Popular software demo video styles
Figuring out the cost of a software demo video
You've seen a software demo video on youtube that you like, and want to know what it costs.
Software demo video production cost depends almost entirely on the style of video you choose and the length or runtime of your video.
The advantage of knowing your software demo video's cost in advance is:
- you can plan your budget more accurately
- avoid the disappointment of wanting a particular video and then finding you can't afford it.
You'd be surprised if you knew how often I get asked:
"How much for a video like this one I've seen on youtube?"
This is the moment of truth for many customers, when they discover their $10,000 dream video doesn't match their $1,000 budget!
To help I've analyzed the 6 most common software demo video styles & costs
- so anytime you see a video you like, you can reference this page, work out its cost and see if you can afford it.
To start, the 6 basic software demo video styles are:
1: Screenshot & caption video
2: 3D animated presenter video
3: Animated infographic demo video
4: Stock footage & animation video
5: 2D animated characters & scenes video
6: DIY software demo video packages
Don't worry if this sounds complicated at first glance. You'll soon quickly get the idea.
The next step is to look at each of these 6 basic software demo video costs & styles - so you can estimate which price bracket you're in.
Once you've decided on your probable price bracket, use our software demo video pricelist to calculate exactly how much your video will cost.
1: Screenshot & caption video
This style of software demo video cost is low because it uses only screenshots & captions set to voiceover, so the viewer can get a feel for your package, and understand the benefits and processes more clearly.
You can get it made cheaply for you by a specialist software demo video production company
For example, in the screenshot image above, you can see how animated text boxes are used to highlights the key point in this screenshot of a calendar/scheduling application.
To highlight key points, graphic arrows, boxes, circles and captions can also be used. They’re simple & effective, and support the spoken message.
$400 - $1,000 for 60 seconds or more
This is the lowest cost solution to producing a software demo video.
It'll cost you under $400, including professional voiceover to make it yourself.
Or for around £1,000 you can hire a professional software demo video maker who's got all the equipment, scripting ability, and the rest of the know-how to do it for you.
If you want to go the cheap freelancer route then look on Fiverr. You'll find people with the skills to assemble all your screenshots, together with any voiceover you supply, but don't expect much advice, compared with using a full time software demo video producer, who'll charge more.
2: 3D animated presenter video
Using a 3D Animated Presenter. means your viewers see a lifelike, graceful animated person talking to them naturally & professionally, while running through the key benefits & functions of your software or platform.
You can include as many screenshots and photographs as you want with this style of video.
There's also a wide choice of animated icons to highlight your take-home messages.
Look at the image below. Not a screenshot in sight, just icons and text with the presenter.
You can see the 3D Animated Presenter is explaining the benefits of an app’s functions in human-relating way.
It’s much more interesting to watch than a series of endless screenshots.
3D Animated Presenters come in different styles too, with many different movements, poses, outfits, and ethnicities
- all built-in to the package, male or female.
For example, here’s a different presenter using a cellphone device. She could easily have used a tablet instead of a cell. And look, there are animated finger swipes available as well.
Overall this is a more professional delivery than using just screenshots and voiceover. Audiences will be more engaged, while your software demo video cost may well go down a lot compared to other video ideas you had.
$1,200 for 60 secs
This is a good low cost software demo video solution, especially if your demo is short, say up to 60 seconds. This cost should include script, animation, graphics, everything.
The reason it's inexpensive for such a great looking result is because animated 3D Presenters come ready built and only need adjusting for each individual video.
This saves you big compared with originating a 3D Presenter animation from scratch.
It’s far more compelling visually than a mere screenshot-only video, which always has a large hint of “bedroom developer” about it.
The animated presenter narrates to a synced professional voiceover for natural realistic speech.
The downside is that for this level of software demo video production you need a skilled animation professional, possibly a production team, to make it for you, as it needs Adobe After Effects which is complex & expensive. And you'll probably want a professionally written script too.
Cost cutting by using own voice / own script is often regretted later, unless you're super confident in your powers of scriptwriting and vocalisation.
3: Animated infographic demo video
This style of software demo video production comes into its own for business applications which are primarily time & cost saving software tools,
But equally, you can use this video style to describe an enterprise scale technology platform that, for example, eliminates multiple layers of manual processes.
It focusses much more on graphics & animation and much less on screenshots
- with the high level message more concerned with the benefits of the application, rather than how someone might actually use it day to day.
It also looks quite posh, which is important if you have big clients to impress, and don't want to break the bank.
