explainer video

If you don’t have an explainer video on your homepage, you are missing out. The positive impact on everything from SEO to conversion rates has been well-documented. Explainer videos have become an essential marketing tool for any business with an online presence (e.g. everyone).

So, what separates an effective, compelling explainer video from the crowd? Keep reading to learn the six keys to explainer video success.

1. Catch People’s Attention Quickly

The internet age has drastically reduced people’s attention spans. Some studies have shown as much as a 30% drop in the last few years, going from 12 seconds to just 8 seconds.

So, make those first 8 seconds of your video count. Get people hooked so they keep watching past the attention span cliff. It can be done! The average explainer video is watched for 2.7 minutes – that’s practically an eternity in this day and age.

2. Be Yourself…

Having a unique voice and approach will help you stand out. After all, this video is going to be the face of your company for potentially thousands of viewers, so take the time to develop a compelling and memorable persona.

Some great examples of memorable spokespersons include Flo for Progressive Car Insurance, and Isaiah Mustafa, for Old Spice. Love them or hate them, these characters have strong personalities you are almost guaranteed to remember, and keep your interest throughout the spot.

3. But It’s Not About You

Your focus should always be on your target audience. Starting with the planning and through the execution of your video, seek to answer key questions they may have about your company, product, or service.

Answering every possible question isn’t the idea here. Focus on the 2-3 main things people need to know about you and your products or services.

4. Short and Sweet

Given short attention spans, and the narrow focus of your video, your explainer video probably won’t wind up being that long. In fact, it shouldn’t be long at all.

An often cited sweet spot for explainer videos is 45 – 90 seconds. Anything less, and you might be leaving important information out, or just presenting a sales pitch. If you make it any longer, the majority of people aren’t likely to ever see those extra seconds.

Still, quality is king when it comes to video length. We recently touched on the fact that people often watch longer videos than is commonly assumed. If you are investing in an explainer video, clearly presenting all the points you want to in an intelligent and engaging manner is likely to be more effective than subscribing to the “science” behind recommended video lengths. If you can get someone to watch more than 8 seconds, after all, you have their attention and its yours to lose.

5. Delivers Results

Whether your goal is to keep people on the page, grow your email list, or capture leads, your explainer video should be able to help. Define a clear goal for your video, and align your content and call-to-action to reflect your objective.

To measure the success of your video, you will need to be able to track its performance with detailed analytics and granular video engagement metrics. Launch, test, refine, repeat.

6. Get Started

If you’re looking to create a great explainer video, you can hire a studio, or go the DIY route. We’ve written about a couple platforms for making your own animated explainer videos if you are feeling creative. We also have a guide to creating video with just a laptop if you need to keep your production barebones.


Have any questions about explainer videos, or looking to get started? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on Twitter.

Written by Courtney Purchon

Courtney is the Head of Marketing at SproutVideo.

Posted July 21, 2014

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