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How to Map Out Your Explainer Video

Recent data from Wistia shows that the most effective length for online video is two minutes. There’s a significant drop off rate after two minutes but for this example let’s say our target audience is on Instagram, so we need to keep it to 60 seconds or under.

Imagine our hypothetical client sells widgets of some variety. And they save you time.

That dense tome of a script that’s been approved by the client is probably too long, but you’ve got to start somewhere. The key is to try not to be redundant. If the image is telling us one thing, the narration or captions should tell us something new. Don’t turn your video into a ‘see and say.’ It wastes precious time - i.e., people’s attention.

This is the beauty of explainer videos. When done correctly, you can tell double the info in every scene. For example, take a scene of somebody stuck in traffic. Instead of narration like, “Do you hate being stuck in traffic?”

Try to be one step ahead of the visual. It could say, “Get to work faster by using our widget.” This may sound like a no-brainer, but viewers will feel like you’re talking down to them. Keep the story moving with new information. Think entertainment + information.

Start by doing the simple math. Think of your 60-second video as a collection of three-second scenes. A lot can be conveyed in three seconds. Of course, this is just a starting place; you will want to vary the timing. Here’s what the 20 scenes look like:

Let’s allow three seconds for an intro and three seconds for the outtro/call to action.

That leaves us with around 18 - three-second scenes. Now divide these into a three-act structure but instead of a beginning, middle, and end think: problem, solution, benefits.

Now look at the script and find the writing that talks about the pain points or problems. Remember, you only need about five three-second scenes (or 15 seconds) for your first 'act.'

Rinse and repeat for act two and three.

Also, be mindful of our rule about not doing any ’see & say’ and you’ll start to build a harmonious combination of image and narration that’s jam-packed with information while holding the viewer’s attention.

If possible load up the back end with multiple benefits. Like spending more time with family instead of being stuck in traffic. Every brand has it’s own unique story, so this structure is just a starting point to get you past the script and into visual storytelling!

Your turn. What’s your process? Share in the comments section below.

Happy Halloween!

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