How Much Does It Cost to Make a Promotional Video?

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The average cost of a 1-minute video varies widely.

Prepare to pay about $1,500 for a video produced by a somewhat professional team, or shell out more than $1 million for a version made by experts.

Instead, you can save a lot of money and choose a user-generated content approach.

All of these cost options can make your head swim. But know this: You have many budget choices. Almost any company can create a video, and it doesn't take thousands of dollars to craft a version that compels buyers.

Here's what to consider as you choose the video creation option that's best for your company.

How Much Does Budget Matter?

When we think of creating the perfect promotional video, we often think about key marketing messaging, scripting, and actors. But unfortunately, many professionals have to think about something else altogether. To them, money comes first.

More than half of marketing teams are considering budget cuts. When the economy is in trouble, promotional activities take a backseat to rent and payroll.

And when companies do plan to spend in the marketing realm, they're buying martech products that automate and modernize advertising campaigns. These tools don't make video marketing easier. In fact, they don't have anything to do with video at all.

There's no shame in creating a lean, mean, modern advertising team. In a tough economy, that strategy could mean the difference between staying open and closing down.

But for executives facing a tight budget, video could seem out of reach.

Traditional Video: An Expensive Option

It's difficult to nail down the average cost of a 1-minute video. Many companies prefer to hold that information in strict confidence.

On average, video producers cost between $880 and $1,200. But your producer might want to meet with you before setting a firm price. You'll discuss:

  • Your script. How long will the video be?
  • Your timeframe. How long will it take to complete the shoot?
  • Your cast. How many different people will play a part in the video?
  • Your vision. Can the video be shot with just one camera? Do you need graphics too? Are you shooting in an unusual location (like a beachfront)?
  • Approvals. How many people must sign off on the completed product?

All of these factors can drive up the cost of your video. And if you choose to buy your own equipment and create your own studio, you'll have additional expenses.

To set up your own professional-grade studio, you will need:

  • Video cameras. Prepare to pay between $800 and $10,000 for a professional camera.
  • Backdrops. These screens block out distracting backgrounds, and they cost between $50 and $300.
  • Lighting. Professional lighting eliminates shadows and hot spots. Three-point lighting costs about $300.
  • Microphones. Pick up every syllable and sound with professional, external tools. They cost between $140 and $220.

You'll also spend time shooting the video, and you'll need editing software to process the images and stitch them together. The time you'll spend on your project is difficult to calculate, but it adds to the final cost of your video.

In general, you'll pay between $1,500 and $1 million for a 1-minute video in this traditional model. If it doesn't fit into your budget, don't worry. You do have options.

User-Generated Video: An Efficient Solution

Expensive video options involve crews of experts working with professional-grade tools. User-generated promotional videos involve real people and their cellphones.

The cell phone is ubiquitous. More than 95 percent of Americans have cell phones, and 81 percent own smartphones. A tool the size of a deck of cards can slip into pockets and go everywhere. And many of these phones have amazing video capabilities.

With a bit of training, people can learn to tap into cell phone settings and adjust:

  • Frame speed. The higher the speed, the more lifelike the movement. People approaching 30 fps shoot video on a phone that looks like it came from a video camera.
  • Resolution. Some cameras allow people to shoot in 4K, which is good enough to appear on phones, computers, and some television screens.
  • Stabilization. Some people have shaking hands, and the wobble ruins footage. Stabilization techniques allow for a smoother experience.

Some marketing teams give their customers and members scripts, so their promotional videos are still controlled when in the hands of amateurs.

But you could allow your customers and members to simply talk about their experiences in their own words. Give them a question to answer, such as:

  • What would you tell someone about our company?
  • Why did you make a recent purchase with us?
  • What can you tell us about our last event?
  • Why are you a loyal customer of our company?

Real, heartfelt words from someone who has worked with your company could have an authenticity and power that scripted, Hollywood-style videos just can't match.

And your costs are minimal. Ask your subjects to use their own phones, stand in bright light, and send you the results. With a bit of editing software, you're ready to go.

Which Approach Is Right for You?

Should you spend a lot on a deluxe video? Or should you stick with a lower-cost version? Digging into strategy and results could help you make the right decision.

Expensive, slick videos can come with a high return on investment. Spend $20,000 to create an explainer video, experts say, and it could last for three to five years. Each year, it could generate revenue from new and returning customers, and your costs are spread out over each year.

But what if your promotional video isn't intended to have a long shelf life?

Some promotional videos are made to describe something timely, such as:

  • An upcoming event.
  • Open registration for membership.
  • Class enrollment.
  • Fundraising.

Spending thousands to create an important video you'll share for just a few months doesn't make logistical sense. It's wiser, in most cases, to choose the option you can get off the ground quickly with a small price tag.

And remember that even flashy videos can't help you launch a product that's doomed from the start. If you don't have clear benefits outlined, or your product can't do what you claim it can, funds spent to promote it will be wasted.

A Convenient and Effective Choice

At Gather Voices, we specialize in helping companies just like yours create powerful user-generated content.

With our platform, you can gather raw video from your most devoted fans. Share that video quickly with your audience and deliver a promotional experience that converts at a very low cost. Contact us to find out more.


Gartner: 65% of CMOs Are Preparing for Budget Cuts. (April 2020). Marketing Dive.

8 Top Findings in Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2018-2019. (November 2018). Gartner.

Video Producers On Thumbtack Cost $600 to $1,000. Thumbtack.

How Much Does Video Production Cost in 2020? (March 2019). Digital Information World.

Almost Half of Marketers Plan Budget Cuts in the Second Half. (August 2020). MarketingWeek.

Global Brands to Freeze and Spend for at Least 6 Months Amid Covid Crunch. (May 2020). The Drum.

Mobile Fact Sheet. (June 2019). Pew Research Center.

How to Shoot Great Video With Your Smartphone. (July 2017). The Verge.

Everything You Need to Know About Video Production Costs. (April 2018). Medium.

Why Most Product Launches Fail. (April 2011). Harvard Business Review.

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