The Ultimate Guide to Using Video for App Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Using Video for App Marketing

You know why you’re doing it: if a picture (or screenshot) is worth a thousand words, imaging how powerful a video can be to show what’s unique about your app, etc.

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You probably already have several ideas on how you’re going to use it.

But since you’re spending money and/or time on that video, shouldn’t you make sure you plan it right and make the best out of it?

Well, we’re happy to help you out with this. After all, it’s in our interest to prove you what we believe in: video is one of the best assets you can have when promoting your app.


The type(s) of video you want to create is going to depend on where you plan to use it. And I’m not talking about the style here (motion design, live video, etc.), but rather the content and purpose of the video.

Before starting to work on your video, you want to know if you’ll use it on the app stores (and which ones – formats differ), for user acquisition (here to, formats can vary) or for something else (website, PR, etc.).

Not only we’re going to give you plenty of ideas on where to use video to promote your app, we’re also going to give you some tips on how to get the best out of every channel and what kind of videos works best on each.

Let’s dive in.


There are some important differences between video on the Google Play Store and video on the iOS App Store. Check out this article where we compare iOS vs. Play Store videos.

Looking to produce app store videos? We help you navigate the differences between the stores so your videos are optimized and help increase your conversion rate!

Video on the Google Play Store

This has (obviously) been one of our favorite features of the Google Play Store: it lets you add a video.

It’s one of the most visible assets on your Google Play Store page. It is a YouTuve video that shows up right next to the app screenshots on desktop and can be played by tapping the play button (situated over the feature graphic) on mobile.

In one click (or one tap if they are on their phone or table) and a few seconds, visitors can know why they need your app or want to play your game.

What’s pretty cool about it too, is that the views you get on your video through the Google Play Store count as views on YouTube. And the more views you get on YouTube, the higher your video is ranked in YouTube search results and therefore Google search results (more on that later – engagement matters a lot as well).

A few tips:

  • Google Play allows you to localize your video, so you can have one video per language. That’s pretty awesome if your users don’t all speak English and you’ve produced the video in several languages.
  • If you haven’t translated your video itself in several languages, what you can do is create transcripts in different languages and add that on your YouTube video. YouTube will automatically display the right transcript based on the user’s language settings.
  • With Play Store listing experiments you can split test different variants of creative assets, including promo video. This means you can better assess the impact of video, and optimize your video (and the feature graphic) so it performs better.

Video on the iOS and tvOS App Stores (App Previews)

At the WWDC14, video was introduced on the App Store and it is called an App Preview.

Since then, we’ve produced quite a few. And if you want to read about our thoughts on why they are great and not so great as well as get some tips, check out this post on iOS 11 app previews.

Also make sure that you watch the WWDC14 video on the topic “Creating Great App Previews” to know more.

Here are Apple’s guidelines and below the main specifications for App Previews:

App Previews specifications

Since tvOS was introduced, you can now also produce App Previews for Apple TV apps.

As mentioned, App Previews are device specific. Apple used to require uploading a different video file for each resolution (iPhone 6 Plus series / iPhone 6 series / iPhone 5 series). You can now upload just the highest resolution (iPhone 6/7 Plus) and iTunes connect automatically creates the lower resolution files for you (if you want to).

You can unfortunately not A/B test with iTunes connect, so assessing the impact of a change on your App Store listing (like adding a video, changing the screenshots, etc.) is really hard. What you can do however is use iTunes Analytics to do a pre-post analysis and measure the change in conversion rate.

Video on Alternative App Stores (Amazon)

It’s not all about the App Store and the Google Play Store (advice #6).

If you have an Android app with engaged users, you should consider alternative app stores to get additional distribution channels.

The most famous is the Amazon App Store, where you can also have a video.

There are a lot of other alternative app stores.

Here are some that let you add video to your app page:


And if it’s a YouTube link those stores ask you, it’s another opportunity to get some views.


Want us to create a user acquisition video ad for app install campaigns? Contact us to discuss further and get a free proposal.

Creating additional videos (often 10s, 15s or30s, but sometimes even shorter depending on the channel) for your app is definitely a good idea if you’re considering video ads. You can use those video ads for user acquisition on Facebook, Instagram, Google or some video-focused ad networks.

Here are some video ads we’ve produced:

Facebook Video ads

Facebook ads allow to target a very detailed audience, at scale (advice #4).

