So you’ve decided, or are still undecided, on creating a professional product demo video but aren’t sure how you go about it?
Don’t worry, Canny has you covered.
They’re great at cutting through a lot of the same jargon you might find in an instruction manual, and they allow you to be a little bit more creative in how that info is communicated.
Just because we’ve used the word ‘professional’ in the title, doesn’t mean that the videos are automatically boring by default.
No, no, there are ways around combatting the boredom that comes with most product demonstration videos.
And we’re going to get to that in time.
For now though, let’s give you a quick product demo video 101.
What is a Product Demo Video?
A product demo video walks you through how a specific product works, showing how you set it up, how you use it, and even how you maintain it in some instances.
That’s the boiler plate definition, what it’s really about is creating a closer bond with you and your audience through how it’s presented, edited, and delivered.
Because that’s the goal, right?
To put you front and centre, and gather leads through a platform like YouTube.
A demo video is one of the ways to build out your brand, while providing viewers with something helpful.
After all, there might be those out there that have heard of you and your products, but aren’t sure how they work or how that product could aid them in everyday life.
What do we Mean by ‘Professional’ Product Demo Video?
Okay, so the term ‘professional’ is kinda broad, we know.
But that was always by design.
You see, professional is often used interchangeably with the word ‘corporate’ — it’s simply a less formal term.
We’re being broad on purpose as the information we give here needs to appeal to a wide range of products — everything from portable kitchen grills, to security software, to dog walking products.
Anything is possible with product demo video, which makes it exciting and troubling at the same time.
Troubling in that you might not know how to create one, or lack the expertise/insight to truly demonstrate your products effectively.
We’ll have a solution to the latter that we’ll share later, but for now, let’s look at how you can create your own professional product demo video!
Step By Step: Creating a Professional Product Demo Video
Every product demo video will look and feel different — unless you’re copying someone else’s video beat for beat, that is.
Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that every video is created the same way in terms of the steps needed to get to that finished asset.
Following this break down, step by step, should clue you in on everything you need to know.
To begin, you need to plan your demo video.
Part 1: Plan the Demo Video
It goes without saying, but if you’re going to create an engaging demo video, you’re going to need to plan what it is you want in advance.
Work out how you’re going to convey the information. Ask yourself: is it going to be all animated (yes, those are a thing), live action, or a hybrid of the two?
Planning your demo video doesn’t mean mapping it out with storyboards, but simply working out what it is you hope to create and how you’re going to execute it.
This should be the first thing you consider given how many ways you could take it from this point.
When planning your produce demonstration video, it’s important that you include the following elements (for obvious reasons):
- Describe the product
- Provide a viable solution
- Show how it works exactly
- Include those call to actions
That last point (the CTAs), is super important, as you’re probably spending a lot of the video talking about a specific product, and less so about you and your brand.
Once you have that plan in hand, it’s time to move on.
Part 1.5: Write a Script and Storyboard
The next part on how to create a product demonstration video requires a fare amount of imagination, as you’re basically working out how it’s going to look in your head to then show others.
How detailed your script and storyboard is completely up to you. We say that as there are some brands out there that like to riff, letting the camera roll for a much more natural demonstration.
We understand that this isn’t everyone, so don’t feel like you have to just go in without a plan. This kinda only works when you have a subject (or presenter) that knows the product through and through.
Even coming up with a few bullet points is ideal, as it gives you topics to focus on and cover once it comes time to get the cameras rolling!
Storyboarding is similar in that you might set up a handful of cameras in the room and then decide on how you want it all to look once in the editing room.
Most product demos only consist of a single shot and then b-roll spliced in whenever the presenter talks about certain aspects of the product in question.
Writing something down like: “close up shot of product in motion” might work better than outright planning it all in to the nth degree.
Although we can see why some would, if the products they’re looking to sell are a for a very information-heavy audience.
Part 2: Record the Product Demo Video
Once the plans have been signed off by the appropriate parties it’s time to start filming.
If your demo video plan is well-thought-out, and accounts for everything, then you should find that recording it is a total breeze.
How long this process takes will depend on the size and scope of the production. If you’re recording the demo video in the office then we can’t see how it could go on for any longer than a day or two.
When it comes to recording, you will have one or two options:
- Record it yourself in-house
- Seek the help of a video agency
Buying a camera yourself and trying to do it probably not the best way of approaching a professional demo video.
You see, production value matters, and viewers can tell when a video has been made sloppily vs one that’s been put-together by a dedicated video agency.
Agencies use top of the range equipment too, and while iPhone’s have unbelievable camera on them these days, the person holding them is so often inexperienced, or can’t tell the difference between a mid shot from an extreme close up.
If you want it done right then it’s definitely worth going with an agency (which is something you should be outlining in your demo video plan).
Part 2.5: Capture the Product Demonstration B-Roll
B-roll, otherwise known as secondary footage is very handy to have in that you can filter it into your videos to create something engaging.
B-roll will also help contextualise some of the talking points.
