[Case Studies]: How to Use Video to Get More Mobile App Downloads

by Samantha Ferguson on 26 May 2017

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Here's how to get more mobile app downloads. *Hint* it involves video! 

It's 2017. So I'm pretty sure you don't need me to tell you that the app market is saturated. At the time of writing, there are more than 6.5 million apps available for download, distributed as follows:

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Not only is the market saturated, it's brutal. Around 80% of apps are deleted after just one use! The main reason being poorly managed user expectations. After all the time, money, sweat, and tears you pour into your finished mobile app, you don't want to risk losing customers over something that is so easily rectified! 

So how can you solve this?

Well, I did a little research to see if there was a common thread between best-selling apps, and I found one. I visited Google Play and clicked through all of the different categories:

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I then studied the top-selling apps for each section and found that most of them had one interesting thing in common:

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Explainer videos:

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Video is the king of the marketing world. Marketers love it (82% of businesses feel video is an important part of their marketing strategy) and consumers do, too (79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product, than read text on a page). Creating an explainer video is a great way to increase your mobile app downloads because it shows users exactly what to expect when they download your app. It can also encourage people to download your app over a competitor's, simply because information for your app is more readily available. 

But instead of contradicting myself and asking you to read a WALL of text about why your mobile app would benefit from a video, I'm going to practise what I preach. Here is a short video of my colleague, Adam, detailing the benefits of an explainer video for increasing mobile app downloads:

 

At Wyzowl, we've created thousands of videos for our customers. One such customer is JotForm. JotForm is an online form builder that is fully optimised for any device. To shout about this functionality, JotForm came to Wyzowl for an animated video. When asked for her opinion on video as a marketing tool, JotForm's Senior Marketing Manager, Marina Lau, said:

"Video is definitely one of our favoured channels for marketing. It allows us to deliver our message in a unique way that is both visual and informative for our audience. Unlike static graphics and text, people seem to be drawn to videos and more likely to stick around to hear what you have to say. That's something we've definitely found to be true for our video campaigns."

Upon creating an animated video for their mobile optimised form builder, JotForm saw great engagement on their landing page, with 1 out of 5 visitors watching the video to find out more. They also utilised their video on social media and used it to advertise on YouTube, where their ad received 80,000 impressions and 11,000 views in just a couple of hours!

Here is the video:

 

But this article is about YOU. So, how can you use video to get more mobile app downloads?

Creating a Mobile App Video

The first step towards using video to get more mobile app downloads is to create a video!

Pretty simple, right?

Not really. Your video has to be great...and there are a couple of different options to choose from. Let's take a look at the features of the three most popular video types for mobile apps.

Animated

Here at Wyzowl, animated videos are kind of "our thing". We've created thousands of them for many happy customers. So, why do we love animation so much?!

Animated videos are fun, engaging, and freeing. With animation, you can create whatever you want!

Want to show your app being used by a parrot?

No problem:

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Okay, so technically, you could do this with a live action video too. But the end result would be:

  • Less visually appealing
  • More expensive
  • Morally questionable

Animated videos can do everything that live action videos can, and then some. Take a look at this example:

 

This video includes relatable characters in relatable situations (collecting kids from school, grocery shopping etc.) and presents these in a whimsical, colourful format. Animated videos are great for attracting attention and increasing awareness of your brand. They're one of the most shareable forms of video, and this all leads towards the same end goal: increasing your mobile app downloads.

Screen Recorded

Screen recorded videos show the actual functionality of your app, usually on a 3D model of a smartphone or tablet.

Here's an example:

 

This video is a favourite of mine. It's simple. It's clean. It gets the point across effectively. After just 60-ish seconds, you know exactly what the app does and what it looks like, and so you can make a decision about whether you want to download it or not. This is why screen recorded videos are GREAT for managing user expectations.

Screen recorded videos are also a lot cheaper than animated ones and, if you have the software, you can even create yours all by yourself. But if you want a polished video like the one above, it's best to talk to a professional.

App Preview

If you want to have a video presence in the Apple App Store, then you need to create an app preview - there's no other way around it. Apple have a lot of strict guidelines when it comes to posting a video to their app store, but the main points to remember are:

  • You can only show footage from inside your app. That means no animation, no fingers tapping the buttons - JUST the app. 
  • The length can only be 30 seconds or less.
  • You cannot be overly promotional in your voiceover or with text on screen.

