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Marketing Filter:Why are video product pitches so 2011?What should I do?
March 4, 2013 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Groupon and Dropbox used to have great 2 minute animated videos on their sites explaining how their products worked, the problem they solved, and why you should get it. (On Groupon I am talking about the Groupon Works site where they try to get businesses to sign up.) I went to go look at these today-- I am trying to write a script for a short video explaining a product I am building-- Uggg, these cool videos have been replaced by a sales page with no video. What does it all mean??

I am wondering, do video pitches not work as well as a sales page? What about if the value proposition is complex? Does the dropbox and groupon switch reflect that consumers won't click a video because of lack of time or is it a technology hurdle or is it because they figure by now their markets are saturated and everyone understands what they do?

Here are my big 3 questions:

(1) Is a professiionally produced 2 minute video pitch a great or poor way to sell a product in 2013?
(2a) What are the best video product pitches or product explanations online now? (I love the squarespace demo video, I think it is one of my favorites... but it only has music, I need to see examples with words.)
(2b) Any favorites on kickstarter?
(3) Any tips for an aspiring scriptwirter?
(4) Any websites that are best for this, like 'selling with a 2 minute video for dummies' {when I use to google to find resources I find that most of what I come across is sleazy clickbank garbage that demads I sign up for free webinars. Bleck!}

Details: I am trying to make my video do double duty-- explain the idea on both my landing page and also to show it on kickstarter to help fund my dream project. Does this change anything about how I the structure / create content of my script ?

Oh my, that was a lot! Thanks for any adivce and pointers!
posted by limitedpie to Work & Money (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
So it turns out in my online product experience that people would rather read than watch something. It seems to be about not wanting to commit that 2-5 min and also not wanting to actually hear sounds.

If you do make a video, make one that you can turn the sound OFF and still get what is going on. This means words on the screen, and also orderly screenshots and progressions so every part of the product experience is followable and linked. You don't want to show one feature and then another with no path for how you got from one to the other. Show transitions and clicks.

Also make a video in a format that you can ff, pause, and rewind. Hate: those flash vids where you can't jump around.

Bonus: have a transcript of the video so people can read instead. Or use it to copy and paste important pieces to convince other people why this thing is interesting.
posted by rmless at 12:03 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a single data point, I generally HATE product videos, and virtually never watch them, for several reasons:

1. They force me to go at their speed not mine.
2. They generally require sound. I tend to be in more situations where I don't want sound than not. E.g. I'm at my desk at work and don't want to bug my co-workers. Or I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop watching TV. Or I'm just in the same room as someone else who is watching TV (or doing anything else that's disturbed by me playing a video with sound).
3. I can't skim to find the parts that are most important to me.
4. I can't easily go back and re-read something I didn't get (yes, I can skip backward in a video, but hitting the right spot is tricky, so I usually end up re-watching more than necessary.
5. I know that if I want to share it with one of my friends, I'm going to be saddling them with all the same problems.

I'm ok with videos as supplementary material. After I'm already sold on something, I'm more inclined to go to the trouble to watch the video. But as the initial pitch, forget it.
posted by primethyme at 12:07 PM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sorry about the mistakes. And yes, I meant to proofread and edit, and accidentally hit post. Now, I cannot figure out how to edit my post. I am assuming I can't edit it once I've posted :-(

But thanks for your proofreading comment, snarky or not. I'd especially appreciate any answers to my actual questions and I hope that my posting mistake won't deter anyone from sharing any insights or pointers with me.
posted by limitedpie at 12:10 PM on March 4, 2013


- Two minutes is far too long. Typically, when pitching for funding you need an "elevator speech", which as the name implies, should be short. And bite-sized.

- You need to create videos according to audience, in this case users versus potential funders. Each audience has different things they care about.

- Videos are great, but should not form the core focus of a marketing/communications campaign. They're very useful for everything from explaining your value proposition to helping with SEO for long-tail keywords, but you need to think of marketing in more global terms.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:11 PM on March 4, 2013


I tend to hate videos. On the other hand, Dollar Shave Club did it pretty expertly.
posted by General Malaise at 12:26 PM on March 4, 2013


(How expertly?)
posted by General Malaise at 12:28 PM on March 4, 2013


I work in emarketing, though in a different space (I work for a nonprofit, so we are usually trying to get someone to take an advocacy action or donate), so take this with a grain of salt, but we've found that having a video on a page where we are trying to get someone to do something else (sign a petition, donate) significantly decreases our conversion rates. So we don't use them very much anymore, unless the goal is simply to get people to watch a video.
posted by lunasol at 12:28 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Totally speaking for myself, I spend most of my time in front of a computer at the office and it has to be a really awesome-looking video for me to watch at the office, especially if it would require me to put the sound on, because I feel like it looks bad to watch videos at work. I think there used to be more video pitches because it was more of a novelty. Now anyone can make one (not necessarily a good one, though).

