With so many new ideas and fresh content generated every minute on the internet, it is imperative to distinguish your message from everyone else’s. In recent years, explainer videos have become very popular amongst well-established and start-up companies alike.

What is an explainer video?

An explainer video is usually a 1-2 minute video used to introduce a new product or company, and it should answer a few fundamental questions. It explains what problem the product is trying to solve, and why the viewer should want to use this. It is similar to a 30 second elevator pitch, but with visuals, and a more casual, fun vibe. Sometimes, these videos are even distributed before the product is fully formed.  It is used to pique the viewer’s interest, and be informative and clear without taking up too much time. Here‘s an example of an explainer video.

Why use an explainer video?

Explainer videos have several advantages over traditional text explanations and descriptions.

First of all, videos are much more engaging than just text; if a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a minute of video is worth? Due to high speed connections and vast amounts of content, users are not willing to be patient and stay on any one page for a long time. The average user has an attention span of around 8 seconds, if they’re not engaged in those 8 seconds, they will move on to the next site right away.

A well-made explainer video consolidates all of the important details into one place in a minute or two. Using an explainer video may also increase the chance that your product will be covered in other media. Reporters routinely have to sift through endless amounts of material; an explainer video helps you in this regard in three ways.

  • First, the video format will give you an advantage in getting noticed over the other materials sent in.
  • Second, the reporters will want to report on your company because your informative video will make it less work for them.
  • Third, your explainer video will leave very little room for the reporter’s interpretation, so the viewers won’t end up getting the wrong message.

Another important reason for using a video is that a well-made explainer video can increase your conversion rates by around 15 to 50% (1). For example, Work.com, a work performance management company has increased conversion rates by 20% with the introduction of their explainer video (2). Shoeline.com saw a conversion rate increase of over 40% when they started showcasing their products using videos instead of just pictures (3).

It’s also important to note that explainer videos can have effects on in-store sales as well. According to Google, 79% of smartphone owners do research on their phones before making a purchase (4). Best Buy is taking advantage of this trend by putting instructional explainer videos on their website to educate the shopper on various technological goods.

Explainer videos also have a place in non-tech companies. Here is a video used by Virgin America to explain the safety precautions in an airplane. This example shows that the explainer video can be effective in functions other than explaining a company’s core product. Another non-tech example is this video by Red Cross. It encourages people to worry less about buying un-needed Christmas gifts, and donating those resources to a charity like Red Cross instead.

(1) http://transvideo.com/blog/2010/06/why-overview-videos-matter

(2) http://unbounce.com/conversion-rate-optimization/explainer-videos-increase-conversions/

(3) http://www.internetretailer.com/2009/01/15/shoeline-com-s-videos-pay-dividends-on-and-off-its-site

(4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CjUcq_E4I-s#!