Explainer Video 101: Telling an Engaging Story

Explainer videos are meant to explain things. I know this sounds like we're being Captain Obvious at Storyboard Media Group, but we often find people are confused by what exactly this type of video can do for them in real life.

Being that we have just wrapped a new explainer video up for a client, we thought it'd be nice to share the How Tos, Whats and Whys of how to do explainer videos right.


So to be clear, what exactly IS an explainer video?

Explainer videos can be ultra short or if you take a storytelling approach, a little longer than normal product videos. Their intent is not to actively sell the customer or audience, but rather to tap into the 'Why Should I Care?'  and 'What Does it Mean for Me?' stage of a buyer journey.



How, Where and When To Use Explainer Videos

If you're in marketing or sales, you're probably familiar with the three essential stages of the buying process - Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Explainer videos are often an essential part of the lead gen toolkit as they help your audience envision the problem that they need to solve. However,  they are also amazing for customer onboarding, engagement and education because explainer videos can easily demonstrate how to get started and how to use a product. 

There is no hard call to action in an explainer video. Its sole purpose is simply to clarify a subject. The target audience is usually made up of people who are interested in learning more about using a service, but are not sure how to approach it. 



Know Your Audience

Conveying information in a smart, concise way is the backbone of a good explainer video. But that doesn't mean it's the only element to think about. For our client, it was important that the video demonstrate the ease of use for their website, what the website can do, and the accessibility of their digital brand. They also wanted to make sure their audience stays engaged in order to hear the whole message of the video. To accomplish those goals it's important to pay attention to some basic things:

  • Mood appropriate music: What feeling are you trying to convey? Excitement? Fun? Heaviness?
  • Engaging opening scenes: Hook your audience with great visuals from the start.
  • Iconography to simplify the story: Sometimes it's easier and quicker to show a picture than narrate 3 or 4 sentences.
  • Narrative content that flows
  • Authenticity - actors and visuals that resonate with the audience
  • Motion graphics and animation: Keep things interesting by mixing live action, animation, on-screen text and more.


Be Where The Eyeballs Are

It goes without saying that it's critical that all videos are primed and optimized for social media efforts. Because storytelling explainer videos typically run a little longer, it's always a good idea to create a shorter version that can fit more appropriately into the channels where you will ultimately want to market it. The attention span on instagram or twitter won't allow you to take 4 minutes to walk through a scenario. Expand the options for how the video can be viewed and immediately expand your audience.

For our client, we actually created 5 separate versions of the video you see here. It's a great way to get more return on investment for your video content. The idea is to break up your main video into smaller chunks you can use as teasers, social media nuggets, a series of instructions, and more.

Each video snippet covered specific points that can be utilized in various digital marketing campaigns. This type of structuring is how we take it to another level—providing specific content for focused marketing efforts, at the right time, in the right format.

Overall, having an explainer video in your lead generation toolkit is a prime way to drive sales. Typically longer than product videos, they can be broken up into snippets covering specific points for sales and marketing purposes. Using a variety of techniques, like engaging opening scenes, iconography, and animation, explainer videos don't focus on a call to action, but rather, they aim to tell a story.

If you still have questions on how we put together explainer videos, or you just want to talk shop, give us a ring.