The Psychology: The Definitive Guide to Corporate Explainer Video

There’s a term we use here at Switch Video called Brain Science. Brain Science is essentially the psychology of audio and visuals working together in a single message. Our research has found that on average there is a 75% increase of understanding and application of the material when both auditory and visual senses are stimulated compared to just auditory. This means that the most effective way to get your message across is through video. Simply put, our brains are hardwired to respond to video messages. Three things to keep in mind:

Simple Stories Sell – Our working memory can only handle so much information at one time. Overwhelming people with too many details leads to confusion, and confusing presentations are quickly forgotten. That’s one reason why simple, concise explanations work better at getting your message across. The brain can only focus on and retain bite-sized bits of information throughout the viewing process.

Memories Matter – While the brain’s working memory is rather limited, prior knowledge and stored memories influence a viewer’s ability to understand content presented in your video. Explainer videos rely on metaphors to build on a viewer’s past experience and knowledge. Relating products and services to things consumers already know goes a long way in building understanding and confidence in your company.

Video and Sound Create a Winning Team – Audio and video deliver a one-two punch that creates a lasting impression on the human brain. Research shows that, on average, people experience 75% greater understanding of the information delivered when using a combination of sight and sound. Studies also show that people retain 58% more information when both auditory and visual senses are stimulated.


The brain science of explainer videos

When stimulating only the auditory sense, on average people understand and can apply


of the material presented vs



when both auditory and visual senses are engaged


The Psychology

Case Study #1: Rypple (now (formally Rypple before being aquired by wanted a video that would improve conversion rates on their website and engage visitors in a unique way. Rypple placed the video on their home and landing pages, and tested it against a control page and another landing page containing a live action testimonial from Facebook. Not only did Switch Video’s landing page perform better, increasing conversions by 20%, but it also lowered the customer acquisition cost and generated leads that were more engaged and ready to use the product.



The Rypple video produced by Switch Video recorded a play rate of 30%, which is a 78% increase from the average play-rate for online videos. Not only so, but 56% of viewers traditionally watch half of an average two-minute video and only 40% of viewers watch the video through to completion. The Rypple video performed much better. 75% of viewers watched half of the video (an increase of 34%), and 50% watched the video through to completion (an increase of 25%).






Jesse Goldman, VP of Customer Success at Rypple, had this to say about their video: “The video does a great job at explaining the problem Rypple solves, more than you can do in a small number of words on the page.” And right he was because 1.8 million words is the equivalent of one minute of video, according to James McQuivey of Forrester.




Case study #2: Dropbox (produced by Common Craft)


Consumers who watch product videos are


more likely to buy products, compared to those who do not watch product videos



Source: TMG; We Capture

In 5 years, Dropbox went from 0 to 100 Million users, all thanks to savvy marketing and an explainer video on their homepage. Dropbox’s simple homepage design focused 100% of their visitors’ attention on the explainer video.

There weren’t any other links or messages that got in the way. The explainer video led to a 10% increase in conversions, and with 100 million users, that’s 10 million extra customers from using an explainer video. With $4.80 of revenue per customer (based on estimates from 2011), that’s an extra $48,000,000 in revenue per year.


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