Stories or Features? Which makes the Best Explainer Video?

by Samantha Ferguson on 06 January 2015

Stories-or-Features-620x350-FFB612

Happy 2015 Everyone!

I'm sure you know by now that here at Wyzowl we create all different kinds of explainer videos. But which type is the best, stories or features?

Our story videos are animated, and usually include characters and situations that help to...well, tell a story! And, feature videos offer a kind of technical breakdown of your exact website, or mobile app. So, both have clear advantages, but to determine which is best we'll have to dig a little deeper...

STORIES

1. Visually appealing

Videos that use characters to tell a story are fun to watch and easy for viewers to relate to. Animated story-telling is visually appealing because the characters can be taken on any journey, and placed in any scene to create a video that is as engaging as possible. Check out one of our story videos below to see what we mean:

The vans driving around the circle is a great way for this company to say 'Hey! We pick up from anywhere, oh and we're also environmentally friendly!' It would be impossible to recreate this scene with live-action. Also, the bright colours in this video assist in making it visually appealing and keeping the attention of the viewer.

Of course, you don't always need characters to tell a story. There's always the risk that your viewers won't be able to relate to Beth, the working mother of two. So what could you do to tell the story then? Well, you could just try an animated video without characters! They look something like this:

Still engaging, and visually appealing, but less risky, and also less expensive!

2. High Shareability

When a video is visually appealing, fun, and engaging, it is also shareable. Shareability is such a goldmine of possibility when you consider that a third of ALL online activity is spent watching video. Videos that tell a story are shareable because they have the power to evoke emotion, whether that be pulling at the heart strings or twigging on the funny bone. And, if you're lucky enough your video may even go viral and be viewed by millions. Possibly the most successful animated story video to go viral was the 'Dumb Ways to Die' campaign by Metro Trains.

This video is so cute, colourful, and fun, but that's not what makes it shareable. The shocking message at the end is what pulls on the heart strings and makes viewers think about the dangers of trains. Due to the clever way this video tells the story it currently has 96 MILLION views on YouTube, and stands as the 3rd most viral video of all time.

3. Fun to Create

Your video is exactly that: Yours. And, making videos is not something that all of us get to experience on a daily basis (well, here at Wyzowl we do, but others aren't so lucky!). If, and when you come to create a video for your brand, you may want to opt for story over feature because you'll get to have more fun in the process! Most agencies are more than willing to hear your ideas and take them on board when creating your video so the vision is wholly yours.

At Wyzowl, we go the extra mile and offer unlimited revisions at each stage: script, illustration, and animation. So you can get stuck into the creativity of absolutely EVERYTHING! From, the voice-over, to the way your characters look, to the background music, you can have fun creating your story.

But...

Although all of the above points make a really strong case for storytelling videos, they do have some cons. For starters, they tend to be more expensive than feature videos due to the amount of extra work that is put into them. On top of that, making room to tell a story whilst explaining your product or brand means that you have to compromise on how in-depth the explanation can be. With any video you're up against the clock, statistics show that 50% more people will complete a 1min video than a 2min video, and so this is something you have to consider when deciding which video is best.

FEATURES

1. What you see is what you get

Feature videos consist mainly of screen recordings of either your website or mobile app, with a few funky transitions added in. This way the viewer is not distracted by a storyline, or a character doing cartwheels, or anything else that can be deemed as unnecessary. What you see in a feature video is exactly what you get. The video quite simply showcases your product and the features that users can expect to get if they sign-up or buy from you. Feature videos look like this:

When you sign-up to a website, or download an app, you don't truly know if it's going to be the kind of thing your looking for. Feature videos act as the perfect 'try-before-you-buy'.

2. It's cost-effective

Feature videos, like the SurvivalPedia one above, have the same quality as story videos yet they are a lot cheaper to fund. The main reason for this is because the illustration stage is skipped, and the animation is much more simple, for example no walk-cycles or lip syncing.

Story videos on average cost upwards of a few thousand pounds, but feature videos start from just a couple of hundred. Therefore, feature videos tend to be the correct option for brands that are on a tight budget. Plus, they don't take as long to make so are great for if you're working to a tight deadline.

3. Inform and Educate

As mentioned above, explanation is sometimes compromised in story videos as room needs to be made for the cool characters and quirky delivery. With feature videos, there's no need to worry about that, and the result is that you can get much more in-depth with your explanations. For example, see the video below:

This website is so complex that it would be hard to get the message across if the functions were described in a story format. However, in a feature video, all aspects of this website were able to be highlighted and explained in order to encourage customers to use this site.

But...

Although feature videos are deeply explanatory, they are nowhere near as engaging as story videos are, and this means that it is unlikely that they will be shared or seen by a mass of people. There is also the temptation to show off each and every one of your marvellous features, but this can overcrowd the video and over-complicate your message.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it. A case has been made for both stories and features, and yet it's difficult to come to a conclusion as to which is the 'best' explainer video. It's clear from this blog that both types of video have differing strengths and so it depends what you're looking for. For example, if you have a tight budget and a complicated website, a feature video would be the perfect option, whereas if you have a bigger budget and want to get creative in order to increase your brand awareness then a story video would be the one to pick.

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what type of video you have, because as long as you have one your SEO and web presence will increase. In fact, video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results!

Thanks for reading!

Video Marketing

Samantha Ferguson

Written by Samantha Ferguson

Thanks for reading! I'm one of the copywriters here at Wyzowl. When I'm not writing, I enjoy walking my dog, struggling through hot yoga classes, and catchin' all the Pokemon.