What makes a good app video trailer? Should it be long, short, funny or to the point? We go in-depth with a guest post from Appency partner PreApps’ CEO Sean Casto with some thoughts on what makes for a terrific trailer.
Most people rely heavily on visual elements during the decision-making process. For app developers who have undertaken a great marketing campaign and been able to successfully drive traffic to their app, the next step is to ensure users are actually downloading the app and the download is going to rely heavily on the demo video. A demo video is the first glimpse users will have of an app, and it isn’t something that should be created hastily; it goes beyond an app store description, and gives users a visual representation of what the app has to offer. An app demo video gives users the opportunity to experience an app before they decide to buy it, and it’s a make-or-break component for successful apps.
Making the Most of a Demo Video: The Top Tips
There are a few ways developers can optimize their demo video, and make it a sure-fire success by generating not only interest, but also downloads.
1. Choose Your Tools Carefully
Use the right recording programs. For example, when creating a video for an iPhone app, consider options like the iPhone Simulator and SimFinger. Great caliber recording programs improve the overall quality and delivery of a video. Snapz Pro X is a screen capture program that allows users to capture quality recordings easily, and it’s relatively cost-effective.
2. Don’t Shy Away From Creativity
Using creativity to set an app apart means the demo video can’t be basic. Infuse a bit of personality into it, and make it unique from the other countless videos users will see. Whether it’s through music, or the development of a storyline, compelling users to download an app because it’s fresh and different will make an app memorable and noteworthy.
3. Harness the Power with a Strong Voice
Finding a voice is integral for an app. Even paying for a voiceover may be worth it to improve the overall quality of a demo. For simple apps, it isn’t entirely necessarily to include a voiceover; background music will suffice as long as it gives off the mood and feeling the app portrays.
4. Keep it To-the-Point
With only a short window to convince the user an app is worthwhile, focus on utilizing a small amount of time, rather than making a long video. Focus on grabbing the user’s attention in the first few seconds of the video, because that may be all the time a user will give before moving on.
5. Hook Your Viewers
A demo video doesn’t simply have to demonstrate functionality, it can also include a few benefits and features that will entice users. Include these as part of the voiceover, or added as captions during the editing process if only music is being used. A demo video is a unique selling tool, so take advantage of the opportunity.
A Professional and Polished Final Product
Creating an app demo video can be an overwhelming process for many developers, and creating a finished product that is polished and effective can present a challenge. To overcome this obstacle and create a dynamic and impactful demo, developers can use the services of PreApps. PreApps offers three packages, all of which will provide a complete, professional level demo video, at budget-friendly prices. The packages vary in the level of details they provide, and range from a standard option to a comprehensive VIP package, which offers everything, including live action footage with the app being used in a natural setting.
About the Author:
Sean Casto, a Boston-based entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of PreApps.com, the leading platform introducing new apps to users and the marketplace prior to release. He has been a guest speaker at industry conventions for Microsoft and Samsung and lectured at Universities such as Northeastern and Harvard. He as also appeared on and been mentioned by The Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, Boston News Network, and The Associated Press. Through his work and industry experience, Casto has acquired a deep understanding of the struggles developers face and a passion to serve the growing mobile app community. He is now the Chairman & Founder of App Demo & Drinks (a mobile non-profit) and holds an advisory position for numerous start-ups.
When I started Appency four years ago, we were truly breaking ground as the first full service marketing agency dedicated to app developers. As the market exploded, it is no surprise that many more agencies and marketing services have sprung up to help app developers compete in this highly competitive marketplace. Many of our competitors like Appular are great agencies in their own right, and while we are competitors we all know there is plenty of work to go around and many of us even refer business to each other when our plates are full.
The explosion of the market however has had a dark side. Unscrupulous “marketers” (and I use the word loosely) have seized on developers desperate to be competitive or that do not know better (being a good developer is a very different skill set than being a good marketer) and have not only put black hat tactics into the market place (remember Gtekna?) but are often simply deceptive to their potential clients.
