The offerings on stock sites today go far beyond static images and vector drawings. Video clips of every kind can be purchased now—which means we often see questions about the use of stock video in app videos, particularly when DIY is being considered. (If you’re wondering whether to try and do your app’s video yourself, we’d encourage you to read our article on things you may want to consider before making your decision.)

Is using stock video a good idea when making a video for your app? It can be, if used in the right circumstances. Stock video cannot take the place of a custom video created specifically for your app, but it’s possible there may be a place for it as part of your app’s custom video.

When Stock Footage Doesn’t Work

When you want the viewer to see a person directly interacting with and using your app, or any time the video needs to show the phone’s screen, stock footage can’t be used because your app needs to be what the viewer sees on the phone; you don’t want the viewer to see a blank or generic screen, and you definitely never want to use stock footage that shows another company’s app!

When Stock Footage Works

So when can stock video clips be used?

While there’s no one answer—and no guarantee that stock video will be appropriate or even useful in your app’s video—stock footage can be considered any time the phone’s screen doesn’t have to be visible and thus there’s no worry that viewers will see it’s not your app on the screen. Simple examples include taking a phone out of a pocket or purse or someone tapping/interacting with the screen—these are situations where the phone screen itself isn’t shown to the video viewer. The key is that the viewer has no way to discern that the person in the video isn’t using your app.

Another situation in which stock video can work is when the phone isn’t the focus because it’s not relevant for the moment you’re wanting to capture. The primary example of this – and in fact, it’s the most common use of stock footage – is when stock footage is used to introduce the problem your app solves. People at an important business meeting, cars driving, someone taking a picture with their phone; depending on the app, any of these can offer a glimpse into the purpose and function of the app.

You might notice that there’s something in common with the two above examples: they function as introductory scenes or as a way to segue between custom video segments.

The one situation where stock video can be used directly to show off your app is when an app uses the phone’s camera. For example, inserting stock footage into an app to show it taking a picture of a person is much less expensive than hiring an actor, and the same is definitely true if you want to show the experience of taking a photo of a particular landmark (though you’re welcome to pay us to fly to the Grand Canyon instead!).

Things to Consider

Before making the decision to purchase stock footage, be sure you think about the following considerations:


Stock video footage should be chosen carefully: remember, if you can use stock footage, so can other app developers. Imagine if you chose the same stock footage already being used by a competing app!

Take the time to view the videos of your app’s competition; as you watch, focus on spotting any stock footage. This will help you recognize it so you can avoid using it in your own app’s video.


Incorporation of stock footage needs to be seamless in a video. You don’t want to use footage of a young woman if the rest of your video shows a man’s hands and fingers using your app. Or, if your custom video footage is of a phone with no case, stock video that shows a phone with a bright green case should definitely be avoided. Stock footage that doesn’t fit with the rest of your video will call attention to it; you don’t want your stock video to stand out from the rest of your video.

Video Length

The majority of your app’s video should be demonstrating your app—how it works, it’s most important features and functions, and how easy it is to use. Stock footage can’t do this for you. Since you only have a few minutes at most for a demo video, you don’t want to fill your app’s video with too much stock footage. Stock footage can’t help showcase your app, and thus should be used sparingly if it is used at all.

AppDemoVideos creates videos designed to showcase and teach customers about your app, and we incorporate real interaction with your app to demonstrate its features and functionality. As a professional production company, we have the experience to help you decide whether or not stock video should be used in your app’s video. If it fits, we can help you choose appropriate, unique footage. We can also ensure the stock video integrates seamlessly with the rest of your video during the editing process. If you’re looking to create a top quality demo video for your app, we’d love to work with you!