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I think that perhaps the biggest issue we face when working with a client to create an explainer video is ‘too much information’. The client will often feel that details are important, and they are important to them, but to the average potential viewer, they’re just boring facts…and the average viewer is often your target demographic. It’s a difficult thing to let go of showing off the little things you worked so hard to get right but if it doesn’t matter to your target audience, it doesn’t belong in the video. An explainer video should highlight what makes your product or service attractive to the viewer, what makes it different and what makes it matter.

If you’re at a concert and you’re seeing a Pixies reunion tour and you look at the merchandise stand, you’re not going to see a sign that says ‘100% cotton, machine washable, iron inside out Pixies tee shirts’. It’ll simply say ‘Tee shirts’…or at most ‘Official Pixies tee shirts’. Why? Because, although they are 100% cotton and machine washable, the fans at the gig couldn’t care less. All they want is a Pixies tee shirt. If you’re telling your viewer about your online gourmet popcorn store, you might briefly mention your background story (if it’s interesting), you’d brag about what makes your popcorn different (maybe it’s the quirky flavours) and you’d make sure to mention the web address but you wouldn’t mention that they come in boxes made from certain kinds of plastic and cardboard, who the courier is that you use when you mail it out, or that the website was custom made by an expensive developer, because no one cares.

Your video can certainly contain more than just the important details and a call to action but if you want people to stick around to watch it all, the extra padding needs to be entertaining and must offer some value. It’s tempting for some clients to try to turn their explainer videos into animated info-graphics, a series of bullet points or a software/website demo because they feel that they must get across as much about the business in those 90 seconds as possible, but that’s not going to appeal to your viewers. You hire us to make an explainer video but in reality, we’re not really making it for you.

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