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software video pricing guide for B2B developers

This Software Video Pricing Guide is aimed at all developers – from the small B2B software house – to the international technology group.

It explains the 6 different price points of software video production – with real current commercial prices shown – starting from making a video demo yourself – or using freelancers – to hiring a high end global agency – while highlighting the pros & cons of each, so you can understand where your money goes, and what you can expect to pay at each level.

I’ve based it on my own 30 years of studio experience, researching hundreds of producers, using freelancers, and also working for clients & agencies of all different shapes, sizes & nationalities.

My own clients all agree the cost of video is massive budget eater, and that it’s usually impossible to fund all the videos you want on Day One, so it’s definitely worth getting the right supplier to fit your available long-distance spend.

So where do you start?

Prices are shown below as hourly rates, as this is the easiest way to help you make quick, fair comparisons between the different sorts of software video quotes you receive.

1: DIY

Cost range: £0 to £100

Many small software devs like to produce their own videos, especially tutorials as
> they’re smart enough to learn how to edit video
> it seems a big cost-saving compared to using an external production service.

This is the upside.

So what’s the downside?

All the DIY software developers I’ve met have 3 problem areas in common where they wish they’d done better:

Problem 1 Message effectiveness
The software video message you create needs to be targeted directly at the B2B buyer, enabling them to immediately give you their email address, usually as a lead, or input to a marketing automation funnel.

Many B2B software devs tend to translate this as meaning “here’s a few benefits and quick semi-demo”. They think that this will do.

In reality it scores 3 on 5 at very best.

Problem 2 Video quality
The quality of the video you make tells the audience a lot about you.

For example, your B2B customer knows what a professional video looks like. So wherever your video might fall short on quality (poor images, voice, graphics, script, dead spots, music, etc) they’ll notice. It makes them feel uneasy, and typecast your company the wrong way. Maybe they’ll think you’re a bedroom developer?

Problem 3 Time
Lead-generating video takes ages to make. I’ve never met a DIY developer who didn’t agree with this. While a sloppy video can be pulled together in an afternoon, an effective video seems to drag on and on, because it’s never quite right. On top of that you have to think up everything yourself, and be certain you’re right, and not just guessing.

Most devs agree their time is better spent on “upgrading to version 3.5” – or adding new mods for a top client, rather than making video. It might seem fun at first, but it soon becomes a pain.

Another DIY option is the online video-making kit or fiverr. I won’t go into this in detail, except to say “would you buy a used car from this video?”.

Almost nil cost

Weak, possibly damaging results
Takes longer than you’d think

Only go DIY if you’re flat broke, and can’t afford anything else.

If DIY doesn’t feel the right option for you then why not access our prices to get a better understanding of what you can expect from a cost and value perspective?


2: Low cost freelancers

Cost range: £5 to £15 per hour

It can be smart to use a low cost freelancer if you know how to specify & manage them, and aren’t looking for any added-value. For example, they can be great at putting together a little graphic for next-to-nothing.

But maybe you’re already a good outsourcing manager, and experienced in hiring low cost coders?

While these skills help a great deal, you have to consider video is totally different to coding, so you’re going to be in the dark in a number of areas. And you’ll have to provide much of the creative direction for your low cost freelancer, eg, script, clear storyboard advice, choice of voiceover artist, audio, etc.

Since a low cost freelancer will probably be overseas, eg, India, Philippines, you’ve no certainty they won’t vanish as soon as there’s a problem they can’t solve, or a demand their limited skill sets can’t meet.

Substantial cost savings
Find the right person and you might be onto a winner.

Many uncertainties.
No contractual accountability.
Lots of your time spent telling them what to do.
They have limited skill sets.
It might take a while to find the right one.

If you’re confident in what you’re doing, you can save a lot of money.
It’s easy to get it hopelessly wrong and waste your money.

3: High cost freelancers

Cost range: £15 to £30+ per hour

At these rates you can find someone in your time zone who’s fairly experienced. And they’ll often add-value in helping you choose an effective style.

You can definitely save money this way. But you still need to be careful.

What you probably won’t get is sound advice on developing the effective message your web viewers need. Which translates as “you write the script”.

You also need to know whether they’re moonlighting, or genuinely self-employed on a permanent basis, otherwise you may be placing the future hopes of your business on the shoulders of a worn-out, caffeine-fueled creative who’s trying to fit you in at 2am between shifts. This is almost funny, except it’s not.

The other snag is you’ll probably want to make lots of small changes & revisions to your video as you go (everyone does), while the freelancer’s main interest is to get your project out-of-the-door-done. This leads to unanswered calls & emails with vague promises of “I’ll fix it later”. They’re just not accountable to you in the ordinary way.

