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Why Software Demos are on the Way Out

Vector illustration of a person falling asleep watching a software demo

Innovation and engagement are crucial to your marketing success. Various challenges and obstacles stand in your path. One of these challenges involves identifying and leveraging effective digital marketing strategies. Software demos have been a standard tool in developers’ arsenals, but the tide is turning towards a more engaging practice—animated explainer videos.

What is a Software Demo?

A software demo is a live or recorded demonstration of a software product. It serves to showcase the product's capabilities and functionalities. The objective is to illuminate the features and benefits of the software, resolve doubts, and influence purchase decisions. Software demos have long been integral to marketing campaigns, aiding product promotion, investor pitches, and customer conversions.

Disadvantages of Software Demos

There's no denying that software demos suffer from several critical issues, which can severely undermine their effectiveness.

  • Poor Quality Screen Recordings: Many demos are hampered by low-quality screen recordings that can confuse and disengage viewers. This leads to diminished interest and potential loss of sales opportunities.

  • Lack of Engagement: Software demos often end up being long and tedious, lacking the necessary spark to hold viewers' interest throughout their duration.

  • Risk of Malfunctions: In live demos, there's always a risk of software malfunction, which can disrupt the presentation and damage the brand's credibility and consumer trust.

  • Too technical: The overuse of industry-specific language can make the demo difficult to comprehend, creating a barrier between the product and potential customers who might otherwise be interested.

What is the difference between an explainer video and a software demo?

Alpine IQ's animated explainer video
A clip from Alpine IQ's explainer video.

Software demos and software explainer videos, while both used in conveying product information, approach the task in fundamentally different ways. Software demos are often technical and extensive, leading to potential drawbacks. These include lengthy run times that may cause viewer disengagement, a lack of narrative or emotional connection, and a dependency on the product's stability (in the case of live demos). The focus on technicalities may also overshadow the value proposition, particularly for non-technical audiences who are more interested in the solution the software provides rather than its mechanics.

In contrast, a software explainer video, like the one we created for Terpli, is typically around 1 minute long. Explainer videos highlight the problem that the software solves and how it does so effectively. It uses animation to simplify complex ideas and to create engaging, often dynamic, narratives. The viewer follows a story where they can identify their problems and see the software as the optimal solution.

The Advantages of an Explainer Video

Using animated explainer videos in your marketing strategy offers multiple advantages.

  • Simplicity: Explainer videos are typically around 1 minute long, breaking down complicated information into an easily understood format.

  • Engagement and Retention: Explainer videos increase viewer engagement and information retention with visual storytelling.

  • Versatility: These videos can be used across various platforms— from your website to your social media channels.

  • Shortened Sales Cycle: Explainer videos can help shorten your sales cycle by answering common queries and anticipating potential objections.

  • Consistency: Unlike live demos, explainer videos offer a consistent and reliable representation of your product.

Pre-launch Campaign and the Role of Animated Explainer Videos

In the crucial stage of a pre-launch campaign, animated explainer videos prove to be an indispensable asset. With their captivating narrative and visual charm, these videos tease the product's unique selling points, creating anticipation among potential customers. As such, they help build an eager audience even before the product officially launches, setting the stage for a successful product introduction.

Animated SaaS Product Demo Videos

animated product demo of a fitness app
A product demo for a fitness app.

In digital marketing, animated product demos are emerging as a solid complement to software explainer videos. Just like software explainer videos, animated product demos utilize the power of animation to bring software features to life, weaving compelling visual narratives that engage viewers. However, they differ in terms of focus and length. Animated product demos hone in on a specific feature or function in a brief 10-20 second animation.

By highlighting one feature at a time, animated demos prevent viewers from becoming overwhelmed and allow a more in-depth exploration of each functionality. They’re particularly beneficial when presenting complex or innovative features that warrant individual attention.

Alpine IQ animated product demo of abandoned cart
Alpine IQ's product demo of their abandoned cart feature.

Compared to traditional software demos, animated product demos offer several clear advantages. Their short length and focus respect the viewers' time, providing them with concise, relevant information in an easily digestible format. This aligns with modern consumers' preference for quick, straightforward content that gets straight to the point. Animated product demos are used on product webpages, within onboarding processes, and for announcing new features. The format makes them highly shareable and adaptable to various platforms and contexts, from social media posts to email newsletters.

Animated product demos are an excellent companion to software explainer videos, providing a comprehensive yet engaging overview of a software product. Their rise reflects an industry-wide shift towards visually interesting, concise, and viewer-friendly formats that promise greater engagement and conversion than traditional software demos.

Why You Should Work with an Animation Studio

Engaging an animation studio, like Purely Imagined, to create your explainer video has its own advantages. The production process is well-structured and professional, covering everything from scriptwriting and storyboarding to animation and post-production. This ensures the output is polished and effectively communicates your product’s value. Expert audio engineering and narration guarantee your messages are conveyed with the right impact.


Although software demos have been an industry mainstay for years, animated explainer videos and product demos can bolster your product marketing without discouraging viewers. Offering superior engagement, clarity, and consistency, these videos have demonstrated their efficacy as a crucial component of a successful digital marketing strategy.

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