How to make video game trailers appealing on App Store and Google Play


Video game trailers are rapidly gaining popularity and iOS 11 is developed to reinforce the role which video plays on the market. There’s no one unique set of rules and requirements you should follow while making trailers for games since there’s a big diversity of trailers you may want to create. Let’s set categorizing aside and firstly focus on two altering policies that iOS App Store and Google Play Store set for developers to follow and see which output may be expected from placing the trailer on both platforms.

Online stores like any store go by the general customer, although use different approaches to satisfy their needs and encourage purchasing.  There’re two types of customers in online app stores: those who assess products by their first impression or decisive customers, and those who look through the whole list before they download anything – so-called investigators. 
A good video will satisfy the second type and do no harm to the first one.
The decisive customer doesn’t play the video on Play Store, as they may assess graphics without spending time on watching, while iOS 11 starts up videos automatically and attracts viewer’s attention at least for some seconds.
The investigator prefers to watch videos and know how he may benefit from purchasing a particular app. iOS App Store gives them the possibility to watch even more than they expect, as it allows to place up to 3 previews.
The recent survey run by shows that the video game trailer is able to enlarge video game downloads up to 25%. Meanwhile, people who watched the video trailer download the video game 3 times more frequently. The effect of some video game trailers, which are becoming similar to film trailers, is so massive that they have already formed a huge segment of a marketing deal, where the mobile industry is rushing forward to take its own place.

Building video game trailers apt for different online app stores            

Video trailers of App Store and Google Play Store differ a bit from each other, though require common practices and face similar problems. Let’s start with similarities and outline what is advised to pay attention to within planning and designing stages.

  • Spy for competitors - investigate the supply of trailers for games similar to yours, it may encourage you to create something original and unique.
  •  Make impressive start – attract viewer’s attention from the first second either your trailer is played automatically or not, as first seconds are always of vital importance.
  •  Avoid redundancy – try to show the cue features of your video game. The App Store video trailer isn’t allowed to last more than 30 seconds, so use the time wisely to provide a holistic impression of your game.

A useful tip here is to simply count how much time you need to show one feature (3-5 sec. on average) taking into consideration time for frame shifts (some fractions of a second), start and final splash screens (supposedly 3 sec. each) and a lead-in part (about 3 sec.). As you see, the demonstration of features should take about 20 seconds. It means that if you leave 4 seconds per one feature, you’re able to show only 5 ones in one video game trailer. It’s a daunting challenge for a team to say nothing in the trailer about the feature they’ve been working on for the whole month.



  • Optimize your video for a silent mode – a big part of users prefer switching off the sound or listening on a very low volume, which makes it necessary to ensure that the audience is able to understand the video without ambient sound. To facilitate people’s comprehension during watching becomes possible through the use of speech prompts explaining what’s happening on the screen. Check the size of the text message on every screenshot is visible even on small-sized screens. A big advantage will be clearness and shortness of text messages, the same as accurate synchronization of text messages with the screenshots they refer to.
  • Optimize your video for a small screen size – while previews for iOS are mostly screenshots of the game, the Play Store video trailers require more precise verification that all work well on small screens.
  • Show relevant content – avoid overloading, but make sure you depicted your game’s potential fully. App Store may reject your video game trailer during moderation if it contains episodes not related to functional characteristics. It’s forbidden to show either how your product effects people lives or people (both real and animated) contributing from it. All that you’re allowed to show is features or functionality people are going to use.
  • Define the audience’s level of awareness – when you’ve designed something really specific, it’s worth thinking in advance what’s better to show in its preview: the genre itself or features that may be hard for unaware users to perceive. The choice should be made at the early stage in accompany with defining the target audience.
  • Remember to use calls for action – let people know what you suppose them to do (“Download today” or “Play now”). It concerns not only the final slogan, but prompts either. 