And if you’re on a killer deadline to complete the video, then you increase the likelihood of delays, especially if any snags arise.

You need to know the extent of their skill sets. For example, since you’ll probably have to provide the script, you need to be 100% certain in advance your message is perfect, or risk paying twice for additional voiceover or better images later.

Hearing a freelancer say “I’ve made loads of videos” isn’t a good enough answer.

The best way to get round these problems is to “hire slow, and fire fast”.

Costs less than a full service production house.
Professional quality results (usually)

You provide the script and other creative inputs..
No added-value to improving your message.
Limited skill sets.
Limited accountability.

Be sure you get to know the person & their situation first.
Be certain they have the full set of skills you need.
Take you time choosing.

4: B2B video production house

Cost range: £25 ph – £60 ph

A B2B software video production house will have a team in place. They’ll provide an end-to-end service from concept to delivery. They’ll offer you style choices (animation, filming, artwork, design, messaging), backed up by a transparent collaborative approach, and a robust production method.

They’ll also be able to advise on what works and what doesn’t, and prove it. And they’ll be keen to help, as they’re all looking for a long term partnership with a software developer who’s going places.

They’ll also offer package prices if you need more than one video.

Importantly they’ll have all the major skill sets you need in-house, plus a good dose of experience, which means:
> Problems that arise can be solved quickly & easily
> You’ll get good advice on the core messages you want to tell.
> You’ll not be expected to write the script yourself.
> You can trust them to get the visuals right, and probably a lot more.

Find a video company who:
> Has experience in your target niches
> Can prove substantial software video experience.
> Is clear about how many revisions you get.

Very little risk.
Usually great results.

Costs more than a freelancer.
The number of revisions may be limited.

With a dedicated production house you pay a bit more to get a video that will work.

5: High end video production house

Cost range: £60 ph – £100+ ph

You’re really looking at a high end corporate or TV ad production company here, someone who’s very creative, and looking for big international brand clients. £3,000 for 30 seconds is where they generally start. I know a client who paid £40k for an extraordinary original animation lasting 3 minutes.

Like you, I’m not sure if this is what a B2B software company needs. Maybe. But if you want something special this is the place to look as they’ll have everything you need from research to design, the latest animation, the works.

Great creative skills.
Great messaging.
Great results.

High price tag , especially if you need a series of videos.

Suitable only for the biggest promotional campaigns where your ROI justifies the high spend.

6: Marketing Agencies

Cost range: 30% more than you’ll pay if you find someone yourself

Marketing agencies focus on developing & driving your message out to the widest possible market through a mix of selected channels, inc all relevant social media. They’ll be seo & adword experts, and much more. Their goal will be to maximise your marketing spend and be your single source supplier for all things marketing. They’re committed to your success.

Hiring a great marketing agency can be the best thing your business ever did.

Great value video might be a different story though, for a variety of reasons, often depending on how many of video production skill sets the agency have in house.

For example, they’ll normally do messaging and design in house, but may well outsource your animation, editing or filming, which is a high proportion of your cost.

Agencies are procurement experts, great at finding what they can’t supply in-house, and usually for a low, low cost. It’s their job. They’ll take the trouble to find a really good animator in the Philippines for £15 ph. It’s what they’re good at.

For example, I have a UK friend who works for £25ph as a freelance animator almost totally for US marketing agencies. She tells me the agencies markup the price of her work by quite a lot. Another agency I know tosses a coin when deciding how much to markup.

My own experience of working with agencies is that markups range from a low (and reasonable) 15% to a whopping 100%.

Great messaging and design concepts.
They’re ROI focused.
They’re committed.

Usually costs more.
Prices marked up.
Not always transparent in their costings.

It can pay to have a single source supplier for all your marketing requirements, including video, as you’ll get joined-up thinking and accountability all the way.
Be prepared to pay more.


To wrap this up here’s a summary comparison:

Cost range: £0 to £100

Lower cost freelancers
Cost range: £5 to £15 per hour

Higher cost freelancers
Cost range: £15 to £30+ per hour

B2B video production house
£25 ph – £50+ ph

High end video production house
Cost range: £50 ph – £100+ ph

Marketing Agencies
Cost range: 30% more than you’ll pay if you find someone yourself

As a footnote I’d add: Always insist on a quote that shows all the hours worked and all bought-in costs. Only then can you really see what you’re getting for your money.

I hope this B2B software video pricing guide proves useful, and helps you find the ideal video supplier to suit your budget.


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