Here’s another example:
This example above uses screenshots but in a much more impactful way, intended to give the viewer a feeling for the application, rather than explain everything in any great detail.
Animated infographics excel at explaining concepts, which is often the case with a new technology, say a game-changing new tool or disruptive enterprise platform.
Below is another example, this time for a SAAS tool showing an actual screenshot that's had a studio makeover for a clearer, faster-to-grasp appearance.
This example below makes extensive use of animated icons:
Photographs can also be used in this animated infographic style software demo video, as shown below:
£2,188 for 60 secs
Animated infographic demo video costs vary widely, from dirt cheap icon-dancing video packages to mid-cost more sophisticated productions, as seen in the examples shown above.
This style of software demo video cost is around £2,000 to £3,000 a minute, depending where you buy from.
You can expect original art design & animation, scriptwriting, and possibly some market research too, to establish accurate target goals & audiences.
To save money, eg, get the cost under £1,000, you can offer to supply the script & storyboard outline for a designer/animator to finish for you. It won’t be as polished looking as a complete outsourced job, but it’ll tell your software demo video message better than just using screenshots (as in example 1 above)
4: Stock footage & animation demo video
When it’s important to show real people with real reactions & emotions, stock footage will do it for you.
The example below shows a C level executive struggling with the issues of an existing manual process. The situation looks & feels real.
Showing real people in real situations helps audiences to relate to your application in a direct, immediate way
- using screenshots where needed, but always keeping the focus on real customer situations, and the use of your product.
It’s a powerful alternative to more conceptual animated infographic styles of demo video production
- while still using graphics, icons, charts to assist delivering the demo’s key messages.
Combining stock footage clips with screenshots, graphics and animation is a very effective way to present your software demo video if "looking real" is important to you.
£1,874 for 60 secs
Software demo video cost using stock footage as well as graphics and animation will vary.
The cost of buying-in stock footage is a big part of this.
Can you use free public domain stock footage, or should you use premium stock like Shutterstock? There’s a big cost difference.
What you need to consider is:
Do the people in the video clips look like real people you might meet in an office
- or more like highly attractive models with fake model smiles?
Are their hairstyles or clothes dated?
Have you seen the same clip everywhere else on the web?
Do they lack diversity, or show only token diversity?
I have to be honest and say much public domain footage sucks, but not all. Expect to have to look harder to find what you want.
It's also easy to innocently steal somebody else's copyright when trawling free public domain footage, so be careful you don't accidentally become a bootlegger.
Bear in mind that bulk buying deals are available for professional video clip purchases for as few as 5 video clips. You can save this way.
Typical 60 second video prices range from sub £1,000 for a common stock and low budget animated graphic demo video
- to over £2,000 for a higher quality production with cool footage and attractive editing.
5: 2D animated characters demo video
2D animated characters, or cartoons, can combine with screenshots to tell a story around the software benefit message
- showing situations in a near-real way that is very convincing.
Screenshots can be included to become part of the situation, part of your story telling.
Many software demo videos adopt this 2D character animation approach especially B2C mobile apps as they focus on telling interesting little stories that users will relate to.
eg "John is always struggling every end of month, while Mary has this sorted, no problem"
If done well, the 2D style of storytelling can work brilliantly.
When done poorly, it looks “toy” or cheap.
So the aim is to inject enough quality into the production to retain your audience for the whole video message.
What makes for quality in a 2D animated character demo video?
Obviously everything begins with a compelling script. This has to be a given for any video.
The next simple rule is that some action or activity must take place onscreen at least every 2.5 seconds
- otherwise the magic spell of animation is broken and it all starts to look like a bad comic.
What does the 2.5 second rule mean exactly?
Breaking the 2.5 second rule means losing the magic of animation in your video.
For example, at the cheaper end of the animation market you'll see many static video scenes lasting well over 2.5 seconds, as this is how money is saved, as it’s quicker and less costly to produce.
4 second or even 10 second static scenes are the norm for many.
And while 4 seconds might not sound like much right now, it's enough to disengage your audience, and lose a customer.
Another common trick to cut cost by soaking up runtime is the technique of jumping around a single scene from one area of the picture to another, without any actual character animation taking place
- except maybe the odd token head nod or eye blink.
These tricks run the risk of making your story become meaningless, and generating video abandonment.
Now you've become aware of them, you'll probably notice these time & cost savings tricks are used everywhere on the web.
They verge on becoming a kind of "visual spam for video".
So how can you tell whether the animation standard you're about to buy is any good or not?
