Photography & Video

The PEC Review: Animoto for Quick, Basic Product Videos

Product videos give shoppers a better idea of what they’re buying, slash return rates, and boost conversions. So it is little wonder that many online retailers are adding videos to their product detail pages.

But not all product videos are created equally and, frankly, not every product deserves the same level of video-production investment.

For your best selling, highest margin, or most-complicated items, you will almost certainly want to produce videos like the ones you might find at Golfsmith or Williams-Sonoma.

Golfsmith, screen capture linking to video page.

Golfsmith, screen capture linking to video page.


Williams-Sonoma, screen capture linking to video page.

Williams-Sonoma, screen capture linking to video page.

These videos demonstrate how to use the product, explain why the product is beneficial, and add a personal, human touch, which makes them very effective. Yet, they do cost more and take more time to produce.

For the rest of the products on your site, you may still get some conversion benefits from using simpler, video slideshows like the ones at

Animoto is a quick and easy-to-use automatic video maker that can help you transform the product images you already have into video slideshows. What’s more, the service is reasonably priced and offers an API that could make it possible to produce videos for all of your products automatically. For giving online retailers an easy way to make product videos, I am awarding Animoto four and a half out of a possible five stars in this, “The PEC Review”.

“The PEC Review” is my weekly column dedicated to introducing you to the products or services that I believe will help you improve your business. This week, let me explain why I think you should use Animoto.


First and foremost, Animoto is easy to use. In just a few minutes, I took three product images and a logo; uploaded them to Animoto; picked a song from its music library; and produced a product video similar in quality to what you could find on dozens of ecommerce sites.

At each step, Animoto’s user interface was clear and functional. For example, I was able to upload all of the images at once in a batch process. In fact, you can watch my sample Animoto video below. Notice that the video loops, which is another Animoto feature.


Animoto also makes it very easy to distribute your new video. You can embed it, as I did above. You can export it to YouTube or SmugMug. You can post it to Twitter, Facebook, or several other social networking sites in just a couple of clicks. And, with a Pro Account, you can download it for integration into your site.

Video API

Animoto offers an application-programming interface (API) aimed at letting site visitors make videos via your site or application.

After a cursory look at the API documentation, I think there are a couple of ways this could benefit ecommerce sites.

First, it should be possible to use the API to programmatically create an Animoto video for every product on your site that does not already have a video. You may need a developer’s help, which could mean that you’ll have to invest money to get the API working. But once in place, video production should be easy.

Second, you could use the Animoto API to let customers post or make videos of themselves using your products. These video testimonials may be fun for customers and good for business.


I made my sample Animoto video with the company’s free plan, which lets you make 30-second or shorter films that end with the Animoto logo. The Pro Account costs $249 per year or $39 per month if paid in installments. The Pro Account also provides access to Animoto’s commercially licensed music libraries.

four and one-half stars

Video Quality

I want to say just one more thing about video quality. The best ecommerce videos are the ones that demonstrate how to use the product, explain why the product is beneficial, and add a personal, human touch—as I mentioned above. While you can certainly use Animoto to finish those sorts of videos, I believe it will be the most help with second-tier, slideshow-like videos that can be quickly produced for those products that don’t merit the cost or time associated with a regular production.

Summing Up

Animoto is an excellent, automatic video production solution that could help online retailers quickly produce product videos. The service is inexpensive. It is easy to use, and it makes it easy to share the video once it is produced. Animoto is worth the four and a half out of five stars that I’ve awarded it in this, “The PEC Review.”

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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