Are Explainer Videos Still Effective?

Posted on by Viswa Dandu.

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Nowadays it seems like you’re not “cool” unless you have an explainer video. But are people still watching them? Are conversion rates better than effective copywriting? Here are some reasons we discuss why you should go for an explainer video in this digital era. So are Explainer Videos Still Effective? Let’s see if they still are…

Explainer videos are very effective at doing exactly what you expect them to do, explain and educate. This format of video is still relevant, effective and important for companies and products that are new, innovative or unknown.

Explainer videos aim to answers the 3 main questions for the viewer:

  • What is your product/service?
  • Why is it important to me the viewer?
  • What action do you want me to take?

That said, I believe video, as with every form of marketing, should be based on marketing objectives and influenced by where your product fits in the technology adoption lifecycle.  What do I mean by this…

Marketing Objective.  The way I like to look at things, all marketing can be broken down into 3 simplified objectives: Build Awareness, educate and/or persuade.  Explainer videos are good for building awareness and educating viewers.

Take your examples of Dropbox and AirBnB.  These are companies that accelerated their growth through awareness and education using an explainer video as a central component to their campaign.  In the beginning, both Dropbox and AirBNB knew their products were innovative and relatively unknown.  They were pioneers in not only the product, but the product category.  Therefore, they used educational video to explain their products/services to prospects so each could make an informed decision on the ask.

Product position in the Innovation Adoption Lifecycle: If you follow the Roger’s ideas of adoption lifecycle, there are stages where explainer videos are more suited.  I believe explainer videos fit best when targeting early adopters and the first bit of the upswing into early majority.  A period where concise education about your innovative product/service is necessary to prime the pump and accelerate growth until momentum and mass adoption take over.

Again in the case of Dropbox and AirBnB, both of these products would be considered somewhere within the majority phase now, where direct education is no longer necessary.  This is not to say that everyone knows about Dropbox and AirBnB. However, each company believe their target audience is likely well enough informed that an explainer videos is no longer the most relevant use the home page.  They have reached critical mass and these particular cases they are the market leaders.

Another great example of a company adjusting their marketing tactics based on adoption lifecycle is Shopify.  Shopify’s example illustrates how you should segment your markets and not lump all users together.  Shopify appears to adjusts their tactics based on geographic region and how each region is progressing in adoption.

However, now that the brand and product have progressed on the adoption cycle so has their approach to video.  However, not all markets have progressed at the same rate. Take a look at how based on whether you are in USA vs. UK a different home page is presented. Shopify (A billion $ company) has adjusted their homepage tactics based on regionally and believes the UK market still requires an explainer video.

Does that mean video is not necessary after my product has reach mass adoption?

No, this is not to say that past the upswing of early Majority video is not necessary or needed.  It’s simply the objective and format of video needed changes.  This is when you get into creating the vision video (why you do what you do), on-boarding/support videos, testimonial/story videos and persuasive online ads.

Oh and as for your follow up questions: 

Are people still watching them? Yes.
Are conversion rates better than effective Copy? Yes

Thanks for reading.

Source: Quora Discussion