What are interactive product demos?

Interactive product demos allow your prospects to test drive your product before they buy
Published on
October 11, 2023
Tom Bruining
Founder, BSc of Computer Science & BComm

Interactive product demos help companies showcase their SaaS products to potential customers. They provide a simulation of your platform that allows the viewer to interact with it as if they were using it in real life. These demos can be accessed online, and users can be immersed in your platform, in a safe, controlled and engaging environment. They have a very low barrier to entry and are particularly effective in buyer-led sales environments.

Think of an interactive product demo as a sandbox environment that guides the viewer through a specific journey, while giving them the ability to test drive and get a feel for your product.

Demos fit into one of these three layers of the interactive product demo hierarchy:

  1. Platform Overviews
  2. Feature Overviews
  3. Use Case Deep-dives

What Do Interactive Product Demos Look and Feel Like?

Great interactive product demos look and feel just like the real thing.

They are full clones of a website and not screenshots or videos, meaning that each button and element is fully interactive just like on the original website. The best way to show this is of course with an interactive product demo, so here is one showing you how to create a new issue on one of our favourite software tools, Linear.

Interactive product demos are an excellent tool for companies looking to showcase their software products to potential customers. They provide a hands-on experience that helps users understand the functionality of your SaaS platform better, leading to higher adoption rates and increased customer satisfaction. They are customizable, engaging, and provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

By incorporating demonstrations of your sales environment in your marketing strategy, you can improve your conversion rates and increase brand awareness.

Why are Interactive Product Demos useful?

Interactive product demos are more effective than screenshots and videos in a few ways:

  1. Improved Understanding: They provide a hands-on experience that helps your prospect understand your platform's functionality better.
  2. Increased Engagement: They are more engaging than traditional marketing materials like videos or screenshots. The viewer is able to get a feel for your product, and can take their time to understand your application. On average, viewers stay on each step for 10-15 seconds! In a longer demonstration, this equates to significantly more time taking in your app than a walkthrough video. This engagement can lead to higher conversion rates and a more significant impact on potential customers.
  3. Customizable: They can be customized after recording to showcase specific features or use cases, making them an excellent tool for targeted marketing campaigns.
  4. Higher Retention Rates: They are more memorable than traditional marketing materials because the user is using your product, leading to higher retention rates and increased brand awareness.
  5. Competitive Advantage: They provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace by showcasing a company's software in a unique and engaging way, which is becoming really important in for Product Led Growth strategies and buyer-led purchasing environments.

How do you create an interactive product demo?

You start by capturing your SaaS app using a browser extension.

Some tools will have you capture individual screens and map them together, or in HowdyGo's case, you start recording and just click your way through a flow. The tool captures and saves your platform as it appears in your browser, and stores all the files required to replay your app.

The viewer can then interact with your platform in real-time, clicking around and seeing how different features work together. Interactive product demos use pop-up tooltips and information boxes to provide additional context and information.

You might also include chapters in your demo to help users navigate around the content. We've seen that 55% of viewers that reach the end of the demonstration, will go back to a previous chapter and re-view the content.

How do people use their demos?

There are a variety of ways to put your demos to use. We break these down in the interactive product demo hierarchy.

At a high level though, the most popular / common use-cases include:

  1. Interactive Platform Overviews
    - Embedded into home pages & landing pages - where most of our users start
    - Sending them out in sales follow up calls
    - Pay-per click landing page content
    - Live demonstrations during calls
    - The primary demo for a demo center
  2. Feature Overviews
    - Demo center deeper content
    - In-app feature upsell
    - Targeted pay-per click landing pages
    - Embedded in product pages
  3. Use Case Deep Dives
    - Specific follow up demos for a target account/prospect

About the Author
Tom Bruining
Founder, BSc of Computer Science & BComm

Tom Bruining is the co-founder of HowdyGo. In the past he was Head of Growth & Marketing at a B2B SaaS and Head of Data & Business Intelligence at HelloFresh, UK.

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