Google is missing an important marketing angle: video demos

I was just over reading Steve Rubel’s blog where he links to a BusinessWeek article about Google and its struggles to improve its business. I guess Google has noticed that most people only use one thing, the search engine (Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, was quoted as saying that even its most die-hard fans can’t remember many of its major products).

Well, remember that Adobe Acrobat 8 video demo I put up last week? Turns out it had 50% more visits than our other podcasts last week. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed that, either. Over on Channel 9 our videos regularly got more visits than the Web site for the product or service we were discussing.

It’s a YouTube, er Google Video, world.

So, here’s a little test I did. I searched for:

Blogger Demo video. None found.
Google Calendar Demo video. None found.
Google Desktop Demo video. None found. Even worse is that there’s one of my videos there from Channel 9 showing off a competitive product.
Google Dodgeball Demo video. None found.
Google
Earth Demo video. None found. Oh, there’s another one of my Channel 9 videos again.
Google Groups Demo video. None found. Another one of my Channel 9 videos are there.
Google Maps Demo video. None found. Another one of my Channel 9 videos are there.

Should I go on? I could — seems like almost none of the Google product teams has put a simple video demo of its products up online and if they have, they certainly didn’t make them findable. Seems to me that this would be a great thing to do for Google. I’m sure such videos would be linked into Wikipedia’s list almost instantly.

So, here’s my offer. I’ll come over and do an interviewwith each of your product teams and get a five-minute demo of your products. With my sooopppeeerrrr dddooooppppeeeerrrrr Sony HD camcorder. For free.

That’s what we did on Friday for Scrapblog and Jajah (I don’t charge for this, and am doing it for lots of little companies — we’ll even have a new show we’ll announce soon where it’ll be even easier to get your demo online, you won’t even need to convince me via email that I should come over).

Even better offer for Google? I’ll even put all the Google ones up on Google Video as well as put them on the ScobleShow.

Oh, how powerful is this? Well, do a Google search for “Adobe Acrobat 8 video demo” and what do you find? My video. And, yes, we’re getting visits from Google so I know someone is looking for video demos of products.

Anyway, want to do a demo? 425-205-1921. You won’t even need to pay $30,000 like you would if you were going to this week’s Demo conference (everyone who gets on the stage there pays for the privilege and everyone in the audience pays too).

Why do they pay? Because they know the power of demoing to an influential audience. Funny thing is that there’s a far cheaper (and more effective) way to do the same demo on my show. By the way, the number of people who’ve now seen the Adobe Acrobat 8 video I did is many times bigger than the attendance of the Demo conference this week.

It’s amazing to me that Google hasn’t done this on its own, actually.

103 thoughts on “Google is missing an important marketing angle: video demos

  1. “Well, remember that Adobe Acrobat 8 video demo I put up last week? Turns out it had 50% more visits than our other podcasts last week.”

    I think we all know why that got so much attention. It is because you linked to it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that video demos are a good idea. Often they are very patronising. As I imagine a Google Gropus video would be.

    Like

  2. “Well, remember that Adobe Acrobat 8 video demo I put up last week? Turns out it had 50% more visits than our other podcasts last week.”

    I think we all know why that got so much attention. It is because you linked to it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that video demos are a good idea. Often they are very patronising. As I imagine a Google Gropus video would be.

    Like

  3. Sam: I link to a lot of things. They don’t all get a 50% increase in hits.

    Anyway, why don’t you go outside the tech industry’s echo chamber and ask people “what is Google Groups?” I bet you won’t get an answer.

    So, wouldn’t it be good to have a video just in case someone was searching for a video demo?

    Like

  4. Sam: I link to a lot of things. They don’t all get a 50% increase in hits.

    Anyway, why don’t you go outside the tech industry’s echo chamber and ask people “what is Google Groups?” I bet you won’t get an answer.

    So, wouldn’t it be good to have a video just in case someone was searching for a video demo?

    Like

  5. By the way, when I was in London, England, I met a company that changed its entire development methodology because of one of my video demos. So, anecdotally, at least, video is a pretty persuasive way to convince people that your new product or service rocks.

