Zenzi – The Making of

When Sarah asked us to make their second video, we were over the moon to work with funky team Zenzi again. The Zenzi Team are great to work with: precise instructions and feedback, always in a great mood and open to ideas and suggestions.

This video was to be a mix of motion graphics and photographic elements – in keeping with their first video with us.

Once we had the script ready… it was into production mode:



Our designer made several frames to show the visual elements, the predominant colors and the design style we would use for the video. He also made one with Sarah’s photo as the video would be a mix between motion graphics and photography.

Here are the different frames, also called ” Style frames”


zenzi image (7) zenzi3 zenzi2


The Voice-over


We sent Sarah and the Zenzi Team a choice of samples voices.

They decided to go with Andy Cooper, a great professional voice-over and really cool to work with!

Capture d’écran 2014-10-07 à 15.04.46



The Storyboard


The storyboard shows all the keyframes that will be in the video.  Sarah could give us feedback on…

  • all visual elements and colours
  • storyline on the storyboard
  • typography (e.g. titles or typos)
  • Any references to prices or facts are correct

Once the Zenzi team were happy with all the keyframes, we went for animation, Hurrah!

zenzi-story3 (1)


The Animation, Music & Sound design


After some corrections and modifications, the Zenzi team were really happy to sign off their animated video.

From there we moved to music & sound design. Our sound engineer thought 3 different tracks could work (here they are, for those who are curious)

Option A

Option B

Option C


Final HD Video Files and glowing testimonial for Piehole. Hurrah!


They chose option C for the music track and had no feedback for the sound effects. They were happy exactly as our dear sound engineer did it.

Here is the final video:



And the glowing testimonial Sarah wrote us:

“The team at Piehole.tv has done it again! They have produced a video that is unique, insightful and memorable. They have channeled the spirit and enthusiasm of the Zenzi team into a final product that will undoubtedly drive leads and results. They are responsive, thoughtful and fun to work with. The bottom line? These guys are really, really good at what they do. Thank you, Piehole.tv!”

Thank you Zenzi!!!


Schedule a creative consultation


At Piehole, we can make the kickass video you’ve always dreamed of!

To chat to us about creative possiblities, contact aurelie@piehole.tv

See more videos on our Vimeo Channel by clicking here








How you can use a client testimonial in your explainer video

We were recently approached by rubberstamp.io to make an explainer video.  They are a new Dublin-based tech startup who have created an SAS product providing purchase order software for companies to control their spending.

They’ve only got a handful of clients, but one of their clients, UNICEF, were really happy and agreed to do a video testimonial.  Having such a prominent client giving a video testimonial seemed like the perfect theme for the explainer video.

If you have a customer testimonial on video, or who is willing to go on video for you,  it’s a great idea to use that footage as the backbone of your explainer video.  Below I’ve outlined everything you need in order to create a video like this:


The script:

For the “footage” segment which you need your client to record, it’s easiest if you keep it simple.  The more content you need them to supply, the more tricky the film shoot could be if you are doing it independently.  All you really need your client to record are 4 sentences:

  1. Their name, company name and job title (1 line)
  2. briefly discuss the pain point of the problem before your product  (no more than 2-3 lines)
  3. why life is better/easier now with your product (no more than 2-3 lines)
  4. a recommendation (1 line)

Then, like the rubberstamp.io video, you can get a professional voiceover to record a short, in-a-nutshell product explanation.  (This might not be necessary if you get the client to record everything you need, however it’s nice to keep the technical stuff to a minimum, and let the client rather focus on the agony and the ecstasy of life pre-and-post your amazing product, instead of explaining technical stuff).


The film shoot:

For the film shoot, we are willing to fly out to you to film and direct the shoot.  But to save budget, you can also do the shoot yourself, keeping the following tips in mind:

