Still uploading SaaS demo videos to Youtube?7 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
There are thousands of “SaaS demo videos” on Youtube. Most of them are technical demos. No doubt uploading videos to Youtube is a no-brainer. Or so you think? I have created and uploaded a fair share of demo videos myself. But how effective is this strategy? Is uploading a technical demo video on Youtube really a good idea? I think NOT.
Especially not for the enterprise software products.
And it shows. But not in the way you may think. Tell-tell signs – FRICTION between engineering and marketing teams. We will talk about that a bit later.
But first let’s take a look at a real world example.
This recorded demo from a well known cloud security company on youtube video is close to 8 minutes in duration. It has had close to 3000 views in the last 6 months and received 16 likes.
In what way did this video make an impact on the product or the company? Did it result in any meaningful leads for marketing teams to pursue. Were the sales reps able to leverage this for their initial conversation with the prospects? Were the prospects who watched the video better equipped to have a meaningful conversation with the sales teams?
What was the real purpose of posting a demo video?
In my opinion, posting technical videos to Youtube is not an effective strategy at all.
Here is my perspective:
Shortcomings of Youtube for publishing demos – Problem with the WHY and the HOW
Problem # 1: The WHY problem
The Product Marketing teams ( or digital marketing depending on the company) are usually responsible for maintaining the Youtube channel or a specific playlist within a channel.
Before publishing any video ( or any content), Product marketers must ask a very important question.
“ Why are we doing this”?
The answer will most likely be- demand generation. If that is indeed the case, Youtube is not a bad option. But if it is indeed a “demand gen” activity, then the technical demo video is not a great asset to begin with. Infact, publishing technical demos on youtube out of context could prove detrimental to generate demand.
Problem #2: The HOW problem?
Technical demos are usually created by technical marketing engineers ( or sales engineers or some one from the engineering team). Creating an 8 minute video as the one above can easily take 8 hours of work or more. There is a lot of work that goes behind the scenes. I can personally attest to it because I have been on both sides of the table. A bulk of it is the sunk cost !
Just ask any engineer responsible for creating demos just how PAINFUL provisioning the infrastructure to do something like this could be. And then there are always a few little things like
writing a script, deciding the demo flow, cleansing the data to make it presentable, getting the voiceover just right, making video edits, adding an intro and outro, getting the output approved by brand teams to name a few!
The bigger problem
Engineers create demos. Period. More often than not the feedback loop is never completed and they never find out the impact of their work. They fail to understand ( and become frustrated over time)
- How well did it perform on Youtube?
- How was the engagement?
- Did it generate any leads?
- What is the marketing plan around it?
If these demos were created at the time of launch, and there may be well defined marketing plans around it, nurturing them to generate leads may not be well thought out. So marketing teams usually do not have a good answer in terms of the effectiveness of such demos.
Failure to see the impact of their work usually is the reason why there is friction between the engineering and marketing teams.
Marketing teams need to own the demand gen demos. Period.
That does not mean they need to do it in silos. They absolutely need to engage with customers to understand what resonates with them or at least talk to Sales Engineers as a proxy to customers to make demos more relevant.
But they need to OWN the process. They need to deliver the content. They need to measure the ROI. They need to demonstrate some kind of measurable impact. It may be in terms of the number of sales qualified leads, the demo-to-win conversion rates or even revenue attributed to lead generation through demos. The last one is a bir harder to implement, but doable.
A good demand gen demo video must start with the end in mind. Product Marketers must first establish an expected outcome from a demand gen demo video? Typically, the demand gen demo video must generate enough interest in the prospects mind to make them reach out to the sales teams to learn more. These demos need to help the prospects understand how your solution solves their business problem.
Characteristics of a good demo video
Prospects who are in the early days of their buying cycle are inundated with communications from you and your competitors. There is just too much “content noise”. A personalized, bite-size demo created specifically to address your prospects’ pain points may help you stand out in this competition and may prove to be a competitive advantage.
Video demos are passive. In addition to being less than 2 minutes, demand gen demos should be interactive to help users envision the experience of using your product first hand. These demos are usually the first digital touch point for your prospects. So it is crucial that you are able to convey the maximum value they could derive from using your solution.
Demand gen videos need to explain the “Why” along with the “How”. For that reason, these demos should have the ability for contextual storytelling.
One size fits all demos simply do not work. Every “persona” has a specific business problem and they need to see the value your product brings to the table, how it is different from the competitors and why they should trust you over the others.
If you cannot measure what you create, you may as well not create it in the first place. The demos should enable you to measure the engagement metrics. That way you will discover which demos resonate more than the others. It will help you prioritize your marketing campaigns better and witness a much better ROI in the end.
Last but not the least, how scalable is your demo creation engine? You need to be able to generate and share these interactive demos at scale.
Something to consider…
Should a demo video be called a demo video? The word “Demo” sometimes sets up the wrong expectations with the prospects. As soon as we hear the word “Demo” we start thinking about “ How to”. That may be the fallacy of using the word demo for demand gen at least. If a demo video is indeed one of the key assets for your demand gen activities, why not call it something else – maybe a 2 minute feature walkthrough, a product tour, 1 minute interactive click through or something similar?
There is no alternative to a live demo. At the end of the day, few prospects end up buying enterprise software because they watched an awesome demo video. If you are indeed going to create a demo video, you may consider using it to help your prospects clearly see the value proposition in your product and help them position your product as a solution to their problems instead. When these demo videos or walkthroughs or product tours or click throughs are done right, they help prospects have an intelligent conversation during the actual live demo with your sales engineers which in turn improves the likelihood of closing the deal faster. Your job as a Product marketer is just to inspire and educate your prospects in the hope they start trusting you early on in the buying cycle and convert into paying customers sooner.