Today a member of my account team was emailed by a site called “iGiveaway.us”. We are often approached by other app marketing tools to use their services for our clients. I try to review each potential partner as a way to see if it could be beneficial to help our developers succeed. I went to their site and red flags immediately started showing up. The first was the “package” approach. Purchase package A, B, C, D, and we will do X, Y and Z. I’m sure you have seen these yourself. There are a million types of apps out there in the app store – and each succeeds with different tactics. An in the box approach to app marketing will NEVER work. Still, while inefficient, there is nothing unethical about generic marketing.
That’s where things start to get sketchy. The site starts talking about their Twitter reach like this:
“Every tweet to our network of more than 600,000 followers earns you at least 3,000 retweets; our tweets convert into retweets at a rate of 3-5%. That’s because we’ve got one of the most active networks of retweeters anywhere on Twitter, so your tweet goes viral right away. We can also reach out to our press and media contacts, with branded press releases, and conduct other reputation management efforts. Each retweet reaches an average of 1,000 more people. That’s 6,000,000 more eyes (everyone has two, of course.) on your product. A total of 3,000,000 individuals will see your product sponsorship tweet.”
Wow… that sound impressive right? 3 MILLION individuals will see your product sponsorship tweet! Time to sit back and watch those Apple checks role in.
So while I’m sure they have more than one Twitter account than their @iGiveaway Twitter account which is how they come up with 600,000 followers, its the only one they show off so I went and took a look at their Twitter account. About 125,000 followers on that one – not a bad showing at all for a Twitter account. I wouldn’t mind tweeting to 125k people about my app.
The thing is… there are these great little tools that can check how real your followers are. I happen to like http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ – it allows you to run a check on an account to see how many people on an account are inactive, or simply fake. A quick check of @iGiveaway gives some revealing results:
Percent of Fake Accounts: 75%
Percent of Inactive Accounts: 19%
Percent of Real Accounts: 6%
6%… yup. Out of 125,000 people, it looks like around 7,500 of them might be real.
Now – we all end up with fake followers if we have any sort of auto follow back on, but 75%? @Appency shows up at 2%, while my personal twitter @AppGuyAaron shows up at 3%. Yet people like this claim that you will be seen by millions of new potential users, and charge you good money for it. Frankly, it disgusts me.
They say be careful what you wish for. Well… be careful what you pay for.
Let me know in the comments: Are there any other black hat app services you have seen in the market that deserve public shaming? Let us know!
We understand that developing an app is a huge undertaking. The blood, sweat and tears that go into this project shouldn’t be limited to the app itself. Being smart about how you present your app will play a key role in how it does in the app store of choice. This includes giving your app a good “face”; or app icon. Before you call up your friend’s sister’s nephew because he has Photoshop installed on his computer, here are some tips to consider when designing a good app icon.
Take the app icon design seriously
With millions of apps in the App Store and Google Play Store, standing out is of utmost importance ‒ especially if there are similar apps in your category. Think of it this way – on a crowded bookshelf, the cover of a book that catches the eye and follows good design principles will be looked at first. Consumers judge books by their covers, even though their mothers told them not to. A strong brand throughout is key; don’t make app icon design the last priority during the development process.
Research, research, research!
Unique app ideas are worth a million bucks. Sadly, someone has probably already come up with yours.Find out who your competitors are and what their icons look like. Are they colorful, do they have a unique look or a fun avatar? You may assume a Scrabble tile is a great icon idea for your new word game; maybe you should do a quick search first. Don’t copy your competitors or Apple might assume your original app is a ripped off copy of Words With Friends – or your competitor might slap you with a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Keep it Simple, Silly
Some of the best icons in the store have a simple, unique look and stand out during a quick scan of search results. Pretend your icon is a billboard on the side of a highway with a 70 MPH speed limit.If there is too much going on in the app icon, the app will most likely be skipped because someone shopping on the App Store won’t have time to process everything. An icon is also not the place to throw in every Photoshop trick and filter you know. (See note later.)
