By Brandon Houston on July 25, 2016

So what does your business do?

Plenty of business owners dread this question for one simple reason: Usually the answer is “well, it’s hard to explain.”

The logistics of explaining something like a software company that designs web interfaces for people designing software in a different language are challenging. That’s why explainer videos are a huge asset. They are the easiest way to get to the essence of a business.

Here is how you explain a business in 60 seconds or less:

The Basics

Explainer videos are counterintuitive in many ways. Instead of a forty-page mission statement, it is a script three paragraphs long. Instead of fancy and complex imagery to dazzle the viewer, it’s animations that look like they were drawn on a notepad. Yet companies have seen that by using a 60-second video instead of a lengthy presentation, they can effectively illustrate concepts it had taken them years to try to explain. The reason explainer videos are so effective is that they turn to brain chemistry to demonstrate their concepts.

When it comes to explaining something complex, like the inner-workings of a company, simpler is actually best. Explainer videos help viewers retain information better by keeping the story simple, connecting with prior knowledge, and stimulating the audio and visual senses simultaneously. These just happen to be the three ways that the brain best absorbs information.

Old tricks are the best tricks

The best way to convey a lot of information quickly is to pair images with narration, but keeping the images simple is important. It is tempting create complicated animations for explainer videos, but brain chemistry demonstrates that doesn’t work. Complex images may look interesting, but if they aren’t done correctly, they actually overload the working memory with unnecessary information, which distracts the viewer from the overall message.

The best visuals for explainer videos are simple but engaging, and they effectively engage the viewer by finding a balance between working memory and long-term memory. In essence, good visuals help the viewer retain new information by being engaging without distracting.

What’s the point?

There is a reason explainer videos are a minute long; it’s because almost no one will watch a five-minute video about a business, and the people who do watch it will probably not retain most of the information. If a viewer sees something and doesn’t understand it, they won’t watch it again, which is why effectively conveying information quickly and clearly is so important.

To solve the problem of actually explaining something effectively in a minute, explainer videos rely on metaphors to convey information. For example, calling a business network messaging service “Instant Messenger for your office” is an explanation that takes less than ten seconds. It is also effective – even if people do not use instant messenger themselves, they have certainly heard of it. By relying on something that viewers already understand to explain a new product, explainer videos save time and actually increase the likelihood that the viewer will retain the new information.

The best of both worlds

Video is a good tool for telling stories because it stimulates audio and visual senses simultaneously, so it is more likely the viewer will retain more information. One of the most effective ways of doing that is by creating personal connections in the story that the viewer can relate to.

Video and Audio are a perfect match for convey a lot of informationVideo and audio combine to help viewers retain information.

An explainer video has two primary goals: to explain the product but perhaps most importantly to create a personal connection between the viewer and the story that the video is telling. By stimulating audio and visual senses simultaneously and using metaphors that are familiar and universal, explainer videos invite the viewer to access long-term memory.

This helps the viewer retain information longer, but it also helps them connect with the company. If they associate a business with their own past, they are more likely to retain information about it and reach out to the company later.

Ten seconds left…

Explainer videos confuse some businesses at first because the actual return on investment is hard to quantify. While they do explain what a company does, they rarely include facts about the company. That is because the goal of the explainer video is not to get the viewer ready for jeopardy. The goal is to get to get the viewer to forge an emotional and personal connection with the service or company.

What companies eventually understand is that by getting a viewer invested in the story of the company, the viewer will literally start to invest in the company. According to comScore, visitors to retail sites who viewed videos stayed an average of two minutes longer, and Rypple, a business interface, saw a 20 percent increase in conversion rate after introducing an explainer video.

Explainer videos provide numerous advantages. All it takes is 60 seconds.

 

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