TBV Insights

Do a short videos need narration?

More show, less tell

Have you given any thought to how much video these days gets watched without audio? More than you think, probably, because LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube all autoplay videos with no audio by default. Now consider the short videos you’ve created to explain and promote your products and services. If the viewer doesn’t listen to the voice track, how much of your message is getting across?

Social media viewers have become accustomed to being carried along by animations and imagery supported by subtitles, headlines, and other text elements. They’re happy to watch entire videos without the need for sound, as long as they get something out of it. Publishers are crafting more and more videos to work without audio.

Consumers have long relied on videos to see how to use a product, how it’s put together, and what people are doing with it. B2B buyers, on the other hand, often get their information from short videos based on messaging documents that are not primarily visual. In today’s environment, B2B videos that emphasize “show” over “tell” can gain a competitive advantage.

Rethinking the script

In a typical explainer video, the story is built around those problems that can only be overcome with your company’s solution. But if you want to get the most value out of video production, construct the script to be broken out into pieces.

For example, if the story revolves around “a day in the life” of troubled characters presented with several problems during the day, a short video can show how a single problem was solved. It requires editing and the addition of text — but it doesn’t require narration as long as the it’s clear what the character is doing. On-screen text, subtitles, and speech balloons and thought bubbles can substitute for narration, too.

In some cases, rather than make two-minute videos to summarize complex solutions, it is more efficient to craft longer, more deep-dive, explainer videos scripted to be broken down into snackable, “silent” segments for social media.

And, if you create appealing characters to tell the complex story, you can re-use them as animated gifs and spokespeople to extend your brand’s reach in social media.

Better digital selling with short videos

Another reason to create a library of short videos is that discrete feature-benefit stories can be used to enliven online meetings without seeming to “take over” from the live presenter. And, because the video works without sound, the presenter can choose to talk over it. In any case, with or without narration, video is always preferable to PowerPoint.

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