Like those Ronco Ads, Product Demos Work Online Too

It is easy for me to understand that I do not understand much. Skip the joke please.

The amount of new information seems to double daily; Phones, computers, cameras, televisions and cars have changed so radically, it is now necessary (and somtimes impossible) to get instruction for pretty ordinary functions.

At the same time, this is the Paperless Century, so what you learn, probably more than we realize, comes from the Internet and specifically from online videos because you’re probably not going to get a manual that is worth a damn.

Research confirms this. Last spring, the reserach firm eMarketer noted that overwhelmingly—85%--of consumers polled would watch a one-minute long video that gave them basic information about a product they were interested in, and 87% would watch a video with a demonstration of the product.



According to stats culled by eMarketer, 66% of those who see a product demo more than once will eventually buy it—in fact, that explains the repeat viewings.

Throw in this wild card. A big driver of the growth of  online video is coming from older consumers, a notorious group of know-nothings (see first paragraph).

They are a natural audience for demonstration videos because, more than any other age group, they can feel bewildered by products. I don’t believe all of this, by the way. But in a world where 25-49 rules, it is a marketing given that elders walk around with their own personal fog machines.

Regardless of who is watching, though, the fact is demos work, just as well as do for the Ronco hawkers of late night TV who for decades now have sliced, diced and juilienned vegetables in front of wide-eyed insomniacs.

But the public, and the manufacturers who serve them, can be stubborn in their stupidity. Though the VCR is long gone, when they existed far fewer than half of us knew how to use them, and neither manufacturers, nor programmers, saw much point in teaching us, either.

Fast forward to today: Facebook may have somewhere between 500 million and a billion users, but as plenty of users will tell you, they don’t know how to enact some of the basic privacy safeguards, or understand some of the ways Facebook is using information about them.

They may have a reason for that, but most products don’t. Demonstration videos are easy ways to sell and probably, to build brand loyalty. It’s a surprise more manufacturers and marketers don’t get it.            

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