Three pitfalls of medical instructional videos to avoid

13th March 2023

What’s the easiest way to learn something new? No brainer – you watch a video.

Heading to YouTube to find a simple ‘how to’ tutorial to answer our questions is common practice, and in fact, 86% of U.S. viewers say they often use YouTube to learn new things. It’s a tried and tested format we’re all more than familiar and comfortable with, whether via training from employers, or from our personal use e.g. learning how to fix your own blender.

We generally refer to these as ‘instructional videos’ i.e. anything that gives users a guide to a process or a demonstration of how something works. (Side note – these are slightly different to explainer videos, but you can find out more about these here). This video format is particularly favoured by our healthcare and pharma clients, as a method for communicating often complex medical instructions in the simplest way possible.

So what makes an instructional video truly hit the mark for a medical audience? What are the key challenges and how do you overcome them? And how can you make sure it lands with the right people? To help you get started, we’ve put together three common pitfalls of instructional videos that you should be avoiding.

1. Avoid complexity

When it comes to medical marketing videos there are almost always a lot of important details you want to convey, but this can lead people into the trap of overcomplicating your message. The balancing act is refining your message so that you give the viewer enough information, but in a way that’s straightforward to understand. Videos that are too convoluted run the risk of confusing your audience even more than before they watched.

The perfect video will keep it simple. No need to be Steven Spielberg, your objective here is for your audience to come away from watching the video with a clear understanding of what you’re trying to teach them. It will guide the user through key messages, one by one. Generally, that means carefully breaking down every step, and not expecting the user to fill in any blanks or jump ahead.

We liked the simplicity of this example from birth control app Natural Cycles, which provides the viewer with a clear outline of what they can expect to learn, and combines very simple visuals with step-by-step narration at a pace that’s easy to absorb. It’s apparent that this is an instructional video made purely for healthcare professionals to learn from so there’s no frills applied, but there’s no frills needed for this message to land.

2. Don’t waste your money

We see far too many slick videos, with expensive and flashy visuals, that just don’t get the message across. A high-quality video that simplifies complex concepts, demonstrates proper techniques when using medical devices or enhances the learning experience results in a more enjoyable viewing experience – but the truth is instructional videos don’t always need a massive budget for this.

All that we’re saying here is you can keep it simple and do a perfectly good job. Take a look at this Eclipse™ needle instructional video example from BD Official. The video combines a mixture of real video footage of medical practitioners showing how to use the eclipse needle and clearly detailed close-up animations which clearly demonstrate proper technique and use of the equipment. The combination of the two makes for a clear and easy-to-follow film for doctors or medical practitioners looking to understand how the needle works.

Stethoscope and Laptop Computer

3. Speak to the right audience

In medical marketing, you need to ask yourself, is the video for medical professionals or their patients? What level of medical understanding are they likely to already have? Knowing this will determine your tone, your messaging, and the way you launch the video.

To make your instructional video effective your content needs to be tailored to your audience’s interests, needs and pain points. There are too many videos that use overly technical language, or even worse don’t answer the questions their audience is after.

Fannin, a company dedicated to providing medical devices, medicines and diagnostic products, does a fantastic job of understanding its target audience, resulting in a successful instructional training video that is both engaging and helpful. The video is a short animation that goes through exactly how to administer Fannin’s Metoject Pen. The language is clear and concise and avoids overcomplicated medical jargon, leaving the viewer knowing exactly what to expect when following this process themselves, even down to how it should look thanks to the realistic visuals used in the video.

Our work with Sanofi – making an impact

We know that creating a medical instructional video that effectively communicates your message isn’t easy. But, through our extensive experience working with the world’s biggest medical device and pharma brands on their healthcare video marketing, we know we have what it takes to take your instructional video to the next level.

Take our work with global leader Sanofi as an example. We created this instructional video about preventing and managing Hypoglycemia attacks. The video explains the symptoms to look out for just before someone is about to go into a hypo-coma. Not only does the video represent the step-by-step symptoms visually on a human, but it also incorporates graphs and stats that provide further detail on the symptoms the person in the video is experiencing. The best way to demonstrate medical symptoms is by visibly showing the viewer what to expect, and what we’d humbly say this video does successfully is present these visuals in a way that is both impactful and engaging.

Key takeaways

The key to ensuring that you communicate your videos effectively through instructional videos is to focus on your audience’s needs and pain points, making sure that you are giving them what they want. However, it’s more than that. It’s making sure that your content is concise, engaging and easy to consume.

Remember the mission is to create something that helps your audience understand and ultimately take action.

Chat to Us About Instructional Videos

Hopefully, the examples here have got the cogs whirring on how you might execute your next instructional video, but don’t feel like you have to do all of the hard work alone. At Hurricane, we specialise in end-to-end video production – from initial concept, right through to strategy and activation – so the earlier you get us on board, the better.

We’d love to have a chat about helping you with an instructional video. Complete the form below to get in touch now.

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