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Product Demo Videos vs. Explainer Videos: What’s the Difference?

Originally published August 7, 2012  ·  Updated May 3, 2024
Product Demo Videos vs. Explainer Videos: What’s the Difference?

In this digital era, using a product demo video is a great way for your business to increase sales.

After all, providing detailed information on your product will give your customer a strong reason to buy and inspire them to make the first move.

It also decreases the number of questions asked through a virtual call center or another chat system, as potential customers will have had the answer explained to them in your video.

People usually do their research before they buy a product. That’s why a product demo video is a good idea, as you’ll be able to show them why your product is the best choice.

That being said, many marketers out there still struggle to find a fine line between product demo videos and explainer videos — yes, the type of video we mostly talk about in our blog.

Both of them show what the product is all about and how it works. Also, their uniqueness and perky animation style (sometimes) are the main features that make them stand out from other corporate branded videos and make both of them one of the best promotional solutions at your disposal.

So, what makes them different from each other?

Well, let’s find the answer, shall we?

Product Demo Videos and Explainer Videos: Are They Related?

In 2008 and 2009, company product explainer videos were a novelty for businesses.

Top management of various international companies noticed their high potential and placed them at the center of attention. Next thing you know everyone started using them.

Product demo videos, on the other hand, were the standard before professional explainers emerged. These days, demo videos are emerging again, which means the video marketing trend is going through a cycle.

Product demos are being used as e-commerce videos that showcase the real-life use case of certain products.

Animated videos are everywhere. They’ve become a sort of standard for companies in general. Since demo videos are scaling the trend chart again, does this mean explainer videos are no longer relevant?

No, it doesn’t.

If anything, explainer clips have proven their value in helping businesses grow. If not, why would they have become standard?

Explainer and demonstration videos are two separate genres of video with unique functions and strengths.

More often than not, they can work together in the same conversion funnel, but in different stages of a process.

For example, explainer videos can be used at an early conversion stage, such as in a crowdfunding video, while a product demo is more useful when closing sales.

Even though explainers and product demo videos are a good genre for a business to have, content is still king.

The value of information an explainer video has will determine the final outcome significantly more than its visual properties do.

The same rule applies to app demo videos. It doesn’t matter as much as you may think whether the star of a product demo is a CEO, a busboy, or a Hollywood star, it doesn’t matter much.

If the video’s content isn’t true, entertaining, or valuable in any way, it’s likely the video will be ignored.

In a nutshell: An explainer video is an awesome type of content for the top-of-the-funnel stage in the buyer’s journey. A product demo has the upper hand in closing sales.

Product Demo Videos vs. Explainer Videos: What’s the Difference?

Now that you understand how can product demo videos and explainer videos work together and complement each other, it’s time for the nitty-gritty.

We will break down some of the main differences between two of the highest-performing types of marketing videos in the market today:

Explainer Video

Explainer videos are well-known for their simplicity and conciseness.

Take a look at an explainer video we made for KeyOpp:

The points below will show you what makes this short, engaging video different from product demo videos.

1. Explaining Complicated Products

Coming up with innovative ideas is not an easy nor a simple task, but communicating them to others is even harder.

Many startups and businesses have trouble projecting their ideas to the public and sometimes it’s the struggle that can kill a company.

I have encountered hundreds of startups with bizarre, unique, and quirky products. New ones pop up daily. Every time I think I’ve seen all kinds of startups in obscure niches, there’s always another one.

Answer me this: How many times do you leave a site with a genuine understanding of what it offers?

Rarely, right?

Describing the what, when, where, why, who, and how of a product was the original idea behind explainer videos when they first came around in 2008 and 2009.

By harnessing the combined power of illustration and audio explanation, explainer videos increase retention rates and clarify value propositions in a compelling way.

2. Increasing Brand Awareness

You create brand awareness at the marketing funnel entrance by making your product more visible.

Explainer videos, among a few other things, are an eye-catching type of content that’s hard to miss.

When creating an explainer video, your goal must be to inform people about your company and how your product or service can resolve certain issues your potential customers have.

If an explainer video reaches its target and delivers its intended message, it will intrigue them to watch and start the Internet’s butterfly effect; a like and a share, which are essentially the seeds of brand awareness.

