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5 Dimensions of Rockstar B2B Explainer Videos

An explainer video is one of the most high-yield investments that a B2B company can make. As Andrew Angus points out in this blog post for Unbounce, videos have helped companies like Dropbox and increase conversion rates by up to 20% — generating thousands of additional user sign-ups per day.  Crazy Egg, for instance, was able to generate an incremental monthly revenue of $21,000 from a video produced by Demo Duck.

The numbers make sense. According to a 2012 website usability study, the average user attention span was 8 seconds — down from 12 seconds in 2000. To put this metric in perspective, goldfish have an average attention span of about 9 seconds. That’s right — technophiles are tougher to entertain than goldfish.

Online audiences have learned to process extensive amounts of information in very little time. We’ve had no choice but to adapt — in 2011, 27 million pieces of content were shared each day. Today, that number is likely to be much higher.

It’s an understatement to say that people are bombarded with information. Their eyes are tired, and they’re limited on time. They don’t have time to sift through pages and pages of promotional materials about your brand. They’d much rather see the information distilled into its most important components. That’s where explainer videos come in.

If you’re committing the time, energy, and resources to creating an explainer video for your company, you need to strive for awesome. People don’t want to waste their precious 8-second brain breaks on halfhearted excuses for entertainment. It’s the following 5 qualities that will help your brand’s explainer videos stand out:

1. A Strategic Mindset

If B2B explainer videos work so well, why doesn’t every company have one? Because they’re expensive and time-consuming to produce. Because companies have trouble finding the right videographer or vendor. Because companies are afraid to make such a big commitment.

These concerns are perfectly valid. A successful explainer video doesn’t happen on accident. As much as we hear about viral marketing campaigns from companies like Dollar Shave Club, the fact is that Hollywood success stories are few and far between. It’s easy to pour your heart, soul, and budget into something that will just fall flat on its face. Your company needs to have clear — and realistic — expectations for results.

That’s why explainer videos need the same consideration as any other marketing investment. Think in terms of formulas — not emotions. Before spending your first dollar, you need to understand your goals and ROI. If you’re able to boost conversion rates by 5%, for instance, what will be the corresponding boost in sales?

The answer to that question will help you navigate step 1 — an understanding of how much your marketing team can afford to spend.

Now comes the fun part — refining your creative vision.

2. A Clear Value Proposition

“What’s in it for me?”

That’s the question that underscores B2B marketing.

Business owners, department leaders, and other stakeholders are looking for ‘shining light’ solutions to some of their biggest pain points. They’re well aware that time is money, and they’re sick of spending time sifting through solutions that don’t address their needs immediately.

It’s this line of thinking that inspired Crazy Egg’s demo video. In just two minutes, the explainer video:

A. Speaks to the audience’s pain point

B. Explains why Crazy Egg is the best solution to that pain point

C. Articulates how easy it is to get started with the Crazy Egg product

No fluff. No BS. Within 5 seconds, you’ll learn what CrazyEgg is, why it’s important, and why it will help your company boost its business.

3. A Script-First Mindset

A streamlined script is key to a successful explainer video. Your script is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

In many cases, it can be helpful to seek help from an outsider. Work with someone who can look at your company with a fresh lens and explain what you do in a way that any audience can understand.

Demo Duck, for instance, works with clients to fill out a creative brief.


Once you wrap up your brainstorming process, you’re ready to start writing.

Visuals will be important, but they’re secondary to your messaging. There are plenty of effective videos (like the following example from Eventbrite) that use simple images to communicate a strong, compelling message.

4. A Professional Voice

A great explainer video will engage your audience on an emotional level. Choosing the right voice is mission-critical to this process. You don’t want somebody raspy, mumbly, creepy, or awkward. You want someone who can enunciate, speak like a true professional, and fully captivate an audience. This is someone who you could imagine listening to on the radio or on a podcast.

Choose somebody who sounds like a natural born storyteller — captivating, engaging, and energizing.

Remember, however, that a great voice is only half the equation. Your video also needs a high-quality recording, which requires a studio (or at least a nice mic and a quiet, echo-free room).

Whatever you do, don’t sound like you’re working out of your parents’ basement. On a subconscious level, poor sound quality will be an instant deterrent to your brand’s professional reputation.

5. A Commitment to Constant Refinement

Your explainer video is never done. A/B testing should be a part of your process. Tools like Visual Website OptimizerUnbounce, and Optimizely can help you set-up ongoing tests and give you reporting tools to analyze your data.

You can create a video with different sets of audio and visual files, or you can make adjustments as new ideas come up. Using software like Wistia, you can constantly monitor your video engagement metrics to help you figure out how to maximize your conversion rates.

Just as your products and services change, so will your marketing. Treat your explainer videos like a living, breathing part of your brand’s identity. Don’t be afraid to make small adjustments to try new ideas, angles, and approaches to your marketing.

Final Thoughts: Have Fun!

Showcase your brand’s fun side. Videos can help highlight your company as one that is equal parts personable and hard working. On both sides of the computer screen, there are real people. Your video is a great opportunity to build a true connection and audience rapport.

Photo Credit: Alexey Lysenko/Shutterstock; Dragon Images/Shutterstock; Ivelin Radkov/Shutterstock

Written by Ritika Puri
Ritika Puri is a perpetual researcher and relentless optimist.