The Anatomy Behind Memorable Landing Page Videos

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1.8 million words. Anyone want to take a guess as to what that number represents?

According to Dr. James McQuivey of the prestigious Forrester Research, that’s the value one minute of video has.

Imagine that. The entirety of the Harry Potter series all rolled up into one succinct minute of video.

Sometimes, that minute of video is a mindless, cat-heavy waste. Other times, that minute is an intrigue-inducing success.

Few times, however, that minute transcends. It absolutely captivates. It lives in a video that crackles with energy, begging to be shared.

I’m talking about those videos where you can’t look away no matter what. You don’t just want to see how it ends, you need to find out.

These are the memorable landing page videos, and I’m going to break down the anatomy behind them so YOU can create one, too.

Why You Should Use Video

Videos are becoming an increasingly important part of a business’s marketing mix. This Cisco study predicts that online video viewing will account for 69% of all internet traffic by 2017.

Even now, you can see the results of using videos on landing pages. Another study revealed that consumers were 144% more likely to place an item in their cart after they viewed a video.

To get results like that, you need a successful video. Nothing spectacular by any means, just a solid, well thought-out video.

But successful and memorable are two different things. Successful gets results. Memorable gets monumental results and invaluable national coverage.

I want to show you what makes a memorable video.

Anatomy Behind Memorable Videos

After watching hours and hours of landing page videos, I’ve found six key components that all memorable videos share. And among those hours of video viewing, six videos rose to the top as undeniable gems.

These videos all contain great writing, good sound composition, product advantages, stand-alone visuals, emotional appeals and a call to action.

*NOTE: Though each video fulfills all six memorable aspects, I’ll be focusing on a single element per video. I encourage you to mix and match videos and sections.*

Great Writing

Great Writing Anatomy of Viral Videos

Great writing is hard to quantify. There is no template for twisting individual subjectivity into universal objectivity.

But you do know that undeniable feeling you get when you see perfect prose. A quote that sends shivers down your body. A phrase that makes your hair stand on end.

That’s what you strive for.

In memorable videos, writing themes surface that stand out over normal videos.

For instance, brevity is essential. This is a visual medium, after all. Like Hunter S. Thompson said:

“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.”

Not a wasted word. When you write, practise in the exercise of cutting words. Cut as many as you can to see how few of words can convey your message. Once you have that core, go forward.

When you have brevity, then you weave in tone. Elmore Leonard said it best:

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”

In a video, nobody cares if you nailed some AP style. Some words just sound better than others. The narrative takes precedence, turning your sales pitch into an engaging story.

Which brings us to one of the most memorable landing pages videos ever: Dollar Shave Club.

The writing in this video is so good you barely notice the minute and a half that goes by. There’s brevity in every vignette, moving through sales point after sales point in a concise manner.

And it feels like he’s talking to you, doesn’t it? That’s because it doesn’t sound like writing. It’s written in a conversational way, not in the traditional “Here’s my product, this is what it does” format.

He does one other thing, though. Something that tends to happen in great writing for visual mediums. There wasn’t an accomplished writer with a quote that could describe it, so I decided to make my own:

“Great writing in videos leads the conceptualization of imagery, then stands to the side as the visual takes a bow at center stage.”

Take the line, “Nineteen go to Roger Federer. I’m good at tennis.” Inherently, not the funniest of lines. But that addition of him blankly looking at the camera and swinging/missing with a tennis racket makes that bit hilarious.

Great writing drives visual ideas. You’ll even see that, sometimes, the visuals created out of great writing are so powerful they can stand alone.

Stand-Alone Visuals

Stand Alone Visuals Anatomy of Viral Videos

Visuals are the yin to writing’s yang in memorable videos.

It is from these two disciplines all other trends stem. Writing and visuals coexist to convey the intended message you set out to disseminate.

Part of that coexistence means finding the right visual balance for a story. Visuals drive memorable videos without overpowering them.

Balance doesn’t mean “back seat,” though. The imagery in a memorable video can drive the message home.

There’s a rule of thumb they teach you in advertising classes that reinforces this point. They say, “When you create a video advertisement, make the idea so apparent that you ‘get it’ even if the TV was muted.”

