Why Video Explainers are similar to Direct-Response Copywriting

December 1, 2014

We’ve written many, many times about the power of using video explainers in businesses, startups, and governments.


But there is also another powerful form of marketing, and it has nothing to do with video. It’s direct response copywriting.


While most people don’t talk about this, it seems that both approaches are very similar in effectively getting the message across.


David Ogilvy, copywriting legend



In the decades before the internet and high technology, most ad agencies hire copywriters to write sales copy that could convert. The effectiveness depends on the choice of words, the intended message and emotions it evoke to a reader, and the product itself. The copy could also be as long as it is needed.


Distribution of the sales copy depends on the copywriter sending them through mail, and the more prospects respond with a mail order cheque, the more profits earned by its copywriter and the ad firm.


In the internet age, however, the methods have mostly changed. As more people spend their time on the internet, online video has become a mainstream, highly engaging form of marketing and has high potential to scale/multiply. Digital marketers create an explainer video, using whichever format and style they choose (such as clients who create animated explainers with Kukuzoo), and provided that their production is good, a video might be shared by as many people as it could reach. Costs have also been drastically reduced, as many tools like social media have enabled anyone to connect with each other. Videos, however, are generally much shorter in duration.


So what does this mean for people living in the internet age?


We’re living in a faster-paced world than our parents and grandparents decades ago. And since we have access to almost any type of information or solution digitally, an impression we get for a minute of learning an idea or product could make or break your day. As more people watch videos, it’s so important to have one that actually stands out and captivates your potential audience.


Master copywriters are good at this. Using swipe files and prior experience, they could strategically deliver words (with good will) that effectively communicate the message to its recipients.


Successful explainers use a combination of animation and good scripting. Having something to show as well as clearly explaining an idea leads to customer awareness and the potential to spread the word through word-of-mouth.


Both copywriters and explainer video marketers rely on crafting good communication and appealing imagery. Both track conversions to gain insights into their marketing efforts. Only that the actual practices of outreach (and the market served) have changed.

It’s really funny when you think about how much marketing and business practices have changed over the years, and also how much things have NOT changed. That being said, there are some things for video marketers to learn from their copy counterparts, which will be explained in a future post.


What do you think of the comparison? Do you find that direct response marketing has some similarities to video marketing?

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