How to Move Beyond SaaS Product Demo Videos [Plus Product Video Alternatives]

Randy Frank
January 10, 2022

Product demo videos have become commonplace in recent years.

According to a report from video marketing firm Wyzowl, the number of businesses using video as part of their marketing strategy rose from 61% in 2016 to 86% in 2021.

More and more, prospects want to see a product in action in their own time — not wait for your sales team to get back to them with a traditional demo.

As demand has grown, so have the options available for making a product demo video, whether you choose to hire an external agency or decide to make your own using tools such as Loom or Vidyard.

But creating a compelling SaaS product demo video can be time consuming and expensive. Is investing time and money to create a product demo worth the hassle?

In this article, we’ll explain the rise of product demo videos and why you might want to consider an alternative for your business.

What is a product demo video?

A product demo video is used to showcase your product in action.

Typically, a product video will:

  • Acknowledge customer pain points or establish the problem
  • Offer the product as a solution to the problem
  • Demonstrate the product in action by highlighting its key features and how it will make life easier for your customers
  • Close with a call-to-action (e.g. download now, request more information, etc.)

A product demo video can take many different forms, including:

  • Animated
  • Live video (to show a user interacting with the product)
  • Screen record (to walkthrough the product in action)

Product demo videos are also shareable across a wide range of platforms including your website, social media, and YouTube, among others.

Regardless of type of product video, the main goal is to convince prospects that your product is the solution they are looking for.

Why product videos have grown in popularity

With the rise of product-led growth, video has become an increasingly popular marketing tool for SaaS companies.

When people are interested in seeing your product, video can seem like an easy way to satisfy demand, while also bypassing the issues associated with sharing live demos. Prospects will often explicitly request product demo videos to share with their team.

Product videos are also quick and easy to digest for busy, information-overloaded buyers.

Younger generations, in particular, prefer to get their entertainment and learn new things through online videos, although the consumption of video online is rising across all age groups.

As the SaaS market becomes more saturated, businesses are looking for a way to stand out. With a good product video, you can capture the attention of your target customers and develop a pipeline of qualified leads who already understand your product and how it will work for them.

But investing in product video production can have its downsides.

The downsides of product demo videos

There are a few main reasons why you may want to reconsider product demo videos.

Cost

Creating product demo videos can be expensive. Either you need to hire a product video creator in-house, or you need to hire an external agency.

Time

It’s also worth thinking about the time involved in creating a product video. As part of the process, you’ll need to:

  • Define the goals of the product video
  • Determine your audience (e.g. is this product aimed at creating new leads or retaining existing customers by highlighting features they may have overlooked?)
  • Set your budget
  • Plan your video structure and write a script
  • Decide how to best share the video with your audience

Even if you hire an agency, there’s a significant time investment in working with them to get a video you’re happy with.

Obsolescence

SaaS products are changing all the time, with frequent release updates and changes to the UI/UX over time. That means great upgrades for your customers—but your product demo video will quickly become out of date.

You’re then left with the choice of keeping an out-of-date product video or restarting the whole process over again.

Lack of engagement and personalization

A product demo video doesn’t allow customers to interact with the product — instead, they passively consume the video. So, while they may gain some information about the product and how it works, they won’t really get a feel for how easy it is to use or to explore its features more fully.

Also, because of the money and time needed to create a great product video, you won’t be making a custom video for each prospect. Product videos are therefore “one size fits all” rather than a targeted tool you can use for individual clients.

Alternative to Product Demo Video: Interactive Product Tours

Product demo videos are a popular tool because they’re engaging, informative, and give your customers a real sense of how your product works.

But, as we’ve seen, they also have many downsides.

However, there is an alternative to product videos that has all of the same benefits as product videos, without the drawbacks: interactive product tours.

What are interactive product tours?

An interactive product tour is a walkthrough of your product that allows prospects to get hands-on experience with your product on their own time and schedule.

You can easily guide prospects through the key features of the product and customize a product tour to highlight features that will be of particular interest to certain customers.

Take a look at this product tour from Autobound.

Autobound Product Tour


Before creating a product tour, Autobound was having trouble educating prospects on their product:

“Early prospects weren’t able to understand what Autobound does by just clicking around on our site or watching a video, so we were having to spend a ton of time educating users on every call.”

Autobound was also experiencing difficulty onboarding new customers.

Now, with an interactive product tour, Autobound reports:

“Users are 3x more likely to make it through our onboarding setup process than before. Prospects are much more likely to take a meeting after going through the self guided demo because they get a first hand look at how the system works.”

Why product tours are better

Product tours have all the same benefits of a product demo video:

  • They support a PLG approach through an interactive and engaging experience
  • They make it easy to stand out from the crowd as potential customers get to actually engage with your product
  • They support you to educate and qualify leads

Product tours also have many benefits that make them a better choice for SaaS businesses:

  • Speed: Creating a product tour is quick. It can take as little as 30 minutes to create a no-code product tour—which is highly valuable in the fast paced and competitive SaaS market.
  • Easy to update: As your product changes, it is easy to update your product tour and swap in a new UI, meaning prospects will always be getting the most current look at your product.
  • Customizable: Because they’re so easy to edit, it’s feasible to create custom product tours for specific market segments or even individual customers. This makes it easy to adopt a product-led approach even within an ABM strategy.
  • Trackable: With product tours, you can see the exact steps a user has taken and send that data into a CRM. This is added insight that a product video doesn’t offer.
  • Interactive: Product tours give a more authentic, hands-on look at a product as prospects interact with the tour. Product tours build customer trust by relying on the product to speak for itself, rather than relying on overproduced videos.

While there’s no doubt that video marketing will continue to be a big trend into 2022 and beyond, SaaS companies need to start evaluating if their website’s video product are getting the job done.

If your goal is to engage, qualify, and excite leads, is a video demo really worth the hassle?

When alternatives like interactive product tours are available, it might be time for marketing leaders to re-evaluate demo videos.

Build interactive product demos.Request a demo with our team.