This next example wholeheartedly embodies that wisdom. It’s from Google, and the video centers around their Gmail service:

Go ahead and watch that example again, but mute the sound. Even watching it muted, the core concept is still the same. It’s about a father who uses Gmail to create a digital email “scrapbook” for his daughter.

Visuals in memorable videos are a lynchpin to greatness. They don’t just add to the story. They feel like a necessity. But is there something that can add to the visual element? Enhance this already strong aspect even more?

There is. And it involves closing your eyes.

Good Sound Composition

Sound Composition Anatomy of Viral Videos

The last example asked you to close your ears. Now I ask you to close your eyes.

That’s right. The next memorable aspect focuses on sound.

Music and sound effects in a video can make or break you. Altering sound can dramatically change the way viewers interpret your message.

Don’t believe me? Watch this clip from Pirates of the Caribbean as it’s put to different soundtracks:

Interesting, isn’t it? It’s the same clip, yet the soundtrack gives off completely different views of the scene.

Determined. Foreboding. Comedic. Bleak. All from the use of contrasting music.

Sound doesn’t just accompany visuals. It helps draw you in. Even the tiniest sound effect can add to the realism of what you’re watching.

The folks at Stephen Kenn got that loud and clear (pun intended). Watch this video for their Encounter Collection:

Now, like the previous example, experience this video a different way. Close your eyes and replay the video. Listen to everything presented.

The sound of the wind whispering through the grain and crinkling the letter in the boy’s hands.

The gate creaking and the horse neighing in the barn.

The father’s tin-can voice. Little stuff like this throughout the entire video makes you feel like you’re there.

Then there’s the music itself. Uplifting. Inspirational. As the boy grows up and the father’s words hold more advice, the music becomes stronger and the violin strings tremble with emotion. The visuals and story crescendo to a climax, music matching and meeting at that same point until…

Bam. The sound comes back down. It’s just like it is in the beginning. Back to a serene moment of reflection. You’ve been taken on a journey with sounds.

That journey with sound and imagery is important, and it’s what memorable videos do best. When the video fades to black and you’re left in silence, you end up realizing something.

That video made you feel.

Emotional Appeals

Emotional Appeals Anatomy of Viral Videos

A.I.D.A.

Ask a fellow marketer and I bet they’ve got that phrase tattooed on their lower back.

Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

You need all these things (usually in that order) to achieve a marketing objective. Garner attention, generate interest, evoke desire and give a reason for action.

The hardest one out of that bunch? Desire.

Anyone with a loud enough voice or enough money can get attention. If your product has any sort of use, you can get people interested in it. But that desire. That’s the toughest part.

In order to make someone feel desire, you have to make an emotional appeal. Call upon something that can fuel desire and quell the ever-logical mind. Spotify filled their landing page video with a few emotional appeals in April of 2014. They had just revamped the Spotify Player design, and one of the things they added to the player was a social sharing aspect. Instead of simply making a tutorial video, take a look at how they chose to spread the word:

Talk about feeling something.

That Weezer song will bring out an emotion in itself, though that emotion isn’t as controlled. The context of where you heard the song is different for everyone, but it does bring an emotion implicitly.

On a more explicit (and powerful) level, the visuals in the video try to make you feel two things. Specifically guilt and love. We’ve all been there. It’s a universal occurrence, and Spotify knows this.

A fight with a family member is nothing anyone wants, and it’s tough to get back on level terms. Eventually, you feel guilt and want to make up. What could help bridge that guilt?

Sharing a song from Spotify.

That emotion from putting yourself in the situation is what creates the desire. Desire alone isn’t fueled by pure emotion, though. Which is why the next aspect on this list  is the yang to emotion’s yin.

Show Product Advantages

Product Advantages Anatomy of Viral Videos

“Yeah, but what’s in it for me?”

That question is old. Older than radios. It’s a question that every person in the history of mankind has asked when faced with the prospect of buying a product.

As marketers, we’ve answered that challenge by showing benefits. A purely emotional plea can only go so far, which is why it needs to be coupled with actual, tangible benefits that are pleasing to the consumer.

Memorable landing page videos go past showing the benefits, though. These videos go above and beyond, bridging the gap between hypothetical benefits and real-world scenarios and results.

Nothing accomplished that better than the Beachbody landing page videos. Those videos took the nation by STORM! You’d end up on their page — P90X, Insanity, etc. — and, after watching the whole video, you felt like you could go run five hundred miles (and perhaps five hundred more).

