Earlier this month we launched a comprehensive survey with SaaS companies about software videos. While we are still compiling the final results, here are some important takeaways from our preliminary analysis.
(1) 74% of respondents said customers want the choice of video or on-line documentation, and another 9% believed that customers prefer video to on-line documentation.
(2) 84% of respondents believe videos would reduce the number of support tickets but lack data to validate this. Another 9% agree and have data to support this.
(3) Only 30% of respondents said their software videos are up to date with their latest release.
(4) Customer education makes most of the videos in SaaS organizations, followed by product documentation.
(5) The average hourly rate for making videos is $65 USD, including onshore and offshore resources.
(6) The average time it takes to make a three-minute video is 12 hours.
With regards to customer preference (1), it’s clear that video is a “must-have” for client success, onboarding, education, and product support. Keeping software videos up to date with software releases is a serious pain point for SaaS companies (3). Software video production is an intensely manual process that hasn’t changed much in more than 20 years.
There is a strong belief that keeping software videos up to date with your latest release offers clear ROI for product support (2). Since technical documentation already has a large corpus of why, what, and how-to documents, a strategy that lets you quickly and cost-effectively reuse tech docs to automate software video production makes sense from both a cost of production perspective (5 and 6) and benefits perspective (1 and 2). Technical documentation is highly-technology enabled with specialized authoring formats and content management systems that make using Videate for automated video production very straightforward.
From a pure cost savings perspective, the economics of automated software video production is huge. If you take the average cost per hour (5) and the time to make 100 three-minute videos (6), and then add-in the challenge of keeping your video library up to date with each new release, Videate will be a lot less expensive than manual video production. Depending on how often you release and if you produce software videos in multiple languages, Videate will be 10-100X more cost-effective. And you can keep your video library up to date with every software release without requiring more people.
Another thing we noticed in the survey results is that while Customer Education makes most of the videos, 70% of respondents said the typical time it takes from a software release to having ALL videos up to date was more than 4 weeks. If you have a monthly release cycle, this basically means you are never caught up! And even with quarterly release cycles, the ROI is very clear. In fact, check out our ROI calculator to see for yourself!
A typical objection to automated video production is that some people believe that computer- generated voices are not as natural as human voices. While this debate will continue for a while longer, our customers have already surveyed their customers, and what they tell us is thatcustomers prefer always up-to-date software videos with computer-generated voices, over human recorded videos that are out of sync with the latest software release. The speed of software development in a SaaS world is driving the need for new solutions like Videate.
Thank you to everyone who participated and for helping to raise money for the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life.