Everyone has a favorite color, but that doesn’t mean it should be in your app icon. How do you finda color scheme that will be attractive to your target audience? Kissmetrics has a great infographic on colors and purchasing power, detailing the psychology behind selecting certain primary and secondary colors for branding. There are also numerous websites and books that go into great detail about color theory and psychology. Once you’ve selected a base color for your branding, check out Colors on the Web, a free tool that allows users to generate eye-pleasing RGB schemes based off of one color.
Avoid the “deadly sins”
There a number of unspoken rules to keep in mind when designing a good app icon. Things like vertical stacked type, fancy – and illegible – scripted fonts, bad color choices, Googled (read: copyrighted) clip art, using Comic Sans in general, and unnecessary drop shadows should be avoided at all costs. Items unique to the app realm, such as shine filters, should also be evaluated with scrutiny. Just because another app uses it in their icon doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Many filters and “tricks” can make your app seem unprofessional and untidy.
Bonus tip – don’t forget about screen shots
You’ve spent all sorts of effort, time and money on an exquisite app icon design. Why upload boring screen shots? The screen shots give you another opportunity to showcase your app and brand. Design Boost did a great post on creating screen shots that sell. Adding callout text, graphics or other enhancements to your screen shots can further entice a shopper into buying your app.
We’re very happy to announce that several of our friends have been nominated in different categories for the Best App Ever Awards. For four years, Best App Ever has been in search of the most innovative, most useful, and most entertaining apps out there, regardless of the operating system or device. The awards are supported by a list of excellent resources for app enthusiasts, including 148 Apps, Pocket Gamer, Android Rundown, Portable Gamer, Giggle Apps, App Hall of Fame, and more.
Voting is open through January 31, 2013. Winners for all categories, including the Best App Ever, will be announced on February 26, 2013.
iCookbook™ is nominated for Best Cooking App. iCookbook has over 2,000 recipes from bloggers and big brand names. Shopping lists, personalized recipes, voice control and more make this the essential app for any chef, regardless of their skill level.
iCookbook™ Diabetic is nominated for Best Health App. This app from the iCookbook™ team was created with diabetics and health-minded chefs alike. With all the great features of iCookbook™, this app also provides nutritional information and access to curated articles on healthy living and diabetes care.
Catalogue by TheFind is nominated for Best Shopping App. This beautiful app for iPad combines dozens of catalogs from brands like Williams-Sonoma, Nordstrom, Saks, Brookstone, Sears, Best Buy and more into one easy-to-use, easy-to-organize shopping center.
I Spy With Lola Panda has been nominated for Best Kid Distraction App. From the makers of the beloved Lola Panda suite of apps, this hide-and-go-seek addition engages kids with fun from around the world, sneaking in a bit of learning alongside the entertainment.
Arc Squadron is nominated for Best Action Game. Splendidly rendered on the Unreal Engine, this rail-shooter pays loving homage to “Star Fox,” while giving it an exciting face lift.
Quizboard is nominated for Best Trivia Game. Strategy and random knowledge collide in this fun game, challenging players to not only probe their memory, but test their cleverness against their opponent.
Marseille, France – The 9th International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA) opens for entries today! Developers and studios across the world are invited to submit their games for these prestigious awards. Since 2004, the IMGA has become the most prestigious international competition for mobile games. For the past 8 years, the competition awarded the most talented game developers for the most innovative mobile games, whether they are made for iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry, Bada, HTML5 or feature phones; whether they are made by a top 10 developer or a start-up studio; whether the developers came from Spain or Singapore, Malaysia or Mexico, Brazil or Belgium.
This year marks a big step for the 9th IMGA as a few significant changes are made to enhance the quality of the entries:
* No categories will be defined for the entries; participants will instead specify their own category
* The Judges’ Honorable Mention will replace the Operator’s Choice Award
* 6 additional prizes will be determined by the jury
* The denomination of these prizes will be announced at the same time as the nominations on January 24, 2013
* Platinum-level sponsor Pro Sieben Sat 1 will award one million Euro in media exposure to the winners
Since 2004, the IMGA Awards Ceremony has been held at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. However, the exact location of the 9th IMGA has not been confirmed yet.
