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Nine tips for creating killer product videos

Amy Liu
March 31, 2015 by Amy Liu Alum

Whether you’re selling a product or service, the ubiquitous product video can be the make-or-break moment for your potential customers. A truly great product video both informs and inspires viewers to give you their attention (and their wallets). At Vimeo, we’ve seen our fair share of product videos that have launched successful crowdfunding campaigns and sold millions of laser-pointer toothbrushes that also toast bread. Here are some rules for product videos and some examples of people who do it well:

1. Context is king
Don’t just show off your slick product, show how it fits in the bigger picture of your customers’ lives. What problem is your product solving? How does it enrich your customers’ lives? Is it inspiring a customer to do more? Is it increasing their overall happiness?

Fluidstance does a great job of giving context around the need for their balance board for standing desks:

2. Show and tell
A high-concept product trailer may be artistic and fancy, but if viewers don’t know what you’re selling at the end of it, they probably won’t be inspired to become customers. Pretend you’re back in first grade doing Show and Tell — show off your product, and tell your customers about it. It’s that simple.

Restrap really knows how to show and tell about their snappy magnetic camera straps:

3. Tell your story — or let your customers tell it for you
When people look at a product video, they don’t just want to know the technical specs of the product. They want to meet the people behind the product and the people who use it.

We love how biblical-beautification company Bibliotheca (say that three times fast) tells their genesis story:

4. Beautify your home
Contrary to what your mother told you, it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts. The outside counts too, particularly in product videos. Your product video is essentially an advertisement for your product/service. As you may have heard, the Vimeo player makes your videos look great — customize it with your logo, and treat your viewers to zero pre-roll. Because the last thing a potential customer wants to watch is an ad before your ad (before your ad, before your…).

On Broadcast customizes their video player colors and logo to show off their PR services in the best way:

5. Cater to your target audience
Often when bands go on tour, they’ll shout out the name of the city they’re playing in. We recommend doing the same in your product video, figuratively or even literally. Whether it’s a certain demographic or geographic audience you’re targeting, you should customize your product video to be highly relevant to your potential customer.

Cartier hits each of their target customer segments in one elegant, diamond-encrusted swoop:

6. Don’t use scare tactics
Nothing screams “cheap infomercial” like attempting to scare people into purchasing your product. By fear, we mean FOMO, what the kids say to refer to the fear of missing out. When businesses try to sell the risks of not buying their product, they’re using fear as a cheap tactic to get people to buy. A great business like yours should be focusing on the benefits of your product/service in your product video, rather than on scare tactics.

We love how Koala Safe focuses on how they help families spend more time together, rather than how the Internet is a dangerous place for kids:

7. Inject your video with some personality
Don’t be afraid to use a product video to showcase your brand’s identity. Showcasing your personality is a great way to differentiate your product from the millions of similar products out there.

Check out Dollar Shave Club’s bro-tastic video that practically beats you over the head with its razor-sharp identity (ouch!):

8. Include a call to action (CTA)
Make it easy for potential customers to purchase your product/service once the video comes to an end. How? Include a call to action, or a next step/destination. If a person makes it all the way to the end of your three-minute blender demonstration, they’re probably pretty interested in buying that blender. If your product video is more of a proof-of-concept, try including an email capture or link to preorder in your video.

Watch (get it?) the pure simplicity of Pebble’s ending CTA:

9. Connect, human to human
It’s all too easy to talk AT your audience in a product video instead of TO them. Because your goal is to start a conversation with a potential customer, do your best to connect with the human on the other side of the screen.

Be subtle and engage your viewers’ emotions, or even take our advice more literally, like Freaker, a company with a stylish jacket for your favorite beverage:

In summation, to make a successful and interesting-to-watch product video, try to be direct, creative, and human. After all, robots might watch your videos, but they certainly aren’t going to purchase your products. For more biz-type video advice, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. Or, if you’re ready to start making the most of your marketing videos, try Vimeo PRO!