Take a look at this example:

 

For the full list of guidelines, click here

Having a video presence on the Apple App Store will help you to manage customer expectations and also give you a competitive edge. For example, let's say you have a photo-editing app. When users search for that on the App Store, your app won't be the only one that shows up. But, if your app has a video then it will stand out among the rest and give you a better chance of converting that customer! 

It can be tempting to make videos yourself, especially when it seems so simple, like recording directly from your iPhone. BUT, when it comes to creating app previews, working with an agency can really help you to save time and reduce stress. Video marketing agencies have a lot of experience creating app previews and so they're usually familiar with the guidelines. Also, if you're working with a particularly great agency and your app preview gets rejected for not meeting the guidelines, the agency may help you to fix it...for FREE.

Once you've created your video(s) - 
because you can (and definitley should!) create more than one if you have the budget for it! - it's time to use your video effectively. Here are some of the best places to show off your mobile app video to increase downloads.

Promoting Your Mobile App Video

Social Media

Think about something you found out recently, maybe it was about a celebrity that you don't really care about, or a video game that you do really care about. There's a high chance that you found out this information on social media. Social media has become the internet's hub for consumer information. It's where everyone spends their time, and that includes marketers. 

Unfortunately, just having a presence on social media is not enough to get the promotion you need for your mobile app video. You need to be tactful in the ways that you share your video in order to encourage people to download your app. There are two ways to use social media for promotion: organic and paid.

Organic

The most cost-effective way to promote on social media is to post organically (to your own followers and fans). Obviously this limits your reach, but with video being such a popular form of media on social networks, it will help you to create an engaging page fans will want to interact with.

The supremely popular gaming app, Clash of Clans, posts videos to Facebook frequently as a way to interact with fans and get them excited about new updates. Here's an example:

 



This video has one purpose: to entertain. But in doing that, it also encourages people to share the video, share their love of the game, and, most importantly, encourage others to download it for themselves!

 

Paid

Paid promotion on social media can help you to reach a larger amount of people and, with the advanced targeting options that most social sites offer, you can make sure you reach the right people, too. 

To create a paid promotion, head to the 'Ads' tab on your chosen social networking site. This is usually found in the menu section:

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From there, there will be pretty simple instructions for you to follow in terms of targeting your video by gender, job role, age, and more. You can also select a budget that is perfect for you. Most social ads start from as little as $1, but of course, the more you pay, the more people your video will reach.

Research by Twitter has shown that 82% of Twitter users watch videos on Twitter, and 90% of those video views are on mobile devices! So posting your video on social media is the perfect way to entice people to the app store to download your app.

One of our past clients, Hooves Reloaded, has a very successful app, and they largely credit the combination video and social media marketing to this. According to Kristi Richardson, Hooves Reloaded's Sales & Marketing Manager:

"Video performs well as a marketing tool because of social media, people post and share videos readily and this helps with reaching our target audience."

However, a great marketing strategy alone is not enough. As Kristi says, the key to longevity in the app industry is to: "Develop something enjoyable or useful and unique that gives people a sense of achievement and creates a sense of community."

The app video for Hooves Reloaded has an impressive 85,000 views on YouTube!

 

YouTube ads

YouTube ads work in a very similar way to social media ads. But before we look at how they work, let's take a look at the different types of ads you can post on YouTube. 

Discovery Ads

When you type a search term into YouTube, discovery ads show up at the top of the results page, like this:

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This is similar to how Google ads appear before the organic results. 

In-Stream Ads 

In-stream ads play before the video content that users have searched for. This is a more penetrative way to advertise as it almost guarantees that users will see at least a snippet of your video ad. 

There are two types of in-stream ads:

Skippable

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These ads can be skipped by the viewer after five seconds, and if a viewer does skip, you won't be charged. 

Un-Skippable

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Un-skippable ads can be a maximum of 30 seconds long and you will be charged every time the ad plays. It's important to note that this feature is set to be removed by YouTube before the end of 2017 in favour of shorter six-second ads

Sidebar Ads

Sidebar ads appear alongside suggested videos next to the main video a user is watching, like so:

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They're usually relevant to the content the user is currently viewing. 