The IMGA Summit
Traditionally, the Awards are held in conjunction with the one day IMGA Summit consisting of a keynote, panels of leading experts in mobile games and pitching sessions. The Summit and Awards are traditionally attended by leaders in the mobile gaming industry as well as top international developers and studios.
The 9th IMGA Timeline
* October 4, 2012 – Call for entries
* January 14, 2013 – Entries closed
* January 25, 2013 – Nominees announced
* February 28, 2013 – Awards Ceremony, winners announced (TBC)
As of today, developers can submit their game online at www.imgawards.com and compete in an international arena with top studios and individual developers from all over the world. Games must have been published after January 1, 2012, or currently be in development.
Since 2004, the IMGA has become the most prestigious international competition for mobile games. Copyright (C) 2012 International Mobile Gaming Awards. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.
Adamcode releases “Christmas Gifts List” App to iTunes and Shoppers Quickly Snap It Up, Pushing it to the Top 25 Productivity Apps
Amherst, MA – While economists have (unofficially) declared the US to be slowly creeping out of a recession, many consumers are heading into the holiday shopping season more acutely aware of their personal budgets. In this age of technology however, you’ll find a new tool in the pockets and purses of many shoppers this season – the popular iPhone or iPod Touch.
“Money management is extremely important to consumers right now” said Adam Williams, President of Adamcode.com and creator of the “Christmas Gifts List” application – a unique holiday shopping list application with a built in budgeting feature. “The iPhone, when used with the right applications is the ultimate personal organizer, and can help keep shoppers from spending more than they intended”.
|The iPhone, when used with the right applications is the ultimate personal organizer, and can help keep shoppers from spending more than they intended|
Come January, as the credit card statements come rolling in, there is probably not one among us who has not felt the pain of Christmas overspending. It starts so innocently, $10 here, $15 there but just like everything else, it adds up quickly. Still, there’s no need to go the way of the Grinch. “I’ll be out early on Black Friday” said Shannon Kiehn, a mother of two and state worker in Sacramento, California. “The tight economy means that sales are that much more important. I’ve got a set amount of money I need to stretch into gifts for quite a few people.”
The Gifts app allows consumers to input the wish lists for everyone on their holiday shopping list, (so that you can remember that your cousin Frank wants Ninja Warrior IV not III) avoiding another painful trip to the mall but each person can be assigned a target budget amount as well. As gifts are purchased and prices stored in the application, the easy to use interface lets you see how much money is left in the budget for each individual. Worried that the wife and kids are going to see what you listed under their names? Turn on the locking feature and your lists are kept secure behind a unique PIN number.
The Gifts app can take some of the stress out of Black Friday and the holiday season, so that the consumer can concentrate on what’s really important, figuring out how to avoid your great aunt Mildred’s fruit cake for the fifth year in a row.
Christmas Gifts List is available for the iPhone or iPod touch for $0.99 and is currently in the top 25 of the productivity section of the iTunes App Store. Christmas Gifts List can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/2WAi81
Best iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ
Adamcode.com was founded in 2008 in Amherst, Massachusetts with the goal of creating beautiful, easy-to-use mobile applications. Spend, a personal budget manager for the iPhone and iPod Touch, was Adamcode.com’s first app and one of the 500 applications available in the iTunes App Store on its opening day. After several months in the Top 100 Paid Apps list and a constant spot in the Top 20 Finance apps, Spend has achieved over 80,000 downloads to date. Adamcode.com’s founder Adam Williams holds a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, specializing in artificial intelligence and computer vision applications. www.adamcode.com
According to AppFigures, a company specializing in metrics and tracking the ranking of iPhone applications, the iTunes App Store is officially frozen – that is, there has been no change in rankings for any applications in the last 24 hours.
The problem may be older then that however. Over the last week, many of our clients and various posts on message boards have pointed to strange app ranking issues including sudden unexplained jumps or drops in ratings, applications appearing out of nowhere, and other anomalies. Release dates seem to be one of the more effected aspects, with the release date option appearing and disappearing from the developer console.
