Video isn’t just for TikTok users and Gen-Z teens – 71% of B2B marketers use video as part of their strategies and 73% report a positive return on investment (ROI) when they do.
Creating a B2B explainer video can be a quick and efficient way to show other businesses what you do. And, when video content is 1200% more likely to be shared than words alone, explainer videos become an invaluable tool for generating leads and gaining exposure.
It’s safe to say that video is booming, both recreationally and in the B2B sector. Let’s unpack what some of the key trends in B2B explainer videos so far this year and see what you should do when incorporating them into your creative.
1. The pandemic “theme”
The business world of 2020 looks a lot different from the business world of 2019.
The need to reach employees at different ends of the country – sometimes different ends of the globe – has increased exponentially since the start of this year. We all know that ‘business as usual’ isn’t an option and many businesses have had to pivot to stay up and running.
So many B2B businesses are using explainer videos to demonstrate their ‘new normal’ and show they understand and can resolve their customer’s newfound problems. But, don’t make a pandemic-specific explainer just to take part in the trend. People are sick of hearing about the pandemic and don’t want apologies and ‘times are tough’ messages from every business.
That said, if yours is one of the many businesses that has had to make significant changes to what they offer to stay afloat, then it makes sense to create a new explainer that concentrates on relevant events.
If you do have to make an explainer that references relevant events, make sure it’s not tone-deaf. An example of a situation-specific explainer that hits the mark comes from Ruby, the virtual receptionists and chat specialists company.
Their B2B explainer video clearly shows what they do. It’s quick, cheerful and uplifting – and hits the nail on the head for relevancy in 2020 by referencing brick-and-mortar offices that have been left empty, with phone lines ringing out. It shows how, with their help, your business can retain the structure you once had even when its current situation looks very different.
It’s important not to create a B2B video with your head in the sand. Embrace what’s currently happening and make your company appear approachable and well-meaning.
2. Humour is still allowed
Everyone has seen the Dollar Shave Club explainer video that went viral on release back in 2012 – and if you haven’t, take the time to get fully acquainted with it.
Light-heartedness goes a long way, and most businesses can benefit from injecting a bit of humour into their key video content. When so many B2B videos looking and feel the same, yours can stand out by doing something different.
Too many B2B brands fall into the trap of creating content full of stuffy people in even stuffier suits, insider acronyms and buzzword. But not you, because you know you’re selling to people, not robots in a shit and tie.
So, when drawing up concept for your explainer video, don’t be afraid to go a little left field and inject some humour. You could poke fun at tropes in your industry, show your customers what they expect vs the reality or let clever animation make the jokes for you.
But remember to strike a balance between facts and humility, and keep your target audience front and centre. While your message doesn’t need to be boring, you don’t want to turn prospects off with badly scoped jokes either.
3. The “now more than ever”
Let’s move away from the ‘now more than ever’ cliches of the early-pandemic already? It’s time to drop the generic well-wishes and inject a bit of real-life into your next explainer video.
The worst thing you can do when addressing an audience for the first time is to come off as insincere. Even B2B buyers want to feel something when they’re introduced to a new business and you don’t make connections by wheeling out empty platitudes and tired cliches. And in 2020, we’ve definitely heard them enough.
Research shows that people respond poorly to businesses that use the pandemic as a thinly-veiled attempt to push their products under the guise that they care. Your B2B buyer doesn’t want to hear that your business cares, they want to see it in action. So, only go down this route if your business has made genuine steps to alter its service in the face of challenges.
And even then, if a phrase sounds over-done, don’t use it. If you wouldn’t say it to your friend, don’t use it. There are a million ways to get the message across that you care without actually saying those words.
4. Animation is now easier
Animation has always been an important feature of many B2B explainer videos. Using animation avoids the need to shoot with actors or awkward staff and means a business can be more flexible in how they bring their vision to life.
Most explainer videos use 2D animation or live illustration like those whiteboard doodle videos we’ve grown so accustomed to. Take a look at Hootsuite’s B2B video for example, shot in 2D animation and sporting a bold, iconographical style:
With intermittent lockdowns and home working still the norm in many countries, we can expect the use of animation to sore in 2020. When even your favourite soap opera isn’t shooting new episodes this year, you know businesses are going to have to get creative with ways to create B2B explainer videos that don’t require person-to-person contact.
The final word
If you’re thinking of making a B2B explainer video, keep these trends in mind. When you create something that’s both on-brand and on-trend, you’ll set your business up for success.
Bonus tip: If you’re thinking of hosting explainer and other types of video on your business website, make sure you have a web hosting plan that can take the extra strain. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of great content that no one can view.
This article is contributed by Lucy Farrington-Smith, www.lucywrites.co