4 Clever Ways to Get People Watching Your Explainer Video

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Even if you’ve created some great video content, you still need to make sure that your homepage or microsite is optimized so that people watch the visual narrative you’ve created. Believe it or not, sometimes placing an explainer video above the fold on the page isn’t enough — the other content on your page (images and text), needs to complement and work in concert with your video to get people to click ‘play’.

Here’s where you can take a page out of the playbook of some of the most successful web magazines and blogs. These publications create a “curiosity gap” to get readers to click through to the blog post or article that they’ve written. While it’s most often a headline that’s designed to tease and create curiosity about the linked article, the same principles can be applied to content on a single page (If, while reading an article about a favorite tv show of yours, you’ve ever felt the urge to scroll past a big, bold **spoiler alert** warning for plot points you don’t yet know about, you already understand the essence of how this curiosity gap works!)

Whether it’s a gap between what’s teased in a headline and what’s said in an article or a gap created by information contained within one page, what’s required to create it is the same — you’ll need content that creates the gap and content that enables the audience to close that gap.

This means you’ll have to take a look at the content you have, from web copy, images, whitepapers, layouts, GIFs, videos, etc. and separate them into

a.) content that creates questions about things that the audience is interested in (the gap-opening content)

and

b.) content that provides the answers (the gap-closing content)

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to deploy that content in a way that creates curiosity effectively.

Here are some tips to pique your site visitors’ curiosity about your explainer video and make them want to watch it:

1.) Complement your video with some great web copy.Tweet: Get People to Watch Your Video - Tip #1: Complement your video with some great web copy. http://flik.li/XIZGbZ

Ask an irresistible question that your audience might be interested in which can only be answered by watching the video. The idea is to make viewing your video the “payoff” which satisfies the curiosity that you created with the question.

2.) Choose an enticing thumbnail for your video.Tweet: Get People to Watch Your Video - Tip #2: Choose an enticing thumbnail for your video. http://flik.li/XIZGbZ

While having your logo as the thumbnail will make sure everyone who sees it clear about who made the video, it won’t necessarily make people click and watch it. If you choose an interesting frame that will make the viewer ask “What’s going on here?”, they’re a lot more likely to press the play button to find out just what was happening during that scene. Search carefully through the video looking for frames that grab your attention. An image from the middle of a busy scene, or one that shows an intriguing interaction between two characters can be great. This frame from OpenWater Abstracts shows a before-and-after scene which invites the viewers to explore how the product makes the “after” scene happen.

openwater frontpage

3.) Integrate the video into the front page design.Tweet: Get People to Watch Your Video - Tip#3: Integrate the video into the front page design. http://flik.li/XIZGbZ

Having it embedded on the front page is just the first step. Thoughtful placement is important — if you’ve asked a question or referred to the video in your copy, make sure the video player is close by! Kyozou’s homepage is a good example of how video, website design, and copy can work well together to deliver a message clearly.

They took the explainer video we produced for them and put it front and center, and above the fold on their homepage.

kyozou front page

Also note that little arrow that goes from the video player to the contact form — this reinforces the call to action at the very end of the video which asks viewers to sign up. As soon as they’re done watching the video, they’ll see the form and can sign up right away.

The lightbox which pops up aligns snugly under the text that tells the audience what the product is (Automation and Management Software
Designed for eBay and amazon Sellers) so when they watch the video, they learn how it works.

kyozou front page lightbox

4.) Remove distracting elements which may reduce your audience’s curiosity.Tweet: Get People to Watch Your Video - Tip #4: Remove distracting elements which may reduce your audience’s curiosity. http://flik.li/XIZGbZ

When there’s nothing but the video player (with a clear play button) on the page, or above the fold, The only path to satisfying their curiosity is by clicking that play button. In the example below, Lessonmate tells us what it is: “The best way for schools to share student progress and connect with families.” As viewers, we immediately are left wondering how that exactly works, but because the video is right under the statement, along with a button that contrasts sharply with the background calling us to watch, we can satisfy our curiosity right away via the explainer video.

Lessonmate front

Also, note how the only other major element, the call to start a trial, is placed prominently next to the “watch the video” button, with a color contrast that’s not as sharp as that button but still apparent. Once viewers are done watching the video, they can go on to start a trial if after satisfying their curiosity they decide the product is something they can benefit from.

Do you have any of your own special methods for creating curiosity gaps? Let us know in the comments!

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