To Get or Not To Get: App Explainer Video

Creating an explainer video for your app can be a significant use of your time and money. You want to make sure you're investment is going to be worthwhile. In this post, we walk you through some points to consider to help you decide if and when to get the ball rolling for your next app explainer video.

App Explainer Video. How do you calculate the ROI and decide when to get it?

Let's talk about the right time to get your app explainer video.

This means what kind of factors you should be considering to maximize the investment for our company.

This is aimed at SaaS products with 50-200+ employees.

First, let's start with our quick video demoreel for 2021 so you can see where our opinion comes from:

Our latest demo-reel, so you know that we know what we're talking about!

Key takeaways

Know where in your funnel a video could improve an outcome. 

  • Cut down on training times and free up employees 
  • Improve signups for lead generation
  • Help reps convert during a complex B2B sales cycle  

Do some math. Try to understand:

  • Do the #s justify the investment? What is the LTV, CAC? Do you have the budget to invest into distribution? How many conversions do you need to justify the price?

Video is amazing - when done right. And to put it in perspective, “doing it right” costs Hollywood hundreds of millions of dollars per 120 minutes of film. Where does that money go?

And more importantly: how does it relate to your app explainer video?

Video won’t save a poor product / market fit

Yes, people do come to us and think that our videos will move the needle for them. And they will: if they have properly vetted their market messaging and positioning.

On its own, video is nothing more than a tool. It’s not your product, it’s not the innovation you created, it’s just a vehicle for effectively relaying the message, piercing into someones soul, or more likely capturing their attention for a moment.

Now to do this, you don’t need a 10-20-50k video. In fact, long form powerpoint style presentations are known to convert extremely well. Even if only a small % of people will watch 20-60 minutes all the way through to the end.

So why do they convert so well?

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The secret to conversions? Read the room.

The best converting videos aren’t written in isolation. 

They are written based on trends, facts, market research, and SEEING what people are responding to. For example - insurance companies spend billions of dollars on video creation & distribution.

What they are doing works. Or at least, there’s enough money behind it to make it work to varying degrees of success.

When you are investing billions of dollars into something you are going to want to make it evidence based. Which is why they hire the best of the best, experts proven within their field.

And when it comes to copywriting, design, animation, and other creative skills - being proven in your field is in some ways like being a NBA player, or doctor.

Basically anywhere you go you are in demand. But why? Why is such talent in demand?

You want the best, but the best costs a pretty penny 

That’s the caveat. For video to work, you need to 

1. Prove your message 
2. Hire talented people 

Or, be really good at being scrappy and boostrapping everything together. Which is possible, just a lot harder with more risk. It’s like giving you 6 months to jump over a moving car. It’s possible, but is it really worth the effort, risk and reward?

Well - maybe. Nobody can answer with certainty.

But what we do know this: there’s no point in hiring the best, before you have proven your message. And only then, can you even consider upgrading your marketing asset quality.

Ok. I don’t want the best. I want ______?

Results. You want to move the needle. Working with the best means you are less likely to get burned. The best come with certain traits:

  • Work quality is consistent and high quality 
  • Deadline are met, not extended 
  • Communication is clear, professional, on time 

All things that we value in business. Things that big business pays 50k per minute or more to make sure they have in the bag. That’s where the premium goes. Not to proving your message, or story, but to assuring a certain level of service, quality and care.

Since a video shoot or animation can cost upwards of 5-10k+ per minute, there is a level before which is most suited for marketers who can’t justify the initial investment.

Consider that the average video production process can take upwards of 4-6 weeks for a single minute of explainer video. With a team size up 10+ people.

Just tell me already: how do I make an app explainer video that gets results?

Glad you asked. The most important thing: is the value you bring.

1. Your messaging is not magical, it’s related to a story of problem/solution or something you are solving, which your prospect is inherently interested in cause it’s ruining some aspect of their lives.
2. The visual story or narrative, it needs to reflect the nature of your product. That means capturing the textures, tones, colours, and everything around it.

And these two things can be tested out in much simpler ways than video:

  • Andy Raskin, calls it the greatest pitch deck he's ever seen, and investors often will refine the message and viusals until they feel it hits. Explains the story.
  • Robert Cialidini from Influence, suggests using some built in psychological techniques.
  • Journalists call it the hook. What happens if you lead with the most interesting piece first? Well, people want more. Interesting how that works right?
  • What about a 3 step graphic. Or using a diagram to organize the thoughts? Even a flow chart? Does the presentation get people excited?
  • Create a sketch on a napkin, write 3 words under it. Does it take on a new meaning? Or feel disconnected? This is the basis of articulating yourself with minimal words & explanatory visuals.

What’s the simplest test you can do?

Try to sell someone something. You will learn a lot. About why they are not interested. About what they are actually interested in. About which words solicited positive reactions, and which ones blew the conversation south.

That’s why we say: listen to your sales reps.

Why? Because they talk to your customers. 

If you can: talk to your customers yourself, after all, they know best. 

But, don’t underestimate the front line of your organizations messaging. Sales people often develop their own ‘quirks’ in messaging, based on what is working in the field.

Their incentive structures are to ‘find what works and use it’. So they are not as bound to theory as other people within the organization. The sales process is by nature fluid, dynamic and requires a strong sense of intuition.

That being said: customer is king.

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Customers know best. But how well do you know them?

Yes. The market is always right. But how well do you know your market? That is the ultimate meta question one which consult before getting a video.

In some cases, it’s a no brainer. Example: you run a SaaS company, and have 5 million in revenue, a single contract is worth upwards of 50-250k per year. The cost of 1 video is 10-20k, if it expedites, or helps the sales process in anyway that cost is immediately reclaimed in value.

Some videos are used for YEARS before being shelved. What a great ROI.

Now lets flip that around. You’re a bootstrapped startup. Does investing 10k into a video to test your marketing message make sense? Probably not. That would be better spent on as much content creation & distribution, which would allow a better “feel” for the market than 1 single asset.

So some of the factors to consider here are:

  • The ticket price of the business 
  • The volume of the funnel (small % add up over volume)
  • The amount of time explaining the concept is wasting (minutes per meeting x 20 meetings a day)
  • The life time value of the client

Prove your message with budget-friendly assets before investing into quality

To finish off, take the time to prove your message first. This can be powerpoint videos, screencast demos, and don’t worry about the quality.

First just find the message which resonates, and after you build steam (revenue, sales etc) it will make sense to invest into doing it right. 

For more information on Rocketwheel production, just visit our video pricing page or the bulk video production page. Both have prices upfront.