    Heck, if Google had an RSS feed with videos about its products I’d subscribe to that. What the hell is Dodgeball? Why should I try it out before seeing what it does?

    Like

  6. By the way, when I was in London, England, I met a company that changed its entire development methodology because of one of my video demos. So, anecdotally, at least, video is a pretty persuasive way to convince people that your new product or service rocks.

    Heck, if Google had an RSS feed with videos about its products I’d subscribe to that. What the hell is Dodgeball? Why should I try it out before seeing what it does?

    Like

  7. If you get them to do a demo for Blogger, make sure to ask them why their servers won’t let Bloglines and other online feed aggregators display the images that come in their RSS feeds. Yet, behold, if you use Google Reader (or if you have the images cached), the images will show up! They told me it was to “prevent bandwidth theft.”

    Sorry to sorta hijack your thread, but this has really been bothering me and the Blogger staff just blows me off when I try to talk to them about it. I read a fair number of photo blogs hosted on Blogspot (Blogger’s free hosting service) and not being able to see the images in Bloglines is just horrible.

    Like

  8. If you get them to do a demo for Blogger, make sure to ask them why their servers won’t let Bloglines and other online feed aggregators display the images that come in their RSS feeds. Yet, behold, if you use Google Reader (or if you have the images cached), the images will show up! They told me it was to “prevent bandwidth theft.”

    Sorry to sorta hijack your thread, but this has really been bothering me and the Blogger staff just blows me off when I try to talk to them about it. I read a fair number of photo blogs hosted on Blogspot (Blogger’s free hosting service) and not being able to see the images in Bloglines is just horrible.

    Like

  9. Chris, I’m subscribed to a Blogspot blog in Bloglines, and pictures appear fine.

    Robert, you mentioned that you did make videos about several competing MS products. Do you think those videos made a sizeable difference to their level of use?

    Like

  10. Chris, I’m subscribed to a Blogspot blog in Bloglines, and pictures appear fine.

    Robert, you mentioned that you did make videos about several competing MS products. Do you think those videos made a sizeable difference to their level of use?

    Like

  11. Sorry Robert, your videos might be good for interviews, and I love them for that, but they really aren’t stable enough, focused enough to allow one to really see what’s going on as in a tutorial. Geeks inside the echo chamber may enjoy them but I think those outside would prefer/expect something clearer. A screencast would probably be better. Or a combination. Right tool for the right job.

    Like

  12. Sorry Robert, your videos might be good for interviews, and I love them for that, but they really aren’t stable enough, focused enough to allow one to really see what’s going on as in a tutorial. Geeks inside the echo chamber may enjoy them but I think those outside would prefer/expect something clearer. A screencast would probably be better. Or a combination. Right tool for the right job.

    Like

  13. Dan: maybe. Over and over again people told me they adopted things they saw in the videos.

    Sizeable? In a pool as large as Microsoft has? I don’t think so. The audience sizes here are too small to make that claim directly. But I saw my videos get quoted in newspapers and on TV shows which went to millions of poeple. So, who knows?

    If I could change one person’s mind, though, that was good enough for me. The investment needed here is so small it isn’t even funny. So asking such a question isn’t really relevant to an organization that is spending billions of dollars on advertising and other marketing and who spent millions on conferences, which reach smaller audiences than Channel 9 does.

    Like

  14. Dan: maybe. Over and over again people told me they adopted things they saw in the videos.

    Sizeable? In a pool as large as Microsoft has? I don’t think so. The audience sizes here are too small to make that claim directly. But I saw my videos get quoted in newspapers and on TV shows which went to millions of poeple. So, who knows?

    If I could change one person’s mind, though, that was good enough for me. The investment needed here is so small it isn’t even funny. So asking such a question isn’t really relevant to an organization that is spending billions of dollars on advertising and other marketing and who spent millions on conferences, which reach smaller audiences than Channel 9 does.

    Like

  15. PXLated: demos are NOT tutorials. A good demo whets your appetite to try to get you to go further.

    They are aimed at people who haven’t seen, or used, the product.

