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How to prepare a vibrant product demo video


Ignite X specializes in helping technology startups grow their market visibility and brand. We bring expertise, connections and tenacity to helping brands break through the noise. Here are some of the things we've learned along the way. 

How to prepare a vibrant product demo video

Carmen Hughes

One of the most challenging things for a startup co-founder to do is to produce a good product demo video for the web—the operative word in that sentence being “good.” There are a billion product demo videos out there. Most of them are painful to watch, or even worse—flat out boring.

We get it; it can be tough to make someone playing with software interesting to watch. Fret not; we’re here to help. Here at Ignite, we exist to help tech startups scale. With more than a decade of video production under our belt, we can help you produce the type of video that will help your startup reach its business goals and appeal to your key target customers.

Producing a high-quality video requires a significant time investment, but with a bit of pre-production it will all go smoothly. Here are 5 things you should think about before anyone picks up a camera.

1. Map out the user journey you want to feature.

The very first thing that you should do is to consider your most popular use case. Depending on your business, this decision could be based on the DAU (Daily Active Users) that cruise through that user journey. It could also be the user journey that you predict will be most profitable for your business. Generally that’s the path we like to showcase. However, just as important is what it looks like for someone to travel through that conversion funnel.

2. Identify the action in that user journey.

Whether your tech startup is a native application, a responsive web app, or a piece of hardware, you need to think about what it looks like for someone to use your product. Will the person be sitting at a laptop while they use your product, or will they be on their phone on the go? Consider what will be more visually stimulating for someone to watch. With video, we want to see action. Would it be more interesting to see someone on a subway swiping through your app? Or would it make more sense to see a user confirming a transaction with a few clicks on a laptop at a business center that looks like a corporate headquarters? Write down all all the different movements that someone makes while interacting with your app: clicks, swipes, scrolls, etc. Those actions will enable you to plan sequences of video that are visually stimulating from different angles. (More on video sequences later.) Also, think about the sounds your product will make as someone uses it. Will there be any rewarding sounds that inspire delight in a user and keep them coming back for more? We want to hear those.

3. What emotions do you want to inspire someone to feel while they use your product?

We understand that not all products are going to be as exciting as an arcade game. However, every product has a moment in which a user can feel something. Think about the all the moments in your user journey. Map them out into a flowchart if your UX designer hasn’t done that already. Where in the funnel would your user find a moment of joy? Is there an operational efficiency that makes someone feel more in control of their distributed workforce? Is there a feature that would allow your users to feel like they’re discarding the status quo and entering a more freer, more efficient world? Highlight those touch points. Then think about what they look like.

4. What are the most visually stunning screens in your product?

Video is an inherently visual medium. It is also a task that you usually do while sitting down. Your target audience is either sitting at a desk, or researching products on their phone while on the go. In both of these desktop and mobile scenarios, your target audience can get distracted at any time. Whether your company provides B2B fintech products, or B2C social applications, your communication strategy should incorporate B2H (Business to human) communication strategies. The pace of modern television programming has changed video consumption expectations. If your video isn’t moving along at a rapid pace, their eyes will glaze over and they’ll click on something else. Remember we’re now living in a 2nd and 3rd screen world. Think about the most vibrant screens in your product. Do those screens inspire people to feel emotion? If so, you’re on the right track to finding the right screens to showcase in your video. Think about the colors, animations, and other elements of the UX that would make someone next to you look at your screen. Those are the ones your audience will gravitate toward. Ideally these screens will sync up with the touch points in the user journey that you want to showcase in this video. They don’t always do. This is when you call in the pros.

5. Find a creative video producer who recognizes the value of a tripod

Outside of a horror movie or a reality TV how, there’s no excuse for shaky video. Yet it’s all over the internet. The democratization of information, i.e. YouTube, has changed the game. All sort of video producers can claim the title of professional producer. But, slapping together a bunch of jump cuts that you shot on your cell phone doesn’t make you a pro. It simply earns you the title of lazy thinker. A good product demo video is going to contain sequences of action, a variety of shots, and crisp audio that blend together. A great product demo video is going to tell a story about a use case in a way that positions the product as the solution to a pain point. It’s also going to be well lit. When you’re putting together your creative team, ask the videographer you’re interviewing about the core pieces of gear that they’d bring to the shoot. If a tripod or a steady cam isn’t on their list, they shouldn’t be either. One of the most basic things that a video producer should know how to do is to use a tripod. You don’t want your product hosted on servers that sit on shaky ground. So why would you let that happen to a creative asset that could generate millions of dollars in sales for your company?

Producing a stellar product demo video takes preparation, time, and the right team. Depending on your creative vision, the time it will take you from concept to completion will vary. The process can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. The actual time depends on where you want to shoot, what legal requirements need to be met, and what kind of story you want to share with your target market.

This has been a high-level overview of things to consider while in pre-production. There are more pieces to the puzzle, however. And we’d love to help you find the right piece for yours. With a bit of brainstorming, and the right team, your product demo can be a beacon of light that draws internet surfers to your home page and through your conversion funnel.

This is the first article in a three-part series. Stay tuned to our blog for more articles about ways you can maximize your marketing budget & speak to your target market.

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