Explainer Videos: What are they? Why do you need one?

A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.
— James McQuivey Ph.D., Forrester Research Principal Analyst

You have probably already seen at least one Explainer Video, even if you did not realise it at the time. Organisations use them to explain everything from new products, to how-to-guides for difficult tasks, to complex concepts like Brexit.  

An Explainer Video is a short attention grabbing, engaging and information rich video. They tend to combine crisp and clear scripts with engaging visuals to leave a long-lasting impression. Explainer Videos as we know them today have been around since about 2007, but why have they become so popular?  Well, video is increasingly the channel of choice for engaging customers or the public.  The fact that YouTube has just overtaken Facebook as the second most popular site shows how important video is.  At Cognitive, we have been making Explainer Videos for 10 years and we know their power.  For example, we were recently commissioned by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development to make the Explainer Video at the top of the page. To date on Facebook, the video has had 115,000 views and has been shared 2,300 thousand times.

So why do you NEED one? Videos and multimedia articles are among the most thoroughly consumed content, while blogs rank among the most skimmed (HubSpot). In a world where our attention is so in demand, you have about four seconds to engage someone (Forbes, 2018). Explainer videos are great at doing this. A combination of engaging visuals and clear language allow you to deliver complex messages that stay with viewers.

Research shows visual content is 40X more likely to be shared on social media than other content types (Buffer, 2014).  But it is not just chasing views.  Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users (Aberdeen, 2015). DropBox launched an explainer video in 2009 resulting in 10 million new users and $50 million in revenue. Explainer videos allow organisations to achieve spectacular results.  Our own explainer films series RSA Animates, produced here at Cognitive on behalf of the RSA, has received 90 million views. Dan Pink's RSA Animate alone (see below) was seen over 17 million times. 

Explainer videos are a critical tool in any communications professional's armoury. In the next blog we will look at the different types of Explainer Videos and where they work best. 

If you would like to find out how we can help you with your Explainer Video please get in touch.