You can match your database with Facebook to target your best users or reactivate some, find people that are like your best customers (lookalike audience), etc.

Their photo page post ads were pretty effective, with a direct “Install Now” (or “Play Game”) call to action below it that leads directly to the App Store or Google Play Store.

And you can now have basically the same thing, with a video thumbnail that allow your potential customers to watch a video about your app. If they like what they see, they just have to tap the “Install Now” button and are brought to their app store.

Here is a case study on Facebook video ads for the Jurassic World game (we produced the video), which led to good results.

A few tips:

  • Choose the right thumbnail, which probably means creating a custom one that shows your app name and a screenshot, as well as other visual assets if it helps branding
  • Craft the right one-sentence pitch. It displays above your video thumbnail.
  • Do not rely on sound for your video, as videos autoplay without the sound (users only get the sound when choosing to). If you adapt a video to create your video ads, think about adding some text call-outs.
  • When new formats appear, try them out. Square videos for example maximize the screen real estate used and tend to give better results.
  • And below some advices by Facebook

Instagram video ads

As of September 2015, Instagram had 400 million monthly active users.

With stats like that, it seemed logical that Facebook decided to monetize it with ads. And this time, it seems it only took a few months to go from traditional square image ads available to video ads for mobile app installs available to businesses of all sizes, everywhere.

If you’re already managing ads on Facebook, using them on Instagram will be just as easy: you can use Facebook’s power editor.

Instagram recommends a 1:1 ratio (square video), although this is not required. So just like on Facebook, you can experiment and see what works best. There used to be a 30 seconds limit, but it is now at 60s (which is more than enough for a video ad – you should shoot for something short).

A few tips (for more tips, check out this post on how to create great Instagram videos):

  • When creating your video, keep in mind that as for the Facebook ads, the video plays without sound until the user taps on it.
  • Like all videos, the first few seconds are crucial. Especially since the videos autoplay. You want users to keep watching and decide to play the sound.
  • If you have more audience/better targeting on Facebook, test your video ads on Facebook then use the best performing ones on Instagram

Now that Instagram Stories ads are available, you have yet another way to reach potential users.

Video ads via Universal App Campaigns

Google is not new to ads.

Even though they’ve acquired YouTube a long time ago, it however took some time before they came up with a format for mobile app install ads.

They first started with what they called “TrueView for mobile app promotion” campaigns (or just “YouTube for app installs”) that let you reach people on YouTube that have interests related to your app or are watching content relevant to your app. Your ads only run on YouTube mobile and tablet apps (not on desktop) and you can choose topics, channels or even specific videos you want to target. It works for both iOS and Android campaigns.

By introducing Universal App Campaigns and replacing all previous Adwords app install ads with a much more AI-based approach, Google radically changed the way these ads are handled. Publishers/advertisers now have one unique place where to handle their campaign.

So all you have to do is define Ad text idea (4), upload image ads (up to 20) and upload your videos (up to 20!). You handle bid and budgets but targeting is fairly limited since the algorithm find users based on the optimization you choose. There are 2 different types of campaigns:

  • Install volume – campaigns that optimize towards getting downloads (they can still take into account in-app events_
  • In-app actions – campaigns that optimize to get the best cost for specific in-app event(s) that happen after the install (like a user registering or getting to a specific level). This requires to set up conversion tracking, either with Firebase or a 3rd party like Adjust.
Where UAC allows you to reach users (with video on AdMob, YouTube and Google Play)

When using video creatives in your Universal App Campaigns, your videos can end up in 3 places:

  • YouTube
  • AdMob network (within other apps or games)
  • Google Play (currently in beta testing)

The way ads are displayed to YouTube users hasn’t changed, though.

These TrueView ads were appearing before the video that a user wants to watch, with a “Skip” button that becomes available after 5s.

How a TrueView video ad for mobile app install looks like

Below the video you can find the app icon, ratings and a call to action (Install button). When a user taps the Install button, an in-app App Store (or Google play store) screen appears to download the app directly from within the YouTube app.

To make sure that you only pay for people interested in installing your app, Google recommends to make the call to action screen last five seconds or more (go for 10s). This long static call to action should prevent users from watching the whole video (or 30s of it if your video is more than 30s) without taking any action: if they leave you don’t pay, if they click install you pay (but you got what you wanted).

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