By John Lavey

You can find a lot of marketing content making the claim that human attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish, but this seems to be unscientific research used by marketers to help pitch video as a replacement for text-based content.

But we do know getting audience attention is a huge challenge for marketers. Whether the problem is a shorter attention span, a general failure to provide engaging content, or both, a solution is needed. 

One place to start is by creating websites that work. Websites often fail at answering one basic question: “What do you do?” That’s because, in part, the story is spread across different sections of the site, and the format that we have become used to expects us to click across a top navigation bar to get the answers we need.

One content tool that cuts through the clutter is explainer videos. Explainer videos are perfectly named. They explain what you do. This is particularly helpful if your solution is complicated or abstract. You don’t need an explainer video to market Coca-Cola, but you might need it to sell an SaaS platform that addresses a critical niche problem.

Here’s a test. Try to explain to your kids or to a casual acquaintance what you do. If you find yourself struggling to make an elevator pitch that is super clear and concise, you probably need an explainer video. If your kids’ eyes glaze over, then you need an explainer video. (Note: It would be highly unusual if your kids showed that level of interest in what you do, so you need something easy for them to remember.)

Explainer videos are usually 45 seconds to 90 seconds long. They often use simple animation with illustrations or photography, typography, music and voice-overs. You can build the imagery from scratch or use stock imagery creatively to tell the story. They have energy to propel the narrative, and when done well, they convey the problem the audience faces, what the solution looks like, and what the outcome will be.

Putting explainer videos on a prominent place on your website can go a long way toward making it easier to understand the value of your offering. Even if the attention span is closer to that of a goldfish (whatever that might actually be). 

Image: Getty Images

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