4 steps to planning your app promo video

Save hours and get better results by asking yourself these 4 questions before you start making your video
This post is a part of our series called Make your design come alive with an animated mockup

There are two types of app promo video creators. The first group heads straight to their tool, starts dragging in designs and sees what comes out. They emphasize the stuff that was the hardest to design or code—not necessarily what their audience wants to see.

The other group spends 5-10 minutes planning. They're likely to be done in less than half an hour and most often get better results.

So grab that coffee now, and let's work on joining the second group. These are the questions you'll want to ask yourself.

1. Who is this for?

It goes for designing, making apps, and just everything we do, so it matters here as well. It helps to think of one specific person when creating these videos. Marketers talk about levels of awareness.

Let's say you've built an app to locate tv remote controls. You open the app, and it tells you, "it's under the iPad again."

Does she even know she has the problem your app is solving?

She might be happy working around the problem, not aware that there is a better way. If this is the case, we can spend a few seconds asking, "how often do you look for your remote control?" If your audience for your promo video is at this stage, you may spend most of the time showing the problem, only to show the app at the end in the outro.

Does she fully understand her problem?

At this stage, she's fully aware that a particular thing in her life is annoying. However, she has no idea - or hasn't thought of - how to solve it. It's just there. In this case, we can show a quick title saying "Instant remote control finder." This is an excellent time for an end-to-end demo of your app, but make it quick.

Does she know you can solve her problem?

Okay, she's aware that apps can locate remote controls, and she's seen some friends using them. But she doesn't know that you have the solution. In this case, we can go for something like "From the remote control locator experts." Show how simple it is to find a remote control with your app.

Does she think your solution is right for her?

She's pretty sure she wants a locator, but how does she know your app is right for her? It's time to kick into comparison mode: "The only remote control locator app that doesn't hurt your dog, even if your dog is small." Next, focus on a few features that make your app unique.

Is she ready to get your app?

At this stage, all she wants to know is if you have a good deal for her. She's already decided to go with your app, "one day" - here's your chance to make that day today: "15% off all week"

Question 2: "How do I want them to feel and act?"

The answer to this question will be a guide for all the big and small decisions you'll make down the line. Whenever you're faced with a choice, you can ask yourself, "will this help make my viewer feel … ? "

Here are a few examples

App makers

  • This app will make me look great when I show it to my friends
  • I can't wait to try it
  • The people who built this are experts in their fields
  • Download now
  • Upgrade to a Premium plan
  • Share the video on social media

Freelancers and agencies

  • I now trust them to take on a big project
  • They completely understand our brand
  • This is so much more than we asked for and in less time!
  • Hire them now
  • Recommend to other companies
  • Share with coworkers

Portfolio makers

  • Here's a candidate with a natural talent for details
  • This person knows colors
  • Hire this person now
  • Share with a coworker
  • Persuade manager to open a headcount
  • Hire for a higher seniority level

Question 3: What's my party trick?

Especially on social media, people scroll through a feed fast. It's straightforward to scroll past your video, and your message will likely lose it forever for that one person. So how can you help them slow down and realize that you have something extraordinary to show them?

  • What's the most visually exciting part of your app?
  • What looks precisely like magic?
  • When you show your app to friends and coworkers, when do they say "wow!"

And remember to keep the level of awareness, actions, and feelings in mind when you pick this out.

Question 4: Where am I running this video?

Online videos come in all shapes and sizes, and one mistake we often see is running the same video everywhere. That doesn't mean you should make a completely new video every time, but rather, do minor tweaks per medium.

Social media

This is a big one. Your video will be a part of a feed. In other words, it's going to be tiny compared to the full-screen window you created the video in. So before you post, try and resize your Quicktime window to very small and see how it works. You may find that you should zoom more and rarely show the entire mockup device but gently animate a cropped version. This will also help guide your user's attention and only focus on the parts of the app that match the story you're telling.


The wildcard. If your video appears as a colossal hero background image taking up the entire browser when a visitor lands on your page, you can go for a slow-moving beauty shot. On the other hand, if you're placing text on top of the video, consider finding a good perspective that doesn't interfere with your main message.


Once again, the video will be small, even when people see your video on the watch page. Youtube videos are also often - hopefully - embedded on other sites, and previewed on social media, so zoom, crop and focus!

Alright, that was 5 minutes about planning. Now go spend 10 minutes planning! And don't forget to show us what you make.