38 Comments

Ringorang Worldwide LLC PRO

The best product in the world means nothing w/o a great management team, market and deal for investors. The best deal in the world means nothing w/o a great product, market and management. The best management in the woooorld means nothing w/o... Get the point? It takes ALL FOUR: great product, great management, great market, great deal. Question Everything: @getringorang

lanneff.com PRO

Thank you for this great advice! I'll try and apply it to my work and service that I provide!

Lance Carr

Good post. You know these tips don't just apply to a strictly commercial video. Just about any video could be improved by applying some of these points.

Vlad Madejczyk

I think that the most important 3 rules are missing here:
1. cut off your talking to minimum
2. cut off what you like in your video, because usually this is the most boring part. I mean for instance that the first video could be cut down to about 30 seconds and produce - most probably - better results.
3. depending on distribution channel and kind of video (commercial or not): if you are unable to grasp viewer/customer attention within first 5-10 seconds, forget remaining part of video - it will be unnecessary because most probably almost nobody will see it.

AdvantageCare Physicians PRO

thought this was really informative and helpful. we provide a service and the personal touch is really important. loved the freaked piece, it ws super creative and unexpected. and the $1 shave was really fun. all great videos.

Boost Video Plus

The dollar shave club is awesome example, hate to say original saw this a while back on Youtube.

Hixon Films Plus

Great news! Koala Safe reached their goal today on Kickstarter of $98,000!! No doubt their product video by Hixon Films played a huge role in securing this funding!

Double H Creative Plus

Keep it simple, clear and focused. And always include some emotion. And take the CEO's feedback with a grain of salt.

Peter Liu

Awesome way to build emotive impulse to purchase and catalytic to the buying journey ... but why stop there ... put call-to-action next to that impulse for frictionless audience to customer conversion ... like this experience.gopixmoto.com/5 .. Pixmoto is integrated to Vimeo.

Carbon Tech Composites

There's no mention at all of how important the non-verbal soundtrack is. I would have appreciated some insight on how to go about finding royalty free music options and just generally how to accomplish the various things you indicated were fundamental. You might have made some decent points but none of it was very helpful.

Ellinor Eriksson

Agree! I was thinking of that as well. Looking forward to another post about soundtrack:).

ABLE Digital Group

Couldn't agree more with VM comment. The "hook" is so important and with most users utilizing mobile technology, data streaming isn't cheap. 6-second Vines & 10 Second Facebook/Instagram & Youtube videos that are not only less expensive to ideate + activate, but if done effectively, enables the brand to execute on converting leads into ROI solutions. I would also look at leveraging assets to distribute across more than one channel. For instance, 4K video capture that serves for video/audio and still image use. Here is a pre-launch Brand Awareness Social Media solution for Kensington Brewing Company that utilizes motion-on-graphics & animation specific to mobile UX: on.fb.me/1QIWKm4

Don Mertes

I REALLY enjoyed the Freaker Ad.. Watched the the whole thing because I found the guy so likeable.. Brilliant.

LRG Media/David Wachs Plus

Hi Amy. I, too, have a few you could share, if you think they'll help. Here's one I did recently for The Hospice of St. Francis which includes a narrative on some level, drama, which I didn't see in the videos above. vimeo.com/76479060 Thanks for doing what you do!

Laurie Pederson

As a manufacturer looking for sexy ways to present an unsexy product, this is very inspiring.

Sirtony

Great...thank you for the update help...blessings

Lemaxnut Plus

I hate sounding like "Old sour grapes" but I just can't see any point for this tutorial series because some videos getting million plus views have crappy content and lousy video technique, whilst other great channels barely get going even though they tick all the boxes - exciting content, technically well made, catchy and unique!

Bennett Elder

As mentioned YES it's very difficult to watch these videos without buying something. :) Solid examples of the right way to advertise.

mustapha

hello every body
please ,i need to know about a logiciel to create videos.

Ellinor Eriksson

I think the Freaker could sell.. ANYTHING! Such a carisma :). Thanks for a great post!

Stephen Cabrero Plus

Great post! I deal with a lot of direct selling and MLM and happy to see I have done some things right!

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Scott White

Great post,very informative and to the point. Gave me some good ideas for making my videos more user friendly.

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