  1. Use an HD phone camera with a tripod.  Nexus 5 or iPhone 5, or one of the better Samsungs will also do the trick.   Make sure to adjust the settings on full HD settings (1920 x 1080).
  2. For the filming location, make sure to choose a well-lit space to do the shoot.  When setting up, first film a few seconds from a number of different angles in order to establish which angle has the best lighting and the least amount of shadows on the face
  3. If you have another person available to help you at the shoot, get them to film the shoot using another phone/iPad from a different angle, preferably using another tripod because this will be smoother.  But if you don’t have a tripod, you can go for handheld.  This footage will be used as quick cut-aways to have different angles. (Note that with handheld you’d only be able to use a couple of seconds at a time, so using another tripod is better.  You can also buy “gorilla pods” for your phones.
  4. You’ll need a hand mic to record the sound separately. The sound from the camera won’t be good enough because it is not in a studio environment, so there will be background noise that will make the video sound cheap.  Additionally, in order to have better sound, it’s good to be in a space that is carpeted and away from a busy/noisy street.  The best solution is to hire a sound engineer to attend the shoot and they will be responsible for sound.  We used a high-end mic from a sound studio, but if you are on a tight budget you can also buy a lapel mic, the SIMPLE LAV-MOBILE for example works with iPads and iPhones.
  5. Try to find a space that has some white background and foreground – or rather simple, uncomplicated backgrounds.  In that way, you have the freedom to add lots of animation afterwards in post production like we did with Rubberstamp.io
  6. Be sure to ask the client to do a number of takes of each of the 4 sentences mentioned above.  And also, what helps is to run through all the questions, and then do them again a few times afterwards.  Don’t be afraid of  getting lots of different takes. It really helps the editor.
  7. Like we did with rubberstamp, you can also shoot the outside of the building or the logo, or perhaps even the client working at their desk to have additional footage (optional)
  8. If you want to create any panoramic shots, be sure to switch off the image stabiliser
  9. On the camera settings, it better to have manual focus than autofocus. Just be sure to keep an eye on the footage throughout the filming, and do take the opportunity to have a 5 minute coffee break – this will give the “star” a chance to rest, and a chance for you to do a playback of the footage.


Finally – Piehole.tv can use your footage and work some magic, adding funky animation, voiceover and sound.  We’d also like to be able to direct the shoot via skype, if budget doesn’t permit us to attend the shoot in person.   To chat to us about creative possiblities, contact aurelie@piehole.tv

If you spend more than $6,000 on Paid Search

The claim to fame for explainer videos is increased conversion rates. We have produced over 150 videos and I’ve seen some 3x those rates and while others have seen no improvement.

Best practices are often not.

What I mean by that is, unfortunatly, there aren’t any blanket rules that work in all cases.  There are too many variables at play including …

  • traffic source (a biggie)
  • the call to action
  • the length (shorter = better IMHO)
  • the follow up
  • the product

Let me tell you what I have seen work …

Using an explainer video as sales collateral: Sending a prospect a video or having them review it before a call gets you that much further down the sales conversation. This works just as well when raising money with investors.

B2B Sales: Where there is more than one stake holder, the video makes it much easier to get attention internally, speeding the sales cycle. The video can be circulated internally and that is a resource the other guy might not have.

Messaging: I’d say about 20% of the companies who come to us can pitch their business well in under 20 seconds, which is about the attention span you can expect online at at cocktail parties. Committing to producing a video means you have to work on this pitch, which has a plethora of benefits. Chief amongst them, if the benefit can be explained simply, it if far easier for people to parrot that explanation and spread WOM. Of course, you don’t have to make a video just to work on your pitch but it often turns out to be the first time someone really has concentrated on that pitch.

Paid search: Paid search channels are not as crowded for video as they are for other channels (display, keyword). Today, there is an opportunity to buy cheaper relevant traffic if you have a video. Of course, there is a cost involved in making that video, so you need to do the math.

Doing the math isn’t straightforward. Lets assume that our video doubles conversions as has been reported by some clients. In effect, that is reducing your cost of sale. So lets say you have $10,000 to spend on your entire paid search campaign. Comparing spending all of that money on search vs allocating some to a video and paid search.

No Video Video
Ad Spend $10,000 $7,000
Production Cost $0 $3,000
Campaign Cost $10,000 $10,000
CPC $4 $4
Clicks 2500 1750
Clicks -> Sale 10% 20%
Sales 250 350
Ad Cost / Sale $40 $29


In these examples, doing a video makes sense. At a 2x improvement in conversion the break even point is $6,000, and here we are spending $10,00 in total.

Of course, that video also helps with conversion rates on organic and referral traffic but I’m ignoring that here.

I have put together a simple google doc you can play with at …


You Have an Explainer Video – So what?

piehole convert

So you have a shiny new video. It looks great. Your co-workers ooh and ahh. Your Mum finally understands what it is you do for a living. Super.

