conversion rates

Explaining Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are rising in popularity because they can boost Google rankings, increase conversion rates, entertain customers and be shared easily, adding some pep to a website or social media platforms.

Explainer videos are rising in popularity because they can boost Google rankings, increase conversion rates, entertain customers and be shared easily, adding some pep to a website or social media platforms.

There’s a new kind of animated and live action video appearing on websites and social media platforms. It’s called an explainer video and judging from the rave reviews this form of visual communication is getting (higher Google rankings; increased browser-to-buyer conversion rates; easy to share), it’s a must-have piece of digital content.

Here’s a snapshot of what this trend is all about and why you might want to consider using it in an upcoming marketing campaign.

The idea behind an explainer video is a quick explanation of what your business does and the problems you solve for your customers.

Explainer videos typically involve either live action video and/or some kind of animation. Examples are a series of whiteboard sketches; 2D and 3D cartoon animation, typography moving around on a screen (called kinetic typography) or  animated cutouts of people and objects. 

Explainer videos run up to two minutes in length and contain some or all of the following elements:

  • Written script highlighting a problem a potential customer faces; the solution the company provides and a call to action
  • Voiceover narration
  • On-screen graphics
  • Music
  • Animation style
  • Subtitles

Prices range from thousands of dollars to free software for the DIY crowd.

What the explainer video offers is an easy way for businesses to add a video element to their websites and social media platforms.

Like every other type of digital shiny object, the danger is relying solely on explainer videos at the expense of creating additional forms of personalized content. Savvy communicators know they need to speak to different audiences and the best way to do that is to develop content that is meaningful and memorable to each target group.

That said, here are two ways to decide which type of explainer video is best for your company:

  • If your goal is to humanize your company, using live action video is preferable to animation. You can use key company executives, employees and customers to communicate your message. Dollar Shave Club produced a hilarious live action video featuring the president of the company.
  • If you have a complicated topic or need to deliver a conceptual message, an animated video is a good way to visualize the subject and walk viewers through your process. Pinterest produced an easy-to-follow animated explainer video.

Explainer videos are the newest way for brands to make themselves seen and heard. And in this increasingly crowded digital landscape, getting noticed is a never-ending challenge. 

About the author:

Holly Paige Photo.jpg

Holly Paige is a story consultant and video content creator based in Portland, Oregon. She uses the power of storytelling to produce videos for businesses and organizations that want to tell their stories and tell them right. Visit: and

Brains Know Good Websites When They See Them

As websites have evolved from electronic brochures to interactive marketing portals, their design has become increasingly important. Research shows the most successful websites help the brains of viewers recognize familiar patterns, which boosts click rates and, ultimately, sales.

In a recent blog, web marketing expert Todd Follansbee says, "The brain doesn't like things that don't fit right. More accurately, it doesn't like things that don't fit the way it expects them to fit." He explains humans have limited short-term memories, but can absorb and retain more information if the brain can place into an established cranial crevice.

A simple example Follansbee cites are visual cues for hyperlinks on a website landing page. If hyperlinks aren't consistent or fit into a recognizable pattern, viewers grow inpatient and exit.

He recommends submitting website designs to a usability test, employing UX guidelines to simplify site features, conform with brain recognition patterns and increase conversion rates.

"The brain's ability to recognize patterns and form mental models also helps us to identify and remember good and bad sites," Follansbee says. "Make sure your visitors' first visit to your site is a good one by ensuring that you meet basic guidelines. They will be more likely to return."

Hannah Smith, CFM's account executive who designs websites (including CFM's website), reinforces Follansbee's point. "When I design a website, I envision it with the perspective of the viewer. The questions I ask are, 'Is the site design clean and uncluttered?' 'Is it easy to navigate?' "Are main features accessible and attractively placed?' 'Does it work in a mobile format?'"

The phrase "I know it when I see it" applies to good websites. Make sure your website design speaks to the brains of your target audience. If you are using an off-the-shelf template, chances are it doesn't. The vast majority flunked the UX scoring test. Maybe it's time for you to bring your website in for a check-up.