Keith O'Neill

App Previews: Coming Soon to a Brand Near You

“If you build it, they will come.” Remember that quote from the classic movie Field of Dreams? That approach may have worked out for Kevin Costner but when it comes to the launch of mobile applications these days, nothing could be further from the truth. With nearly 1.5 million apps in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, companies have to find new and creative ways to get people’s attention and stand out from the digital crowd. App Previews might be the answer.

App Previews are short, highly engaging video trailers that are used to capture the audience’s imagination and give them a glimpse into what a new mobile application offers. Anyone who has been to a movie theater recently and watched the previews knows how effective a video can be in promoting an upcoming film. Studios have been using promotional videos for years to build excitement for upcoming movies and even TV shows. Now technology and content companies are now following the studios’ lead and releasing their own short video trailers for digital products and applications.

Amazon is just one example of a company who developed these “App Previews” in conjunction with the launch of their new Surprise! e-card mobile application service. L4 Digital, had the pleasure of working with Amazon on the creation of the Surprise! service. As we built the Surprise! by Amazon app we worked with Amazon to also create App Preview videos that would show how easy it is for any user to create a personalized e-card using the app.

To create the Surprise! App Preview, we followed the Apple guidelines to highlight 3-5 key features of the application. One of the key components of the Suprirse! App is the user’s ability to personalize their Amazon e-card by adding their own images and videos to it so this feature became a key element we showcased in the Amazon App Preview. We also developed the video to meet Apple’s guidelines for quick viewing to hold people’s interest and make them easily consumable in under 30 seconds without a ton of distracting graphic overlays. To add context to the video viewing experience, we customized the videos for the platform they would be viewed upon, so that if a person opens the Surprise! promotional video on an iPhone or an iPad they will see the experience a mobile user of the Surprise! application would have using the app on that same device.

These App Previews became the centerpiece of the marketing and media campaign Amazon used to promote the Surprise! app. They are one of the first images the consumer sees on the Surprise! app’s product page. They are also used to engage journalists to help them see how the new Amazon service works and to publicize the app on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

App Previews can come in a lot of shapes and sizes but must adhere to the guidelines of the app stores where they will be launched. They are between 15-30 seconds in length but the style choices vary widely. Apple requests that App Previews use primarily screen captures of the app as opposed to animations or live action shots. It is also important that the company who creates your App Preview know the licensing issues around any music or images you use in the app. For the Amazon Surprise! app we searched to find music we could overlay on the video that had the right tone and licensing requirements. Most importantly, with limited attention spans and reliance on personal recommendations, videos should be easily shareable. At L4 Mobile, we make sure that the videos we create are visually engaging so people notice them, quick so people can easily consume them, and memorable so they want to share them. We are getting more and more requests to create App Previews in conjunction with the apps we develop and with 87% of marketers using video for content marketing these days, we can assure you that you will be seeing lots of these engaging App Previews in 2015 and beyond.

Image courtesy of William Iven for Unsplash.

Keith O'Neill

Keith co-founded L4 Digital after more than a decade working with successful wireless and technology ventures. Keith oversees L4ʼs strategic partnerships, customer acquisition, and revenue goals. Keith is also responsible for company marketing initiatives and is the lead spokesperson evangelizing L4 products and services at industry events and to members of the press.

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