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Why Explainer Videos Increase Conversion Rates by 20%

If it’s good enough for Tom Cruise (as I shed a tear at his dramatic fall from any level of respect) it’s good enough for you. (Image source)

When it comes to internet marketing, there are a lot of standard tools used to increase conversion rates.

The best marketers know how important a beautiful website is to give people the best first impression of your business or blog. They also know how important excellent copy and headline writing are for sharing clear and compelling messaging. And last but not least, they know how important testimonials are for boosting credibility.

All of these work together to increase conversion rates and sell more products and services.

But are these the only tools that companies can use to increase conversion rates? Or is there an even more powerful option that can be considered?

Introducing the Secret Conversion Weapon – The Explainer Video

Unbeknownst to many, there’s a conversion tactic that many businesses are starting to use to increase conversion rates. It’s known as an explainer video.

Explainer videos are short videos that tell a company’s story. They can be claymation, hand drawn, or digital drawings, but no matter what, they provide businesses with a way to clearly and effectively convey their value proposition.

Rypple, recently changed to work.com, a social performance management platform owned by Salesforce, recently added an explainer video to their homepage and increased conversion rates by 20%. Approximately 30% of the page visitors watch the video and approximately 50% of those viewers watch the video in its entirety.

Dropbox is another startup that has taken advantage of the effectiveness of explainer videos by limiting their homepage to a single video. This video increased conversion rates over 10%, and with the video being viewed 750,000 times in one month alone, the 10% increase resulted in several thousand extra sign ups per day.

Here’s the explainer video that Dropbox used to increase conversions.

As you can see, explainer videos are great for conversions, but why?

Why Explainer Videos are so Effective

Sorry, you lost my attention. What did you say?

According to a study about web use, the average attention span in 2012 is 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Apparently, technology is affecting us so much that we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, which have a 9 second attention span.

But more importantly, for marketers, it shows that businesses have only 8 seconds to capture attention with their landing pages. Not only do you need to make sure your hosting is fast enough so you don’t waste those 8 seconds with load times, but you also need content that engages people and engages them quickly.

This is where explainer videos come in.

Not only are they great at getting customers to learn more about your business, but they’re also great at keeping attention. With the right script, you can maintain attention every 8 seconds which is approximately every 20 words. The average explainer video is watched on average for about 2.7 minutes, compared with 28% of website text shown to be read on average.

Other benefits of explainer videos include:

Visual and verbal learning

A recent study of 221 undergraduate students showed that 105 were visual learners, 105 were bimodal (meaning no preference), and only 11 were verbal. Explainer videos take advantage of this by offering visual and verbal cues for learning. This appeals to all three groups. It’s also been shown that people retain over 50% more information through the use of visual and verbal learning cues.

Clear presentation

Explainer videos are one of the best ways to clearly convey your business’s value proposition. Persuasive copy is good, but the combination of speech, text and graphics help to communicate even more clearly. Jesse Goldman, VP of Customer Success at Rypple has this to say about explainer videos: “I hear from many people at top companies that say a video communicates a clear story that they can easily relate to. This probably also explains why overall engagement with the app is higher.”

Forced simplification

Explainer videos force you to compress your product offering into 60 to 120 seconds and 150 to 300 words. This exercise requires businesses to find the best way to clearly and quickly convey the benefit of their product or service. Video scripts limit the number of words, requiring more to be said with less text.

Greater shareability

Not only are videos more likely to be consumed entirely with more information retained, they’re also more likely to entertain and impress. Interesting and humorous videos are one of the most shareable types of online content, making explainer videos more likely to be shared with family and friends.

Wrap up

Explainer videos are a great way to connect with customers, clearly convey your business’s value proposition and capture attention. Other companies that are using these types of videos to increase conversion rates include the following: Google, Crazy Egg and Inbenta and many more.

If your business is looking to increase conversion rates, an explainer video may be exactly the secret weapon you need.

— Andrew Angus

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About Andrew Angus
Andrew Angus is the founder and CEO of Switch Video, a North American company that produces simple explanatory videos that help clients clearly explain what they do and engage with their prospects. Angus, a well respected leader in the explainer video industry, spearheads the movement to integrate brain science and web metrics into the production of animated explainer videos.
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  2. Boris Mann

    That Dropbox video was made by my friends at Common Craft. And they’ve got a book on explanation coming out! http://artofexplanation.com/

  3. Kuree

    I just ordered the book!

  4. Peep Laja

    Where is the 2.7 minutes coming from? Source?

    I’ve used explainer videos plenty of times myself, and haven’t found any magic in it yet. On avg only 10% of new visitors watch it. It’s often better to have a static visual with some messaging instead, as most people see that.

    Brian Massey just found that more engaging videos actually convert less http://searchengineland.com/can-you-really-increase-conversions-by-decreasing-engagement-136670

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  10. Curt

    Oy, this post needs an explainer video. Just kidding. Actually this was some great info. Videos like whiteboard animation videos tend to keep my interest, but there are plenty of videos that don’t.

    I think marketers should take a lesson from YouTube video makers. Every time I watch a YouTube video I end up spending an hour or two cycling through other videos I see in the sidebar. Those 3-5 minute videos definitely keep my interest.

    Marketers need to be creative when making explainer videos. You can’t expect to have people watch your whole video if it’s just you in front of a camera talking.

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  16. Hamza

    Recently read a blog post on conversion rate experts in which they mentioned how an explainer video on seomoz home page improved conversions by 64%. This is an open secret that visual content is more appealing to most of the people. I think in 2013 more businesses will take advantage of expaliner video for improving their conversions. Thanks for this great article

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  23. Me

    The consumer currently makes the decisionjust what it prefers for entertainment, not the major studios and distributors. When you add to that distribution on the internet, headlines websites online, from gossip to entire videos. It is just a completely new environment. A lot of it very good, some not.

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  33. Johan Hedin

    Great article. It also depends on how you deliver the whiteboard explainer video as the drop off rate can be quite bad if the script, voice over and the illustrations are not engaging enough to keep watching. However that is marketing psychology so that part is also necessary in order to deliver successful whiteboard videos.