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What is an Explainer Video?

by CHAD KOSKIE, on Sep 18, 2014 9:32:00 AM


How creating an explainer video can set you apart and boost your conversions like never before.

The marketplace is more crowded than ever. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You’ve read the articles and seen the data -- you know video can help you cut through the noise. But where to begin?

To get ahead of the pack, consider using an explainer video. Consumers on the web increasingly prefer to watch rather than read, and video can relate features of your product or service much more clearly than any other type of content.

But what makes for an effective explainer video?

In this post, we'll cover everything there is to know about explainer videos. They're fun to make, jumpstart your conversion rates, and are great overall marketing and sales assets.

Let's get started!

What is the purpose of an explainer video?

An explainer video is exactly what it sounds like: a video that explains your value proposition in simple terms; like an elevator pitch on video. Explainer videos are highly-produced and are designed to facilitate conversions (form opt-ins, phone calls, purchases, etc.).

But explainer videos are not designed to sell products all by themselves. Their primary purpose is to generate interest by providing a simple highlight-level overview of your product or service.

By featuring employees or customers in your video, the trust factor is raised significantly. It’s much easier for prospective customers to relate to you via video. Oprah’s empire wasn’t built through text.

How are explainer videos typically used?

The primary purpose of an explainer video is to live on your website’s home page and/or landing pages where people who’ve never been introduced to your brand have an opportunity to get the highlights quickly without reading or scanning.

A study by eyeviewdigital.com shows that using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%. This is because effective videos increase the length of time people stay on your page, giving your brand message longer to sink in.

In some cases, explainer videos can be used as YouTube “TrueView” pre-roll ads to spread awareness about your product. This is how Dollar Shave Club used its explainer video.

Explainer videos are also excellent assets for email marketing and sales. Simply send a thumbnail link in your emails to prospects to generate interest early in the sales process.

Video Length

Explainer videos should last no longer than 2.5 minutes, but research shows that the best performing videos last 90 seconds or less. As we all know, attention spans online are low and getting lower, so brevity is increasingly important.

A good rule of thumb is to limit your script to around 150 words. While that may seem short, this length ensures there is time for animations and consistent delivery, both of which help improve audience retention and recall.


Scripting is by far the most important part of any explainer video. Above all, you want to be conversational and accessible. Overuse of jargon, buzzwords, adjectives, adverbs and too many multi-syllabic words creates stumbling blocks for viewers. Avoid using them whenever possible, unless needed for emphasis.

As with other marketing tactics, clarity trumps persuasion.

If you think there’s a simpler way to explain an idea, you’re probably right. Work to find it. Your video will have much more “punch” and be much more effective.

Hosting Your Explainer Video

Because this video is designed to convert, appearances and user experience matter greatly. For that reason, consider hosting your video on Wistia, a third-party video hosting provider.

YouTube and Vimeo, while free, are not the best hosting platform for videos of this type. Just a few of the reasons include:

-Branded YouTube videos will outrank your website, sending valuable search traffic away from the place you are most likely to convert them…your website. With less than 1% of viewers clicking through to websites from YouTube, you will lose 99% of your potential buyers by hosting on YouTube.

-YouTube video players load slowly because they rely on YouTube’s servers, rather than your host’s CDN servers. Because of the massive amount of traffic YouTube gets, your videos will slow down your page load speeds dramatically, resulting in unnecessarily high bounce rates and lower conversion rates. Plus, site speed is increasingly tied to SEO performance.


In the past, video marketing was the province of big business and took the form of television commercials. But as the web continues to make nearly everything more accessible, every business should harness the power of video to explain what makes their product or service unique.

With an effective, concise explainer video, you will be able to get out in front of your competitors and show, rather than tell, your customers what sets you apart.

Have questions about explainer videos? Ask us in the comments below or schedule a free consultation.


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