    Tutorials come later on and need to be more in depth.

    What goes on at the Demo conference this week is NOT a tutorial format.

    Like

  16. PXLated: demos are NOT tutorials. A good demo whets your appetite to try to get you to go further.

    They are aimed at people who haven’t seen, or used, the product.

    Tutorials come later on and need to be more in depth.

    What goes on at the Demo conference this week is NOT a tutorial format.

    Like

  17. Screencasts are more boring, too. Why? Because you can’t see the person doing the demo and because the camera position doesn’t move (most screencast programs force you to see the entire desktop). If you want to make them more exciting you’ve gotta do a TON of editing, which dramatically increases the cost. Plus, most engineers will never let me install software on their machines.

    I don’t know if you watched the Adobe one, but that was a lot steadier. I have a nice tripod now, and a heavier bigger camera with far better anti-shake technology in its lens. The Adobe one is easy to follow along, even though it’s 15 minutes long and shows stuff on screen quite a bit (gets close to a tutorial, but not really).

    Like

  18. Screencasts are more boring, too. Why? Because you can’t see the person doing the demo and because the camera position doesn’t move (most screencast programs force you to see the entire desktop). If you want to make them more exciting you’ve gotta do a TON of editing, which dramatically increases the cost. Plus, most engineers will never let me install software on their machines.

    I don’t know if you watched the Adobe one, but that was a lot steadier. I have a nice tripod now, and a heavier bigger camera with far better anti-shake technology in its lens. The Adobe one is easy to follow along, even though it’s 15 minutes long and shows stuff on screen quite a bit (gets close to a tutorial, but not really).

    Like

  19. Demo videos are good for people who are bored and have read too many words in the day. Maybe this is overly reflective of self-experience, but often a time I’ve gone through all these product feature lists and ended up with glazed eyes at the end, and then I chance upon a video which is both delicious in its simplicity and elegant in its execution—and o, what about… FUN!

    One of the best examples I can think of are the crisply-narrated Xara vids:

    http://www.xara.com/products/xtreme/

    and click “watch movie 1” and “watch movie 2”.

    Like

  20. Demo videos are good for people who are bored and have read too many words in the day. Maybe this is overly reflective of self-experience, but often a time I’ve gone through all these product feature lists and ended up with glazed eyes at the end, and then I chance upon a video which is both delicious in its simplicity and elegant in its execution—and o, what about… FUN!

    One of the best examples I can think of are the crisply-narrated Xara vids:

    http://www.xara.com/products/xtreme/

    and click “watch movie 1” and “watch movie 2”.

    Like

  21. Dan: The images will appear fine if they are hosted elsewhere (not on Blogspot or Blogger), or if they’re already cached. I’ve traded emails with Blogger about the problem, and they’ve confirmed what I’ve seen. Their representative wrote me, “This is happening because the images are hosted on our server, which does not allow external linking. Our servers are maintained this way in order to prevent bandwidth theft.”

    When I tried the same thing in Google Reader (after clearing my cache), the images showed up. After writing to ask about this behavior I never heard back.

    Like

  22. Dan: The images will appear fine if they are hosted elsewhere (not on Blogspot or Blogger), or if they’re already cached. I’ve traded emails with Blogger about the problem, and they’ve confirmed what I’ve seen. Their representative wrote me, “This is happening because the images are hosted on our server, which does not allow external linking. Our servers are maintained this way in order to prevent bandwidth theft.”

    When I tried the same thing in Google Reader (after clearing my cache), the images showed up. After writing to ask about this behavior I never heard back.

    Like

  23. Robert: What you say about Google Groups is spot on. No one has heard of it. So tell me why would any of these people that havent heard of it be searching for “Google Groups Demos”?

    Now you clarified some of the differences between what you are suggesting and tutorials I can agree with you more. I found the Google Checkout video when Google Checkout first launched a good way to quickly find out what it was all about.

    So I take back what I said. Perhaps videos could be good. But not tutorials. They always move way too slowly.

