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Should I make an explainer video or a product video? Or just both?

Let’s start with a short confession. I’m a words girl (hence the blog). I like reading. And it was only a couple of years ago, watching every single person on my train carriage viewing videos on their smartphones (thank you 5G), that I was finally sold on video.  

Standing out

If you’re a similarly late adopter, welcome to the 21st century – and don’t worry. With the right support, you’ll be a video marketing master in no time. 

A key decision you’ll face is what type of video to make, especially as – unless you’re very lucky – your marketing budget will be limited. 

Let’s focus on two of the most important video types: explainer videos and product videos.

What’s the difference between explainer videos and product videos?

Product videos essentially show people what your product looks like in action. The emphasis is on the word show. Rather than telling someone you have a great product that will change their lives, you let them see for yourself. Videos are a great creative tool for customers to witness the quality solution you have for them. If your product is physical, then this often involves someone holding it in their hand or otherwise interacting with it. It can usually be done by video companies with animation, music, sound effects, motion graphics- all these possible features make a good explainer video for product service.

Here’s a type of explainer video from Dyson (12 million views and counting), for its V11 cordless vacuum cleaner. It shows off the design and engineering – a key part of Dyson’s brand proposition – but crucially also that it works. You can see the Dyson cleaning dusty carpets and crumbs off hard floors, even effortlessly manoeuvering past a toddler and a dog to get beneath a sofa. The coup de grace is the easy storage at the end, no tangled cables in sight:

Product demo videos can also work very effectively if what you sell isn’t physical. In this video from workplace productivity app Slack, you see the interface at work – the video doubles up as a product video for potential customers and a mini-tutorial for people who have already bought it:

Explainer videos are less about the detail and more about communicating what your business or its products do for your target audience. Sometimes that’s straightforward – if you sell deodorant, there isn’t really much to explain. However, it can give you room to showcase the unique brand elements of your product or service.

Other times, particularly with B2B products and services, you need to give people a little hand to understand what you do and how you can help them. It gives you the opportunity to explain what resources and software you use alongside your company process and features.

This is where animated explainer videos can come to life. Here’s another video from Rightmove, this time an explainer that focuses on what a company can offer its audience:

Made by Wooshii

Explainer videos are often though not always animated videos, and tend to have more of an entertainment element than product videos, as you can see in this offering from Sonos:

Made by Wooshii

How do I pick which one to use? What makes a good explainer video?

It all comes back to what you’re trying to achieve with your explainer video.

Explainer videos are more effective early in the marketing funnel – they explain what you do to people who either haven’t heard of you at all, or who don’t know much about you yet. 

The idea is to build awareness and also to nurture potential customers.

Product videos are more effective further down the marketing funnel – they are for people who are actively considering a purchase, who want to know more about the product. 

In analogue terms, an explainer video is like a billboard with models showing off your new designer jacket, while a product video is more like going to the shop to try one on.

When deciding which to prioritise, you, therefore need to understand which part of the funnel needs more attention. If you’re struggling with awareness, go for an explainer; if you’re struggling to convert, go for a product demo video.

They are hardly mutually exclusive of course – if you can deploy the power of video at both stages of the funnel, then that can hardly be a bad thing, and with the right video production company, they don’t have to be expensive.

3 top tips for doing explainer videos 

  1. Be clear. You don’t have long to get your message across, so get it right and get it central. This is what you do. This is the problem you solve. This is why you’re different.
  2. Tell a story. For someone to stick around long enough to receive your message, you need to keep it entertaining, which means using narrative, intrigue and emotion.
  3. Keep it brief. Your viewers may be new to you, so don’t expect to hold their attention for 10 minutes first time around. Aim for 90 seconds or ideally less, depending on the channel.

3 tips for doing product videos

  1. Plan the video carefully. You’ve likely got a lot of key selling points to cram in, which means each shot should deliver on at least one, possibly more.
  2. Make it relatable. Seeing ‘someone like me’ using the product makes it much easier to visualise using it myself.
  3. Make it exciting. The ultimate product videos are sharable, because they get people enthusiastic. You may not be Apple launching the latest iPhone, but there’s no point playing yourself down. 

Wooshii is an innovative video production company with the capacity to create video anywhere in the world, in any format, using a talent network of over 16,000 plus experts. Wooshii works with world-leading organisations across multiple industry sectors to enable consistent and reliable video production at scale, supporting a wide variety of internal and external marketing and communication functions. 

Need help devising your video strategy or perhaps want to discuss your productions needs, give Wooshii a call today.

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