Personally…. with it happening just after Halloween, we believe that iTunes has been possessed by the ghosts off rejected applications and the issues will continue until a full exorcism of Apple has occurred. That aside, we expect Apples engineers are frantically plugging away on the back end, trying to resolve the problem.
Please comment on any additional issues you notice, and we will continue to monitor and report if we hear of a change.
***RUMOR MILL UPDATE***
According to the founder of Cramzy, who claims to have inside information, one of the problems is because a major change is being made to the system. The gist of the change is this – updating your app will no longer place you at the top of the “Recently Released Apps” queue. If this is true, we believe this is an extremely poor decision by Apple. The marketing uplift given to an app by performing an update can be significant, and this feature as it currently is keeps developers involved in their apps, refreshing them with new content and bug fixes. Removing this will lead to more apps going stale, cluttering up the app store and making it harder for anyone to sell anything.
One of our clients, Memorize Words, Spanish Edition , had their app update approved today. Its app description only lists it as “Last Updated Nov 6th”, however it does not appear on the recently released apps section in its category. All apps in the recently released are listed as version 1.0’s. No official word from Apple, but all evidance points to this as a new major change in the app store.
If there was any city in Europe that an international iPhone conference should be held at – its Amsterdam. No, not because it has an infamous red-light district and liberal policies towards the recreational use of cannabis, but because Amsteram represents some of the same values of free expression that makes the iPhone what it is today. Before the iPhone – mobile development was considered by many too difficult or cumbersome to deal with. Technology was limited, access to carriers for distribution was limited, and most of the deals were done behind closed doors.
While we may still have a ways to go before we reach mobile utopia (many would say that the Android platform is the next step in the right direction), the coming together of developers and thought leaders from around the world in a global conference is a step in the right direction.
Later this month (November 25th – 27th), the iCE Amsterdam conference will open its doors to those same developers and thought leaders to come together and share their knowledge and insights into the most exciting mobile platform on the planet. Some of those people include:
Just to name a few.
During the Pre-Conference day on Wednesday 25 November the iPhoneDevCamp will part of the program. iPhoneDevCamp is a not-for-profit gathering to develop applications for iPhone and iPod Touch using both the native SDK and web standards. Previous iPhoneDevCamp events have been held at Adobe Systems in San Francisco, July 2007 and August 2008. The last iPhoneDevCamp was at Yahoo in Sunnyvale, August 2009.
The event is actually sponsored by the city of Amsterdam itself, and if my “Convert” app from Polar Bear Farm is correct, cost ranges from $732.45 for one person to $294.46 per person if talk four of your closest friends into going with you.You can register for the conference here.
At 8 o’clock in the morning on October 30th, 2009 (read: 5pm tonight, Pacific Apple Time) , the doors of China Unicom’s retail stores opened to the Chinese populate and offered 5 Million new iPhones into the global marketplace. While the launch got mixed reviews, amongst concerns of the disabled Wi-Fi features, a hefty price tag and the fact that rabid iPhone fans already were probably using one of the two million gray market iPhone in the country, the fact remains – the largest wireless market in the world now has open access to the iPhone.
So what does this mean for app developers? While many developers have always traditionally focused on the US as the only major iPhone market that matters, and with that English as the only major language – a major non-English speaking country poses an entirely new set of challenges.
I’ve already seen a number of sites pop up that would be happy to do a direct translation of your app. I’m sure many of them are quality sites with quality native translators. Make sure you do your homework however – a second rate translation can be spotted by a native speaker of any language a mile away. (Anyone else remember the English to Spanish translation of “Got Milk” that led to billboards that screamed out “Are You Lactating?”). Never try to use a free online translation program to perform your app translations. While they may work for single words, they are not designed to be able to properly navigate grammatical structure.
Translation of your app however, is only the first step. You must also translate your app description page (often providing it in two languages can be benifical) and app name. A potential client last week contacted me from Russia with a checkers based game app that use the Russian work for checkers as part of its title. I see where they are going with this – but the reality is, I would never be able to spell it if I was searching for it.
Oh yes – let us not forget search.
