3 Big Mistakes to Avoid in Explainer Videos

When done right, an animated explainer video can help explain your product or service, drive engagement with viewers and increase conversion rates 20%.
But when done improperly, they can end up confusing your viewer and costing you money.
In this post we’ll walk you through the three most common mistakes we see people make with explainer videos. And we'll give you practical pointers to avoid making them.

no 1: focused on features instead of benefits

In 2015 the average attention span was 8.25 seconds. You have 8.25 seconds to grab your viewers' attention and compel them to watch the rest of your video. You won’t do that by talking about yourself. You need to talk about them
We understand; you love your product and all of its shiny parts. You want to share it with the people whom you know could benefit from it’s amazing features. But instead of explaining the why, you get hung up on explaining the what.
You have between 150 and 300 words (roughly 1-2 minutes) to get your Why across. A good rule of thumb is for every 1 word you write about your product, write 3 about the benefit it delivers to customers (this is a good tip for interviews, too).  
If your target video length is 2:00 then you should limit your What to 75 words and your Why to 225. And if the ratio is 50/250, that’s fine too. Just don’t let is skew lower than 1:4. 

MediaBoss 5 Point Animation Checklist

no. 2: No call to action

You’ve just invested in a video. Your team has worked diligently to boil your message down to 150-300 words; you worked with your production partner to get the video’s look just right. But have you clearly communicated the action you want your viewers to take after watching your amazing video?
If the answer is ’no' then you should stop everything right now and... 
Ask yourself this question:
  •  What is the one - and only one - action you want your viewer to take after watching your video?
If you’re not sure then reference the goal of producing this video. (If you hadn't documented a clear goal for you video, consider downloading our 5-Point Checklist at the end of this blog.)
Was it to increase awareness? Increase demo registrations? Webinar registrations? 
Now, go back to the script and tell your viewers to take that action. 
Don’t leave this to chance - even if you think that action is obvious (it’s a video about your webinar series. Of course you want them to sign up for it!).  Include a link to a landing page where they can complete the action you want them to take. 
The easier you make it for your viewers, the higher return on investment you’ll see for you video.

Step 3: too many topics in 1 video

What’s worse than not having a Call to Action? Having too many calls to action - for more than one buyer persona. That’s exactly what happens when you try to make one video do the work of two or three or four. 
We’ve had clients tell us they want to get the most out their video and that’s why they’ve included all the information anyone could need about their product or service. But including all the information will have the exact opposite effect for these reasons:
  • The video will be too long (remember, you only have 8.25 seconds to get their attention!).
  • The video isn't target for a specific buyer persona.
  • You’ll confuse your viewer about next steps. 
Each of these points will lower your conversion rate - and your ROI.
When you try to cram too many topics into one video you confuse your viewers. You're not being clear about whom the video targets. 
Think about your buyer personas. Target one buyer persona and speak directly to them in your video. Only cover the points you and your team have identified as important to this persona. 
Now, chose one action you'd like them to make after watching the video. Don't give choices.
"Sign up for a demo or register for this webinar or give our sales team a call!” 
Choices lead to indecision and indecision leads inaction.


We hope you found these three tips helpful. Animated explainer videos are a fun - and effective - way to educate and engage your audience when done properly. 
In summary:
  • Explainer videos should focus on the benefits your target audience will reap from your product or service
  • It should have a clear Call to Action
  • It should clearly communicate just one topic for one buyer persona. Then, it should clearly communicate the one - and only one - action you want your targeted viewer to take after watching the video.
We hope you found these tips helpful! If you're looking for additional, practical help to plan an explainer video, then please download our 5-Point Animated Explainer Checklist:
This checklist will guide you through the 5 planning stages of producing an animated explainer.
It includes suggested questions to ask yourself and your team to ensure you produce the most effective video for your business or brand. 
Additional Resources:


Erin Hayes

Erin's a producer, writer and content lover. She's worked with MediaBoss since 2008. In 2010, she quit her marketing and freelance writing jobs and came on to lead MediaBoss full-time.


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