PowToon Responds to its Tribe with Product Enhancements

Anna Borenstein    March 1, 2017

PowToon is web-based software that enables users to create animated videos, According to the PowToon website, “anyone – even if you don’t know a pixel from a proxy server – can create engaging, animated videos with a professional look and feel.”

Four years after its launch in 2012, PowToon boasts over 10 million users worldwide who have created and shared more than 30 million PowToons. Product development is ongoing; company co-founder and CEO Ilya Spitalnik recently posted PowToon 2016 Year-in-Review: New Features & 2017 Spoilers on the company blog and social media channels. The product enhancements celebrated in this post were, of course, presented in a PowToon video.

Customer feedback plays a significant role in product development. As Ilya states in the blog post cited above, the new Storyboard feature was the result of “many requests from our tribe, asking for help with the storytelling part of creating a Powtoon.”

I reached out to PowToon to find out more about  the role social media plays in their product development. Talia Finn-Jakar, Online Marketing Manager, had this to say:

“In addition to posting questions on our social media assets, we manage a LinkedIn group of professionals where we ask questions and post surveys every so often… We have a page on our website where people can suggest/request features and templates. We send our users surveys and invite them to test out new features we launch. We use our blog posts to encourage users to make suggestions. We have a closed group of VIP members [where] we conduct ongoing interviews and run ideas by them prior to launching or developing them. And we take many other actions to involve our community in our product decisions.”

Heather McCloskey is the Inbound & Content Marketing Manager at UserVoice. In her blog post Customer Powered Product Decisions, she claims that “with insight derived from feedback, product teams can uncover customer pain points to solve, identify the features and functionalities customers care most about, and prioritize their product roadmaps accordingly.”

The page on the PowToon website where customers can suggest/request features is a UserVoice portal. The social nature of the UserVoice interface allows users to submit ideas, or comment and vote on the ideas of others. Requests are monitored by PowToon and tagged with their current status:  studying this, planning it, coming soon, done or another time. This keeps users in the loop with respect to product development and demonstrates a commitment to responding to customer needs/wants.

To teach and inspire users, PowToon houses a library of video tutorials on its website, and routinely publishes blog posts that incorporate examples of PowToons. Videos that have been created internally are shared on the company’s social media channels, including Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. By showcasing videos created by users on those same channels, and inviting new submissions, they effectively engage followers and crowdsource inspiration. In this way, PowToon can expand its repository of ideas across a wide range of topics.

Lessons for Others

Collecting, assessing and acting on feedback is essential for a company to ensure it is meeting customers needs, and working to address needs that are not yet met. Platforms like UserVoice can facilitate this process, and provide a social interface through which customers can interact with each other to influence product development.

Posting questions and surveys on social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn is also an effective way to engage customers in the product development process.

When the output of a company’s product is creative in nature (like PowToon videos), social media channels can be used to showcase customer creations and invite submissions, thereby crowdsourcing inspiration and providing additional resources for users.

Organization: PowToon
Industry: Web-based Software, Animated Video Platform
Name of Organization Contact: Ilya Spitalnik - CEO & Co-Founder; Daniel Zaturansky - CEO & Co-Founder

Authored by: Anna Borenstein

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


PowToon (2012). About Us. Retrieved from https://www.powtoon.com/aboutus/

PowToon (2017). PowToon Blog. Retrieved from https://www.powtoon.com/blog/powtoon-2016-year-in-review/

PowToon (2017). PowToon Facebook page. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/PowToon/

PowToon (2017). PowToon Google+ site. Retrieved from https://plus.google.com/+Powtoon

PowToon (2017). PowToon Twitter feed. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/PowToon

Perez, S. (2012). Now Everyone Can Make Marketing Videos: PowToon Launches DIY Presentation Tool. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2012/06/26/now-everyone-can-make-marketing-videos-powtoon-launches-diy-presentation-tool/

West, A. (2017). Turning Customer Feedback Into Actionable Data, UserVoice Removes the Guesswork for Product Management Teams. Retrieved from http://www.dealcrunch.com/blog/uservoice-drives-product-decisions-through-customer-feedback/