7 main differences between App Store and Play Store

Even starting this part we should learn to distinguish how video game trailers are called in these two online app stores, namely App Previews in iOS App Store and tvOS App Store and Promo videos in Google Play Store.
The localization issue used to be the most significant difference before iOS 11 version appeared, as later the possibility to localize videos was only realized in Google Play Store. Today App Store gives publishers to place localized previews, control their amount and enumeration order. 

7 main differences that still exist:

   App Previews (App Store) Promo videos (Play Store)
Format Depends on a device. The full list is here:  Look for App Preview Resolutions. iOS 11 allows placing 3 previews. YouTube video, 1920x1080 recommended.
Recommendations All videos require affirmation in accord with quite strict and restrictive recommendations. The recommendations of App Store should be learnt attentively, otherwise, you risk to be rejected and you will have to remake it. Affirmation isn’t required, all recommendations look like a short list of tips.
Placement and playback

iOS before 11th version: a playback button is in a poster frame used as the first screenshot.         

iOS 11 and the further: functions of automatic, soundless playback and looping. The first preview is started automatically both on the searching page and in the App Store listing. 

A play button is on feature
graphics, opening YouTube-video. Isn’t reflected on the searching page.
 Duration Up to 30 seconds Limitless
Updating Updating is necessary Changes may be done anytime
Testing A/B testing is unavailable without outside tools A/B testing is available. You may run a few types of experiments in Google
Play Store
Video statistics Unavailable YouTube Analytics


Some of these peculiarities are worth additional discussion.


As previews are made for a big variety of devices, they depend on their screen resolution and orientation. Portrait mode apps will play a vertical video (9:16), whereas scenery ones are adjusted to a horizontal video (16:9).
All promo videos on Play Store have scenery orientation (16:9), as they are YouTube videos.
This significant difference will make you design two different video trailers, which won’t be interchangeable for portrait mode devices. If you decide to use an iOS preview in Google Play Store of a portrait mode device, not only will you get the video with the wrong interface, but see two big black spaces on both sides of the screen.


iOS App Preview on YouTube

The same with the attempt to use a promo video made for Google Play Store in iOS App Store. It won’t be accepted due to the strict policy of Apple.
Placement and playback
The best way to understand video placement procedures in each online store is to see with own eyes.
iOS App Store
iOS 11 version disposes a video frame with a play button together with one screenshot on the searching page and in the listing of apps. The first preview is played automatically and looped on the searching page together with two screenshots. The previews go first, followed by screenshots. Each preview runs automatically one time when a viewer focuses on it. It means that the second one will run when the viewer uses a scroll bar to see it.


iOS 11 preview automatic video replay on the searching page

All iOS versions before iOS 11 require pressing the play button

Apple might be still testing some features, as sometimes app previews are shown below in A Closer Look section.
Google Play Store
One major difference on Google Play Store is that a graphic object and video aren’t displayed in the searching results except for some brandish ones and some artfully developed testing pages.
When you go to the listing of games, you see that the play button is disposed in front of video game picture and serves as the first visual element. When a viewer presses it, YouTube-video will start.



iOS App Store
iTunes Connect allows testing the listing of apps where you may choose to watch one video, a few ones or without video. 
The only way to assess the effect the video produces is to compare activities before and afterward. Try to remain at the same levels concerning the marketing activity and compare the results 1-2 weeks before the preview placement and 1-2 weeks afterward.
Splitmetrics, StoreMaven or Testnet are useful tools, which are recommended for gathering more insider information. The above-mentioned tools recreate the mobile store listing on the page, which you may direct paid traffic to. The changes in iOS 11 version have led to a new restriction, which makes impossible to see how video reviews influence the searching results.
Google Play Store
The option which helps you optimize your store listing on Google Play through experiments let you run up to 4 variants of A/B tests for your video. You may check analytics on YouTube and see the viewers’ behaviors (the duration of watching, when they stop doing it and so on).


Video trailers are believed to attract the attention of mobile store users. Developers regard previews as the excellent way to teach future players something new or show features that make their games unique. 
iOS appearance is intriguing because no one is sure how it will contribute to a current situation on the market.