Let’s not forget that your video has an altogether more focused goal. Aside from giving you the warm and fuzzies, it needs to pay its way in the world and attract and convert more customers. Here are five ways to leverage your shiny new video into more profits.

Youtube Advertising

Congratulations! By making a quality video, you are already ahead of the crowd. Even if your competitor has a video, it is unlikely they have put a plan around how to promote it best. Google Adwords video advertising (or Youtube advertising) can give you the edge in reducing your Cost of Customer Acquisition.

If you are currently using paid search based advertising, you will be pleasantly suprised at how much more cost effective it is to buy traffic for your site.

If you would like some advice on how to get started, just email me. I can set it up for you.

Social Media Marketing

Now that you have a video, it can help you stand out above the crowd who are still pumping out infographics and blog posts with ever decreasing returns. That means, make sure your video is everywhere.

Instagram is a great platform for video. You can create an account and connect it to your facebook, twitter etc accounts and have the post reshared automatically. But how often you share is as important as where.

The lifetime of a tweet on twitter is 15 minutes before it dissappers down the stream.

That means that posting only once is missing out on a huge opportunity. You would need to post almost a hundred times a day in order to guarantee making sure everybody has seen your video. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a great way to interact with your followers. Instead, at least optimise the time you do post by using a tool like BufferApp which automagically finds the optimal time for you to post, and reminds you to keep your “buffer” full of useful material.

If you are skeptical, as I am, about whether a social media strategy is right for your video get in touch and we can figure out whether your video could net more leads via the social web.

Optimize your Landing Page

You no doubt have your beautiful video proudly displayed on your home page. But is that home page doing the best job it could. Explainer videos increase conversions up to 300%. If you haven’t seen a lift since deploying your video, something is wrong.

You Don’t know if your Video worked?

If you don’t know whether your video had an impact, that probably tells me that you need to configure your analytics. Wait! Don’t fall asleep on me. Analytics is super interesting. Believe me. There is nothing sweeter on God’s great earth than seeing a properly configered analytics setup accurately calculate the revenue flowing into your coffers.

You more than likely already have something like Google Analytics installed. This piece of software is a beast. It is designed for media corporations and blogs with hundreds of thousands of viewers. Not for measuring revenue for traditional business.

Trying to market online today without a correctly configured analytics install is like trying to steer a car without a steering wheel. Its dangerous (it can mean you are spending money on the wrong forms of marketing) or worse still, deluserary (it will lull you into a false sense of secrurity by focusing your attention on vanity metrics).

I can help get your analytics set up correctly. Why not get in touch and I can show you how.

Reach out to Influencers

The birth of your video can be a joyous occassion, and often gives rise to a nice opportunity to reach out to influencers in your industry and let them know about the new kid on the block. Building a list of people who influence online and sending them a personalised email, letting them know about the video, can often result in those people sharing the good news.

You may already have a list of such influencers built up. If not, crack open excel or a more sophisticated tool like BuzzStream and start building a relationship with these folks. You might be surprised by how receptive they can be to an entertaining video, often sharing it with their followers. You can easily post your video on social media sites such as

Video does much better than other content on these sites. Now that you have it – flaunt it!

This activity takes a little bit of time, but can be a big win. If you don’t have time, you can always get someone else to do it for you.

Sasha Blumenfeld is the [growthhackher] and has worked with Piehole for years before branching out on her own as a Growth Hacking consultant. She has a lot of experience in building sales funnels for startup companies and can help your grow your sales with practical, hard work.

Who wants to spend all day on Facebook?

Well…. if you’re working for “the man”, perhaps you do.  But if you’re a founder of your own startup like I am,  you probably don’t have all day to do social media marketing (which might or might not work).  I’ve been watching a lot of videos from the course “How to get your show’s first organic 10,000 views” by Brian Rodda.  It’s mainly aimed at people who have a show they’d like to promote, but I find that a lot of the information is also relevant to startups who would like to promote their online videos / content.

So back to Facebook.  Brian is saying that while you do have to “be everywhere” on social media, do also pick 3 platforms to put your focus on mainly (Facebook, twitter and instagram he recommends).  I thought that a pretty good tip he gave was to start with instagram, because it is like doing a 4 in 1.  Once you post on instagram, it’s so easy to share across all the different platforms (Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, foursquare).  See….


The only downside of instagram is that it doesn’t have any video friendly integration since it’s all about photos.  However, it is a good way of promoting some of your content very quickly – without spending all day on social media.  Buffr is another tool you can also use to “post once” and be “seen everywhere”.