The 2.5 second rule is your simple guide as to how long scenes can remain static or barely moving, without breaking the magic spell for your audience.
Try this: When you next see an animated video on youtube, observe how many scenes remain mostly static for longer than 2.5 seconds.
Is it just the occasional scene? Or is the trick used everywhere?
If you do this test, you can start to understand why some videos are dirt cheap and others cost a great deal of money.
Another factor influencing cost is whether to pay more for your animated characters to look more likeable.
Too many 2D animated character designs look stupid & cheap. They just do.
The goal is to use 2D graphics and animation as real characters in inventive ways in real life stories that inspire your audience.
£500 - £5,000 60 seconds
Software demo video cost will vary dramatically here from sub £1,000 to £10,000 plus.
It depends on the originality of the visual concept and story, the character design detail, the amount of scenes in the video, and the amount of movement used in the scenes.
This what to retains your credibility with your audience, and what compellingly draws the viewer into the cartoon world.
Good quality low cost 2D character animation costs around £1,200 a minute maybe less.
High end animation can cost £5,000 per minute or more.
Cheap animation is around £500 per minute. This is because it cuts corners at every stage without you quite knowing how or why it's happened.
All these prices can vary from production company to production company, but hopefully it gives you an order of cost for budget purposes.
Last thought: If money is an issue then always aim first for the The Killer Script. Nothing engages audience passion like a motivating script, based on thorough research.
6: DIY software demo packages
There's a whole world of low cost DIY animation & video packages out there that are suitable for a software demo video production.
These packages can make in-house software demo video cost drop dramatically, while making it potentially easy & quick, especially if you have an in-house media department.
If you don't have an in-house team, and haven’t the time to learn, then you can go to Fiverr and find a freelancer who’ll do it for you, using one of the packages below.
All you have to do is provide the script, storyline and screenshots. They’ll do the rest.
But don't expect much help, or lots of revisions, or favours.
Freelancers compete to be the cheapest, and customer support can be reduced to almost zero if you buy from the cheapest.
Expect to take responsibility for almost everything except the actual video assembly process.
Low cost DIY packages that use graphics & animation in a software demo include
- Toonly for animated graphic videos
- Powtoon for animated graphic and stills video
- Wondershare Filmora is a low cost video production package
- Animoto for drag & drop video production
- Wondershare Demo Creator for screen recording and video creation
- Techsmith Camtasia screen recorder and video editor
- Techsmith SnagIt screen capture and recording software
- Promo marketing video maker
- Doodly whiteboard animation software
- Sparkol whiteboard animation software
All the above have their own strengths. They're usually as good or as bad as the person using them.
If you’re confident, or have good in-house resources, or are simply a startup strapped for cash, then any of these could be your go-to answer.
And for a bit more outlay, you can have it made for you by a dedicated specialist in the particular package you prefer.
Your software demo video cost will plunge if you go for a DIY package.
They’re all inexpensive. Some are $50 per month SAAS cloud packages offering AI such as Lumen5 which is particularly good for social media marketing.
Toonly costs only $20 per month when paid annually, and is complete with free video tutorials plus a subscription Masterclass. It maybe all you'll ever need.
Other packages are outright software purchases.
Many offer a free or very low cost trial.
If you can identify the best package for your needs you can save big, but you'll need to try out 2 or 3 of them first until you find a way of working that delivers a quality of result to meets your needs.
If you're inexperienced you can expect a fairly steep learning curve, but it can be worth it if you're able to produce a bunch of videos for very low cost.
The typical DIY experience is quickly mastering the main knobs & buttons functions, but still needing lots of attempts to get the feeling of animated movement right, and avoiding looking super-clunky or over-amateurish.
This search on Fiverr reveals a host of freelancers who can probably help you out. It's a useful starting point.
Software demo video cost summary
There are 6 basic styles each with a different software demo video cost.
Knowing this, you’ll be able to quickly analyse any software demo video you see on youtube or the web, and work out how much it costs.
Here’s a quick cost reference summing it all up:
1: Screenshot demo video - up to $400 one off cost
2: 3D animated presenter demo video - $1,200 for 60 secs
3: Animated infographic demo video - £2,188 for 60 secs
4: Stock footage & animation demo video - £1,874 60 for secs
5: 2D animated characters demo video - £500 - £5,000 for 60 seconds
6: DIY software demo packages - $20 pm+
To figure our the software demo video cost for your specific runtime, check out our software demo video prices here.
HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES - SHARE THIS BLOG