All The Stuff Your Competitors Know About Explainer Videos

All The Stuff  Your Competitors Know About Explainer Videos

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Explainer videos. What are they, what do they do and why your business needs one.

Explainer Videos get their name from the word ‘explanation’!

An explanandum (a Latin term) is a phenomenon that needs to be explained and its explanans is the explanation of that phenomenon!

The irony!  The explanation for the world explanation is so complicated!! I mean … really???

I prefer to think of it this way. An explanation is a way to communicate ideas meaningfully.   Creating a really great explanation involves transforming facts into a more understandable collection of ideas and concepts.

Explanations help to clarify why something (a law, an idea, a process, a product, or service for example) makes sense, so making it easier for peeps like you and me, to understand.

Explanations enable people to “see an idea from a personal perspective”, so allowing them to make educated decisions about whether they want to invest their time, money, or energy to learn more about the idea.

With improved internet speeds, the rise of video powerful video hosting platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), and the reducing costs of video production, online videos are everywhere.  Businesses understand their appeal and the infrastructure is there to satisfy the demand for motion content.  And so Explainer Video have become part and parcel of business branding for millions of business worldwide.


So what are Explainer Videos?


These are short (usually less than 2 minutes), imaginative, and to the point videos that can be used to communicate a business, a product, a service, an idea or a value proposition quickly and effectively.

Explainer Videos can use real people, places, and objects, or 2D/3D animations, or a mixture of all of these to communicate and engage with a potential audience.

It’s also quite common to use animated characters to tell  a story that will create emotional bonds, trust and empathy with your viewers.


How Should Explainer Videos Be Used to Gain Most Benefit for Your Effort?


Using Explainer Videos as part of your overall marketing solution will enable you to communicate information, feelings, and emotion to your audience, by using motion, images and sound.

Explainer Videos should be included on your website, on video hosting sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), and within your Social Media Network; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

To give a good return on your investment, you should have a video channel set up on YouTube (or other video hosting sites), with video and channel branding which is consistent with your overall online brand; your website and all social media channels.

You need to ensure that your videos are properly annotated, and include video sitemaps. This will ensure that your videos are properly indexed on Google, YouTube and more easily found by your potential viewers when performing searches.

To be effective, Explainer Videos need to have a well thought out script and proper animation. If using animated characters, they do not necessarily need to be complex to be effective. In fact, Lee Lefever of Common Craft uses animated characters with no facial features in many of their animations. This removes the emotional distraction created by our brains interpreting the emotion on a characters face.

So, some considerable thought and creative imagination needs to go into your explanation and the proper format and structure of your video for it to effectively communicate your message and create engagement with your audience.


An Example Startup Business Explainer Video Script Outline


According to Neil Patel, co-founder of CrazyEgg, a good Explainer Video script for a startup company should contain the following elements:

An introduction to your company & an overview of the problem you solve
Why the problem is valid for the industry
Specific example of the problem
Show off your features and how they solve the problem
Give the call to action
Answer any objections & state your guarantees
Use client proof to seal the deal


Why you should be using Explainer Videos in Your Marketing Mix


Some Very Relevant Statistics

According to a recent survey by Shutterstock / Comscore, when users perform online search they are significantly more likely to click a video link rather than a text link.

Digital Video also tends to be most often watched on mobile devices, when the viewer is in their own home, or on their own leisure time. So, your viewer is relaxed and has more time to take in your message.

60% of all Internet data is now made up of video content.

Of the 190 million videos watched, one sixth were watched on mobile devices. 36% of those 190 million videos were ads, some being forced views to get access to otherwise free content!

So, video ads have also become a popular and acceptable medium for viewer business/product/service information gathering, and entertainment.

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, online advertising revenue/spend has been above $11bn for three consecutive quarters in 2013/2014.

Of this figure, mobile advertising makes up $5.3bn, a 76% growth on 2013 figures (PWC/IAB 2014);

Digital Video makes up $1.5bn, a 13% growth over the same period in 2013.

The proportion of consumers watching TV or movies on tablets on a weekly basis has grown from 17% to 26%.

Many companies are adding videos to their home pages as a means of increasing user stickiness and engagement. It has been shown experimentally that users spend more time (up to 88% more) on websites that include video content.

This can also help search engine rankings, as search engine algorithms also take duration of user time spent on webpages as a measure of relevant and quality content.

Explainer Videos can lead to a higher sales conversion rates; online retailer reported that visitors were 144% more likely to purchase after seeing a product video than those who did not.