In my opinion, it's best if you can tell your story on multiple formats. I love it when NPR.com has stories that are nearly the same text as the audio because then I can feel like I know the story without having to listen to it. Can you make a short slideshow? Do you have a one sentence version, a one paragraph version, and a one page version? The longer versions should appeal to someone who looks at the shorter version and thinks, interesting, tell me more.
posted by kat518 at 12:30 PM on March 4, 2013


If you have something that is best explained visually, it can be good. If you find your plans for the video consist of 90% people talking about the product, you would be better off providing it as text with the occasional picture on an old-fashioned web page.

It's good as an instructional tool. But like was said, don't make it the only place where people can get the same information, because different people learn different way.

My own personal peeve: if you show yourself talking about how unique and innovative your product is, or how nobody else was doing it, I'm going to find you insufferable.
posted by RobotHero at 12:45 PM on March 4, 2013


Through my experience, video pitches are really for presentations when the sales guy wants to show what he is pitching rather than explain it. For a website, the best applications for videos are on a side bar or other widget where the visitor sees it and knows he has the option to view it if he wants but it not being forced to watch it. To have the video play on page load is no longer desirable.
posted by xicana63 at 12:45 PM on March 4, 2013


This is a great question. If product videos are indeed used less now, I wonder whether it might be in part due to people having encountered too many videos that do a poor job of explaining a product. Usually when I click on a product video, I want to see a concise and clear demonstration of what the product actually does. But in too many cases, the video is too general to be useful in that regard, or it's just a marketing pitch rather than product information or a demo. So now I hesitate before clicking on a product video. But if I saw an enticement like "See exactly how it works" I would probably click. By the way, you can do A/B split testing using simple tools like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer (Google also has such a tool) to see whether your page with video is working better or worse than your page without video.
posted by Dansaman at 1:03 PM on March 4, 2013


primethyme: "As a single data point, I generally HATE product videos, and virtually never watch them, for several reasons:

1. They force me to go at their speed not mine.
2. They generally require sound. I tend to be in more situations where I don't want sound than not. E.g. I'm at my desk at work and don't want to bug my co-workers. Or I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop watching TV. Or I'm just in the same room as someone else who is watching TV (or doing anything else that's disturbed by me playing a video with sound).
3. I can't skim to find the parts that are most important to me.
4. I can't easily go back and re-read something I didn't get (yes, I can skip backward in a video, but hitting the right spot is tricky, so I usually end up re-watching more than necessary.
5. I know that if I want to share it with one of my friends, I'm going to be saddling them with all the same problems.

I'm ok with videos as supplementary material. After I'm already sold on something, I'm more inclined to go to the trouble to watch the video. But as the initial pitch, forget it
"

All of these reasons are why I don't care about and/or rarely watch TED videos. yeah, the subject matter is usually really cool. but come on, NO transcripts?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:53 PM on March 4, 2013


I don't like most videos because most are poorly made and uninformative. I prefer text that I can scan in a tenth of the time it takes to watch a video.
posted by dfriedman at 2:19 PM on March 4, 2013


If you do make a video, get right to the point and don't waste the viewers' time. If you've got a 30-second animated splash screen intro, few will stick around for the meat.
posted by sageleaf at 3:24 PM on March 4, 2013


Here’s an answer to 2a: in tech circles, the work of Sandwich Video is considered the gold standard for product pitch videos. Their productions are invariably delightful and informative, with slick visuals.
posted by Ryon at 5:52 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sometimes video can do a great job of rapidly showing how something works or to make a good business case. A very good one I saw recently was this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vlIFYQMVAag

The analogy works well and the length is pretty good if you are genuinely interested in producing a dashboard of business stats. Bad video is pretty easy to make, but good video is astonishingly hard and expensive so I think we are seeing less of it because it hasn't been justified or the belts are just plain getting tighter. Maybe these videos were predicated on some expectation to go viral that never happened.
posted by dgran at 6:59 AM on March 5, 2013


I would bet that both Groupon and Dropbox have A/B tested both options, and you're currently seeing the winner. The reason that all of those companies have switched to a static page instead of a video is because the static page is converting viewers into customers better. Simple as that.

BUT - this does not mean that your company/idea would be better served by a static sales page. There is really only one way to find out which will work better. I would go ahead and make the video, which seems to be something you want to do anyway, and then test it. And test they layout of your sales/lead gen page. And test the color scheme of your website. And test everything. Because only your customers can tell you what they want, and most of them don't know what they want until you put it in front of them and they say "yeah, I like this" or "no, this doesn't work for me".

I personally use Google Analytics Content Experiments for this sort of testing.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 8:52 AM on March 5, 2013


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