What Is An Explainer Video?

Whether you call them demo videos, explainer videos, how it works or an introduction video, it seems like every business has one on their landing page these days. There is a good reason for that. Video is a great way to capture your audience’s attention. 

What makes an explainer video different from a commercial or short documentary? Explainer videos aren’t longer internet commercials and the value of them isn’t like that of a commercial. A commercial is there to help build brand awareness and get people interested or excited about your service or product. A commercial often has very little story, although some of the better ones do offer a glimpse of a story rather than just sexy product shots. An explainer video isn’t about sexy product shots, it’s goal is to help tell a company’s story in an interesting or fun way. Explainer videos are short… but usually longer than your average commercial; typically they are between 45 - 120 seconds. These videos can be live action, animation, claymation, or even whiteboard drawings; but no matter what they provide businesses with a clear and effective message showing their value to the audience. 

An explainer video can be turned into a commercial later by changing some of the messaging and reusing some of the previous work done. We did this with our video for BodyShopBids. By taking the original 100 second explainer video, we moved around a few of the pieces and tweaked the animation slightly to put together a 30 second commercial that aired here in Chicago.   

Not all explainer videos have to be for customers, often they are made to be shown to investors or businesses. Typically most of us see the B2C or Business To Customer video on YouTube and businesses landing pages. But there are a lot of videos that get produced that are only seen by a small group of people. Still no matter who the target audience is, an explainer video is one of the best ways to get your business’s value across and still keep everyone’s attention. 

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Client: Script Relief, LLC
Production Company: LooseKeys
Illustration: Brad Chmielewski
Animation: Brad Chmielewski
Sound Design: Maeve Price
Voice Over: John Merriam

Shortlist is the event app that lets you “network without the work.”

With Shortlist, attendees use connections on social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to maximize their time and opportunity at events.

So what are you waiting for?

Get on Shortlist, and start “networking without the work.”

Client: Shortlist
Producer: Jason Goodrich
Production Company: LooseKeys
Creative Director: Brad Chmielewski
Copywriter: Jason Goodrich & Brad Chmielewski
Illustration: Mike Petrik
Animation: Brad Chmielewski & Mike Petrik
Sound Design: Maeve Price
Voice Over: Heather Capri

Online advertising is expensive. The cost and competition of bringing targeted prospects to the business’ website are significant and increasing rapidly. Therefore it is essential to try and convert every website visitor into a contact, and eventually into a customer. That is where ApexChat comes in. We help improve the conversion of valuable advertising clicks into leads via Live Chat, thereby giving the advertiser a better return on advertising dollar.

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Client: ApexChat
Producer: Ashhad Syed
Production Company: LooseKeys
Design: Brad Chmielewski
Animation: Jake WilliamsBrad Chmielewski
Sound Design: Maeve Price
Voice Over: Amy Simpson

MMI Auction - Buy or Sell CNC Machine Tools

Machinery Marketing International is changing the way you buy and sell new and used manual or CNC machine tools such as lathes, machining centers (HMC and VMC), borers, mills, grinders, or presses. Sell through our convention online store website or through our online auction website.

Client: MMI Auction
Producer: Paul Golec
Production Company: LooseKeys
Design & Animation: Brad Chmielewski
Sound Design: Maeve Price
Voice Over: Max            

Finding the right piece of music amongst the vast quantities of music scattered throughout the Internet is inefficient and suboptimal. TuneSpring™ consolidates multiple music buyers and sellers into one easily navigable system that is intuitively organized for the buyers’ thought process.

Client: TuneSpring™
Designer: Brad Chmielewski
Animators: Brad Chmielewski, Erick Rohn & Kristin Callahan

FreebeePay - Where Savings Find You

This is a really well crafted explainer video for Craftsman’s SCREW*D project. Kudos to the team behind it. 

Quality Matters

How something looks is often the first opportunity we have to assess anything. You wouldn’t order an ugly looking cake or buy an unattractive dress for your wedding. You know that the quality matters to you and your guests. So why wouldn’t the same hold true when you’re looking to have a video made for your service? Something that looks bad or creepy may in fact be dangerous and people tend to avoid that. If you really didn’t care about how your video looked then just hire some first year college kid off of craigslist. But can you really afford people not using your service because of the way your video looked? Sure not every video needs a fancy animation, or a handful of jokes to be effective but viewers do need to be able to follow what your showing them. Especially when you’re using screenshots of your service which can be hard to read in web resolutions. You need crisp editing, with close-ups where appropriate, and good quality audio. Most importantly, the words need to be written specifically for your video. You might have some marketing materials that explain the service in all it’s detail but those often sound awkward when read aloud. Looking for someone to help you achieve a quality look and message is important for your brand. A sub-par production that lacks clarity and attention to detail can reflect poorly on your service and drive away users. Make sure you look at a companies past work and make sure you pick a company that knows how to help you achieve the goals you want with the video.

Prioritize Your Message

When creating a demo video one of the biggest mistakes a company can make is by trying to say too much with their video. They are are so excited about their product that they want to make sure it describes everything it can do and list all the benefits. The problem is this approach doesn’t always work, you should think of your video as more of a commercial or a quick pitch video. Even better yet, what would you tell your mom about the product? You don’t want anyone who is watching your video to think to themselves, when is this video going to get to the point. One of most important reasons to prioritize the messages and keep things short is that the dropoff in viewership is at around the 90 second mark. As I’ve pointed out before, people have pretty short attention spans. If they don’t like what they see they are going to move on. Avoid showing the walk through of every button on the site also you might want to do that when you know your interface will most likely change. Then you’re just going to have to revisit the video and spend more money in the future to make small changes to your video. Why describe every feature if users can figure it out on their own? Just give them enough to get them to sign up.

If at anytime you are worried about your new video, show it so someone in your target market who has never heard of your product before and ask them to summarize what your company or service does after they see the video. If they get it, the video will probably treat you well.

Why Explainer Videos Work!

Here’s the sad truth, people are pretty lazy. They would rather watch a quick bit-sized video introducing them to your product or service then reading multiple pages explaining what it is and how it works. That’s boring… Heck we should have created a video explaining this blog post rather then writing it down. It’s likely few more people watching this then reading it. Because it’s in those few moments when someone first visits your site that you need to hook them. The average time someone spends on most web pages is under 60 seconds. In those 60 seconds, your site needs to grab their attention to sign up or at least want to learn more. If your site doesn’t get their attention they are going to go back to Google and find something else that works for them. Having something upfront that excites the user like a good, well produced video is like having a great elevator pitch ready at a moments notice. Motion graphics artists and video editors have known this for years. They don’t show case hours and hours of the work they have done and make someone watch it. Instead they make a short show reel highlighting what it is they can offer. Just like with a demo video, users are able to watch and get a quick demo of what you’re offering without having to sign up. They get to see it in action and see how people actually use it. If they really like and understand what your offering they are going sign up. They might even tell thier friends about it by sharing it on Facebook or Twitter. A video allows new users to be exposed to the product without me having to spend time selling them on what it was. But don’t just take our word for it, why not get your own video created and see the added benefits yourself.