Marketing Your iOS App With Video

On March 29, 2011

This is a guest post from Joseph Nilo. He is co-founder of HiLo Media, a production company specializing in creating online content and viral video campaigns. HiLo Media has created videos for an array of large and small software developers and have been at the forefront of screencasting and podcasting.

Video is everywhere these days. It seems every product available from consumer electronics to toasters has an overview video and a series of tutorial videos. In this article I?ll go over why your iOS app needs a video, best practices on how to create one yourself, and when you need to hire a professional.

Why You Need a Video

We?ve known for years that the medium of video itself– exciting visuals paired with music and special effects– lends itself well to selling a product. And furthermore, there?s the blatant fact that people don?t want to read website copy about your product, they?d like to be shown. A great demo video bene?ts you in many ways:

• It helps create an emotional connection with a potential buyer that text and pictures can?t do
• It can sum up your application in 2 minutes or less – an “elevator pitch”
• It can have a powerful call-to-action that is more likely heeded than with text on a page
• It has the ability to go viral and reach thousands or millions of viewers via retweets, shares, and embedding
• It is easily shared not only with potential buyers, but with reviewers and the press
• It can keep a new website visitor on your front page longer, lowering your site?s bounce rate.
• It can have incredible SEO on viral video sites.

When To Do It Yourself

It?s understandable that many independent developers would rather create a video themselves as opposed to hiring a professional for hundreds or thousands of dollars. The tools to create a video are very easy to come by these days. Here is a potential work?ow:


You need to capture video of your application. The easiest way to do this is to create a “screencast” by capturing the screen while you run your application in iOS Simulator. There are many tools to do this. QuickTime allows you to capture your entire screen, and you have that on your Mac right now. More robust screen capture suites like Telestream?s Screen?ow offer more options for capture, editing, and ?nal output.


Macs were built for video editing. You can create a cut of your app video in the aforementioned Screen?ow, along with a voice track, music, special effects and text. And of course Apple?s offerings of iMovie, Final Cut Express, and Final Cut Pro offer more and more options for creativity and delivery.Here are some rules of thumb on time: People have short attention spans. Create a one-minute “teaser” or a two-minute “overview”. Anything longer than that and you?ll lose viewers. With the exception of a longer-form tutorial video (3-5 minutes), which has a different, more “captive” audience (they?ve probably already bought your app and want to learn more), keep it short and sweet.


Your video needs some sound in the form of music and a possible voiceover. Create a brilliant piece of music in GarageBand. Soundtrack Pro comes with lots of loops, too, and some great stock music songs. Stock music sites like offer affordable professionally-produced tracks.

As for voiceover, you can always record something yourself. Or hire a professional-even affordably, at a place like Just send a script and you?ll get back a high-quality professional voiceover track to place in your video.


Ok, your amazing video is edited and done. What now? It goes without saying that you need to upload it to YouTube and other viral video sites. A YouTube video with a properly tagged and keyworded description will give you amazing SEO. Other viral sites like Vimeo offer high-quality video playback, as well.

Then get that video on your web site! Tell all your friends. Tweet and retweet. Upload it to your company?s Facebook page. A great video does you no good when it?s not seen.

When To Hire a Professional

I?m biased when writing this part, as I am a professional video producer. But here are a few reasons you?d want to get one of us video editors to create your content for you.


I guess this goes without saying, but if you really want the highest-quality video, a professional video editor will pair screen captures with music, voiceover, and visual effects in the best possible way.


You?re busy already programming, aren?t you? A pro can create your video quickly and ef?ciently. It takes me at least 2 solid days to create a script, concept & storyboard, create screen captures, record a voiceover, create graphics, edit, revise, edit, revise, and deliver. And I?ve been doing this for ten years so I?m fast. If time is of the essence, hire a pro and get back to doing what you do best.

Live Video

Does your vision of your demo video contain live video? That is, real people using your app on an iOS device? Hire a pro to do this. iPads and iPhones are notoriously hard to shoot on video and require special lighting and professional HD cameras.


I often see developers try and throw everything plus the kitchen sink into their video creating a monster 7-minute overview. No one will watch this. Often a developer is “too close” to a project to create a coherent, concise video. An experienced editor can edit-cut the video to communicate your message ef?ciently and effectively.

So whether you?re an independent developer with a small budget or a programmer working for a large corporation, you can see the value of creating video content for your iOS application. Videos can serve many roles:

• Website Marketing
• Viral Marketing
• Reseller education
• Consumer education

Good luck!