For example, let’s say you’re talking about someone getting angry at a product that is known to be faulty (so that you can implement your own CTA after), well you can use this as an opportunity to splice footage in of someone squeezing their fist.
You know, visual cues.
The type of b-roll you capture is completely up to you. Cloud-based companies tend to implement screen recordings of their products in action.
This is something you can easily do with the right screen recording tools.
Part 3: Edit the Demo Video
So you’ve planned the video out and recorded, next up is editing.
When editing a video it’s important that you choose a program that you’re comfortable with.
Be Warned: Editing can be a very lengthy process, taking hours, even days, to sort.
How much footage you have will usually dictate how much time it takes to get something ready to export.
Use transitions, and other unique visual/audio techniques to make your videos really stand out.
Part 3.5: One Final Watch
You’d be surprised to learn how many errors make it through to the final cut.
We know someone who once spelled the word ‘Wednesday’ wrong on a vlog, which is something that one final watch through, with other members of the team, might have been able to fix beforehand.
The benefits of one final screening will ensure that the quality is there, and that nothing has been missed, or that the framing/colour balance is wrong on one of the shots, to give you a few examples of things to look out for.
Asking other members of the team to sit down and go through the product demo with you is great for the relationships you have with your peers too — more so if you’ve included them in the video!
At this point you should have a fully-functioning product demo video!
Congrats, we knew you could do it.
All you need to do at that point is upload it to the relevant pages on your website, and YouTube, for maximum visibility.
Product Demo Video Considerations
You might think that’s everything, but it’s really not.
We’ve still got to go over some of our favourite demo videos with professional flair.
Before we move on through, we’d like to offer some demo video considerations based on our own experiences with planning, editing and recording many product demos of our own.
Many of these considerations come down to basic common sense, still, it’s worth stating for the sake of giving you the complete run down of crafting your own videos where products are at the centre.
Let’s keep the cameras rolling.
Length of the Demo Video
Did you stop to think about how long your demo videos are? If not, then you really should have.
Asking how long your product demo should be is the same as asking: how long is a piece of string.
Length is determined by how much information is important to you in your videos, and what you need to cover for the demo to be as comprehensive as it can be.
Most product demos sit between 15 to 20 minutes, which should be considered the limit, at least in our opinion.
Some of the best, and most memorable, demo videos we’ve seen have been under 10 minutes, like the Unagi Scooters unboxing/product demo (90 seconds roughly).
You can research demo video length, and the maximum amount of time they’ll give a product demo video, by checking out the competition (if they produce videos of their own).
Look at the Competition for Inspiration
Speaking of the competition…
There’s nothing wrong with seeing how others in your respective market are doing their demo videos. You can learn an awful lot from these videos.
You can pick up on all kinds of details, such as:
- Video length
- Editing style
- Animations used
- How its presented
- What information is shared
If you’re mapping out your demo videos effectively then you should be studying what’s already out there already.
When looking at your competitors, make sure you get a good look at how many views they have on the video. Doing so will give you a good idea of what’s likely to go viral.
That’s right, product demos have the ability to go viral — sometimes for the wrong reasons, but they go viral nonetheless!
Animations to Help Carry the Story
Storytelling is a great way of carrying any type of video, including product demos. Only they often run into the same issues: they’re limited by how you’re telling the story.
Animations are super interactive, and have been known to stick in the heads of your viewers a lot more than, say, a live action product demo that’s over 15 minutes in length.
We’re not naming any names, just know that there are ways to keep your audience hooked, and animations are one of them.
What these animations look like do vary, as like with product demos generally, anything is possible.
Some brands have an in-house animator, if you don’t then you can source them either through sites like Fiverr. But the quality has been known to vary if you choose that route.
Again, your best bet is to go with a quality video agency.
Thumbnails, Thumbnails, Thumbnails
Thumbnails are the images you see on videos when they aren’t playing. These images should always in in reference to the demo video itself.
Which is why many choose to use screenshots from the product demonstrations directly in the thumbnail. That, or a professional-looking press shot taken from the website, only resized.
You can tell a lot about a video by the thumbnail. If you want people to consider you professional, then you’re going to need to use thumbnails that
- A) Capture the brand
- B) Relates to the video
- C) Is enticing to look at
Nail all three and your product demo videos will gain more views, which in turn amplifies the notoriety of the brand, and your sales of said product by osmosis.
YouTube SEO is a Big One
This is a big consideration — one that many miss when posting video content to YouTube.
Sure, you could just dump the content on there to have as a reference for people to see. Still, if you aren’t optimising your video content then how do you expect these individuals to find your videos organically?
Paying for ads is an option, but you shouldn’t throw organic search out the window completely.
We don’t want to give you the full YouTube SEO 101, but we will say that when posting product demo content, it’s important that you think about:
- Keywords in titles and captions
- Video hashtags found around the video
- Thumbnails, thumbnails, thumbnails
- Video categorising
- Subtitles and closed captions
Avoid the Demo Video Templates
There is a tonne of information online about creating your own professional demo videos, with most telling you to go with a template if you’re stuck.