Take a look at this example from the Insanity series (apologies for the low quality):

Before and after pictures? Average Joes and Janes who turned into cut gladiators? Not only can you see the advantages of the system, but you can see them happen to people just like you.

Beachbody knows this and uses the success their product has on people’s lives to convince you that the product can change you, too.

These aren’t just product benefits: they’re relatable advantages. Real-life uses for products resonate deeper with a viewer than staged demonstrations. Put your product in the hands of real-world consumers and let their testimonials fuel your imagery.

There’s one last thing, though. One thing that memorable videos do that pulls it all together. One phrase that encapsulates the essence of the video and prompts a feeling to do something. You need that final call to action.

Call to Action

Call to Action Anatomy of Viral Videos

The call to action makes it happen. We’ve written about the importance of a call to action (and a few tips on how to create a good one), and the same principle applies to landing page videos.

Memorable landing page videos aren’t satisfied with the usual “sign up now.” They use big message buildups that apex at the end of the video in a slightly implicit yet powerful statement.

That’s what makes them so unique. While they do need a call to action (videos can be viewed out-of-context, after all), it doesn’t have to be extremely explicit.

The opt in form/sign up/CTA button on the landing page does the explicit heavy lifting already. That frees up the video to create a call to action that’s slightly more implicit yet more deeply intertwined with the narrative.

Sony showed its mastery of storytelling and salesmanship when it created this video to promote the new Playstation 4:

“Greatness Awaits.”

That’s their call to action.

Notice how the entire script builds up to that point. The context for action (CFA) is  “Who are you to deny greatness?”

Every gamer feels this greatness when they play a video game for all the reasons that Leonardo DiCaprio-imitating man said. Scaling mountains, slaying dragons, driving 200 mph in Italy. Gamers don’t want to feel average when they play a game.

They want to feel greatness.

That’s why the call to action that comes across is “Your Greatness Awaits.” It’s an inclusion call to action, implying that greatness awaits when you join the Playstation family.

Context matters with a landing page video. What you don’t see with this example is the layout surrounding this video on the site’s landing page. Next to this video was a blue box that said “Be Great With the Playstation 4” with a call to action button titled “Learn More.”

Here, the content box does the heavy explicit lifting while the video has the more subtle call to action. The call to action in a memorable landing page video ties the visuals and writing all into one succinct phrase. It makes you feel like you’re a part of the grandness in the video, giving you that one last push to buy the product they’re offering.

Sound Off!

These six aspects combine to create memorable landing page videos, and the examples I used throughout the article are some of the most memorable ones out there.

But there are MILLIONS of videos on the internet, so I’m curious to see if you have any other videos I may have missed.

Share in the comments below some of your favorite videos and what aspects from this list they contain.

  • Love this, great post.

    We’ve actually just used most of what’s mentioned in our new explainer video for our new platform we’re launching ourselves!

    Also you can tell the Leadpages team has used lots of this in their Homepage Landing page 😉

    • Sean Bestor

      Thanks for the props, Stephen! I’m glad you were a fan of the post. I’d love to see this video you’ve cooked up (I may be a writer, but I’m a sucker for graphics and videos).

      • Should be finished by the end of this week! Will Update the post when it’s done!

  • Maciek

    By the way.. I always wanted to ask you guys at Leadpages.. What software do you use for your video presentations? I find them on of the best online. I know it is camtasia/screenflow for screencast parts but how about animated presentations?

    • Jack Anderson

      Hi Maciek! I’m Jack, one of the video guys at LeadPages. For the animated sections, we’re using After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Basically, we build the visuals using Illustrator and Photoshop and then animate the movement in After Effects. It’s pretty easy to learn the fundamentals of animating in AE, so even using clip art or stock photos to build your visuals and then adding some movement and text in AE can be am easy way to spice up a video!

      • Maciek

        Thanks a lot Jack. I will find a good course or tutorial on AE then. It is much more professional and interesting than simple powerpoint presentations I am used to creating.

        • Jack Anderson

          Absolutely! There is such a big After Effects user base that even YouTube will have a TON of tutorials to get you started. When searching around, using the keywords “motion graphics” or “kinetic typography” should point you in the right direction.

  • Sean – Great stuff! Have you made any videos or had a part in their creation? Would love to see more of your work.