Search is one of the most important functions to getting your application found. Your keywords are of utmost importance to how your app fares in any of the app stores around the world. Unfortunately, doing well in search in other countries is not as easy as taking your English keywords and translating them to another language. Search is about understanding how someone in that country will think – and in understanding how they think, also understanding how they navigate to find a product. What makes a perfectly logical search string for you may not make any sense when translated, and as we know – the app store only recognizes direct keyword matches.
Every market is different, and every country has different needs. Did you know that in China there will be not one, but two app stores? Yup – the one from Apple and the one operated by China Unicom. Did you know that writing in red lettering indicates the writer will die soon? That three (and multiples of three) are considered lucky numbers, but four signifies death? (4! sorry… had to do it). Oh yeah, and white, blue, black, storks, cranes, clocks and handkerchiefs also are associated with death. (Are you dizzy yet?)
Promotion in China will be its own hurdle. PR is handled differently, as are blogs. There are new forums to reach out to as well. Are you ready?
All this to say that Appency is happy to announce we have a partnership on the ground in China and will be happy to assist in your localization into this new market with all of the above. The time is ripe – before the app store gets too crowded – to make your mark in the Far East!
We've had a lot of people lately coming to us and asking how to get their iPhone app reviewed by the various iPhone blog sites around the net. While there is no guaranteed method, ( 148apps told us they get over 400 requests to review per week – there is simply no way they can get to all of them) we sat down with SlapApp.com's Co-Founder Ryan Johnson this weekend and he gave us a few pointers.
1. Read and understand the blogs preferred method of communication. Each blog has a different process, some bloggers have an email address to send submissions to, while others use a web form on their site. Just because you were able to track down the email address of every writer that contributes to their site, doesn't mean they would all welcome an out-of-the-blue email that goes outside their normal submission process and clogs up their professional email boxes.
2. Don't force them to do time wasting research. Simply submitting and saying "hey, can you review app X" is a sure fire way to not get reviewed. At the very least you need to provide:
3. Spice it up with some media. You will hardly ever see an app reviewed without an image, video, etc. to catch the readers eye. Pulling those images and making those videos for those that do it themselves is a time consuming process. Make it easy for them! Include your screen shots, videos, promo art, icons, etc with your submission. Do NOT however send them as attached files unless specifically requested. Host your images on photobucket or one of the various other image hosting sites (Photoshop has an interesting new one) and send the link to the image. This goes for videos as well.
4. This one may be obvious – but if its a paid app, provide a promotional code. On the same note – if you are a blogger yourself and are reading this – when a developer provides you with a promotional code, if you do not think you are going to review the app, be so kind as to send the code back to the developer unused.
5. Stick to the theme of the site. Some sites like Touch Arcade have very specific focuses (Touch Arcade is specifically for games). It is a waste of your time as well as the bloggers time to et submissions that do not fit with the site in question.
6. Additional information that may help getting your app reviewed:
7. Getting close to launching a brand new app that has never been seen before? Offer a blogger an exclusive "first look" at the application. Bloggers are like other news reporters in that they like to be the first to a story. Dangling the "exclusive" carrot can catch a writers eye like nothing else can.
Congratulations! You got your app reviewed! What to do now? A couple basic things:
1. Mention the review in your app description. It's good for you (assuming it was a positive review), and its good for the review site.
2. Share the review link as much as possible. If your apps direct a lot of traffic to a blogger, the blogger may remember this in the future and be more inclined to blog about your next release.
3. Thank the reviewer. Common courtesy goes a long way these days. A good review can take 30 minutes to an hour of the writers time, if not more. Time spent on your application. Show them you appreciate it.
Not every app will get reviewed by every site. Often times the blog wont even contact you to let you know, they simply wont do anything with it. Don't get disheartened, but ask yourself why. Is your app a purple cow? That is – is your app remarkable in any way, shape or form, or is it one of a dozen apps just like it that are already littering up the app store. As I mentioned before – blog reviews are a type of news… so make apps that are newsworthy.
A special thanks to Ryan and the rest of the SlapApp.com team for providing this interview. For help getting your app reviewed by bloggers, mentioned in the press, or just talked about in general… drop us an email, we would be glad to help!