We’re here to tell you the complete opposite:
Stay well clear of video templates.
Video templates are incredibly generic and so limiting compared to a well-crafted product video that is yours to call your own.
Originality sells, and it really shows.
It’s the same thing we say about website templates: they don’t take into consideration the appeal of you and your brand. Anyone can use a product demo video template.
You should want something made from scratch for maximum effectiveness!
5 Professional Product Demonstration Videos to Watch
We can’t talk for that long and not include examples of professional product demos that provide insights on what you can do with your own videos!
It’s not homework per-say, just something to check out to get a feel for what other brands are doing to retain that air of professionalism that runs throughout all the marketing.
We’ll start with Unagi, since we’ve already mentioned them earlier.
Unagi Scooters: The Simplified Demo Video
We’d like to direct your attention to its ‘Unboxing Model One’ product demo. You shouldn’t need three guesses to work out what this brand specialises in.
We know what you’re thinking:
This is an unboxing video not a product demo…
It’s a product demo video disguised as an unboxing video. Think about it, Michael from Unagi here breaks down the various parts of the Model One, all he fails to show is the product in action.
Here’s the video:
Get a good look at the duration of the video (90 seconds), and then think about how much information he shares, and how relaxed yet oddly professional it all seems.
That being said, being professional often involves simply having a confident speaker in your videos, someone who is presented well and doesn’t take too much of the attention away from the scooter.
Watch Because: It shows that you don’t need to have a super long video and not be considered professional.
Headspace: Animations Galore
Animations galore is one of the only ways to describe this product demo from meditation app Headspace.
In the ‘Say hello to Headspace‘ video, all we see are animations — well designed animations, might we add.
It’s funny, the video is quite comical in nature in how the characters make daft noises every now and then, but it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.
The animations play into the brand, via the colours used and the very relaxed tones of the narrator.
Furthermore, all of the animations provide visual examples of whatever this calm and collected narrator is saying, so it feels like you never miss a single beat.
Watch Because: It’s animations galore.
MasterClass: Professional Demo Videos Personified
If you look up the word ‘professional’ in a dictionary, the likelihood that you see an image of the online learning platform brand MasterClass, is pretty high.
This is a brand that understands the importance of showcasing knowledge through its product demos, only the demos aren’t what you’d expect.
The demos exist as mostly previews from guest speakers, those that include famous celebrities, musicians and academics. The product is the classes, and the trailers promote the classes.
A MasterClass video to check out:
Pay attention to the clothing used, the quality of the product demo production and even the music. It all plays a part in selling the product to you, and instantly conveys an authentic feel.
This product demo video is proof that you can really sell your brand while promoting what it is you offer.
Watch Because: They are essentially selling knowledge through a demo video in an incredibly professional way.
Kajabi: Hybrid Video Demos with a Twist
All-in-one platform company Kajabi is a great example to give if we’re looking at hybrid product demos, only these turn the dial all the way up to eleven.
You see the product demos for Kajabi are interactive, blending real time information with a run down of what users can expect by using the platform, pain points, etc.
The way they’ve positioned the video allows them to work users through their sales funnel with ease, and at a much quicker rate.
Just a heads up:
You will need to sign up to see the demo in question, although we can describe it for you.
The demo mixes screen recordings of its platform with a demo video of one of the brand’s engineers.
Watch Because: Hybrid product demos can bridge the gap between the impossible and the possible.
Peloton: A Master of Branding
If, like me, you spend quite a lot of time surfing YouTube, you’ve probably come across video ads for a company known as Peloton.
Now, Peloton sell exercise bikes, they also have a pretty handy product demo that showcases the power of mixing brand story in with customer feedback.
Like some of the other product demonstration videos here, the length of the video is much more on the shorter side, which does encourage you to remain glued to the screen.
The video we’re referencing can be found below:
If you paid attention, you’ll have noticed that the b-roll used in this product demo is a cut above most of what you’ll see.
Nothing that shouldn’t be included is included. It’s all there to convey a story and get the product over with audiences through experience.
Watch Because: Peloton has mastered the art of effective b-roll and telling a product story.
How to Create a Professional Product Demo Video for Any Sector
And there you have it, that’s how you can go about creating a professional product demo video for any sector.
You should now have everything you need to formulate your own product demo video ideas — including what to include and what to avoid.
The videos we’ve dropped in — our favourite product demonstration video examples — should inspire you, proving that you don’t need to be super corporate to be considered professional.
We’ve hinted at it a few times, but haven’t been as direct as we could be, that, again, was by design.
Remember when we said that we have a solution for crafting effective product demo videos? Well it’s time we come clean…
The solution is going with a quality video agency, the solution is reaching out to us at Canny to sort your product demos out for you.
And by sort we mean help you plan, record, and edit everything.
Like animations? Or see a video you like the look of but don’t know how to rework it for your brand?
Every reference point you can provide goes a long way in helping us craft stellar video content that sells and helps audiences better understand your products!