Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Our lizard brains are programmed to be drawn to moving images, so if you're relying on static photographs to sell your products, you're really missing a trick.
According to SEO expert Neil Patel, "viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video." They're a great way to showcase your product and your brand in a way that attracts and engages your audience.
Product videos are used in every industry in every sector, from fashion to food to search engines to luxury cars. Every brand can benefit from a well-produced product video, whether it's to demonstrate how the product is used to potential customers or to create awareness and interest in your product and your brand at large.
In this post, we'll...
talk through the different types of product video and their uses
please take a look at some examples of how they are used effectively by businesses from a multitude of industries
cover some Frequently Asked Questions on the topic of product videos
summarize with a list of tips and best practices so that you can approach your production agency of choice with a clear idea of precisely what you need and the terminology to express yourself.
What is a product video?
A product video visually demonstrates and explains the benefits of a product. There are many different types of product videos that have specific purposes. We'll take a look at some of the main terms and categories here, but bear in mind that your video can be a combination of two or more types of product video, so don't feel limited when describing your vision or your needs to a production agency.
Types of Product Video
Explainer video: You'll usually find an explainer video on a landing page or the home page of a product or brand. As the name suggests, an explainer video literally explains the product to the viewer. The primary purpose of an explainer video is to be informative. They are generally longer than your average product video and use narration to pack in as much information as possible. Explainer videos are essential if your business or product is innovative, and as a result, they are instrumental and popular with tech startups.
Product Demo: A product demo focuses mostly on the visual aspects of the product. It gives tangibility to the viewer, taking a look at the product from different angles and perhaps even describing some key features. In the tech industry, product demos are sometimes referred to as "software demos." Product demos are a great addition to a product page as they give the audience a kind of in-shop experience and strongly impact whether or not a sale is made.
Be aware that the term "product demo" is sometimes used very broadly to include explainer videos and feature videos. The lines are blurred, so if you're using this term, it's still helpful to be very specific about what you actually want.
Feature video: If a product demo is like picking up an item in the store, a feature video is like talking to a well-informed salesperson. They walk you through the main features of the product and show you how to use them. Feature videos go into more detail than a product demo, but they're still relatively short and sweet, unlike a tutorial video. Featured videos may feature an actor demonstrating how to use the product.
Tutorial: A product tutorial is a very detailed video showing the user how to use the product (or sometimes just a product feature) in a step-by-step guide. The benefit of using a video for this purpose is evident to anyone who has tried to assemble flat-pack furniture or follow a recipe book. No still image or verbal description can ever compare to the clarity of a video tutorial.
In this list, tutorials are unique in that they are the only product videos intended to be watched post-purchase. When we think about the user journey in terms of marketing, we often make the mistake of thinking it's game over once the product is purchased. But the perception of your product (and consequently your brand) will depend on how supported your customers feel once they have purchased your product, and never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. A clear and concise 3-minute tutorial can make a world of difference.
How can your business benefit from product videos?
Sometimes the stats speak for themselves. We've sorted some impressive stats from marketing experts on the benefits of video marketing:
Improve conversion rates: Digital marketing strategy agency Smart Insights has reported that "embedding a video on your site can increase conversion rates by up to 80%."
Boost ROI: As of 2017, over half of marketing professionals worldwide say that their video content has the best ROI
Increase click-through rates: According to online advertising company WordStream "An initial email with a video receives an increase click-through rate by 96%."
Boost e-commerce sales: According to Google's marketing insights page Think With Google, cookware brand Williams Sonoma saw a 70% year-on-year increase in mobile sales and an overall increase in e-commerce sales of 51%.
These are some impressive stats, so let's break them down and see what leads to these remarkable results.
Product videos are more engaging
According to Facebook, for business, "video has proven to be one of the most engaging formats to connect with customers." More engagement means prolonged exposure to the product and an increased likelihood of purchase. Besides the undeniable benefit of showcasing your product's best features, studies have also shown that we remember things better through moving images. Meaning that your product will be better recalled by a potential customer long after they have finished watching the video. The next time they need a product such as yours, the chances of your product being top of mind improve if they have seen it in a video.
Customers feel more connected to the product and your brand
If used effectively, product videos are a great way to build trust and open conversation with your customer base. Use explainer videos to build your brand's story and communicate your ethos, use tutorials to help your customers make the most out of your product and address their questions, use product demos to create hype before releasing a new product and join in on the conversation.
