App explainer videos are an essential marketing tool, and are one of the “must haves” most app developers put on their app promotion to do lists. Explainer video production can be overwhelming, though, so we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to making a video of your very own:
- Pick a Video Style
This is probably the most important decision, as there are big differences between the difficulty, expense, and skills needed to make an animated video, a live action demo, and a traditional app demo video.
An animated explainer video is a great way to introduce an app or service that has a unique concept to it, and is best for giving viewers the “big picture” overview of a tool. Animation is also great if your product hasn’t launched yet – animation can be used to show how it will work before it does.
Live action videos or real-world product demos are ideal if your product needs to be used in a specific environment (like a home robot or a supermarket shopping app), and can also be a great way to emphasize an experience over functionality. Live action video can be quite expensive, so be sure to consider other alternatives, like including stock footage in the place of custom-shot on-location filming.
A traditional demo video is great if you want viewers to focus on your app’s functionality and give them a clear look at what it will be like to actually use the app. These videos are an essential tool when you want to differentiate your offering from a sea of other apps, as decisions often come down to the user experience and key features.
- Write a Powerful Script
Behind every compelling video is a story, and the way you tell that story is usually through the script. Getting the script right can make the difference between a mediocre video and a great one, so be ready to spend a lot of time on getting it right.
Writing a script that will be read by a voice over artist can also be very different from writing traditional marketing copy. Be sure to think about what everything will sound like out loud, as none of your viewers will read this script – they’ll only hear it read by the voice over artist.
- Plan Your Visuals
Once the script is ready, make a thorough plan for everything that will be shown in the video, from which stock footage clips you’ll use to everything that will be tapped as you navigate through your app. Make a storyboard that’s either visual or text-based, and don’t just say you’ll “pick an item from the list” when you can specify which item to pick. The idea is to make sure there aren’t any surprises when it comes time to record your video.
- Get Feedback
At this point, you’ve spent put all the pieces together and probably want to jump right in to creating the video itself – but take a minute to step back before you go on. Show your storyboard to friends, colleagues, and family members to get their feedback. It may feel a bit strange to do this before the video is made, but it’s so much easier to make changes now, before you’ve spent hours making the video itself.
- Record or Animate Your Video
This is the most technically difficult part, and we really can’t go into the specifics of how to do it in an overview post like this. If you don’t have video skills, this would be a good time to ask for help from a knowledgeable friend, colleague, or professional app video company.
While this can be a technically difficult step, all of the preparation you’ve done up until this point should take most of the guesswork out of it. If you follow your storyboard/plan and are competent with the video or animation components, you should be able to produce what you were aiming for.
- Record Your Voice Over
It may be counterintuitive to wait until after you’ve shot the video to record the voice over, but doing things in this order gives you the chance to make sure everything you laid out in the script actually worked in the video. If any issues come up while filming, you can tweak the script to minimize them, rather than having to pay for another read from your voice over artist.
Speaking of voice over artists, use a professional (or experienced amateur), rather than doing it yourself. You want your video to sound a good as it looks, so don’t cut corners at this stage.
- Get More Feedback
Now that you actually have an app explainer video, show it to everyone you reached out to for help the first time, and add some more people for good measure. Think about posting it to “only my friends” on Facebook or asking for feedback in a professional LinkedIn group you frequent.
Seriously consider all of the feedback you get, and evaluate whether you want to make revisions to implement the suggested changes. It can be a lot of work to revise a video, but it can also result in a substantial improvement.
- Share Your Explainer Video
There are many types of videos, and not all are right for every medium. A tutorial video doesn’t make a good Facebook ad, and an iPhone App Preview won’t be very welcome in the Google Play store.
That said, share your video as much as you can. A 45-90 second video is great for your homepage or landing page, and can be great content to share on social media as an update (but maybe not as an ad). You can send videos out with press releases, add them to email newsletters, or even load them onto phones or tablets for employees to use as a sales tool. Experiment with different ways to use your video, then focus on what seems to be working.
As you can see, app explainer videos can be a big undertaking, but they’re worth it! If this process seems like it is too much to handle on your own, we can help. We provide free consultations – even if your goal is to create your own video. Get in touch today – we’d love to talk about your project.