In marketing these days, you can’t swing an enthusiastic micro-influencer without hitting someone who’s talking about video content. And it’s not without merit. A recent HubSpot study revealed 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands and businesses they support.
With video marketers earning 66% more qualified leads per year and a 54% increase in brand awareness, it’s clear video marketing is the future and product demo videos are a lucrative path forward.
In fact, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service. There are many different types of product demo videos, so I’m sharing a few of my favorites below, along with tips on how to get started on your own product demo video.
Purchases? Subscriptions? Education? Brand awareness? Decide what your video is trying to achieve and what you want the viewer to walk away with. What action do you hope the viewer takes after watching your video, and what business need does it fulfill? For example, “After watching our product demo video, we hope the viewer submits a demo request form.”
2. Determine your audience
Has the audience for this video purchased with you before? Are you introducing a new product or feature to them? Or is this video reaching people who have never heard of you? What will this audience be concerned with? How long will they want to watch? What buyer persona will you be gearing this video for?
All of these are important questions to answer. For example, let’s say you’re introducing software that regulates the temperature of various areas in your office. The audience for your video might be harried office managers who are constantly fielding requests to turn the temperature up or down. They’re concerned with keeping their colleagues comfortable without breaking the bank on electricity costs.
3. Set a budget (and a timeline)
Do you have $7000 or $80,000 to make this product demo video? Identify your budget so you know how to proceed. This is also the time to set expectations. If you have a $500 budget, you’re not going to come out with a video on par with Apple’s latest release -- and that’s alright.
Oh, and don’t forget to outline when you need this video to be completed. Even the biggest budgets can run up against roadblocks, if the timeline is too limited.
4. Decide between in-house or agency
This decision will likely be dependent on your budget. If you have a lot to work with, interview agencies who can give you quotes and creative pitches for your project.
If you have a small budget, don’t let that dissuade you from creating a video using your iPhone. You can also record a video of your computer screen while moving through your platform. Work with what you have and be proud of whatever you create.
5. Structure your video
Will you tell a story? Highlight pain points? Use text or visuals only? Decide how you want to communicate your goal and how you’ll bring it to life.
If you’re working with a creative agency or freelance videographer, they may help you define the structure. If you’re going it alone, use videos like the ones we’ve listed below to inspire you and define which format will work best for your product and goals.
6. Choose between animation and live-action
Animation can sometimes be a little cheaper than live-action video. Work within your budget and skill level, and be honest about which option best highlights what your product can do and the scope your project requires.
7. Write a script
The script is a crucial part of your video. It defines the tone, pace, and message. Start with a project brief, move on to an outline, and navigate your script, section by section, making sure it speaks to the goals you’ve previously outlined.
Call out opportunities for B-roll throughout, and always conduct a verbal run-through before getting behind the camera.
Once you’ve shot, edited, and finalized your video, it’s time to decide how you’ll share it with your audience. YouTube, your website or campaign landing pages, and special email campaigns are all great channels for distribution.
But don’t overlook less obvious opportunities, like including your video in your email signature, sharing it in partner blog posts, and incorporating it into your sales team’s pitches.
Product Demo Video Examples
This classic product demo video uses animation and the Airtable product to show users exactly who can use their product and how they can benefit from it. The video demonstrates several different use cases, taking a broad, top-of-the-funnel approach that will attract the masses.
They also do something else incredibly smart. As seconds tick by and viewers hypothetically click out of the video, the information shared gets more into the weeds sharing specific tactics and features. Airtable knows if someone has stuck around over one minute into their demo video, this is likely a qualified lead who wants to learn more.
2. Zendesk Sunshine
Zendesk leads with pain points in their product demo video. “Customer relationships are complicated … made up of fragmented pieces of what you know about your customers … it’s kind of all over the place,” a narrator explains. But Zendesk gets it. “What seems like chaos is actually everything you want.”
The viewer immediately feels like Zendesk understands them. It’s a full 50 seconds into the video before Zendesk even introduces a solution. We never actually see the platform at work, but that’s not really the goal of this video.
At nearly two-minutes long, this is a lengthy product demo video. But it packs a powerful punch with text-based benefits and features, and a walk-through of the product interface.
Viewers see just how easy it is to send a survey using SurveyMonkey. They even see how it integrates with other platforms like Slack. This is a workhorse of a demo video, but the viewer witnesses how SurveyMonkey can integrate into their daily workflow -- and how easy the product is to use, from sign-in to send.
Is there anything harder to sell on the internet than meditation? Headspace makes it seem easy with their modern, relatable animated product demo video.
They offer a “healthier, happier life” and show you how the app works for a variety of users with differing goals and time. It’s an inclusive video that communicates a lot without overwhelming the viewer.
Testimonials work. And they work really well. So, why not use them to bring your product demo video to life? Mailchimp does just that in a video demoing their iOS and Android mobile apps.
The video is benefits-heavy, with a real user sharing how sending emails from wherever she is -- even a workout class -- helps her manage her business. The viewer gets brief glimpses of the app in action, but the goal of this video is to demonstrate a concept more than a product.