So, there are your options! Now let's take a look at how you can create a YouTube ad for your mobile app. 

First you log in to YouTube and upload your video. Then you head over to Google AdWords and select 'video' from the campaign dropdown menu. 

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Then you simply fill in the details. Here, you can choose to make your video a standard ad or an ad specifically for mobile app installs. If you choose the mobile app installs selection, then viewers will be able to download your app directly from the ad. If you choose the standard ad-type, then users will be taken to an app store to complete their download after clicking your call to action button. 

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Choose your ad format:

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Then it's time to focus on your budget. First, you need to decide how to bid. There are two options:

  • Maximum CPV (your bid amount is the most you want to pay per view)
  • Maximum CPM (your bid amount is the most you want to pay per one thousand impressions)

To understand the bidding process in more detail, read this article

After you decide upon a bid, enter your max daily budget. 

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The rest of the first part of the process is pretty standard targeting: choose your networks, locations, languages, your schedule, and so on. 

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After confirming all of that, you'll be taken to the next page where you select the video to use in your ad campaign. You can do this by searching or by pasting the YouTube URL. 

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You'll be asked to specify the ad format and your maximum bid amount. Then you can get really smart with your targeting. Narrow your audience by gender, age, and more in order to target the perfect people for your app. 

As you target, you'll be shown the estimated reach of your app in real-time:

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Now you should be fully equipped to create a YouTube ad for your app (once you've created a video, that is!). YouTube is one of the largest sites online, so it's important to have a presence there if you want to increase mobile app downloads through video. 

A Landing Page

Let's say someone wants to find out more about your app and they haven't been on YouTube or any social sites, instead, they found you the old fashioned way: through a good ol' search engine. If they land on your site and the only content for them to interact with is text, you risk losing them. So to be on the safe side, why not create a landing page for your video?

According to a study by EyeView Digital, using videos on your landing pages can increase conversions by up to 80%! Not only that, it gives you a permanent place to host your video. Hosting your video can give your site a huge SEO boost. It means that when people search to learn about your app and they watch your video, your site is reaping the benefits from search engines.

Think Outside the Box

As I said at the start of this article, the app market is saturated. Simple promotion techniques won't have the impact they once did, you need to think outside the box. Here are a couple of different techniques you can use to "go the extra mile" when promoting your app video to give you the best chance of increasing downloads.

Write About Your Experience

This might sound a tad hypocritical after me yakking on about how great video is, but text is important too! 

Hear me out.

Blogs are widely read and shared, especially if they address an interesting topic within a niche market. If you write about your experience of creating a mobile app video, like Jotform did, then you can create hype around your app and also present yourself as a thought-leader within your industry. 

Plus, text is great for SEO. Search engines can't index video in the same way that they can with text. So if you write an article and include keywords like: "mobile app video" and "what we learned: creating our first app" you'll rank for these and this will make you easier to find. 

Collect Original Data

Another way to generate more buzz around your app video is to do some original research that you can share with the world. Data is the lifeblood of marketing and by collecting and presenting data yourself, you encourage people to not only visit your site to check out that data, but also to link to your data, which improves your search engine optimization. 

So, how do you collect original data?

First you have to find something to measure. It could be:

  • How many people downloaded your app after watching your video?
  • How many people watched your video, and of those, how many downloaded your app?
  • What was the ROI of your app marketing strategies?

The list goes on... 

One you have chosen what to measure, you just have to find a way to measure it. When working with video, this is usually pretty simple as all the best video hosting sites come with built-in analytics, giving you access to metrics like video views, watch duration, call-to-action clicks, and more. Be sure to check out your video hosting site to find out what juicy data you have access to! 

Final Thoughts


Video can open a number of doors for any type of business, product or service. When it comes to mobile apps, you can use video as a device to tell your story and encourage people to download, and also to build realistic expectations before they download.

The brands mentioned in this article used video to boost their conversions, increase user understanding and enhance user discovery, all of which led to one amazing end goal: MORE DOWNLOADS.

The moral of the story?

If they can do it, so can you. Visit our video examples page to see more mobile app videos, or get in touch if you want to find out more about creating your own.

Samantha Ferguson

Written by Samantha Ferguson