How to create promo videos for your product or service using Keynote

Amir Khella
9 min readMar 10, 2022

This is the second article in this series on how to use Keynote to create high quality videos. You can read the first one here.

People’s attention span has become extremely short, and most of them would rather watch a short video than read a landing page or a a sales copy.

As a result, creating videos on a regular basis has become an essential part of marketing your products and services.

To create an animated demo video for your product or business, you can either hire a professional, or do it yourself.

If you hire a professional, you need to provide them with clear requirements and ongoing feedback. It typically takes a couple of weeks and costs $500+ to create a decent video with some motion graphics and animations. Any updates or changes to the video will require more requirements, feedback, time and cost.

And if you do it yourself, you need to know how to use video editing and motion graphics tools (Final Cut, Motion, Premiere, After Effects, etc.) , skills that aren’t typically available for most entrepreneurs and marketers. And it would still take at least a week to finish.

I recently needed a demo video for the launch of our new product: PingTag Pro, which allows short term rental hosts to upload short videos, PDF guides and notes to QR stickers attached to their appliances and devices, so that their guests can scan them when they need help.

Given that I didn’t have the time, budget or skills to create a demo video the traditional way, I turned to my favorite tool, Apple Keynote, to find out if I can create a good looking video in a couple of days.

To my surprise, I was able to create it entirely in Keynote in less than a day, and the video looked like one that I would have paid a professional to make:

Once again, Keynote turned out to be the perfect tool for the job!

It had all the design, layout and animation tools that I needed to create that video without having to use additional motion graphics or video editing tools.

And if you need to, you can make quick changes to the video and export it again in just a few minutes, and you can even create multiple versions of the same video to A/B test it.

And since Keynote comes installed for free with every Mac, and most people who have Macs already know how to use it, it is likely the best tool for entrepreneurs, marketers, and students to create professional looking animated videos cheaply and quickly.

Here is how I created an animated demo video in less than a day using nothing but Keynote.

If you would like to follow along using the keynote file that I created for my video, or to use it as a template to create your own video, here is the link to download it.

I used Keynote on the Mac, but you can use the iOS version on your iPad or iPhone with the same results.

Step 1: Outline

The first step is to create a quick outline for your video.

One of my favorite formats is the (WHO, WHAT, WHY, HOW, WHAT IF):

  • Mention the target audience
    - In my case, it’s short term rental hosts
  • State the problem or pain point
    - Guests getting frustrated when they can’t figure out how to use a device or an appliance
  • Introduce the solution
    - Enabling hosts to upload short videos, PDF manuals and notes to QR codes attached to different appliances and devices so that guests can scan them when they need help
  • Outline the benefits
    - Creating a frustration-free guest experience
    - Receiving less messages from guests
    - Getting more five-star reviews
  • Show how it works
    - Video of a guest scanning the QR code on the back of a remote control to find out how the DVR works, watching a quick video, accessing the TV manual, and reaching out to the host with a quick question, all from within the same page.
  • Show a call to action
    - Try it at

Step 2: Script

Once you have a solid outline, creating the script is straightforward:

In your favorite spreadsheet app or productivity tool, create a table with 3 columns: Scene, description, and action.

In the first column (scene), insert each outline point that you have create above.

In the second column (description), write down what will be narrated via voice or shown on the scene via text (or both).

And in the third column (action), describe what will happen in that scene.

For instance, here is what a row looks like for my video:

  • Scene: Introducing the solution
  • Description: Introducing PingTag QR Stickers for hosts. Delight your guests with on-demand video guides
  • Action: Fade in a video of travelers arriving at a vacation rental unit, slide in a panel on the left side of the screen, show a sample QR sticker, and animate the description text. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then animate the text out of the scene and expand the side panel to cover the video while moving the QR code to the right side of the screen.

Step 3: Storyboard

Next, you need to draw a simple layout for each scene (slide).

Using a marker and paper, or your favorite tablet, draw high level building blocks for each slide.

This is a visual thinking exercise, and not a drawing , so don’t worry if your drawing doesn’t look good. The goal is for you to know the high level layout of each scene.

I used Apple Notes on the iPad to storyboard my scenes in about 30 minutes, and I used a thick marker setting for the pencil to avoid getting lost in the detail.

Slide storyboard

Step 4: Voice over

The next step is to use your favorite voice recording app to narrate the description of each scene.

