Three Questions: Explainer videos explained

Jan 29, 2014 Startup Science 0 comments


I started my career as a TV producer back in the day when making a ‘corporate video’ cost tens of thousands of dollars. Today, although all the technology you need to showcase your startup comes free with a phone, it still takes skill to explain a complex product in simple language and compelling pictures, writes JFDI.Asia CEO Hugh Mason.

Explainer videos are like jokes. It’s all about the way you tell ’em. The same product could look utterly confusing or totally unfunny if you don’t get the story right and techniques like animation are beyond most amateurs. So it’s no surprise that many startups contract out production of explainer videos.

The cost has come down by a factor of ten since the time I last picked up a camera: shops like Philippines-based Plainly Simple Studios will make a one-minute video for as little as USD 1,500. But that’s still a big investment for a cash-strapped startup, so I asked Plainly Simple’s Marvin Te to answer three questions to help anyone commissioning an explainer video get what they’re looking for, painlessly.

Q1. Why should a startup use an explainer video?
The short answer is because online video traffic is growing everyday. According to Cisco, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video by 2017. So it’s good to ride on this trend.

But even without the trend, any business should have explainer videos because most people are too lazy to read! They are on the go and don’t have 30 minutes just to know what the product is all about. Average users go to a website, browse to content and click but, oftentimes at the end of the day they still doesn’t get it. Explainer videos are fun, convey humor and attract attention as well as presenting the product in a way that is more understandable.

In 1 – 2 minutes a viewer should get the core of your business before he/she browses the site for more information. And now that information is better absorbed because he/she already gets the core of it. I am not saying we should remove text and just make a website all video: I am saying that videos help the viewer understand the business more
clearly. Some people are visual people and some are auditory and explainer video hits both.

Video also improves SEO when it is accompanied by content. There are no consistent statistics on conversion rates relating to websites that do and don’t use explainer videos because of factors like the product itself and on what channels was the video shared but, as one example, dropbox has improved conversion rates by 5% – 20%.

Q2, How is it that some explainer videos are really effective and others aren’t?
There are a lot of factors.

The first is quality: video can improve your brand or can put it down. Quality is important because it gives viewers an impression of what you are like as a company. If you’re not serious in getting your video right, then why should they take your products seriously? Good high quality videos give your brand legitimacy. If you don’t have a good quality video viewers might even think you are scammers or won’t deliver well.

Second is the message. While there are a lot of Explainer video companies, freelancers that offer prices as low as USD200 cannot afford to care about the message. So almost all their explainer videos are really hard to understand when the point of an explainer video should be to make it easier for the viewer not harder! It is important for the team creating the video to have sufficient budget to be able to get to understand the product, convince themselves about it and know about its field so that they can convince viewers too.

Third is the channel. The success of explainer videos depends on what channels you share them with. No matter how good the video is, if no one is going to see it, then it won’t be successful.

Finally of course the product itself is important. No matter how good the video is, if the product sucks then video can’t help that! It can only help you explain and reach out to customers. How many people actually buy the product ultimately depends on the product itself.

Q3. What does a startup need to tell an agency like yours to make the process of creating an explainer video painless, effective and fun?
Clear communication is important because a key to creating an effective video is collaboration. The client has needs, deadlines to meet and the process can be painless, convenient, efficient and fun if everyone makes sure they understand each other. In our studio we really have fun in creating our videos and that is important. It is important because it reflects in the videos we make.

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