Why Explainer Video for Marketing Works
Wondering what an explainer video is, who is using them and why?
Need to know what to look for when hiring a company to produce an explainer video for you? Check out this interview we did to find out the answers to these questions and more.
Using Explainer Videos to Market Your Website
Today we are going to be talking about video – in particular animated explainer videos, when you should use them, how you can use them to increase conversion on your website and beyond and how they are an excellent option for getting more people to understand your business, product or general value proposition.
If you own or operate a business then you are probably aware of the impact that explainer videos can have with help building your brand.
There are over 100 million videos viewed online every single day and pages with video on them are more than 50 times more likely to show up on the first page of Google. With numbers like that, videos should be among your ideas when brainstorming what content you are going to be putting out this year.
To better understand explainer videos and how they are used, we have Albert Berry who is the co-founder of Demoflick.com. Demoflick has been building animated videos for over three years now and has hundreds of clients ranging from HP, Nokia and Office Depot to start-ups looking to build excitement around their services.
DemoFlick is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and their team includes creative directors, designers, illustrators, animators and copywriters. Thanks for being here today Albert.
What are explainer videos?
Explainer videos are a very specific style of video. They supplement textual information in an audio and visual format. They work very well in presenting difficult-to-explain services in a fun, engaging, professional and very simple manner… really anybody can get it and understand the value proposition.
The typical explainer video is about 60 to 80 seconds and they work well online, also on television and a lot of our clients now are using them in pre-role advertising specifically for YouTube.
What kind of companies are you seeing using explainer videos?
It really ranges because there are all types of companies. I would say the majority of our clients and companies are in the B2B tech space. We work with a lot of software companies that have a complex value proposition. They want our services to help simplify what they do, so when people go to their websites and watch a quick fun video, they can really get an understanding in a short matter of time.
But we work with alot of apps, software companies and a lot of B2C companies such as credit repair and mortgage companies. We also now have started to build a lot of educational videos. Specifically for hospitals that are showing maybe how heart disease and the risk factors that are involved with heart disease so they can be shared with their patients.
Are explainer videos just for selling?
No. A lot of our clients are actually using them internally as well for training purposes such as “how-to” videos and educational videos. I would still say the majority of our clients are using them as a valuable proposition pitch where they talk about features and benefits of services. This could include how the platform works, the software space and most importantly closes with a clear call-to-action as we are seeing significant increase in conversion rates.
This style of video really does create excitement around our clients’ services, especially in the cases where they kind of have dry or boring type services. The explainer video gives their service an edge which separates them from their competitors. The explainer videos add a little sexiness to their offering. If it’s done correctly and has a little bit of humor the videos are also being shared. The videos are being uploaded to social media and passed around to video viewers’ friends and colleagues; our clients are also implementing explainer videos into press releases for exposure.
Do explainer videos have to be whimsical?
No. We have our clients who want a serious message because they have a more professional target demographic. I would say that the majority of our videos have a professional message with a slight bit of humour mixed in.
These videos work very well when characters are use to tell the story. Whenever you have characters, you can add a little bit of humor without taking away the from the overall message being professional.
Even though explainer videos are sometimes seen as funny, can they have a little professional feel to them?
Yes. At DemoFlick specifically we aim more on the business-professional side of the explainer video spectrum.
Some people create videos with a very very whimsical feel to them… explainer videos that are really cartoony. We have more of a business appeal but we do mix some fun and humour in as well and that’s all about getting engagement. If you add a little humour to video, then it keeps people engage and also wanting to share it with friends and colleagues.
What should a person keep in mind when hiring a company to create an explainer video for them?
Most importantly the illustration. There are really two types of companies, there are companies that go to iStock photos or Shutterstock and just buy vector imagery of characters and add movement to it. Then there are companies like DemoFlick. We illustrate all of the images from scratch based on our client’s services and the brand’s target demographic. Then we design it in a style of video they like best. Custom illustrations work almost 25 times better than videos with stock imagery and they are really tailored around our clients’ specific needs and what they are hoping to accomplish.
Most importantly, you would want to keep in mind the content of the video… if it’s stock or custom. You also want to make sure that the company is good at messaging; messaging is very important when it comes to explainer videos…. the messaging, scripting and the concept. You want ensure that the package includes voice-over, the music, the sound effects and make sure the company is reputable and has some quality references and also a good list of clients.
I would personally recommend to someone interested in producing an explainer video: seek out some of the company’s clients and to talk to them about the process.
How does the DemoFlick process and work and why is it successful for you and your clients?
We have developed and made adjustments to our process to make it more streamlined over the last three years that we’ve been in business. We have a creative brief (the whole production surrounds the creative brief) that we ask our client to fill out.
The brief is somewhat on a basic level but it gives us a very good understanding regarding what the client is look to accomplish with the video. It talks to us about the services, target demographic, styles and videos they like best. For example, the brief might mention a buzzword that the client wants mentioned in the script that they know works with their audience.