    Like

  24. Robert: What you say about Google Groups is spot on. No one has heard of it. So tell me why would any of these people that havent heard of it be searching for “Google Groups Demos”?

    Now you clarified some of the differences between what you are suggesting and tutorials I can agree with you more. I found the Google Checkout video when Google Checkout first launched a good way to quickly find out what it was all about.

    So I take back what I said. Perhaps videos could be good. But not tutorials. They always move way too slowly.

    Like

  25. Sam: Google Groups might not be the best example. After all you can discover that pretty easily just by visiting it. But something like Picasa would be a better example. That requires downloading and installing before you can get a good idea of what it does.

    Like

  26. Sam: Google Groups might not be the best example. After all you can discover that pretty easily just by visiting it. But something like Picasa would be a better example. That requires downloading and installing before you can get a good idea of what it does.

    Like

  27. Chris: understood. I checked the pictures I was looking at are actually on photobucket (natch).

    Back on topic… I don’t think you could honestly say that any individual Channel 9 video made a big difference to the take-up of the product it featured (although some of the numbers are quite big – the VE video had 380,000 views, for example).

    However, in a wider sense, I think Channel 9 has had a strong “halo” effect on Microsoft – baseless FUD attacks on MS now seem confined to slashdot, and I think people look on new MS products much more positively now.

    Like

  28. Chris: understood. I checked the pictures I was looking at are actually on photobucket (natch).

    Back on topic… I don’t think you could honestly say that any individual Channel 9 video made a big difference to the take-up of the product it featured (although some of the numbers are quite big – the VE video had 380,000 views, for example).

    However, in a wider sense, I think Channel 9 has had a strong “halo” effect on Microsoft – baseless FUD attacks on MS now seem confined to slashdot, and I think people look on new MS products much more positively now.

    Like

  29. Mr. S. Be careful the water you are treading is deep.
    Water may be the wrong term.
    Geeks , Engineers, Technical folks do not have much time for sales guys or pitches.
    Advertising is not a sales pitch if it presents good product that is unknown to the consumer.
    Sure a good salesman can sell you a car powered by egg whites.
    Don’t go to the dark side master Luke. Just go to a theatre and sit through the crap e diem or wait for the adverts to load on an MSN Video feed.
    P.S. Be careful of barbs to readers… “where is your blogg”. Keep taking the high road.

    Like

  30. Mr. S. Be careful the water you are treading is deep.
    Water may be the wrong term.
    Geeks , Engineers, Technical folks do not have much time for sales guys or pitches.
    Advertising is not a sales pitch if it presents good product that is unknown to the consumer.
    Sure a good salesman can sell you a car powered by egg whites.
    Don’t go to the dark side master Luke. Just go to a theatre and sit through the crap e diem or wait for the adverts to load on an MSN Video feed.
    P.S. Be careful of barbs to readers… “where is your blogg”. Keep taking the high road.

    Like

  31. Geeks , Engineers, Technical folks do not have much time for sales guys or pitches.

    Bull. You aren’t so special, are NOT an elite class above all the rest of humanity. True, you need to market it in a differing way, and pitch it LIKE they are Gods, a sales pitch as an anti-sales pitch, but (deep-down) it’s still a pitch. And all GOOD Advertising IS a sales pitch, knowing who your customers are and where they are most likely to hang out and see stuff, is a whole art unto itself. Just tossing it out there wide as a FYI is a waste, that’s a bombastic Press Release.

    Like

  32. Geeks , Engineers, Technical folks do not have much time for sales guys or pitches.

    Bull. You aren’t so special, are NOT an elite class above all the rest of humanity. True, you need to market it in a differing way, and pitch it LIKE they are Gods, a sales pitch as an anti-sales pitch, but (deep-down) it’s still a pitch. And all GOOD Advertising IS a sales pitch, knowing who your customers are and where they are most likely to hang out and see stuff, is a whole art unto itself. Just tossing it out there wide as a FYI is a waste, that’s a bombastic Press Release.

