Best Practices for App Previews

App Previews, 30-second video demos in App Store listings, are popping up all over now that iOS 8 is out. TechSmith AppShow makes creating a preview for your own app, or even a tutorial about someone else’s, a painless process.

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Find Your Story

Think of this video less like an advertisement and more like a demo. Focus on a few killer features and use those to hook people into downloading. Planning is key. Before you start recording, make a list of what 3 - 4 features you want to show in your video.

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Showcase Your Specialty

Since iOS demos are limited to 30 seconds in duration, focus on giving potential users a clear sense of how your app works and what’s special about it. Prioritize those interactions that require motion to fully understand. Your App Store listing will still have screenshots, too.

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Check for Clarity

Use your app preview to make sure customers understand what they'll be getting when they download. After watching your promo, will customers' expectations be in line with what your app delivers? If not, you might want to re-work your video's focus.

Rules to Live By


  • Choose either horizontal or portrait orientation for your video. If you have a universal app, you can create one video for iPhone and one for iPad.
  • Make sure the majority of your content is captured from your app.
  • Use text callouts and narration sparingly, if at all. You get one app preview video for all languages. And your app should take center stage.
  • Feel free to include music that sets the right mood, so long as you have rights for commercial usage.
  • Overlay a “requires in-app purchase” callout any time you show something that requires an in-app purchase.
  • Keep the video and poster frame (thumbnail) 4+ rated.
  • Record app previews at every available device's resolution.


  • Use real-world video footage captured with a camera…unless you have a camera app and you’re showing how it captures real-world images or video.
  • Overlay a graphic or photo of a finger to show where touches occur. Subtle, animated “dot” graphics are okay.
  • Use third-party images, music, logos, or trademarks without permission.
  • Use any names or data that belong to real people.
  • Confuse viewers with text or graphic callouts that look like they could be part of the app interface. Use interstitial text cards between clips (if necessary) instead.
  • Reference sales, specials, seasonal messages, or other apps.

Why App Previews Matter


App promo videos let customers look inside the app before deciding to purchase or download. By reducing the risk of wasting money or time, you remove a barrier and boost conversions.


In a lot of categories, it’s really hard to stand out from all the lookalikes. Set your app apart from the others by showing the craftsmanship and unique functionality in your product.


Giving people a look at what an app does before they purchase cuts down on accidental downloads. It also increases the how well your user base fits with your product, which should lead to happy customers, positive reviews, and strong word of mouth.


Since apps with preview videos get thumbnails with play buttons in the App Store, all apps with a video will stick out. When users search the App Store, give them a reason to click your app. Encourage potential customers to check you out by giving them something to click and watch.

iOS and OS X Yosemite are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.