– Manuel Zamora: Founder, Downshift Interactive

This post was published in the third issue of the Appville magazine

Nothing beats a video when it comes to strategies for getting your customer’s attention. A great demo video will not only showcase your application but convey your values, personality, and uniqueness. A great promotional video should definitely be at the top of your marketing to-do list.

Professional video production, however, is expensive. As iOS developers we’ve all seen the work of some of the more successful video marketing companies (like Grumo and Epipheo). The work you get from services like Grumo Media is impressive and you definitely get what you pay for. Depending on the kind of video you want, 1 minute of professional animation can cost between $3,000 and $10,000. If that’s not in your budget range, you might want create your own promotional video.

Animated Videos Can be Expensive

Making an animated video is no easy task. Get ready to purchase expensive software and plugins. Video production software is far from cheap. Adobe After Effects 6 can run you $999! Also, if you don’t already have the necessary expertise to get the most out of this software, it’s going to cost you a LOT of precious time.

As an app developer you know you need a great marketing video. But with the options of making your own, hiring top of the line production companies, and everything in between where should you start? I suggest you start by considering the advantages and disadvantages of your basic options.

To Animate or Not To Animate. That Is the Question

When I started making applications in 2008, the app store was in its infancy. There weren’t many businesses looking to help mobile developers. It wasn’t a proven market yet. Early efforts at marketing my applications included submitting to Mac/app review sites, press releases, social media, etc. With just these efforts I saw some success, but something was missing in my marketing, the piece de resistance, if you will.

So I looked into making an animated video. Let’s just say it’s not noob friendly. It takes a fair amount of time, effort, and skill to produce one.

You will need to:

  • Write a killer script.
  • Turn your script into a fully designed storyboard.
  • Use Adobe illustrator to create the characters and scenery.
  • Use Adobe After Effects to rig and animate your illustrations
  • Get a great voice over.
  • Find Sound effects for your video or make your own.
  • Put it all together.

Your completed product would hopefully end up something similar to:

Sound like a lot of work? It is. Luckily, there are many less sophisticated and comparably effective video production options.

Are You Good At DIY?

You can start by looking for free video templates and learn some basic After Effects or you can reference video creation sites such as Animoto. While these sites don’t offer many custom options, with some intelligent use of screenshots and creativity you can make very compelling videos.

Pros

  • Cheapest – Using freeware, rather than Adobe products, can save thousands.
  • Learning – Knowledge, as they say, is power, and by the end of it you will have learned very useful, relevant skills.
  • Efficient – Using free sites you can get some inexpensive videos out and about in no time.

Cons

  • Quality – Everyone starts somewhere and if you’re new to design, your video’s quality, and therefore its effectiveness, will likely suffer.
  • Not Time Efficient – Often you will be better off spending a little money to save a lot of time.
  • Results – Using free sites will get you a video that will resemble a LOT of other videos and they won’t be as customizable as you would hope.

In the end you always get what you pay for, and for DIYers this will be a good route. You can make a great video with basic resources, and your success will likely depend on your ingenuity. If you have some marketing money to spend and are looking to step it up a notch you can always consider other options.

Crowdsourcing and The Power of Friends With Free Time

If you have friends that do video editing, you can convince them to work with you, and/or you can also hire some talented individuals to help you out.

If you do not have friends with relevant skills who are interested in working with you, and are open to the idea, a freelance contractor might just be the rock star you have been looking for. One of our first hires, a Content Writer had a talent for design and was the main animator for the video you see above.

For a great marketing video you will need to have a solid script, a high-quality voiceover, great editing, and inspired design. Make sure your assistant has at least one or many of these skills or abilities. With these specializations you can try to make your own animated video using the 7 aforementioned steps or work on simpler but just as effective videos.

You will have to manage these efforts and make sure that your team runs like a well-oiled machine, but your marketing team (Read: yourself) will thank you.

Alternately, some app marketing companies, such as Downshift Interactive, cater to smaller budgets and have more restricted offerings that lie in the sweet spot between affordable and effective.

Client Video: Flow By Big Duck Games: $400

Client Video: Netplenish: $900

Pros

  • Cheaper – You’ll be spending hundreds, not thousands.
  • Time efficient – You’ll be get assistance so you can focus on other parts of your app empire.
  • Fast – You can get a high-quality video out in 1-2 weeks.

Cons

  • Results – At bargain prices you won’t be channeling your inner Michael Bay. While it will be noticeably better than most free offerings you’re not getting the best of the best.
  • Creativity – You’re limited by what you or your video editor can come up with.

It’s Raining Videos!

Successful? Or maybe you have an investor? Whatever the case may be, your product is doing well and now you need to let the world know. If you have the budget for professional video production, studios such as Grumo, Epipheo, and Downshift Interactive can get the job done.

The process is simple. You contact us. We ask you about your vision. We agree on terms and then you can relax and give feedback throughout the process.

Pros

  • High Quality – You get what you pay for.
  • Time Efficient – You get to sit back and watch people bring your vision to life (with your on-going feedback of course).

Cons

  • Slow – It can take up to a few weeks for 1 min of animation.
  • Expensive.

Your video will definitely come out great, but you’ll need to be careful. The cost might not justify your sales results and you will still have to market the video itself.

There is no one perfect way to get a marketing video made but after reading this piece, I’m confident you will be making a more educated decision the next time you consider your options.

Downshift Interactive helps you create marketing videos that help you get reviews. Go here to see our portfolio and get in touch

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