Maximize Marketing with Explainer Videos

2014-07-21-1You’ve probably seen explainer videos before. They’re those cool, entertaining, videos you see on YouTube that explain how to do some complex task – the content creators make it all look so easy. But, maybe you’re not that talented yourself. You could never create something that fantastic, or could you? Believe it or not, the reasons behind why these simple videos work so well are also simple in and of themselves.

Explainer Videos Use Motion

Our brains are hard-wired to detect motion.

If you’ll notice, most of the successful explainer videos are an exercise in delivering a message in motion. Some videos do this by using a whiteboard to draw a story. Other videos use cardboard or paper cutouts. Still other videos involve the use of live demonstrations. Regardless of the type of video, motion is the constant common denominator.

So, use motion in your videos. Explain who you are, what you do, and why anyone should care about doing business with your company. And, you should be able to explain exactly what you do, who you are, and why it matters within the span of about 2 minutes. Any longer than that and you start losing people.

Good Explainer Videos Evoke or Provoke an Emotion

A good explainer video can evoke or provoke an emotion out of people. Usually, this is done through storytelling. Don’t underestimate the power of storytelling. It’s one of the best ways to draw people into your company’s value proposition on an emotional level. Check out’s video. It’s pretty cool, but it’s also engaging. Now, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to create something of that caliber without some professional help. But, what you want is a professional video, in this context.

Of course, if you can’t afford a professional-quality video, that’s OK too. You can keep it low-tech and still create a stunning emotionally-driven story. Here’s how to do that: whip out a whiteboard and start drawing. You don’t have to be very good at sketching. What you have to be is passionate. If all you can draw are stick figures, that’s OK. Lots of explainer videos out there use stick figures, a voice-over, and compelling music and are winners.

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If you’re going the DIY route, make sure you’re gaining maximum exposure by uploading it to more than one social site. For example, you might upload it to YouTube and Vimeo, but don’t stop there. Take the raw video file and run it through a program like YTD video converter to convert the video to a format that can be downloaded directly from your website.

This triple-pronged approach will generally work much better than just uploading it to one site. Of course, if you hire a professional marketing agency, they’re probably going to do all of this for you.

Live Action and Animation

Live action and animation is another way to kick up your explainer video. This video, an ad for Airbnb, integrates live action and animation. Notice how the focus never shifts away from the girl. The scenes change, animation is added in post-production, and it really adds to the video by adding a visual animation component to what would otherwise just be a series of cut-scenes.

Demo Your Products

One of the best ways to use videos is to create demonstrations of your products. This is particularly effective if your products are complex and difficult to explain using just words.

If you demo your products using a video on your website, you can clearly and quickly show people what they do, how they work, and how customers can get the most from them. This can help to educate your customers and make them more familiar with your products. It could even inspire them to make a decision in the moment, which could lead to a boost in conversions.

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Share on Social Media

Social media has become a mandatory marketing activity for many businesses, and one way to get more from it and stand out from your competitors is through creating videos and sharing them with your network.

Video is perfect for social media. People want short, quick fixes, and a funny, interesting video could be just what they are looking for. Try to create videos that are no more than a few minutes in length and relate to your business in some way. These could consist of how-to videos, testimonials from customers, or just something creative and humorous.

If you have success sharing a video via Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform, you could find that it goes viral, and then you could have a real hit on your hands and drive a significant amount of traffic back to your social media account and website.

They Are A Call To Action

The most successful videos are really covert calls to action. Even though the video is primarily for education, you have to do or say something at the end of the video – this is the call to action. Some channels, like Veritasium, use annotations (i.e. buttons) at the end of the video that people can click on.

Other people just say something like “if you like this video, click below to subscribe” right in the video. Whatever you do, make sure you encourage people to watch more of your stuff.

Remember to guide your users to respect IP when using downloaded video content.

About the Author:

Marine McAllister enjoys her career in marketing. After years on the job and with the growing influence of the internet, she greatly enjoys blogging about the tips and tricks for making the web work for your business.

Image Source: Cloudfront

  • Sharon B

    Thank you Marine for the great read ! We are a quick films agency ; and creating fun explainer videos is one of our pet peeves :) Do check us out at