Including video in emails greatly increases the probability of reader click through CTR:

A GetResponse Study showed that video Emails Increase Click-through Rates by 96%
Wistia showed a 300% increase in click through rate compared to emails not including video
Hubspot – normal CTR 2.4%, with video CTR of 16.4%, 583% higher than average

According to Kissmetrics, video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search results listings, and viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video.

All videos enable you to connect with potential customers in ways that you cannot do with e-mail, phone calls, or white papers.

For sales professionals this is especially important, as it takes time to build customer rapport and trust.

Explainer Videos can help introduce your company, staff and products/services before you make direct contact with prospects. As the customer has contacted you after seeing your videos, this cuts down/out most of the initial effort required to get a customer familiar with your business, brand, team and products, and increase the prospect of a successful relationship going forward.


Impact of Effective Explainer Videos on Sales


Higher Conversion Rates and Reduced Returns with Video
Recent research has shown that shoppers who chose to view product specific videos were 85% to 174% more likely to make a purchase than viewers who didn’t, and that pre-purchase video viewing reduced returns by up to 25%. [Sources: Retail Touchpoints, Internet Retailer,]

Reduce Your Bounce Rate
When making buying decisions, 60% of consumers will spend between 2 and three minutes watching Videos that educate them about a product that they are considering purchasing.

Video Gives Higher Search Rankings
Video results appear in about 70% of the top 100 listings.

Increases Sales
Retail site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.

Encourages Use of QR and Barcodes
The most popular use for mobile action codes, such as QR and bar codes, is linking to mobile video: 40% of codes link to video content, including product demos.

Establish Credibility and Trust with Your Customer before Selling 
57 % of purchase decisions are made prior to ever talking to a sales rep.


What Kind of Explainer Videos Work Best?


According to one recent analysis by, YouTube videos under 2 minutes in length get almost 50% of all views. This is an ideal duration for short Explainer Videos.

A recent study, “Types of Brand Videos Consumers Want to Watch” (Source Levels Beyond August 2014) found that viewers were primarily looking for the following kinds of videos online:

How-to, instructional or tutorial videos 67%
Comedy or spoof videos 42%
Product/information videos 34%
Micro-documentaries telling the story of a person or event 33%
Animations/infographic videos 30%

From the point of view of Explainer Videos it is interesting how many viewers are interested in animation/infographics, product/information videos, How-to and micro-documentaries. All of which allow ample scope to create interesting videos with business objectives in mind, especially product, branding, support videos.

The reason we don’t emphasise comedy, or spoof videos, is that it is easy to offend people with comedy, and it takes either a naturally funny presenter, or team to pull them off effectively.

However, younger viewers do prefer humour, and, if you have the imagination and resources then this can work very well to show your brand in a light-hearted and different way than the fact-heavy manner of a the usual how-to video, or product showcase video.

So, keeping in mind the above insights, small to medium businesses should be able to effectively use low budget, short, Explainer Videos to help boost marketing with the following*:

Promotional: Showcases your products and services
Testimonial: Highlights your talents by showing clients raving about work you’ve done
Thought Leadership: Presents new or useful information relevant to your industry
How-To: Informs prospects on how they can use your product or service
Product Information: Explains new features, benefits, solutions, troubleshooting
Entertainment: Shows your brand’s human side; leverage viral videos, contests

The first five of these video types would be standard items that any business should be able to make use of to help promote their business, products, or services. They fit into the ‘normal’ range of things that good businesses do in their usual marketing efforts, but transformed into a new medium that allows more creativity, expression, engagement and dynamism in their communication.

A recent STRATA survey* found that viewers are more inclined to watch online video ads if they’re entertaining (43%), targeted to their interests (31%) and educational or informative (30%). Younger viewers (18 – 29 year olds) prefer humour, whereas older viewers find the informative side of an ad more appealing. *[Source: marketing Charts, STRATA]

Further evidence for the use of Explainer type videos comes from Advance Auto Parts, a car parts retailer, which tried placing how-to and instructional videos on its website and Facebook pages. They found that ‘visitors who watch video stay on the site twice as long and visit twice as many pages versus those who don’t see video. Sharing their videos on Facebook further enhanced their online reach.

So, it seems all of the facts and figures point towards video (and explainer videos) having a positive effect on customer engagement, brand enhancement and sales! The reality is, if you’re not using an explainer video yet, get one fast!

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I'm a digital product creator who has been successfully creating innovative products for over a decade. I love to travel, eat good food, travel some more ... and eat more good food. When I'm not travelling and eating, I'm happily working on creating digital products to help marketers sell more online.