    Like

  33. in #5, Robert Scoble wrote:
    Heck, if Google had an RSS feed with videos about its products I’d subscribe to that. What the hell is Dodgeball? Why should I try it out before seeing what it does?

    *blinks*
    They have a product called dodgeball?

    Anyway, howabout we get a little more basic. Let me rephrase what you wrote from the average user’s perspective:

    Heck, if Scoble had a videos about RSS feeds I’d subscribe to that. What the hell is RSS? Why should I try it out before seeing what it does?

    Note that the search string:
    rss demo video in Google Video turns up:
    1. an italian language site’s video on how to use PubMed
    2. ZD net on Animal Crossing
    3. How to Draw Hitler in Flash
    4. Final Fantasy 7 (“if u like this video please comment…”)
    5. Google Factory Tour. (first frame: sleeping black shirted guy on a red background. Porn?)

    Where’s the Scoble?!?
    Seriously! Dude, crank out a quick video on how RSS works! Its such a great tool, but the vast majority of people don’t know it exists.

    Like

  34. in #5, Robert Scoble wrote:
    Heck, if Google had an RSS feed with videos about its products I’d subscribe to that. What the hell is Dodgeball? Why should I try it out before seeing what it does?

    *blinks*
    They have a product called dodgeball?

    Anyway, howabout we get a little more basic. Let me rephrase what you wrote from the average user’s perspective:

    Heck, if Scoble had a videos about RSS feeds I’d subscribe to that. What the hell is RSS? Why should I try it out before seeing what it does?

    Note that the search string:
    rss demo video in Google Video turns up:
    1. an italian language site’s video on how to use PubMed
    2. ZD net on Animal Crossing
    3. How to Draw Hitler in Flash
    4. Final Fantasy 7 (“if u like this video please comment…”)
    5. Google Factory Tour. (first frame: sleeping black shirted guy on a red background. Porn?)

    Where’s the Scoble?!?
    Seriously! Dude, crank out a quick video on how RSS works! Its such a great tool, but the vast majority of people don’t know it exists.

    Like

  35. “It’s amazing to me that Google hasn’t done this on its own, actually.”

    It’s amazing to me that you are clearly passing off an attempt to promote your own new “business” as something to help Google, not you.

    Like

  36. “It’s amazing to me that Google hasn’t done this on its own, actually.”

    It’s amazing to me that you are clearly passing off an attempt to promote your own new “business” as something to help Google, not you.

    Like

  37. Good point. I’ve been tossing around the idea of developing online video demos for our products, but wasn’t aware how popular they are until after reading your post and with regards to Adobe Acrobat 8.0. Now I’m convinced.

    Like

  38. Good point. I’ve been tossing around the idea of developing online video demos for our products, but wasn’t aware how popular they are until after reading your post and with regards to Adobe Acrobat 8.0. Now I’m convinced.

    Like

  39. ref. 23. Bull. You aren’t so special, are NOT an elite class above all the rest of humanity.

    Salesmen are not advertisers. Sales = commission, Commission = omission usually of fact.
    Most application folks get the sales guys out of the way as fast as possible. If not, then they are sold a $500 hammer or gold plated toilet seats when all they needed was a claw hammer and to take a crap. Granted, sales guys are a necessary evil. All I was trying to say to Mr. S was to watch out or he would loose his target group real fast. Elite is not listening to your customer. Sell,sell,sell go team.
    No it’s listen, adapt, overcome. Sorry if your in sales and were offended. Not sorry for your commision LOL.

    Like

  40. ref. 23. Bull. You aren’t so special, are NOT an elite class above all the rest of humanity.

    Salesmen are not advertisers. Sales = commission, Commission = omission usually of fact.
    Most application folks get the sales guys out of the way as fast as possible. If not, then they are sold a $500 hammer or gold plated toilet seats when all they needed was a claw hammer and to take a crap. Granted, sales guys are a necessary evil. All I was trying to say to Mr. S was to watch out or he would loose his target group real fast. Elite is not listening to your customer. Sell,sell,sell go team.
    No it’s listen, adapt, overcome. Sorry if your in sales and were offended. Not sorry for your commision LOL.

