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Using Video to Market App Products & Services

San Francisco is overflowing with techy startups with innovative products that need some ‘splainin’. Since Digital Accomplice is based here, many of my clients are those developers. Many already have a cool product, snappy website, and even a clever elevator pitch – but still have difficulty explaining their product in a way that everyone gets it. This is a prime example of where video can do the heavy lifting and make a complex offering easily digestible. It usually takes some time to craft an elegant way to show-and-tell a product effectively to the audience, but once you have it this video can be working for you 24/7 — and likely for months and even years!

If your goal is to increase awareness of your software, you might want to consider having an overview video produced for your homepage as well as for sharing regularly on You Tube, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else that pops up. Think of this video as a “marketing Swiss army knife”. Ideally, it should engage your audience’s attention as you explain the high level points of your software and the value proposition while giving them a taste and feel of the product.

Typically, there are two main production technique paths to go about demonstrating the value of software: camera footage or motion graphics, both with their own merits and drawbacks. I’ll go over both paths to help equip you to make the right decision for your company.

Camera Footage

  1. One of the pros of using shot camera footage is that it helps create an air of legitimacy. You are probably showing the product in action — it exists, it works! If customer trust is an issue, this can be key.
  2. A video shoot can also be faster. With no fancy graphics to design and animate, you may be able to just shoot a bunch of footage that shows someone using your product and be done in a few hours.
  3. This one cuts both ways: while camera footage can be cheaper, in some cases it can also be more expensive. It all depends on the myriad of variables involving the crew, camera gear, and technical resources required as well as how many days and locations are involved.
  4. If your product runs on mobile devices, it’s very easy to imagine how you can show it being used in many locations by different people. If it’s only on desktop, showing some office footage may be an easy no-brainer to back up your product shots. Even if it isn’t the most exciting concept, it can be well done if you have the right team.
  5. Camera footage is also a great way to show testimonials of people using your product.

Motion Graphics

We all love motion graphics. When done right, they are amazing. They have a “cool factor” and can really be impressive. Animated graphics do come with their own unique set of considerations:

  1. They can take a long time to make. It’s not uncommon for even somewhat basic projects to take weeks to complete. Unlike camera footage, it’s very challenging (or impossible) to intuitively grasp what went into designing some projects when all you see is the result. The creative effort, the discussions, the iterations — all these are invisible in the final product.
  2. Due to the time and talent involved, high quality motion graphics can be expensive to produce. Unless the concept is very basic, it will cost you a minimum of 5K. Unless you have other resources like in-house designers/animators — or serious connections that owe you favors — you should probably be looking at another options if you want quality.
  3. If you have a product that either isn’t ready yet or doesn’t look as sexy as you’d like, motion graphics offer a way to show something without relying on stuff that isn’t yet ready for prime-time.
  4. You can capture footage of your software product and animate it so that people can easily see what you are explaining.

Frequently, a great way to go is to combine these tactics to get the benefits of both. The most important thing is to try and keep it simple, which is very challenging to do. If you can stick to the main points and engage interest, your viewers may be prompted to explore beyond your promotional video.

I hope these tips help you more aware of the decisions before you about which path works for you.

If you found this helpful please share, ‘like’, and follow below. Really, please do!

Dane Frederiksen
Digital Accomplice

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