In other words, explainer clips have the potential to be viral and engaging, but that shouldn’t be your ultimate goal; it is just one of the small options at your disposal.

The importance of videos in the brand awareness stage is that you have a very limited amount of time to engage your viewer. While you explain what you do, don’t be scared of entertaining viewers.

This is your best shot for them to learn more about you and take it all in.

Explainer Video: The Bonus Tips

Here are some tips for achieving a valuable, engaging explainer video:

  • Evoke emotion through your videos. Often, the secret of a video’s virality is its emotional triggers. These give viewers a reason to view and share videos.
  • Tell the world who you really are, beyond the products you sell. Create videos that show off your company culture and your company’s behind-the-curtain lives.

In addition to explainer videos, add lightweight videos (in terms of content) to your website so you can rank better on search engines.

Among other things that animated videos are excellent at, they can include personal feelings and the level of physical experience that live videos can produce are also achievable with animated explainers just yet.

Product Demo Video

You now have a more solid insight into what an explainer video is all about.

Now, let’s move on to the product demo videos.

But, first, let’s take a look at an example of a product demo video so we can understand what the type of video looks like in the first place.

Here is a product video we produced for Ionopure:

Learn more: 25 Best Product Demo Videos from Different Industries

Let’s break down the differences!

1. Visual Proof

“There will be haters. There will be doubters. And then there will be you proving them wrong.” – Robert Falcone

If any quote explains product demos perfectly, it’s that quote.

In the online business world, a product demo video is a crucial point of interaction between your product and its end user.

It is the first point of contact between a company and a user as well as a great way to do product demonstrations.

As Robert Falcone implied, there will be people who think your product doesn’t meet their quality standards, or they may not be convinced to give it a whirl.

It’s even worse when they think you’re running a scam and your emails are marked as spam.

A product demo video provides visual proof. It shows your audience your product’s practical functions. It also acts as a sales pitch enhancer.

This is why video production has emerged as one of the key marketing services.

Target consumers who are visual learners often need to see your product in action to fully grasp its value and potential. This is especially true if physical features are your product’s unique selling points, as is the case with furniture or vehicles.

By all means, a product demo video shows a product’s worth instead of telling everyone how good it is.

A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s what a product demo video is all about. Or as Millennials say, “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

2. Physical Sampling

Demoing the product is a physical sampling that lets viewers know how the product performs physically without viewers taking the risk of buying it first.

A product demo video usually includes:

  • Showing people how the product works.
  • Sampling existing consumers in a testimonial video.
  • Featuring giveaway announcements for sample products.

Leads, or potential customers, usually assume that you, as a salesperson, will say only good things about your products. They often have an inherent distrust of salespeople in general.

This matters greatly, especially when it comes to web shopping.

The inability to see the product before buying it is a dealbreaker for many people.

Let them see what your product looks like and what it can do. Provide necessary proof in the way that grocery stores provide food samples.

3. Creation Process

People nowadays find it easy to create videos. Due to the increased popularity of YouTube as a live video and music platform, technology for creating videos has also evolved.

By simply browsing through Google, you can find and install a random video app (oftentimes for free) that will guide you through the process.

Lots of people have built careers from nothing, by simply using automated software. Because of that, competition has also increased.

Whether we’re talking about demo videos or explainers, you can easily find highly qualified help that will put your company on the map.

The Verdict

Explainer clips and product demo videos are unsurprisingly similar in their ability to showcase a product. They can be used for product or service overviews and can increase clicks and conversion rates.

Despite all the similarities, they, in fact, have their own strengths that serve different purposes throughout the conversion funnel.

The upper side of the marketing funnel is better for explainer video clips to garner more visibility and awareness.

Product demo videos are a perfect solution when people are already familiar with your product but need to see the product in action.

While it’s a great type of video for proving your product’s reliability to target consumers, it’s unlikely to get a lot of attention on its own.

Therefore, explainer videos and product demo videos are the perfect resources for improving your video marketing game and thus getting more conversions.

Nowadays, a lot of businesses are using both product demo videos and explainer videos to increase their sales. I’m sure you don’t want to get left behind. So, check out our video packages on the banner below to start creating your videos:

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