5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Your Next Explainer Video

Posted by | February 26, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

While much has been written on the importance of having a good explainer (check out
“The Rise of the Explainer Video”), there are still plenty of common misconceptions about
how to get there.

Here are five common and costly mistakes to avoid when planning your next explainer video:

1) Not Specifically Defining What You Want Your Video to Accomplish

Explainer videos are most effective when they are focused on moving a key performance metricor achieving a specific goal. Too often companies attempt to use one video to cover everything about their company, product or service, and fall short on all accounts.

Therefore, it’s important to first ask the question, “What do I want viewers of this video to do after they finish watching it?”

  • Looking to increase conversion rates on a specific product or service?
    Narrow your focus to the 3 key points that set it apart and clearly define what they will get when they hit the sign up or purchase button.
  • Want more qualified leads?
    Make sure your video is upfront about key features or pricing points that separate a qualified lead from an unqualified one.
  • Want visitors to spend more time understanding your complex offering?
    Focus the video on defining who your product is for and what problem it solves for them so that they understand that it’s worth spending more time diving deeper into your feature details.

2) Making Your Video Too Long

“The average 30-second video was viewed 85% of the way through, while the average 2-minute video was viewed on average 50% of the way through. That is a very fast viewership drop-off.”  –Source: Wistia.com


This means that even if your 3 minute video ends with the greatest closer in history, most viewers will never hear it. Here are some rules of thumb when it comes to video length:

  • Keep it under 90 seconds unless you are doing a live-action, story-oriented profile video.
  • Make your biggest points first when the most people will hear them.
  • Narrow the focus of your content so you can spend more time explaining one point well rather than rushing through too many.

3) Not Connecting Your Video To a Clear Call-to-Action

Once you’ve defined what action you want your viewers to take after watching your explainer video, it’s important to integrate that message into your video in the form of a clear call to action. If you want them to “Sign up for a Free Trial” ask them to. If you want them to explore your product further, encourage them to.

However, if you don’t have a corresponding Call-to-Action button right next to your video then you are leaving results on the table. For example:

  • Sign Up for a Free Trial (Ask them to take action)
  • Learn More (Educate your visitor)
  • Contact Us (Encourage them to get in touch with your company)

This example from SurfEasy has a well defined Call-to-Action “Buy Now” for the audience to click through following their explainer video, and the video is clearly located on the top of the homepage of their website.

screen shot 2013-01-30 at 11.57.34 am


4) Trying to make a “Viral Video” with Dry or Conservative Content

Giving visitors a concise overview of the top features of your new technology platform can give your conversion rates a huge boost. But it’s probably not going to go viral. On the other hand, if you have an exciting, consumer-facing product and are willing to be BOLD, then trying to craft a video that will be passed around and drive more customers to your site might be the way to go.

Increasing conversion rates and driving new traffic are both excellent goals, however they are very rarely accomplished with the same video.



5) Viewing Your Video as an Expense Rather than an Investment

If you regard your need for an explainer video as simply table stakes – “Sure, everyone’s doing it now” – you’re already missing the point of what video can do for you.
For example:

  • 46% of consumers say they are more likely to seek out information about a product or service after watching an online video about it.
  • 70.8% of internet users (+7.1% from 2011) have watched online video in 2012.

Approaching your video as an investment rather than an expense is the first step in creating a focused, goal-oriented video that will drive tangible results.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.