Once we have received the creative brief we review it internally as a team and then we start brainstorming different concepts. We present the concepts to the client. We really start collaborating in a specific direction and we share best practices with the client too. And DemoFlick will take as many iterations necessary to the complete the description and storyboard, which is very important.
We don’t have a specific concept or charge for any additional concept; if the client isn’t happy we will make any changes if necessary. After the storyboard is approved, when we do begin the animation, we show intervals as it is being built, which is also important. The client can get an idea of how the video is being shaped and they can make changes at that time and also better know what to expect at each specific interval.
How does doing reviews during the production process cut down the time it takes to create video?
We want to make sure that the client is on board with the design and in the general field of the video presentation because if we were to build an entire 80-second video and the client didn’t like the direction and style/look/feel then we would have to start over from scratch. It allows us to build at 15 or 20 second intervals and really tackle each interval one at a time, rather than build an entire video and go back to start over from scratch.
Why is an explainer video more or less effective than say somebody just doing a vCast of themselves?
As a part of our past, we actually came from that world… video spokespeople where we used actors… unfortunately (CEOs) aren’t as effective as animation is.
Everybody can relate to animation and everybody can relate to characters and that’s why they are so engaging. There are certain benefits to having actual people in video and I specifically recommend them for an About Us section of a website where you are really trying to build trust.
I think as a marketing proposition pitch, you can’t beat animation because everybody can relate to it and it makes it fun and engaging… building excitement around the company’s service.
If you have a company with a representative who is not good at speaking on camera it can be cumbersome. This is another place where animated explainer videos can bridge those gaps.
A lot of people they think they are good in front of a camera and actually they are not. We have a lot of cases where we built characters around maybe a company head. For instance, one of our clients called Hostamania; their mascot is Hulk Hogan so we built a character of Hulk Hogan and actually use his voice over. So we can build a character of a specific person if necessary.
What style of explainer videos are the most successful?
There are different styles of explainer videos. You know, for us as a company we stick to the style we feel that will work best… building by telling a story around characters… and not all of our videos have characters.
When the data comes back, videos with character are working best in terms of engaging and conversion, but there are other types of video. You have videos that are called “whiteboard style” where there is hand-drawn imagery…
When it comes to explainer videos, the majority of our clients… especially our bigger clients, spend a lot of money on testing to see where they are having the most success telling a story around their characters.
Watch the video below to hear the full audio interview.
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Explainer videos are highly effective for retail. Just watch Office Depot’s explainer video for retail to see how it can make a message fun, informative and engaging. The characters are unique, the message is spot on and the music and voiceover complement Office Depot’s brand voice perfectly. In just under 90 seconds Office Depot’s explainer video introduces its exciting new services to viewers in a way that says customers matter.
BAI Learning and Development is a learning management platform that helps companies track the compliance training and progress of their employees. Using an explainer video to simplify the company’s message works particularly well because of the platform’s complex and detailed features and benefits. Rather than using characters, we focused on telling BAI Learning and Development’s story through motion design techniques and animated graphics.
This software explainer video is one part techie and two parts fun. Hip characters, background music with an indie vibe and a fresh, modern approach make this explainer video an excellent way for Alpha Anywhere to speak to its target audience. Part of what makesx this video so successful is the artistic choice to keep the background imagery clean and crisp, and the brand’s message detailed yet simple.
Just because a product or service is techie doesn’t mean the brand’s message has to be. An explainer video is a great way to simplify your message so that your tech product or service is put into language that the masses can understand. Watch this explainer video for tech to see how fun maps, slick characters and a powerful message can help engage viewers and tell a tech brand’s story.
Who says measuring learning outcomes has to be boring? This explainer video for QuestionMark is a great example of how a B2B explainer video can take a normally dry topic flavorful without convoluting the message. The choice to use stick figures keep the characters neutral. Coupling a professional yet modern voice with music that is intentionally fun creates an audio-visual experience that gets the message across while keeping the video lighthearted.
Talking about your own product in a way that outsiders understand is one of the biggest challenges of marketing, especially if you are working against the clock. Once website visitors land on your page you only have a few seconds to catch their attention and that’s our specialty. So when Symform asked us to create an animated explainer video for their website that explains how they pay their customers in bytes, we jumped at the challenge.
"DemoFlick excels in two key areas"
DemoFlick excels in two key areas, first, taking a complex technical concept and reducing it to a memorable visualization that can be easily understood. Second, by creating a series that stays consistent in voice, brand and understanding. Whether its two videos or ten you achieve the desired outcome that also illustrates an important cohesiveness.
"The whole team at DemoFlick was great to work with!
Hewlett Packard: "The whole team at DemoFlick was great to work with! We had some pretty wacky ideas for a new campaign and needed a really catchy video to draw prospects in. DemoFlick worked quickly and professionally to produce, and adjust the video in time for our launch. Very pleased with the whole process, and loved the end result!”
Product Marketing Manager
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