    Like

  41. “Seems to me that this would be a great thing to do for Google. I’m sure such videos would be linked into Wikipedia’s list almost instantly.”

    Robert, at the risk of appearing clueless, what wikipedia list are you referring to? Thanks.

    Like

  42. “Seems to me that this would be a great thing to do for Google. I’m sure such videos would be linked into Wikipedia’s list almost instantly.”

    Robert, at the risk of appearing clueless, what wikipedia list are you referring to? Thanks.

    Like

  43. Robert,

    Strange that Google has videos on shaping surfboards with a 3-D CAD profiler (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6997914083785228227&q=surfboards&hl=en) and by hand (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-816845737398513172&q=surfboards&hl=en) but not their own apps. More info at the bottom of the “Related Foam Surfboard Links” section of http://www.squidoo.com/surfboards/.

    Google _really needs_ video demos for Google Base operations.

    –rj

    Like

  44. Robert,

    Strange that Google has videos on shaping surfboards with a 3-D CAD profiler (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6997914083785228227&q=surfboards&hl=en) and by hand (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-816845737398513172&q=surfboards&hl=en) but not their own apps. More info at the bottom of the “Related Foam Surfboard Links” section of http://www.squidoo.com/surfboards/.

    Google _really needs_ video demos for Google Base operations.

    –rj

    Like

  45. Sorry Brian. I have no idea who Chris is and do not care. My comment was to Mr.S. not MR.Coulter. It was not an attack on an individual. I try not to pencil whip folks. Very bad form.
    I did look to see what others had said online ” http://www.haloscan.com/comments.php?user=scoble&comment=2849 ” I do not endorse the opinions expressed in these blahblahs.
    You are right Brian.I am not as smart as Mr. Coulter. I’m only a 7-sigma guy. I’ll try to suffer through life with my obvious defect. I promise Brian I will try much harder to be politically sensitive.
    signed “not in the club … just gettin it!”

    Like

  46. Sorry Brian. I have no idea who Chris is and do not care. My comment was to Mr.S. not MR.Coulter. It was not an attack on an individual. I try not to pencil whip folks. Very bad form.
    I did look to see what others had said online ” http://www.haloscan.com/comments.php?user=scoble&comment=2849 ” I do not endorse the opinions expressed in these blahblahs.
    You are right Brian.I am not as smart as Mr. Coulter. I’m only a 7-sigma guy. I’ll try to suffer through life with my obvious defect. I promise Brian I will try much harder to be politically sensitive.
    signed “not in the club … just gettin it!”

    Like

  47. Mr. Scoble,
    I am sorry I used your thread in order to respond in like kind. I should have taken the whippin.
    I’ll try not to respond unless it is worthy of higher grey matter. I also appologize to Mr. Coulter.
    regards, Russ
    Far to easy to type click submit.

    Like

  48. Mr. Scoble,
    I am sorry I used your thread in order to respond in like kind. I should have taken the whippin.
    I’ll try not to respond unless it is worthy of higher grey matter. I also appologize to Mr. Coulter.
    regards, Russ
    Far to easy to type click submit.

    Like

  49. Sorry Russ, didn’t mean it to be personal… it was your views in this post versus Chris’s that I was comparing in intelligence, not you as a person.

    You specifically referenced comment 23, and replied to it, remember? So in that regard you know who he is and you cared enough to speak directly to him in comment 34.

    And now I see that the two comments stand on their own. You’re right, it is too easy to hit submit, and I’m not sure why I bothered.

    Sorry again.

    Like

  50. Sorry Russ, didn’t mean it to be personal… it was your views in this post versus Chris’s that I was comparing in intelligence, not you as a person.

    You specifically referenced comment 23, and replied to it, remember? So in that regard you know who he is and you cared enough to speak directly to him in comment 34.

    And now I see that the two comments stand on their own. You’re right, it is too easy to hit submit, and I’m not sure why I bothered.

    Sorry again.

    Like

Comments are closed.