Full Guide to Video Ad Creatives for Apps: Essential Tools, Metrics, and Narratives

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Kate

Video has proven to be an effective tool to direct an advertiser’s message toward the right audience and further move users down the user acquisition funnel, prompting higher levels of engagement. However, there are a number of factors that you should take into account when preparing your video creatives. Together with Andrew Kozik from Perfomante, we will walk you through the journey of how to create a video that will work for your app. 

Apps Video Creatives Lifecycle

Preparation

The first thing that you should determine is how you are going to produce your video: in-house or by hiring an agency. The key thing is recognizing that for successful User Acquisition you should produce and test a lot of Ad Creatives: 5-20 per month for early-stage projects.

You need to launch ad sets, incorporate several creative refreshes throughout the campaign duration, so that integrated content does not become stale or repetitive. You should run tests to determine what causes the increase/decrease in conversions — messaging, formats, visuals, or something else. And once you choose the best performing creatives, you still should proceed with the production because of the creative burnout (3-30 days). So, always plan a perpetual new ideas creation process or just ask yourself whether you are ready to commit to the hustle. 

Idea generation 

There are a few tools that help you find inspiration, be it your competitors or just video ads from different domains. The first one — Facebook Ad Library. It’s appropriate for small- and medium-sized teams, it’s absolutely free. You can supplement your research with Spyder, a free tool that helps you save video ads from Facebook Ad Library and gather them to a Pinterest board that you can share with your teammates or with animators.

There are some other solutions: MobileAction, Sensor Tower, Apptica, and App Annie. 

Project management

Now, you need to set up your workflow: as you have to produce a number of videos regularly, you need to manage your animators and creative specialists. 

Certain tools can help facilitate these processes. Perfomante created their own tool and use it in-house. It helps to store all their assets, assign animators, track performance, and make payments to the animators. You can also use Asana plus Slack, so it will help you both store assets and track tasks.

For small teams, you can create a Notion page with Kanban board. This works perfect for teams creating 5 to 10 videos per week. Some larger companies use Jira.

Production 

Usually, animators work in Adobe After Effects. This tool helps to create a large variety of different high-quality transitions and animations like fake gameplay.

You need to dedicate between half a day and up to two days for video creation for subscription apps in utilities, health, and meditation. In the case of game apps, this process could take up to a week because of the need to recreate character animations and more.

Run campaign

Now, you have to launch the ads. Our advice here is to launch new video ads in ad sets, such as four new ads plus one benchmark video ad to help you track the performance in comparison.

Analytics

When launching your ads, it’s important to analyze each one and track the data even from different Ad Sources in one place. To receive the full visibility of your marketing attribution for subscription apps, use Qonversion, which tracks information about subscriptions event (trials, installs, trial to paying customers) and sends it to 3rd-party tools like Appsflyer and Adjust, so you can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

One key mistake a lot of people make when measuring a creative is that they measure cost per impact or impression. This doesn’t necessarily give you an accurate understanding of how well a creative is doing. We suggest keeping an eye on Cost Per Install (CPI), Conversion to Trial, Conversion to Paying Customers, and Revenue. 

Such metrics will show you whether you should scale your campaigns. If so, don’t miss a chance to expand and invest in your User Acquisition. Small tip for those who’d like to scale a campaign and need investment: you can also use external funding. For instance, funding partners like Braavo provide capital that you can use for User Acquisition campaigns and other growth investments.

Formats for Video Creatives

Let’s check out popular ad formats for subscription apps. 

Screencast

In Perfomante’s experience, screencast is best for early-stage to display your application and its use cases. This format is pretty simple and shows the real functionality of your application.

Screencast with attention grabbers

You can also create more complex video ads with an attention grabber. Create a fake screencast that mimics real gameplay or create a real simulation of your app, and show a bar with users’ results.

Reference science 

You can create complex themes that prove your application’s efficacy by referencing scientific research or results. Here is an example of the Simple fasting app: 

Footage + screencast

The fourth most popular ad format is footage + screencast. Show call to action at the end of the video.

3D Infinite Loops 

When you know approximately what works for you in the 2D world, you can move forward to 3D and play with it. We strongly advise using 3D once you’ve completed at least five iterations of 2D. Each iteration is up to 10 unique videos.

You might recognize the Calm meditation video ads which contain infinite loops. This format works well when you use it in the first few seconds of your video ads before following with gameplay. Be sure to recognize that the production process of such a video is one or two weeks, and you will need 3D specialists. You can check video stocks like Storyblocks or any other popular tools to download ready-to-use assets that will help you try out this approach.

UGC

Once you have strong results with 2D, try UGC. There are some tricks to using UGC in your ad campaign. You should know that Facebook ads, Google ads, and TikTok ads differentiate from each other, so launch different campaigns for each platform. Something that didn’t work in TikTok could work on Facebook, and vice versa.

Let’s check the differences in more detail.

On TikTok, you can use low-quality video ads. It could be simple; you can make it on your own. Avoid using too many animation transitions or too complex animation. Just a simple cut and call to action. The quality for TikTok could be lower than that for Facebook.

FB/YoutubeTikTok
AnimationSimple – ComplexSimple
QualityMiddle-highLow-middle
Safe ZonesNormalSpecific
Audio QualityImportantDoesn’t important
Light QualityImportant Doesn’t important

In TikTok, you should have specific safe zones. In the picture below, you can see that the whole area is covered with different widgets of TikTok, and some parts of the ad will be covered with these. Pay attention to this. 

Video Narratives for Apps 

Here, we will explore some UGC narratives in detail.

A review in the window during gameplay 

The model is in the corner of the gameplay.

Classic review with captions 

Model and gameplay in different scenes, keywords are captioned.

Hands-on gameplay 

A model shows a screen with a game in a hand (or hands).

Split screen 

Model and gameplay split the screen in half.

Person versus person

2 models in the video playing with/against each other. They could also be in a small window.

Real-life gameplay

This model intrigues the viewer by using the game in real-life situations after which the gameplay is shown.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored the main formats and narratives for video ads for apps. If you have any questions or the willingness to share your own experiences, feel free to join our Community.

Getting started with subscription-based apps can seem like an enormous undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be if you enlist the help of professionals. At Qonversion, we focus on easing the life of mobile app developers and marketers by providing analyticsautomation, and pricing tools.

So, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help on your subscription mobile app journey or have any questions!

*All videos are provided by Perfomante.