[Note: This post was originally an answer on Quora, and has been expanded here.]
Launching an app can be a complex process, and video should be an integral part of your launch plan. Here are five video types to consider when launching your product.
If your app is still in development and you have a marketing budget for some pre-launch promotion, we recommend releasing a video as soon as you have anything you can show to entice people. Get people to sign up for a pre-launch mailing list or beta test and turn them into advocates for your product before they can even buy it.
Pre-launch videos can be powerful publicity tools, and a professional video production company can take your prototype, wireframe, or alpha/beta version and really make it shine. Some successful videos don’t even show the app at all – if you have a unique feature or concept, sometimes teasing that is the best approach.
Here’s a video we made to promote the launch of a major update to a popular iPad note taking app that doesn’t even show an iPad until the very end:
We’ve made numerous videos of apps that are still just concepts – we’ve even helped app concepts get funding by making them look real well before they were ready for prime time.
At or After Launch
If your app is already live in the relevant app stores and doesn’t have a video, release your video as soon as you can — and seriously consider releasing more than one video:
These videos play right in your app’s listing, and give app shoppers a chance to see the app in action exactly when they are poised to download or purchase it. With studies showing that 30-50+% of app discovery is through app store searches and/or featured content, you may only have this one chance to show people your video — so put it in front of them when it counts the most. However, you often can’t just reuse a video designed for another purpose. Apple has very strict rules for theirvideos which mean that a purpose-built presentation is best in the iOS store. Google’s rules are more lax, but it’s still a good idea to tailor a Google Play video to a mobile audience, especially in making it understandable both with and without sound — you don’t want to lose business due to confusion because of a muted phone.
These are the traditional demo/explainer videos, and can be longer and more visually complex than App Previews. This is where you make the case for your app in 45–90 seconds, putting it in the best possible light. Remember, visitors to your website have already made the important choice to explore your marketing materials, so a video can easily turn those already qualified leads into sales in under a minute.
These are shorter, flashier videos with one purpose: intrigue viewers enough to learn more. They should either push people to your website or app store listing, and should be tailored to the medium you are using to share them. Make Facebook videos silent (or understandable without sound), Instagram videos square, and keep all of these videos short — you don’t need to make the sale, just get people to your site or listing where another video can take over the “funnel.”
These video are often overlooked, but can be incredibly important for many products. If your app has a variety of functions and features, making sure your users know how to use them can be the difference between success and failure. If you have clear, easy-to-follow tutorials on your website, your users will have a much easier time learning your technology. This means more good reviews, and fewer people contacting you for support. Tutorial videos can even end up being part of your pre-sales/marketing process: if people want an in-depth look at how your app works, they’ll often click “support” before they buy.
Hopefully that gives you some ideas about when and where to release videos of your app. If you want more information about app explainer videos,. We’re happy to provide advice, no matter where you are in the process.