Acquisition & Engagement

6 amazingly excellent app videos (plus 2 that are truly awful)

John Koetsier

8 ball pool

What do app videos do for app publishers and why should you have one?

That’s exactly the question we focused on in a recent free report: Why app videos are critical for getting more installs.

Broadly speaking, there are well over five million apps to choose from. From a smartphone owner’s perspective, then, supply is not the problem: there’s always another app to try. Demand is the problem, and for app publishers, the app ecosystem is the most competitive market in history.

One solution is app videos. As we’ve demonstrated, users rate apps with videos higher than apps without videos. Apps that users rate higher rank better in App Store and Google Play search. Apps that rank better get seen more frequently, and when they get seen more frequently, they get installed more often. Plus, 40% of mobile users say app videos are one of their top three considerations when making a download decision.

So let’s look at a few examples of great app videos … and a couple that are not so great.

Game: Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga

The team behind Candy Crush Saga has done a great job at providing an app video.

What works:

  • it takes literally two to three seconds for the viewer to get engaged in the video
  • the video shows the app’s gameplay well
  • for new users, they quickly get a sense of how to play the game
  • the video is humorous

Music: Equalizer Music Player Booster

equalizer +

The Equalizer+ app video solves a basic challenge for a music app: why someone should use something other than one of the major music streaming services.

What it gets right:

  • shows the app in action
  • lets potential users experience what it’s like to use it before spending five minutes to download it
  • keeps it simple and basic, and app-focused

Music (karaoke): Smule

smule karaoke

Even very, very, very basic app videos with a tiny or nonexistent budget can do the job. Smule is a perfect example. What works here is simple:

  • the video doesn’t try to do things it doesn’t have budget to accomplish
  • it still shows users what they would be able to do with the app that they can’t do now

Books: Audible


Audible is proof that there is no one mold to do anything, including making a great app video. This video is slow to get started, but still really works.

Here’s why:

  • recognizes that book readers might have longer attention spans than the rest of us
  • starts with a story … fairly appropriate
  • then shows the app, and gives a very good idea of what it will be like to use

Navigation: Waze


Waze does perhaps a better job at making an app video than any other publisher. Like music apps, navigation apps have to explain why someone should go out of their way to get something beyond an on-board app from Apple or Google.

Why does it work?

  • in 2-3 seconds you have the core app selling point: fastest route
  • in 10 seconds you know why it works: millions of users’ data
  • for the rest of the video: the video explains why it’s worth going beyond Google Maps

Game: 8 Ball Pool

8 ball pool

The core challenge of 8 Ball Pool‘s video is not selling you on pool. The app publisher already succeeded in that when you tapped on the name, or searched for it. Its core challenge, rather, is on selling you why 8 Ball Pool is the pool app you should install.

How does it work well?

  • the video doesn’t sell the core game at all; it sells you on why you should download 8 Ball Pool’ pool app and not another one
  • the video is short and high-impact
  • all text is huge
  • the music track is catchy and energetic

Phone: Trucaller


Unfortunately, Trucaller is an example of how NOT to do app videos. It takes 18 seconds — an eternity in mobile video — to get to its core value proposition.

What doesn’t work:

  • takes forever to get started
  • starts with the logo … users have already seen this, so show them the app functionality
  • it tells you why the new version is better than the old version … even if you’ve never had the app at all

Banking: RBC Mobile

RBC bank

Good app videos get to the point. This one from RBC takes a very long time to do so.

Even more importantly, they understand what the point is. In the case of a bank, people are unlikely to move their mortgage, checking, and investment financial dealings because of an app — although it could happen — so the video should focus on how it’s easier for existing customers to bank with RBC.

What doesn’t work:

  • the video is really long
  • the video is really slow
  • it’s very hard to see what’s happening on the app itself — even if you happen to be on a big screen — so it’s not clear what the app experience is
  • the biggest problem: misunderstanding the user/customer journey: people are more likely to get this app because RBC is their bank, and not too likely to choose RBC because this app is awesome

Why this all matters

Good app marketing and good app videos are important for gaming apps, sure, but they’re much bigger than that.

Mobile is driving the economy of the future.

Great pre-install experiences make you more likely to get the app install, and more likely to get quality users who stick around. App videos make install conversions 20% more likely on the App Store, and 35% more likely on Google Play. And the users you do get are more targeted, because they’ve seen what your app does as close to live as possible, and still decided to install.

And that makes them more profitable as well.

John Koetsier

Before acting as a mobile economist for TUNE, John built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, he led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, he was named to Folio's top 100 of the media industry's "most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers." John lives in British Columbia, Canada with his family, where he coaches baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.

One response to “6 amazingly excellent app videos (plus 2 that are truly awful)”

  1. Great article, thank you!
    Tomorrow we are going to make some short and awesome versions of our gameplay trailer/story.
    After that will bring them do Listing Experiments in Google Play.

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