What You Need to Know About Explainer Videos

With so many ways to create and distribute content, it’s clear that the medium that gets your attention and holds it there — even if just briefly — is the desired format of the moment.

Enter explainer videos.

These marketing pieces are exactly what they imply: short video clips that explain the highlights of a product or service through the creative use of graphic elements, engaging scripts, savvy video editing and captivating personalities delivering information. The numbers back up the effectiveness of these videos: Whereas 17 percent of readers are unwilling to wade through a blog post for more than a few seconds, 93 percent of companies report increased understanding of their product or service because of these videos.

Simply put, more consumers are willing to watch a short video to learn more about a topic, which is the appeal of this platform. Explainer videos contribute to revenue growth by 49 percent and a 36 percent reduction in support tickets filed by confused customers. This is a win-win for your company. Your customers enjoy the visual representation of your brand, and they receive instruction on how to use your offerings properly.

Explainer videos combine storytelling and visual elements to engage the reader in a way that traditional content often cannot. These videos immediately convey the value of the product or service to entice the viewer to want to know more.

Types of Explainer Videos

Explainer videos can be broken down by type, depending on the desired goals. Some educate while others answer common questions about a product or service. Learning more about the various types of explainer videos ensures that your chosen format reaps the greatest reward for your company.

Instructional: Instructional explainer videos show viewers how to properly use the product or service. These videos are used as a supplement to written information provided to the customer. Instructional explainer videos are ideal for products or services that may not be self-explanatory, or those that require assembly prior to use. They can also be used to show viewers multiple ways to use a product, increasing its value to the customer.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions and answers are often provided in list format on the company website. However, given the fickle nature of consumers, the odds of them wading through a long block of content is minimal. An explainer video featuring company experts is not only much more interesting, but also allows visual demonstrations to serve as answers.

Testimonials: When a brand is building credibility for a product or service, testimonials are among the most trusted sources. It is not enough to simply provide a name and quote on the company website. Customers are more likely to trust the brand if they can view real customers giving testimonials about how or why the company’s product or service has worked for them.

Explainer Video Components

Depending on the goal of the explainer video, certain components may be used to reinforce its structure. For instance, more sophisticated and complex videos may include actors, a script and innovative graphics to make the result look as polished as a TV advertisement. Small brands may use simpler graphics to create an engaging, down-to-earth explainer video. The look of the video should match that of the brand. Mom-and-pop operations should not create explainer videos that look more like something representing a large corporation.

Consider some of the basic components of the explainer video format:

  • Graphics: This is the main aspect of the video and may include photos, clip art, motion graphics, videography and more. Chosen graphics should be appropriate for the product demographic and should accurately reflect the product or service. Be sure to include brand components (such as color schemes, logos, etc.) in every aspect of the video.
  • Script: Depending on the structure of the video, a script can hit main talking points and give pertinent details on the product or service. The script should focus on the customer, offering information necessary to truly benefit from the product or service.
  • Voice: If you opt for a voice-over, choose a voice that matches your brand’s style. For instance, if yours is a whimsical product, a serious voice with a terse tone is a clear mismatch.
  • Captions/subtitles: Most consumers watch explainer videos on their phones or computers, initially with the sound down. Plan for this by including captions or subtitles in the video to ensure that viewers still receive the information. If the video is engaging enough, the combination of graphics and subtitles may pique the viewer’s interest enough to learn more.

Explainer Video Tips

Remember that explainer videos are essential to your marketing toolkit. As such, always keep the customer in mind when creating content. Use hard marketing data to determine how these videos might be of optimal use to your audience. For instance, if consumers frequently complain about the difficulty in putting together a product, or if reviews reflect confusion about how a product or service works, use that information to drive the creation of explainer videos. This addresses an obvious need within the customer demographic.

Consider a few additional tips:

  • Keep it light: The purpose of the video is to entertain, educate or demonstrate. No matter what the goal is, keep it light. Voices should be friendly, graphics should be bright and cheerful, and the video should be educational — but not boring. Even if it’s instructional, it still needs to engage the viewer.
  • Home in on the needs of the audience: If yours is a particularly complicated product, use a series of explainer videos to offer implicit directions. Focus on how to put the product together, ways that it can be used and how it can improve the customer’s life.
  • Don’t sell: Don’t use an explainer video as a sales pitch. There are plenty of other mediums to suit sales directives. While this video type has marketing components, the sell is a soft one. It is about showing the customer your commitment to their satisfaction and thus cementing the relationship between them — as consumers — and your brand. An explainer video is not the place for a hard sell; doing so will likely result in reduced views.
  • Think through the video in detail: No matter how complicated or simple the language and graphics in your video, it is still important to consider every detail before you create the video. Think about the look, the information and the message the video sends. Once you’ve compiled it, watch it several times and take notes on areas for improvement. The more effort you put into your explainer video, the better the results will be.
  • Be innovative: Originality and creativity score points with consumers when it comes to explainer videos. Don’t riff off what others in your industry may be doing and focus on your audience and your product or service. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and create an approach that is uniquely yours.
  • Work with a professional company: Explainer videos can be complicated, so it’s best to work with a company that not only understands the nature of these videos, but also knows how to design them for maximum benefit to your company. While there are do-it-yourself templates available, working with a professional company guarantees that the video looks good, performs well and meets your stated goals.

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