Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Mobile apps have the power to do many things, and you’ll need to make choices as you decide which features to build into your app. One decision you might not have considered: video.
No matter what your app is or does, you should think hard about adding a video component. I can hear you wondering: Why would my app to help create a budget or play a game need video? Plenty of reasons! Here are just a few.
1. User interface.
Humans are visual creatures who’d rather watch a video than read. Video within the app can provide an introduction, explain how to use various features or serve as a small advertisement about your app and what it does. Such videos will increase user satisfaction and engagement during time spent in the app.
Example: One store that sells appliance parts to homeowners includes a video for each part it sells. Every video presents a step-by-step installation guide for each specific model. Buyers can follow along to fix their dishwasher, stove or clothes dryer.
The stats around mobile video are astonishing. According to Statistica, the majority of consumers around the world mostly use mobile apps to access videos on their mobile devices. You need to be part of that.
Example: A time-tracking app can provide a simple entry to video, with reminders on appropriate time logs.
A 30-second video will get users excited about your app in ways a screenshot simply can’t. (Check out this beautiful video for the SkyGuide, which lets you view the night sky.) Videos can sell the app in an advertising format, offer a brief preview of your app’s functionality or do both. These videos are displayed prominently in Google Play and iOS stores. Plus, more than 300 alternative stores exist to help you promote and sell your app. Most of them, including Amazon, allow you to display a video.
Example: A game app can offer assistance via video at core parts of the game. Before prospective users knew what Angy Birds was, they were treated to a short intro video that depicted a giant finger pulling back a slingshot and knocking over pigs. It played just before the game began. This separate video demonstrates an award-winning game, Monument Valley.
4. Social media.
Speaking of advertising, you can use your app’s promotional video on social media platforms, too. On average, Facebook reports more than 8 billion video views per day. (Mostly with the sound off, by the way.)
Example: An app could tackle complicated processes by highlighting excerpts on social-media channels. Walk users through the process by showing a calm and happy person slowly taking each step. With video, users can repeat as many times as needed to address their problem.
5. Customer expectations.
About 80 percent of apps are deleted after just one use. Some apps seem to promise one thing and deliver another. With more than 6.5 million apps out there, it will be easy for yours to get lost. That’s probably not what you were expecting after all the work, time and money you put into building your app. An explainer video that demonstrates what your app is and what users can expect will go a long way. If a consumer is faced with two similar apps, but one offers a nice, short explainer video, odds are the one with video will get the nod. Even a short video can help reinforce a user’s confidence that your app meets his or her needs.
Example: Linear-based apps, such as an income-tax form, could start with a video explaining the process. This relaxes the user before she or he gets started. Then, videos along the way can offer further instruction as needed.
Building videos that support your app.
Given the time, effort and money you’re putting into the app itself, you might feel tempted to use pre-built cartoons via a template service. Don’t. The videos in your app should match the overall app design and quality. Otherwise, you show potential customers that your app is thrown together. This mismanages their expectations.
Videos should be integrated into the app itself. A link that sends users to YouTube doesn’t cut it. Each video should be so much a part of the app that it flows and feels like part of the user’s experience.
Here are some other things to keep in mind with your app video:
Create a special video player for the app, with a similar skin, and embed it at various stages of app use.
Make it easy to find your video and just as easy to turn it off, if a user wants to skip it.
Determine which videos will play during a specific part of the experience and which will play only after the user selects a “Help” or “More Info” button.
Humans are visual animals. Quality videos increase engagement, improve user experience and set your brand apart from the competition.