How You Can Win Big From the Changes to Apple's App Store
Apple, Inc. has proven itself a trendsetter in almost every space it’s attempted to dominate. Its iPod, one of the first products to encapsulate the new era of Apple, launched a pioneering market for high-quality, portable audio devices and converted a whole generation of Apple-product loyalists.
The iPhone, while not truly the first smartphone, was the first to be widely adopted and has since influenced the development of countless imitations. Even the controversial AirPods, wireless earbuds designed to kill the headphone jack, have started a trend.
Now, Apple is on to something else: It's looking to change the app store game with a redesign meant to encourage more engagement, more complete app previews and, ultimately, a better app-downloading experience. So, how will this affect the app-store landscape and, more pressingly, how should current entrepreneurs work to promote their apps?
The New iOS App Store
After helping developers earn more than $70 billion, Apple recognized the domination of its platform, and attempted to make it even better, with a redesign this past June. The new App Store, recreated from the ground up, displays more stories and news in a daily updated "Today" tab.
Games and apps also have newly designed interfaces, with one major difference: the presence of app-preview videos. These videos give users a more accurate idea of how apps look, feel and function, and represent a critical marketing opportunity for entrepreneurs.
How other companies may react
In trend-setting fashion, Apple is paving the way for more autoplay videos in app stores and any other platform that holds users’ attention. Facebook and Twitter already use autoplaying videos to encourage more user views, as does YouTube -- and it’s likely that more companies will follow suit, considering the rising popularity of video marketing.
It’s also likely that more companies will take advantage of this opportunity; 81 percent of video marketers who were surveyed claimed that they'd seen an increase in sales since adopting a video-marketing strategy. With more platforms and more encouragement set to include videos as part of their campaigns, the competition is only getting fiercer.
What should you be doing?
I spoke with LNC Productions co-founders Eddie Nuvakhov and David Levy, who specialize in video marketing, about the future of video marketing, and what the updated app store means for app-based companies. These two have been in the video production game for six years; and, since they started, they said, they’ve seen an explosion in demand and activity in the industry.
They recommended focusing on three actions for businesses looking to flesh out their app pages with video:
Build a video portfolio. First, build up a portfolio of videos you can use for a variety of applications, including use on your main app sales page, and in any subsequent marketing and advertising materials. Because consumers are demanding more video, and your competitors are almost certainly already in the game, you need to act quickly to build up a respective portfolio.
Vet your video producers. There are many video-production companies, but you’ll need to review your options carefully. Look for an agency that not only has lots of experience and production ability, but also a thorough understanding of your market space. You need a partner who understands your goals.
Target your videos. Each video you create needs to have a goal -- a specific purpose in mind to guide its development and promotion. Without a specific niche, and a clear metric for success, your videos won’t stand out.
iOS App Store guidelines
Also be aware of the iOS App Store’s guidelines for app preview videos:
- Format and resolution. You’ll need to upload your video file in M4V, MP4 or MOV format, and make sure each file is less than 500 MB. You’ll also need to save it in the proper resolution, information which Apple lists for each device. iOS devices can handle videos in landscape or portrait position, but for the Apple TV, you’ll need a landscape video.
- Content. For the time being, Apple only allows app-preview videos that preview the functionality of your app; in other words, you can’t interview your developers on screen or show real-world content that isn’t directly tied into your app’s features.
- Voiceover and music. You can, however, add music and voiceover work to your app-preview video, even if it doesn’t naturally occur in the functionality of your app. To see an example of what all of this looks like, watch LNC’s video for Audible.
According to LNC's Levy, "This is a new type of video that really requires creators to be strategic. App store videos autoplay, and they do so while muted." For this reason, he said, viewers will typically view the video without sound, unless they manually turn the sound on. This will mean that the video needs to be impactful and communicate your message effectively -- with or without sound.
So, there's a peak at the new App Store. Its overhaul is already making waves, both for app stores and social media apps, and for the companies developing apps for download.
This means that the sooner you adapt to these changes, and the further ahead of the competition you can get, the more you’ll engage your users and the more downloads of your app you’re likely to receive.