Can you Afford the Cost of an Explainer Video?


How much does an explainer video cost?

We make awesome animated explainer videos for between $3,500 and $5,500 as of January 2014. Most US based animation companies will come in somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 for a 60 second video. You can find people on eLance and ODesk who will do the animation (but necessarily script writing, voiceover, sound etc) for about $1,000. Lets split the difference and say we have a $4,000 budget.

What do you get for your money?

Your Mom might finally understand what it is you are doing.

Honestly, a lot of people make a video for cosmetic reasons. It is a lot of fun making a video. You get to paw over your pitch, and talk about your own business for weeks on end. Everyone likes talking about themselves and this is a 5* reason to do so.
Having a video makes it much easier for your friends and family to understand what it is you are doing. Especially if you are in the tech space. This is because a skilled copywriter will broaden your message so that it is easily understandable by the audience. There is rarely a very good reason to layer techno-speak on top of a product description and our copywriters come up with ways of capturing the imagination.
Is that worth $4k to you? Maybe it is. We’re not here to judge you. Really.

You will get a 2x increase in conversion rate

If you are a numbers guy or gal, then this is a far more hard-hearted reason for getting a video done. Video boosts your conversion rate by sixty percent. This means that people who find your website are far more likely to sign up having watched a video.

If you are investing in paid search, you can do the ROI pretty easily. Lets take an imaginary funnel that might look like something like this …

Normal Video Landing Page
Spend $1,000 $1,000
Clicks @ .50 / click 2,000 2,000
Conversion to paid 1% 1.6%
Sales 20 32
LTV (lifetime value} $80 $80
Sales $1,600 $2,560

So in this instance, our $4k video would take 4 months to pay its way in the world.

Health warning: I don’t know what your pipeline looks like, but it doesn’t always look this healthy. Your milage will vary, but I’m sure you are smart enough to do the sums.

An SEO Bump

So why does video give you an SEO bump? Well, of course anyone that tries to tell you why is just guessing. Only Google really knows, but here is a theory that makes a lot of sense to me. If I were Google, I would take signal of the relevance of a search result as the amount of time people who were sent to that site, stay there. In other words, if Google sends someone to your website, it makes sense they detect whether you bounce straight back or stay there for a while. The longer the better, assuming if they sent you to the most relevant page, you’d stay there longer.

About half of people who come to a page with a video on it, will play it. About half of those will watch the video for at least 30 seconds. All of this bumps up the average amount of time spent on a page. A page with a video on it will have visitors spending on average 2 minutes on that page. So, if you are bounced to a page with a video on it from Google, you’ll spend more time on that page and Google will think it sent you to a better quality page to one that had you bouncing straight back. So, they’ll start to push you up the search rankings.
Make sense? Of course Google is very clever. They probably know we have videos on that page and take that into account, but it sill works. Pages with video on them do better in search rankings.  Another quick win is to use a Video Site map to tell Google about your videos. This will result in your search results having a thumbnail of your video when presented in the search results, again bumping you up the rankings.

But is is worth $4,000? Well, for that amount of money you could hire a “SEO” to do all manner or things to your website which would doubtless also bump you up the rankings. Of course, the SEO will move on to other projects after a while. The video will silently accrue benefit for months and years ahead.

A Faster Sales Cycle

I never saw this one coming. I rang up Adrian, one of our very first customers a few months after delivering our video to see how they were getting on. I asked them if the video had helped with their conversions or driven them any more traffic.

Yes, but that isn’t what has been so cool about the video.

Really? So what “so cool” about the video? It turned out that when Adrian went to meet investors or clients, he no longer had to spend 20 minutes explaining the key benefits of his property portal. The people he was meeting with already had a good handle on things having seeing the video . That meant the conversation could move along to more interesting topics like how much money they were about to fork over to Adrian.

An entertaining, engaging video also helped to lesson prospect’s natural sales resistance. This means that by the time you get to talk with them, they will have a more positive disposition towards your offer.

So can you afford an explainer video? You tell me. Really. Tell me. Fill out the creative consult form and lets chat.

A Zapper for your Website

I currently have 5 Gmail accounts.  Two personal, one for freelancing and one for Piehole.tv as well as one for piehole.co.uk.

No big problem you might say.