Recording voice over early in the process helps you define the timing and pacing of your video, and figure out how long each scene should take.

I opted not to use voice for that video, but you can see how I used it in my previous tutorial.

When I record a voice-over, I use the default voice memos apps on my iPhone, and then export the recording to Keynote.

Step 5: Soundtrack

Another trick that helps you pace your video is having a soundtrack that plays in the background while you’re creating the scenes.

Find and download royalty free music from your favorite website to use as soundtrack for your video, and then add it to your presentation by dropping it into the Document ⇒ Audio ⇒ Soundtrack section on the right panel.

If you have created a voice-over track, drop it into the same section, and then select the original music soundtrack and set its volume to ~10%, so that it doesn’t interfere much with the narration.

Adding voice over and soundtrack to a keynote presentation

Step 6: Scenes

If you are creating a video for YouTube, adjust the slide size to 1920x1080 in the Document tab of the right panel. Otherwise, change the slide resolution to match the desired video dimensions.

Start creating a new slides for each scene in your script, and add shapes and text to it to match the storyboard for that scene.

If you have taken photos or recorded videos for your product, you can also add them to your slides at this step by dropping them into your presentation.

For my video, I have recorded a few vertical videos using my iPhone showing how a guest would scan the QR code on a remote control, the web page that opens, and the different features available on that page.

I added those videos to my slides, and added an iPhone frame mockup, which looked better than just the video by itself. I then set the trimming and playback options of the video in the Format ⇒ Movie section in the right panel.

If your video will be playing across different slides, choose the corresponding option on the same panel, and copy/paste video into the slides where you’d like it to continue playing.

And if you are adding photos, make sure you use the “Edit Mask” and “Instant Alpha” features in the Format ⇒ Image panel. They are huge time savers and work far better than similar features in professional design tools.

Adding videos to a Keynote presentation

Step 7: Animations

Now, you’re going to animate the elements on each slide to create cool motion graphics effects using the Animate section of the right panel.

Use Build In to specify how an object (video, image, text) will show up, Build Out to specify how it will disappear before moving to the next slide, and Action to animate the object after it appears and before it disappears.

You can also use Keynote’s secret animation weapon, Magic Move, to automatically animate objects’ positions, sizes, colors, etc. between one slide and the next, instead of having to animate them individually using Action.

Once you animate all objects on a slide, open the Build Order panel, and adjust the order and behavior of each animation.

Play your slide to preview it, and adjust the order and timing of each animation to match the pacing and rhythm of the voice-over and soundtrack.

Adding animations and editing build order in Keynote

Step 8: Recording

This is the most fun part of the process, and a little-known feature in Keynote.

That feature alone is what enabled me to skip using a video editing tool altogether, and to edit the video entirely in Keynote.

Go to Document ⇒ Audio in the right panel, and hit the “Record…” button.

Keynote will open the recording interface that you can use to record a voice-over, like I did in my previous post.

Recording a slideshow in Keynote

Since you have recorded a voice over, you will use this feature instead to synchronize animations with the the voice-over and the soundtrack.

Rewind to the first slide, hit the record button, and then tap the space bar each time you want to run the next animation to match the voice-over and soundtrack.

And if you make a mistake, simply rewind to the previous slide and resume from there, instead of starting all over.

Step 9: Export

Once you’re done with the recording, play it back a couple of times to make sure it is well synchronized, and then close the recording interface.

From the menu, choose File ⇒ Export To ⇒ Movie… and choose “SlideShow Recording” and then export the movie you had just recorded.

Exporting a SlideShow recording movie in Keynote

Step 10: Thumbnail

If you are posting your video on YouTube, you can also create a high quality thumbnail for your video by selecting the slide you want to use as thumbnail, or creating one from scratch, and then from the File menu, select Export To ⇒ Images…


That’s pretty much it.

You are now ready to create your next demo video for your product or service in less than a day using the best free tool that you have and already know how to use: Apple Keynote.

And if you would like to use the Keynote file that I have created for my video as a starting point, you can download it here.

I will be recording a comprehensive step-by-step screencast on how to create an animated video demo from scratch. Subscribe or follow here to get notified when it’s available.



Amir Khella

Entrepreneur, product designer, and consultant. Helped 15 startups design+launch (5 acquired). Founder of Keynotopia and Augmentop. 100K+ customers.