February 8, 2013

HOW TO: Show your Mobile App: Screenshots vs Video Demo vs Interactive Demo

In this blog post we will look at thee popular ways to showcase mobile apps:
  • App Screenshots
  • Interactive App Demo
  • Video App Demo
Showing a few screenshots is the simplest and easiest way to give people an idea of what your app is doing. But you should also consider more effective ways of showcasing your app. For example, interactive demos can be very engaging while video demos, when properly made, can be quite captivating. Both demos and videos are great ways to increase the effectiveness of your mobile app marketing campaigns. We'll dive deeper into details in a sec.

To analyze the three options we have for showcasing mobile apps we used the awesome Evernote iPhone app. For the screenshots slideshow and for the interactive demos we used the AppDemoStore.com demo platform and for the video demo we used the video created in another tutorial on How to create an App Demo Video.

The table below shows a quick comparison of the 3 options in terms of creation and maintenance effort, engagement, analytics and costs. The right option for you depends on your app and the amount of effort and money you are willing to spend on this.

App Demo
App Demo
Creation Effort low medium
screenshots + interaction
specialized tools and professional help needed
Maintenance Effort low low
when the app changes simply replace the affected screens
when the app changes you need to recreate the video
Engagement low high
people click through the demo as they would do on the device
people could find the video interesting but could also loose interest at some point
Analytics none advanced
such as: number of views, screen interaction flow, navigation paths, exit screens
such as: number of views and total minutes watched
Costs free free medium-high

App Screenshots

All mobile app presentation pages can greatly benefit from showing a series of screenshots.

  • Easy to create and maintain
  • Free

  • Less entertaining than demos
  • Lower impact than demos

How to maximize the impact:
Create a simple slideshow demo out of the screenshots, like in the sample demo on the right.

Interactive App Demo

An interactive app demo is made of screenshots but with added interaction, screen transitions and UI effects. You could use an interactive demo as a simulation to showcase the main features of your app or as a guided tutorial for a specific task.

  • High impact on users, because they get to touch and feel the app. It is like test driving an app to see how it's working - people are more likely to buy such an app
  • Can be embedded in your app presentation web page
  • Valuable in-depth analytics such as screen interaction flow, top navigation paths, exit screens
  • Capture leads and feedback with the demo

  • Might require extra effort to simulate some fancy UI effects.

How to maximize the impact:
Try to define the UI effects and screen transitions as close as possible to your mobile app. Have a look at the demo on the right.

Video App Demo

A video demo is another great way to show your app. You could create a screen cast which shows in detail how the app works - it is less entertaining and more informative. Or you could create an app trailer which tells a story around the app - this kind of video is very entertaining but shows less of how the app really works.

  • Very entertaining
  • Can be easily shared
  • Can be embedded in the app website

  • Relatively high effort for creation and maintenance
  • Can be expensive

How to maximize the impact:
You can have it done by a professional, although it might not be cheap. If you prefer to do it yourself for fee you should check our tutorial on How to create an App Demo Video for a few tips.