6. Apple’s iPhone XR
This glossy product video introduces the new iPhone XR by showing what it can do. Simple text alerts the viewer to the features this new phone possesses (e.g., “liquid retina,” “face ID,” and “water resistant”), and the benefits are communicated through the vivid visuals.
The goal of this product demo is to wow rather than educate, and that’s exactly what it does.
Slack uses this brightly hued video to break down a common misconception about their platform: that it’s only for sending private messages. They walk viewers through how teams can communicate using their interface.
“It’s way more than just a place to talk,” explains the actor, “We keep all of our files here too.” The video is feature-heavy, but the actor chimes in with how those features translate into benefits as he walks viewers through a demonstration of Slack. A simple “Get started with Slack, today” closes out this informative video.
8. The Origins of Nike Free
This product demo tells the origin story of the Nike Free running shoes. The shoe creators share a bit about how the shoe was designed and call out benefits like, “More natural movement” and “Nice, modern evolution.” A simple tagline at the end reads, “Engineered for modern motion.”
Duolingo kicks things off with social proof. “Far and away the best free language-learning app,” says The Wall Street Journal. What follows is a description of how the platform works, backed with more data on how effective it really is.
If you want to prove that your product works, sometimes facts are more alluring than a demo of the product itself.
10. IKEA Place
There’s nothing wrong with stating your purpose up front. “Hey, IKEA would like everyone to know about Place, our new augmented reality app,” explains this demo video. What follows is a demonstration of the app, and a video montage of people struggling to design and furnish new spaces. “We want to make it easier for people everywhere to imagine a better place,” the narrator explains. That’s exactly what this video demo does.
Your baby is cute, until she’s not. The narrator explains what happens to a baby’s nose when they’re sick -- and why your baby gets fussy. Immediately, he’s identified the viewer’s pain points and explained the problem with NoseFrida’s competitors.
The narrator begins to explain how to use the NoseFrida -- a device that allows parents to physically suck snot out of their baby’s nose and effectively ruins your days of carefree milkshake sipping forever (take it from me).
It’s here that the company does something brilliant. They know their customer’s biggest purchasing block is the gross-out factor this product elicits, so they confront it head on. “Breathe easy, we know what you’re thinking.”
The narrator then explains how NoseFrida is designed to be hygienic and safe. Know your product has a big red flag for customers? Try addressing it bravely, like NoseFrida does, instead of tip-toeing around the elephant in the room.
How do you get people to part with their most valuable asset: their free time? Online learning platform Bluprint does just that. They overcome viewer objections early on. Think you don’t have time? “There’s always a way to get your creative fix,” the narrator explains.
The video takes an aspirational lens, showing people cooking, painting, and dancing. It ends with a call to action, “What will you do today?” Bluprint knows what they’re up against, and their demo video is a strong rebuttal against inactivity.
Are you known for one product but want to introduce another? Sphero knows a little about that. A few years ago, they created a robot called BB-8 for a little-known movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Lucky for them, I hear that panned out.
In a Kickstarter video for their newest robot, they begin by featuring the iconic BB-8 robot that skyrocketed their success. Once the viewer knows who they are, they present their new robot: The Sphero RVR.
The rest of the video features the robot’s engineers speaking about what their new creation does and why it’s special. We believe them, because they’ve tethered this new creation to their past authority.
14. Ring Door View Cam
This is another great example of showing instead of telling viewers what your product can do. The video shows everyday people using Ring’s Door View Cam in a variety of ways. We see them use the mobile interface, benefit from the speaker, and avoid danger using the camera.
Dyson takes a more classic approach by featuring three new products. They have presenters share the features each product boasts, and influencers explain what they love about the new products to lend social proof. It’s straightforward, informative, and concise. Sometimes, that’s all your product demo video needs.
What I love most about this video is that they include subtitles allowing viewers understand what’s being communicated even without sound.
Text that reads, “How to Lime” kicks this video off and tells viewers exactly what to expect. We see a step-by-step demonstration of how to use Lime, their safety recommendations, and some basics on their mobile app.
This product video begins with an origin story of the Peloton bicycle and quickly moves to the benefits (i.e., you can ride it in your bedroom without waking your partner). Before you know it, the video is speaking to viewer pain points, “One of the challenges with boutique fitness is that it can be inconvenient.” They solution? Peloton.
Thousands of classes, experienced instructors, community, and ease of use. Close-ups of the machine in use highlights certain features, but what this video demonstrates most is the experience you’ll have using Peloton. “This is what I’ve been missing,” says one video participant. I can’t help but think that’s the primary goal the makers of this video had for their viewers.
This is a classic example of a product demo video. A solid, feature-heavy script immediately jumps into how professionals can use and benefit from Zoom. The viewer sees the product being used as they listen to how it works, and they’re left with a clear picture of what Zoom can offer them.
I’ve saved the most comprehensive product demo video for last. This example, from HR software provider Gusto, clocks in at an impressive five minutes and fifty-six seconds.
What follows is a careful walk-through of the product, it’s benefits, and how to pick the perfect plan.
Viewers who make it to the end likely signal to Gusto that they’re ready to speak with a salesperson. This video probably works best for buyers further along in the buyer’s journey. If your goal is to introduce your product/service to new audiences, stick with a shorter option that’s quick and easy to consume.