Many companies find it difficult to explain clearly what they do. Explainer videos – and especially whiteboard explainer videos – are a fun and accessible way to explain a service, product or process, in clear language and appealing images.

To ensure that the video does what it should do – provide clarity, inspire employees or attract customers – it’s important to guard against a number of pitfalls. What are they?

– Your video is too long …

You don’t want people to click away because your video just won’t end. For involved viewers, 3 minutes is quite a long time. If you want to attract the attention of random passers-by online, it’s good to make the video no longer than 1 minute. Don’t try to cram too much information into your video.

– Your video has an unclear message or purpose …

If you want your video to take effect, the message must be clear. Before you get started, it is good to have a clear idea of ​​what you want to say and what you want to achieve with it. A clear script is the key to a successful explanation video, it’s the foundation on which everything is built.

– Your target group is too large or broad …

If you want to include lots of target groups – employees and potential customers and partners and stakeholders – there’s a risk that your message will be too diffuse. You’re trying to communicate a little bit of that and a little bit of that. In the end, nobody feels addressed. Don’t be afraid to make choices.

– Your video is too self focused …

If you send a message out into the world which only addresses your own experience, there’s a riskthat the message will never arrive. You’re proud of your complex production process, mind-blowing algorithms or the full effect of a change process – and rightly so! – but your audience probably doesn’t care. What they want to know is how all those things make their lives better. To get your target group moving, it’s good to empathize with their experience – what are their problems and how does your product or service solve that? – and connect your video with it. Think of a storyline and characters that suit your target audience and be aware of their vocabulary.

– Your video is too formal …

Beware of overly formal or complex language and be careful with jargon. If people from your field are the target group, then you can use some “in-crowd” words. But ultimately, ordinary human language appeals to everyone the most. Because even the greatest techies are … just people. And people want to be entertained. So use clear language, and make sure to add some jokes!

– Your video is too abstract …

If you use vague language, the power of your video dissipates. Ever heard these sentences before?  “The quality of the work must be improved,” “We think our customers are very important,” “Social trends make changes essential.” They don’t actually say anything at all. Be specific in your communication: The quality of what exactly, and in what way can it be improved? Why do you think your customers are important and how do you express that? What social trends are you talking about? And don’t be afraid to give examples, they bring the story alive for your viewer.

– Your video is too advert-ish…

“We from Toilet Duck advise … Toilet Duck.” Original. But that’s what we often do: simply promote our idea, product or service. People quickly see through a promotional video, especially when it seems  insincere. An explainer video, on the other hand, keeps people fascinated for longer because it actually shows what your idea or product looks like. It’s more sympathetic and interesting for everyone.

– Your video is too fussy…

Music and crazy effects are nice, but if your viewer can barely hear the voice-over and is constantly distracted by things flying around the screen, it distracts from the message. Constantly ask yourself: does this support the story I want to tell?

– Your video doesn’t match your house style …

It’s a missed opportunity if an explainer video does not match the rest of your marketing and communication products. Make sure the colors of your company are included in the video so it’s recognized as your product.

– You have no call-to-action in your video …

Want to get your viewer to do something? Then you have to communicate it clearly. Invite them to visit your website, read more about the subject or subscribe to your newsletter.

– You’re not using SEO …

A video isn’t a text, but that doesn’t mean that Search Engine Optimization is not relevant to you. If you want your video to be found by search engines, make sure you fill in the metadata sections when you upload your video on YouTube. Use keywords in the video title, description and video tags.