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The Six Commandments of Explainer Videos - Character City

The Six Commandments of Explainer Videos


More and more businesses are realizing the importance of explainer videos to their marketing efforts. They are seeing benefits in message retention, SEO, tracking of metrics, response rates, brand recognition, and overall return on their investment.

You want to reap these benefits, as well. But you may not know exactly where to start or are spinning your wheels trying to get your video just right.

To help, we’ve collected six basic rules — let’s call them commandments — of explainer videos to keep in mind.

The First Commandment: Don’t try to make your video “viral”

Yes, videos that go viral are shared and viewed by millions of people. And you have to figure at least some of those people actually buy something, right?

But the public is fickle. It’s hard to predict what will go viral next. You can sink a ridiculous amount of time, effort, and — by extension — money into creating a viral video and still fail.

You’re much better off knowing your target audience and designing a video that appeals to them. A 15-year-old girl may share a cute cat video, but she’s probably not going to be interested in your accounting software.

This is not to say your video should not be engaging and visually appealing, but the primary focus should be on how your product benefits your customer — not shareability.

The Second Commandment: Move beyond the product demonstration

There will come a time to walk a user through your product and show them each feature. First, though, your audience needs to know what the product is about. Tell them how your product fits into their life and why they should use it before you worry about telling them how it works.

Once the video has them hooked with the benefits and the “why”, they can learn about the features and “how” on their own by signing up and using the product.

The Third Commandment: Stay concise and on-message

The time window for a good explainer video tends to be right around forty-five to ninety second. Less, and the video feels incomplete. More, and viewers tend to tune out.

So, while it’s tempting to put every piece of data and benefit that you have into the video, it’s better to choose just a few of your most important messages.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you targeting?
  • Are there established players that you need to differentiate yourself from?
  • Are you solving a new problem, or offering a new solution to an old problem?
  • Is there something that is absolutely essential to know before using your product?

Questions like these can help you zero in on the most important things to include in your video.

The Fourth Commandment: Include a call to action

This is where most businesses fall short. You may have convinced your viewers that your product is revolutionary and will change their lives, but you still have to tell them what you want them to do when the video is over.

Make it easy on them. If you want them to buy now, have a big “Buy Now!” button featured next to the video on your site. If you want them to sign up for something, tell them exactly what steps they need to take.

Don’t assume that your viewers will figure out what you want and how to do it — walk them through each step.

The Fifth Commandment: Feature your video prominently

You spent a lot of time and/or money on this video – show it off!

The best video will do you no good if it’s buried behind links and subdirectories. Put it at the top of your homepage, with a big “play” button over a still from the video.

Don’t forget to have that “Buy Now” button as part of your call to action!

The Sixth Commandment: Make Quality a Priority

Just like walking into a store or visiting a website, you’re much more likely to buy from someone who has a professional presentation.

It may be tempting to record everything on your iPhone and upload it to YouTube, but putting the time and money into production quality will pay off.

You need a concise script, good design, and quality video and audio.

By following these six commandments in mind, you will have the foundation to create a winning explainer video that will boost your marketing return on investment exponentially.

Of course, you still need to decide on your design, voice actor, video media, and so forth, but those are discussions for another day.

Our Character City Animated Explainer Video Toolkits make video production easy. The elements and characters are all easily customizable with just a little knowledge of Adobe AfterEffects.

Buy Character City v1 or Character City v2 and get started on your video today!


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