When a company is preparing to launch a highly technical service or product, one of the most reliable ways to demonstrate that product’s usefulness or to mitigate customer confusion is to release an explainer video along with the product. Your new product’s marketing site would be a natural fit for this type of content, showing its benefits right next to a call-to-action button. But think of the potential, or even existing, customers who will not land on your website and view your explainer video.
So while your website may be a natural home for this type of video content, that should really be the bare minimum. An explainer video, one that can simplify complex information and demonstrate the effectiveness of your product, can find the right audiences beyond your website, and sometimes even offline altogether.
As mentioned, the obvious channel for this type of video is your service’s website. But in today’s digital ecosystem, a video embedded on your website can easily be distributed through other channels, such as email and social media. In fact, a study from 2019 showed that 58% of customers visit a company’s social media channels before even visiting its website.
This means that if you’ve got a great explainer video on your website and only on your website, you could be missing out on those customers who seek to vet your brand on social media first. And, sometimes, a well-produced explainer video that is specifically designed for social media may find “viral” success.
If you work in the science and technology industries, you may be thinking that your product or service is too technical to reach a wide audience, but that is exactly why explainer videos exist. Consider this video from IBM Watson. Using basic shapes and animation, a highly complex AI system can be broken down into simple, digestible concepts. With over 200,000 views, this “viral video” surely found its audience.
And if six minutes feels too long for social media, consider breaking a longer video, such as the one above, into smaller chunks to see which ones get the most traction.
When we talk about marketing and video, we have to mention one of the original channels, which is commercial television. As the lines between airwaves and the Internet are increasingly blurred for consumers, so are the expectations of the type of content to expect on either channel. If you watch TV shows on Hulu, for example, you may be served interactive ads that could very well live on YouTube.
But even ads that come over the air may have the look and feel of a made-for-social-media video. Consider commercials for over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription drugs. Live-action video of actors is often cut with animations that explain, in very simplified terms, how the medicine works and what it can do for you. Even if you don’t know what each active ingredient does, you might have an idea of whether or not you want to purchase it. In that sense, television commercials can also be explainer videos.
One often-overlooked application of explainer videos is as a replacement for slideshows and PowerPoint decks. Think of the last time you were at an industry conference or convention. Chances are, you sat in on some talks from industry peers and potential customers. In larger halls where someone in the back of the room might not be able to see the speaker, a compelling presentation deck becomes even more important.
High end motion graphics accompanying a sales pitch can also help the speaker. If you’re only allotted a certain amount of time, and you want to make sure you get to every point of your presentation, an animated video — which could use 2D and or 3D animation — will keep you on schedule, and keep your audience engaged.
Another hallmark of the industry conference is the vendor hall. While some vendors rely on smiles and candy to attract potential buyers, a well-produced promo video running on a loop is an even stronger sales tool.
This setting also provides an opportunity for a more interactive video experience. As people wander through the hall, looking for something to catch their attention, watching someone else interacting with your video could certainly pique their interest. Here, your explainer video could make use of a touch screen, rely on self-paced exploration to advance the narrative, or incorporate the users themselves into your product’s story.
As you look ahead to your next product launch or think about the common issues your users may have with understanding your services, consider that an explainer video can do a lot of heavy lifting in a wide variety of contexts. And when you pair the goal of your video with the needs and expectations of your customers in these different settings, you also may find that the embedded website video is just the beginning.