Why Animation Videos are Perfect for Explaining Complex Products

animation explainer videos featured

How many times have you been interested in purchasing a product but gave up because you couldn’t figure out how the thing worked, what it did or how it might be right for you? Animation videos are powerful tools that companies can use to help explain such complicated products. You’ve probably seen plenty around, whether it is one by Spotify, Airbnb or the hundreds of other videos being used by businesses today.

There’s a reason why they are so popular. According to a study about web use, the average attention span in 2013 was just eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Animation videos work because they use visuals and storytelling  to keep your audience’s attention. By keeping their attention, you have the chance to show them your complex product features and benefits. Instead of relying on your audience to read a bunch of text and hoping they understand what you do, you can leverage animation videos to keep their attention and show them what you do.

Let’s look at some companies who use animations videos really well to explain their complicated products.

Hubspot uses animation videos to explain their software product

Software applications and tools are some of the hardest products to explain. Often times they are full of features that can get really overwhelming. Unfortunately, most marketers struggle with being able to clearly explain the benefits of these products and instead just focus on features. This leaves the customer with little understanding of what the product does and a whole lot of wasted marketing dollars.

But that’s where animation explainer videos are perfect – they can help you explain complicated products to customers in often less than three minutes.

Let’s look at an animation explainer video from Hubspot (a feature-rich marketing tool):

What you can learn from Hubspot’s animation explainer video:

  1. Within two minutes, you know exactly what Hubspot does, why they are different and how they can help.  If you can do that with your product, marketing has done its job.
  2. The animation video works because they show rather than tell. Showing people how to do something has been proven to be more effective than simply just telling them.
  3. It brings all benefits and features together in an easy-to-understand way. You don’t leave the customer guessing as to what you do.
  4. It uses visuals to show how it brings all the complicated Hubspot features into one easy-to-use tool. The quicker a customer can understand what you do, the more likely they’ll be able to make a better informed decision to buy or not.
  5. It uses storytelling and humour to keep you engaged. You walk away with one clear message –marketing has changed; Hubspot can help.

Australian Technical Services uses animation videos to explain their new technology

Brand new products that totally disrupt an industry are the hardest to explain. How do you use text to explain something that you have never seen before?

It doesn’t matter how good your copywriter is, you’ll deter a lot of customers if you can’t show them what it is and what it does.

Australian Technical Services (ATS) needed help explaining a new product they were launching. Wayne Peters, Sales Manager at ATS, “needed something that was a little bit easier to understand, yet got the technical aspect of the product across.”

They opted for using animation video. Here’s what the video looks like:

We now know exactly who this company is, what the product does and why we should use it. We know that it’s for property managers who need to test circuits. This animated explainer video works because it clearly identifies a problem, shows how the product – Rapid Test – works and explains why property managers would find it useful. Property managers can easily relate to the problems expressed in the video, even though the product is a disruptive new technology that completely changes the way they do circuit testing.

What you can learn from ATS’s animation explainer video:

  1. It takes a very complex product and uses visuals and metaphors to clearly illustrate what it does. Video as a medium is easier to understand.
  2. It tells a compelling story – you can see it targets a specific audience and highlights a common challenge that they face. It then does a great job of showing how the product can solve the challenge.
  3. It’s short and quick – just over a minute – meaning it can keep the viewer engaged right through to the call to action at the end.

Google Now uses explainer animation videos to explain their mobile app

Google Now is a new app that brings together all the important information in your life and gives it to you in an easy-to-digest format, right when you need it. It can give you updates on what the fastest traffic route is to get to work, if your flight has been delayed, whether your favourite sports team won and even recommendations and reviews about nearby restaurants.

This is a big leap in innovation and, as a result, it takes a lot more work to educate customers on what it does. After only reading my quick paragraph, you are probably still a bit confused about what the app does. Because let’s face it: mobile apps are hard to explain.

Let’s see how Google uses video to explain Google Now:

Google does a perfect job of creating an easy-to-understand story around what Google Now does. They also make it clear as to how it can help you.

What you can learn from Google Now’s animation explainer video:

  1. Mobile apps are hard to explain. Google uses animations to explain the benefits because we are hardwired to understand visuals better than text.
  2. To make it easy to follow, Google uses real-world examples and visuals to help you relate to how you would use the app.
  3. Google uses real screenshots of the app so you know exactly what to expect when you download it. This sets expectations early so you won’t have any app-buyer’s remorse.

Animation explainer videos are great for hard-to-understand products

Think about how your customers perceive your product? Do they understand how it works and why they should use it?

If you’re talking to people and they have a hard time understanding what you do and they keep asking questions to clarify, that’s a good sign you need to rethink your pitch and might want to consider an animated explainer video.

Your thoughts?

What is your favourite animation explainer video? Share your comments below.

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