Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

What ETF Marketers Can Learn from Animated Videos

28 Jul 2020

The once-humble animated ETF video, which was little more than a “nice-to-have” piece of content just a few years ago, has quickly become a cornerstone of many ETF marketing initiatives, sitting at the top of many ETF websites: front-and-center, and sometimes even making its way onto TV. Why this sudden shift? As the ETF landscape has expanded and matured, and as choices for investors have multiplied, capturing prospective investors’ attention has become imperative. In addition, as investor research and education has made a decisive shift online (which the ongoing pandemic has only accelerated), attention spans have only shrunk, resulting in a scramble for investor mindshare. Enter animated ETF videos: quick, punchy, and to-the-point. What can ETF marketers learn from this important medium? Let’s dive in.


Simplicity is key

Although animated videos can be as long or as short as you like, we generally target one-to-two-minute videos when we put these pieces of content together. Anything longer, and the evidence points to a precipitous drop off in viewers. You have around 8-10 seconds to grab your audience’s attention with a provocative question or hook, and no matter what you do, you’re likely to lose a third of your audience by 30 seconds. At one minute, you’ve lost around 45 percent of your viewers, and at two minutes, sixty percent of your viewers will have lost interest and clicked away.

In other words, time is absolutely of the essence when it comes to animated videos, and there simply isn’t enough time to communicate everything important about an ETF in two minutes or less. ETF marketers need to think long and hard about what one or two key value propositions they’d like to highlight in the video, and pour all of their creativity into communicating those value propositions simply, clearly, and effectively. While this “simplicity” principle is often operative in other pieces of ETF marketing content, it’s especially important in an animated explainer video, where the viewer encounters audiovisual content in time that they are unlikely to skip back or rewind if they don’t quite absorb what they’re being presented with.

Be sure to also see our related post: Here’s What’s Wrong With Your Video Content


In a video, you can’t communicate all value propositions to your target audience… and that’s okay.

Thankfully, animated explainer videos for ETFs are really just the beginning of the conversation between ETF marketers and prospective investors. An animated video is best thought of as an introduction or primer for an ETF. After watching it, prospective investors should have a better idea of whether or not they’re interested in learning more about the ETF. Additional content, including ETF detail pages, infographics, investment cases, and enhanced fact sheets can delve deeper into the mechanics behind what makes an ETF tick, while regular blogs, a steady drumbeat of PR appearances in the news, and an email list with other rich content will help keep an ETF and the firm behind it firmly top-of-mind for a prospective investor.


The bottom line

At the end of the day, animated ETF videos are just another tool in ETF marketers’ toolboxes. They force a simplicity and economy on messaging that can serve marketers well in many other facets of financial communications.