They can be versatile
Excellent quality product videos are an investment worth making. They can be used across multiple channels and have a more significant impact than static images. We'll go into this in more detail further in the post.
It gives your product more tangibility
Let's step into your customer's shoes for this one. Buying online is incredible. It's convenient; it's quick, it's comfortable. But there is one often-cited disadvantage: you can't get a feel of a product from a still image. While nothing can replicate an in-shop experience completely, videos are much more effective at communicating and demonstrating the look and feel of a product.
Product video FAQs
Should my product video include text?
It can include text or narration, although this isn't always necessary, and it depends on the goal of your video; if you are making a product demo video for your product page to demonstrate how aesthetically pleasing and luxurious, your product is, then words are not always necessary. If your product is innovative, you may want a little written text to mention its impressive features. If, for example, you need an explainer video to introduce your new startup, you'll most likely need a narrated product video.
How long should it be?
A typical product video lasts anything from fifteen seconds to around three minutes. It needs to be short enough to hold the viewer's attention but long enough to contain all the information you need to communicate. Later, we'll look at examples of product videos of different lengths and discuss why the length is appropriate for the type of video.
Where do I publish it?
Great product videos are versatile and can be used across different channels. When making a product video for your webpage, for example, consider where else you can use it. Your social media team always needs great content; could you use it as part of your paid advertising strategy?
Here are some uses to consider:
On your website: homepage, landing page, product page.
This is the most common and obvious use of product videos. Product demos showcase your products for your online visitors; explainer videos make a great addition to a home page or an about page to explain your product/brand story and ethos.
On your social media channels: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc
Since Instagram launched IGTV and stories, brands have discovered that including videos in their feeds has boosted engagement. With that in mind, talk to your production agency about optimizing your video for mobile devices.
Embedded in an email or blog post
Did you know that just including the word "video" in the subject line of an email boosts open rates?
Paid advertising: social media, broadcast, internet, support media (e.g., moving ads at metro stations)
Product demos, feature videos, and explainer videos can prove to be great ads for your brand. Research by Hootsuite found that Facebook users watch around 3 billion hours of video every day and over 16 minutes of video ads every month. Depending on where you want to advertise your product, the video will need to be formatted differently. Your video production agency will be able to advise you on this.
Don't skimp on quality
A poorly produced product video is worse than no video at all. How your product is presented is vitally important. The image will also impact the perception of your brand as a whole, for better or for worse. When choosing a production agency, ask for the portfolio of their previous work and make sure it meets your standard of quality and professionalism.
6 Great Examples of Product Videos
Type: Product Demo
Copy: A little text
Published: Social media sites, product page, landing page.
Dyson's main USP is that they use innovative engineering to rethink and reimagine everyday household items. They are a marketing marvel with strong branding that consistently stands out from that of their competitors.
This short product demo is for a hairdryer with a whopping $400 price tag on Amazon (March 2020). Two things set this Dyson product demo apart from that of other luxury household items.
No music. This video is stark in a significant way. There's no fuss, just solid engineering. Perfectly on-brand for Dyson.
The use of engineering terminology. What's a Dyson Digital Motor V9? Are we selling a car here? 110,000 rpm? It hardly feels like we're talking about a luxury beauty appliance. But because of Dyson's strong branding and a clear USP, it works!
It is not always wise to reinvent the wheel. In this example, Dyson doubled down on what they know works for their industry. From observing the ad spot, we can pick up on a few Dyson video signature trademarks (little text, super-zoom, attention to detail, well lit and polished) at 30 seconds; it's also a standard length for a product demo.
Type: Product Demo
Published: Product page
H&M's super short videos have a singular purpose: to give their clothes more tangibility to their online shoppers. The way the clothing falls and moves is infinitely more evident in a video than in a static image. While nothing beats trying on the garment, this goes a long way to showcase the clothing and provide the customers with a 360-degree view of the product. Ten seconds is plenty for this purpose.
Type: Explainer Video
Published: Internet ads, social media sites, landing page
This is a classic explainer video with a lovely animation that's been executed well. As you can see (well, "hear"), the narration packs in information such as the benefits of meditation, who it's for, how to get started, and the specific features offered in the app. The animation is guided by the narration so that the viewer is completely focussed on what they are being told - no doubt this was an intentional decision given that the product is about mindfulness.