Until you start signing up for various online services.  Some I use my personal email for, some my professional.  Now, when I come back to that site I have two problems.

  1. What is my password for this site?
  2. Which email did I use for the login?

What ends up happening is that we have a spreadsheet where all of the user names and passwords go.  But seriously, this is a step backwards isn’t it?

Sites have 1Password have tried to provide a solution.  They are expensive and clunky.

What I really want is one of these.

My father in law has one.  You don’t need to take the key out of your pocket when you walk up to it.  It automatically knows who you are and lets you in.  Then yo just push a button to go.

Yeah.  That is what I want.

Well, a recent client, Zapper, is trying to make that dream come true.  And more.

Using your phone, you can sign up for and log into websites by pointing the phone’s camera at the QR code on the screen.  Logging in is nice, but not having to sign up with details each time you come to a new website is really sweet.  Of course, the website has to be “zapper compatible” and not every website is compatible right now.

Of course ,that is what our explainer video is aimed at helping to encourage.  So why don’t I get out of your way so you can see how it works for yourself …

Well, this is awkward, Explainer Videos are all wrong

The rise of the “explainer video” has been meteoric in the past 5 years.  Dropbox, Kissmetrics, crazyegg et al have all successfully persuaded us that if you can just explain your product better, you’ll up your conversion rates.

It makes sense right?  If only I could explain to you how my phase discombobulator worked, you’d surely take out your credit card and buy.

There is one problem.

You spent your youth being explained to in school.  Your football coached explained why you got cut from the team.  Your music teacher explained what you were doing wrong.  Your hot-ex explained how it is time to move on.

What people really want is information.  They want to be informed about the product they’d like to consume.  In fact, a video that informs them is a huge help to them.  And luckily for you and your newly minted “information video”, you’ll be in a better place than your competitor, who is still busy “explaining” why you must give up the reddies.

Of course, info-video, sounds awfully close to info-mercial, which doesn’t exactly hit the mark either.  Either way, stop explaining, start informing your customers, and watch your video performance improve.

What do you Look for in a Video?

Check out this kick ass word cloud we put together –  made up of the words people most use when asking questions about  explainer videos …


As you can see  “Effective” is a big word that people are interested in. How effective is your web site currently? How much more effective could it be with your very own explainer video? Like to find out more about our videos? Our process? Our lovely staff?

Then come chat with a Piehole producer or writer, just enter your details to chat now – or later.  Click here.   We would love to hear from you.


SquadPlus – The making of

We love Irish clients, a bit biased that way (as we are from the fair green isle ourselves- well half the team anyway) So when the guys from Squad plus approached us we rolled out the red online carpet and were more that delighted to be working on this project. The team were very decisive and after just 2 phone calls and a bit of negotiating the project got underway.


Look and Feel

Our designer made one frame with  the main characters to show the prodominant colours we would use for the video and an example of fonts. This is what he came up with, a little bit different to what we are used to as we have a new animator on our team – we think he did a rocking job! And our client seems to think so too – “Exactly what I was hoping for – very professional but not boring. I think the graphics on this are excellent … compliments to the designer :) ”

A few tweaks to the typography and footballers jersey colours and we were ready to boogie on to the next stage.



Voiceover and music Design

We sent the team at squadplus a number of voices for them to have a listen to, they decided on Steve Reed  as he fit best with there brand. They felt the deeper voices were probably too “serious” sounding for their needs, so  settled on Steve’s up-beat, enthusiastic tone. We source all our voice talent from Piehole.co.uk.  Not just because we like their name and we’re into nepotism, but because it’s a quality controlled voice over directory,  it’s from the top drawer.

All of our voice castings are done by Marjorie who is our expert casting director – should you need help on casting drop her an email












 Finishing Touches

After animation and a few sets of iterations, We put the final touches on the video, wrapped it up in a pretty bow and sent it out to the world – TAAAAA DAAAA this is what we ended up with.





We have to commend our new Producer Aurelie who is the latest addition to the team on her first successful production, Congratulations!! It turned out fantastic with her creative direction and style, and everyone involved was super happy, so happy in fact that the client went ahead with a second project with team Piehole. =)  All round happiness!!


Schedule a creative consultation

To have a quick chat with a Piehole producer or writer, just enter your details to chat now – or later.  Click here.    We’d like to hear more about your product first (we specialize in nerdy tech products), and then we can tell you about our availability to potentially work on your project and give you price options.