As a marketer, you have probably already heard about the advantages of using online video for your company’s communication.
And, chances are, you’ve also been told about explainer videos, and how handy they can be for audiences, who are already seeking videos when they want to understand something, from how to fix a faucet, to the reasons why your business is exactly what they are looking for. So, you already know this type of video is great to include in your content marketing strategy, because it’s clear, engaging, and fun, and maybe you want to produce your own and take advantage of it yourself.
However, which kind of video would that be? Because there are also different types of video, each of which adjust differently to diverse company’s and audience profiles. Just like the explainer video as such, they have proven formulas, which is why they are widely popular. In fact, you probably saw most of them before. Below you will find some of the most common and useful video formats, as well as a few clues on when it’s best to use them.
#1: Whiteboard videos
Back at school, you used to watch your teachers, explaining their subjects, as they wrote or drew things on a blackboard –or whiteboard– to illustrate, reinforce or make their points more clear. This style of explaining has been around in education for two centuries, so it’s pretty safe to say that it works. That’s why eventually graphic designers decided to create animation that resembled it, and marketers decided to use it in explainer videos.
However, establishing the quality of whiteboard videos as marketing tools is not just a matter of history. According to studies, this type of video gets remembered more than other types, because its mechanics happen to be more adequate for human attention. This makes them especially useful when it comes to understanding long and complex concepts. Besides, they lead to more virilization as well.
#2: Motion graphic videos
Basically, this one is graphic design in motion. Any visual elements you could think of are gathered together and shown in movement, to convey a concept to your audience. In a similar way to the whiteboard video, motion graphic videos are very good for complex concepts, and they can use many more visual resources. However, they could happen to be more impersonal, because they don’t necessarily feature images with a human touch, like the hand-drawn images used in explainer videos. In fact, they usually look like infographics in motion, which is great in a pedagogical dimension, but not necessarily if stressing creativity is a must, like, for example, when addressing younger audiences.
For further reference, you can take a look at this great motion graphics video we made for Metalogix. The images make a clear and sympathetic case of the company’s concept.
#3: Live action videos
When you want to be direct and credible, or you want to prompt your audience to take action in a stronger way, this kind of video is what you need. As it features real images with real people, it can be a great way to help yourself build a stronger relationship with your prospects or clients. This can be a good idea when your target audience consists of businessmen, especially senior ones. Depending on how simple you need your video to be, it could be more pricey than other formats that require professional animators, but in most cases they will take costs on production, talent, script and other items that can require an investment just as important as animated videos.
Making post production changes can be complicated and expensive compared to videos created with computer-aided design programs, so if your business changes constantly or will probably do so in a short time, you may want to consider another option.
This is an excellent example of a video that creates rapport to a specific audience, as it shows what its service is about. UberConference claims to be a “stress free conference call” solution, and in this video they position themselves as experts on the subject by showing all the problems their product solves –and their prospects suffer–.
#4: Screencast video
Wouldn’t it be just beautiful if every time you had a hard time trying to get something done with a computer or a smartphone app, your device just went crazy and did it on its own, right before your eyes? Well, this type of video isn’t that, but it does looks like that. It may be limited on the subjects it can address, but it’s simply perfect at making any task you would want to get done through a computer crystal clear. For example, it will do splendidly if your product is a mobile app or a software company, or any other use related to conveying the steps to take in order to make any software work.
It’s the cheapest type of video to produce, which makes it especially interesting for startups. Technically, there are thousands of programs and applications on the web that can empower you to create your screencast video for free, but unless you just want to educate a specific audience like your employees, don’t forget you are promoting your business, and therefore your video’s look and feel do matter.
This means you don’t want to just feature a raw still screen capture with a voice over. It’s usually better to include an introduction and a few filming resources, like camera movements or additional visual cues. This Smart Fanpage’s video is a good example of a professional screencast video, as it does go that extra mile.
#5: Character animation videos
This is the most popular type of explainer video. As suitable as it may or may not be for a certain marketing goal, every audience likes to watch it. This is because of its potential for emotional rapport: it uses cartoonish characters to tell a story to explain your business. These traits create emotional response beautifully, because characters are (or should be) custom: they must be created by considering the audience they are targeting, the company that it’s promoting and the creative brief, among other things. When this is done right, the audience identifies with them, in a way your business wants it to. Moreover, it tells a story, which is always a great resource to create engagement. Finally, cartoon like characters trigger nostalgy among audiences, since pretty much all of us used to watch cartoons when we were younger.
A video that explains and promotes a probiotics pill, could become a boring explanation of chemistry and the benefits of some vitamin with an incomprehensible name. A character animation video can change all that into a good guys/bad guys story, in which your product is the hero, like in this video we created for Dr Formulas, to promote their product Nexabiotic.