I love explainer videos. I guess that makes me kind of a geek. But I get excited about videos that tell a story, stick with the viewer, showcase the what’s-in-it-for-me factor, and (if you’re really good) make people laugh. That’s a lot to accomplish in a quick, one-to-two-minute soundbite. A good explainer video is art with purpose.
Here are a few from this year that stood out to me—ones that took me on a journey, made the benefit really obvious, and stayed with me after. In no particular order, because it’s my list and I do what I want.
Stampsy by TwistedPoly & Co. I’ve been noticing a lot of animated explainer videos lately look the same—they all have the same cuddly graphics. This video’s art direction is a step (okay, quite a few steps) above, with absolutely gorgeous art direction. On top of that, it explains the concept neatly and cleanly, and it’s obviously very well suited to appeal to its target audience: visual thinkers.
Celery by Vireo Films. This made a big splash on TechCrunch, and it made me laugh out loud! (It also made me want to try talking like I’m in a Kickstarter video all day just to mess with people. Maybe we can start a Talk Like a Kickstarter Pitchperson day. Maybe it’ll take off. Like Talk Like a Pirate Day. [Okay, I’ll stop]).
Onlife Member Portal by Identity Visuals. I have to give this one props, because did you notice how long it was? One minute, three seconds. A lot of explainer videos aim for the one-minute mark and miss, but this one makes that time deadline—while packing a lot of information in. With the slick visuals and efficient script, it manages to make things understandable too. It does the job it’s supposed to do very well.
Triggermail by Yum Yum Videos. There’s a ninja in this one. A FEMALE ninja. It’s cute and funny and made me actually want to try Triggermail, female cartoon badasses aside. Some of those features look seriously useful—who doesn’t want a frequency-capping feature for their email campaigns?—and the fact that I remembered that a day or two after watching the video says a lot for how they pulled this off.
BYOB Lumberjack Party by Motion Authors. Okay, go watch this. Seriously, it will only take forty-two seconds of your life. It’s funny and really, really simple. Great storytelling with no dialogue and a simple format that makes the 42-second length seem positively leisurely. And it clearly shows the need for the software.
So what makes a good explainer video? The bottom line is that the best videos get you what you want, whether that’s sign-ups, qualified leads, traffic, or buyers. They’re more likely to do that, of course, if they:
1. Show the software’s benefits in a simple, easy-to-digest way.
2. Are funny or innovative or creative, or stand out from the crowd in some way.
3. Tell a story that clearly highlights the software.
4. Don’t ask much from the viewer. They’re short and simple.
5. Are SEO-optimized and widely promoted.
6. Have ninjas. (Okay, I made that one up.)
What were your favorite explainer videos this year? And why did you love them?