Here are two recent explainers for Venmo and Venmo Payouts.
Venmo is a handy app that facilitates casual payments between friends. Among other features, the app gives users the chance to socialize their transactions by making them public to their Facebook friends.
In this clip, we went with a comic book style, jumping from panel to panel as the story unfolds. Though we regret to inform you that no caped avengers make an appearance in this explainer, the true “superhero” is the Venmo app itself; an app doing its part, once and for all, to save the world from awkward social scenarios.
Venmo Payouts shifts the focus from payments between peers to payments between businesses. Using the Venmo platform, Payouts provides an easy-to-use interface for companies to pay their service providers. The following clip uses our whiteboard animation style to illustrate how Venmo Payouts can speed up and simplify the business payment process.
“How long should our video be?” This is a question that comes up early with nearly every one of our clients. The answer depends on a number of factors.
Shorter is Better. Research by Visible Measures indicates that viewership falls at a steady rate as a video progresses, with 20% of viewers dropping out within the first ten seconds. If you want viewers to see your whole video, keep it short.
Viewers Look at Time Left. The video-hosting firm Wistia conducted an interesting experiment. They tested two videos, one that was thirty seconds long and one that was two minutes long, but the initial 30 seconds of both videos was identical. They discovered that the abandonment rate was higher for the longer video, indicating that viewers were looking the time left to play and withholding their attention when the time investment to reach the end was higher.
This might help explain the abandonment rate during a video’s first 10 seconds. Many video players don’t show the length of the video before play starts. This may cause some viewers to start the video in order to discover the play time, then decide whether the time investment is worth it.
One client of ours had an interesting way of addressing this issue. His thumbnail reads “Get Up to Speed in Under 2 Minutes.” Being clear about the time investment and its prospective benefits (getting up to speed) may be more effective as a way of procuring engagement than showing just a pretty picture.
Context matters. A video meant for an event will likely be seen by a captive audience in a darkened room. The attention spans of these viewers will probably be more forgiving than those of the average web visitor, who is driven by the distractions of the office or home, as well as the whole rest of the web. Even within the web category, different types of viewers will behave differently. A B2B buyer doing her due diligence on a big purchase will likely to be more patient than a web-surfing consumer looking for a trinket.
Story Makes Time Shorter. We are humans and that makes us interested in other humans and their stories. The importance of being pithy should not lead you to leave the bones of your message un-softened by the flesh of human interest. Better a little longer and interesting than short and boring! People will hang with you if you offer them joy instead of drudgery.
How long does your video want to be? Perhaps the most important factor to consider is how complex your message is. That, of course, begs the question: how complex does it need to be? You need to give the viewer enough information to successfully persuade them to take the next step in your engagement process, whether that be contact, registration, purchase, or something else. You don’t need to detail every feature and benefit of your product, but you do need to highlight the most important ones and ease any common concerns.
The clock starts before your video does. Academic research (pdf) has shown that viewers start clicking away from a video if it takes longer than 2 seconds to load. The abandonment rate increases by approximately 5.8% for every second of loading wheel thereafter. If your site is underperforming on loading times, you may need to rethink your video hosting solution.
All these factors need to be considered and every client is different. However, in our practice the answer to the “how long?” question is usually between one and two minutes. That’s mainly because our clients typically come to video because their messages are not simple and need careful explaining.
Here is a Christmas Card designed by our brilliant Art Director, Robert Kopecky.
And here is a holiday video from one of our talented freelancers, Jacques Khouri, made as a personal project.
So much talent comes in through our doors!
Sometimes the best way to frame your selling proposition is to tell your story – but usually, that’s a mistake. That’s because while a few people might be persuaded to take an interest in you, everyone cares deeply about themselves. If you tell your customer’s story in a compelling way, you will get their attention.
What is a story? Often in the business world, the word is used somewhat promiscuously. Sometimes people say “story” and mean an argument, or a list of features or benefits. Sometimes they say “story” and they are really referring to a series of events. What, you say? Isn’t a story a series of events? Surely it is, but a series of events is not necessarily a story.
So what is it then? A story is about a character with a need. The character acts to address that need, and this action results in either failure or success. In it’s simplest form, that is all a story is. Take Hamlet: a Danish fellow needs to avenge his father’s death, he gathers his conviction to act, and he gains his revenge (in a rather messy way.) If you inspect any novel, movie, play, or TV show you have ever seen, you will recognize in it a character with a need, their actions to satiate that need, and the consequences of those actions.
And this is important because a story is an entertaining thing, and we want our marketing to be entertaining – right? Of course we do, but stories are about more than just entertainment. They are the way we understand our own lives, and how we assess the lives of others. They are the building blocks out of which we create our view of the world. Entertainment aside, this is the language that lands in your customers’ psyches.
What does your customer’s journey look like? Maybe something like this:
Act 1: Our hero has a glaring need. It’s either a problem that weighs on his life, or a benefit that can be grasped to assist him or those near him.
Act 2: Our hero discovers a product or service that can either relieve the problem, or bring a significant benefit. He discovers how easy/economical/pleasing the process of purchasing the product or engaging the service is.
Act 3: Our hero enjoys the fruits of his actions: the problem has been denuded, or the benefit has blossomed, thanks to our product or service.
Does this seem cliché? Haven’t you seen this before a million times? Of course you have. Cliché is the inevitable dreary flipside of the universal. Even Shakespeare wasn’t original – all but a couple of his stories are filched from other sources. Which is to say: execution counts! The story will seem cliché if you tell it in a pedestrian way, but if you speak with a fresh voice, if you’re specific in your details and you bring the texture of style, humor or pathos to your tale, it will not seem cliché at all.
By all means experiment! There are countless ways to tell your customer’s story.
- In this video for Sevanta, we told the founder’s story, but in a sneaky way, it was also a reflection of his typical customer’s experience.
- We told this story for Boounce in the second person, so the hero is actually the viewer – never seen in the video except for his cursor. There are two stories that are super-imposed here: finding Boounce, and getting a puppy. This brings a layer of emotional warmth to browser plug-in that warms up the product brand.
- Does your hero need to be a person? Not necessarily. In this video for GlobalEnglish, we personified corporations as buildings, and had one offer the other advice about a solution for his problem.
- In this video for LeadID, we placed our hero opposite a villain, who in the end got his just desserts.
Is story-telling just for videos or commercials? Emphatically, no. Every asset in your marketing mix can help tell your customer’s story.