. The reason for it was the belief that the story behind the app, or the inspiration / motivation for the developer should come forward.

It seems to have worked - App Store Preview Videos seem to significantly impact the number of downloads of an App. Having an app store preview can increase your conversion rate by 20 - 35%, according to a study by StoreMaven.

However, simply including a preview video in your app store page will not guarantee increased downloads. The video has to be optimised and part of your ASO strategy. Here are some tips to make a good app preview video that converts :

1. Show your main messages in under the first 5 seconds.

According to this study, video completion rate for visitors is less than 20%. The first 5 seconds is the where the visitor pays maximum attention before moving on. So you have to capture the visitor’s interest in the first 5 seconds of the video.

2. You can upload upto 3 videos, use each to focus on a different aspect of your app.

The idea is to get the visitors interested in the app in the first video, and show the interesting / unique aspects of the app in the next videos. This also give the users a sense that the app is big and feature rich. This will also give you more time to explain the features of your app better.

3. Make your video such that it captures the visitor’s attention even without sound

Since the App Store redesign from iOS 11, app previews autoplay on mute whenever the visitor is scrolling by your page. You can use subtitles, alerts or callouts in the video.

4. Localise your Videos

If you’re showing your app in multiple locales, you can upload different videos for different locales available in the app store, along with the store’s metadata like keywords, description, app name, screenshots, etc.

This helps to directly engage visitors from different locales, making your target sharper.

Make sure to test your localised content well. Localisation is not guaranteed to increase your conversion rate.

5. Select a good poster frame

Poster frames are a thumbnail preview of the video. Whenever videos do not play automatically, poster frames are shown. In battery saver mode, videos do not play automatically. So make sure you have a good poster frame.

Because the poster frame takes the place of the ‘first screenshot’, it is one of the most important creative assets.

To select the proper poster frame, you need to first upload the video on iTunes Connect in the Media Manager.

Apple seems to automatically select the frame at the 5th second of your video.

If you wish to edit the poster frame, hover over the video you wish to edit the poster frame for, and you’ll get a button called ‘edit poster frame’.

6. Test, Test & test

Test the video quantity, sequence, content and orientation.

Put out 2 videos first, and test. Try with one video, then 3 videos. Test which combination increases conversion rate. Understand which messaging from the videos clicks. Optimize on the messaging as well as the content.

The sequence should be such that the user is drawn to the next video whilst understanding the features the current video demonstrates. It is found that many times, the second video increases the conversion rate more than the first. TEST!

The content should be such that it explains what the app does, how it does it and how it benefits the user. The classic ‘start with the problem, end with the solution’ way is a good way of demonstrating the app.

It is better to avoid using landscape video orientation in store pages with portrait screenshots. In such a situation, the video is placed in the ‘Closer Look’ section, which defeats the purpose of the optimization.

Stick to Apple Guidelines for app previews

  • Use only the footage of your app. It is forbidden to use footage from outside your app.
  • Demo the features that are available in the in - app purchases
  • To upload new previews, or poster frames, you will need to update your app in the store.
  • App previews in the store are device specific.

App Preview Resolutions

Source: Apple Website

Device Size / Platform Native Resolution Accepted Resolution App Preview Source
6.5 inch (iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR) 2688 x 1242 pixels (19.5:9 aspect ratio) 886 x 1920 pixels (portrait), 1920 x 886 pixels (landscape) Upload 6.5-inch previews
5.8 inch Super Retina Display (iPhone X, iPhone XS) 2436 x 1125 pixels (19.5:9 aspect ratio) 886 x 1920 pixels (portrait), 1920 x 886 pixels (landscape) Default: scaled 6.5-inch previews,Alternative: upload 5.8-inch previews
5.5 inch (iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus) 2208 x 1242 pixels (Rendered Pixels), 1920 x 1080 pixels (Physical Pixels), (16:9 aspect ratio) 1080 x 1920 pixels (portrait),1920 x 1080 pixels (landscape) Upload 5.5-inch previews
4.7 inch (iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 8) 1334 x 750 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) 750 x 1334 pixels (portrait), 1334 x 750 pixels (landscape) Default: scaled 5.5-inch previews, Alternative: upload 4.7-inch previews
4 inch (iPhone SE) 1136 x 640 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) 1080 x 1920 pixels (portrait), 1920 x 1080 pixels (landscape) Default: scaled 5.5- or 4.7-inch previews, Alternative: upload 4-inch previews
12.9 inch (iPad Pro (3rd generation)) 2732 x 2048 pixels (4:3 aspect ratio) 1200 x 1600 pixels (portrait), 1600 x 1200 pixels (landscape) Upload 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation) previews
12.9 inch (iPad Pro (2nd generation)) 2732 x 2048 pixels (4:3 aspect ratio) 1200 x 1600 pixels (portrait), 1600 x 1200 pixels (landscape), 900 x 1200 pixels (portrait), 1200 x 900 pixels (landscape) Upload 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation) previews
11 inch (iPad Pro) 2388 x 1668 pixels (4.3:3 aspect ratio) 1200 x 1600 pixels (portrait), 1600 x 1200 pixels (landscape) Default: scaled 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation) preview, Alternative: upload 11-inch previews
10.5 inch (iPad Pro, iPad Air) 2224 x 1668 pixels (4:3 aspect ratio) 1200 x 1600 pixels (portrait),1600 x 1200 pixels (landscape) Default: scaled 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation) previews,Alternative: upload 10.5-inch previews
9.7 inch (iPad, iPad mini) 2048 x 1536 pixels (4:3 aspect ratio) 900 x 1200 pixels (portrait),1200 x 900 pixels (landscape) Default: scaled 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation) or 10.5-inch previews,Alternative: upload 9.7-inch previews
Apple TV 1920 x 1080 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) 1920 x 1080 pixels Upload Apple TV previews
Mac 1920 x 1080 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) 1920 x 1080 pixels Upload Mac previews

This covers what I know about App Store Video Previews. I hope this helps you guys, as it did me. Create your video previews, and test! Make changes and repeat. Before long, you should be hitting on you daily download goal. All the best!

P.S. Rockup helps you create professional looking videos from your screen recordings easily on your phone itself. Do sign up if you like it. We need beta users!