What is an Explainer Video?

Explainer videos are normally a short online marketing video, used to explain how your company’s product or service works and what problems you solve. Explainer videos are most often placed on a landing page, your website’s home page, or a prominent product page. Some sites have seen an increase in conversion rates by as much as 144% after including an explainer video. There’s no arguing that online videos are fantastic assets for any business no matter what the size.

Increase conversion

Sell more products and services.

Improve SEO

Improve SEO search rankings with video content. 70% of the top 100 search listings include video.

Boost engagement

Adding an explainer video will increase the time users spend on your website.

Social Media

Getting the word out about your product and services. Videos are easy to share on Facebook and Twitter.

Types of Video Explainers

01 / Live Action Explainer Videos

A non-animated promotional video explaining your business’s product or service. Live action explainer videos are usually best for companies selling a physical product or people-oriented services, such as a restaurant, or consulting group. Having flesh and blood people in your explainer video can create an emotional connection with viewers, as we are naturally drawn to other human faces. However, live action means you’re stuck to the confines of the real world.

02 / Animated Explainer Videos

The most popular type of explainer video, animation is often the preferred format for explaining services or intangible tech products like software. Some services involve few, if any, physical objects, making live action an unrealistic option. Animated explainer videos allow for more creativity, and are easier to edit or update when you want to make future adjustments.

03 / Whiteboard Explainer Videos

A whiteboard video is an explainer video in which animation is hand drawn and erased on a whiteboard. This format of video has become popular due to its ease of operation and low cost, making it one of the cheapest types of explainer video to create.

04 / Kickstarter Explainer Videos

You’ll notice that nearly all Kickstarter projects involve an explainer video of some kind. Really, Kickstarter explainer videos aren’t so different from a regular product or service explainer video, although they do tend to be longer. Browsing Kickstarter can be a fun way to see many examples of explainer videos.

How to make an Explainer Video

Here are the steps of how to make your own explainer video. It’s no easy task, requiring a ton of focus and effort, but we can guarantee it’s worth the work.

Write the Video Script

A great script is the backbone of any explainer video. After all, an explainer video is a summarised video on how your brand, product or service works. Your animated video script needs to explain in a way that is easy to understand. The hard part is keeping your script as brief and informative as possible.

The script is where you’ll need to spend the majority of your focus. It’s best if you write your explainer video script yourself (even if you choose to hire a production company). You know your target customer’s concerns and pain points better than anyone else, and the video is where those concerns need to be addressed. What freaks out your potential customers? What confuses them about your product or offering? If you haven’t already done some research to answer these questions, now is the time to consider surveying your audience and figuring this out.

It is recommended that your explainer video script follow this general outline.

Order of Script
  1. Quick overview of your product and what it does
  2.  Introduce the problem
  3. Answer the problem with your solution (via product or service)
  4. Call to action (e.g. sign up for our free trial by clicking here!)
  5. Broadcast your trust signals (such as well-known clients, awards, write-ups, etc.)
Explainer Video Script Best Practices
  • Keep it short – 90 seconds or less is ideal.
  • Your key message and value proposition should be in the first 30 seconds. Don’t keep folks wondering.
  • Speak in 2nd person, using words like “You” and “Your.”
  • Use simple language – don’t alienate viewers with technical terms they won’t understand.
  • Keep in mind the tone you want for your explainer video. Most videos opt for a casual, conversational tone.
  • Try a touch of humour – videos with some subtle laughs tend to be more enjoyable.

Recording the Voiceovers

Once you have a script, you’ll need a voiceover. Some options are:

Big Mouth – A New Zealand voice talent agency. You can then enter your script and it will calculate the fee according to the number of words.

Word of mouth – Established in 1996, Word of Mouth is New Zealand’s longest running voice talent agency. They represent professional voice artists from various backgrounds; including film, tv and theatre actors, radio personalities, comedians and musicians.

Voices –  An American wesbite but many New Zealand voice over artists are listed here.

Explainer Video Production

There are a number of different paths you can take when it comes down to the actual creation and production of your explainer video. Options include:

Bring Out the Expensive Pros

There are some very talented professional video production only companies out there that can help you make a killer promotional video. You’ll have some high explainer video costs if you go this route – be prepared to shell out anywhere from $5,000 – $20,000 for a service like this. The advantage is that you’ll have video experts helping you every step of the way, and your video is guaranteed to look great.

Go the kiwi way and DIY

Pow Toon: if you’re making animated explainer videos, have no animation experience, but want to do it yourself on a budget, Pow Toon is the way to go. Anyone with some basic computer skills can use this animated explainer video software. It likely won’t be a masterpiece, but it’s easy to create and free (to start at least). They even have a tutorial series to walk you through building your creation.

DIY Explainer Video with iPhone: That’s right, you can film your own explainer video on your iPhone! This awesome post from Wistia will show you how. DIY filming is a great way to create cheap explainer videos. For the editing, iMovie or Camtasia are good choices.

Hire a Freelancer

Experienced freelancers can provide high-quality explainer video production assistance at a much lower cost than a large production company. You may have trouble to find one easily enough that you then have to interview and run the risk of not be able to go back to them for changes later if they have decided to no longer be in business.

Music and Sound Effects

This involves editing the music, mixing sound effects and making some audio adjustments in order to enhance the overall perception of the video and reinforce the power of the message. Also, the background music adds emotion to the story. Have in mind that sometimes, the music and the sound effects can be as important as the video itself. Some places to get tracks from include:

  • MusOpen: Offering free music resources such as recordings, sheet music, etc.
  • Free Sound: A database of Creative Commons licensed audio samples and recordings.
  • YouTube: The king of video itself offers some free background music to use in video creations.
  • Audio Jungle: Royalty free audio files including loops, sound effects, and more.
  • Audacity: This free tool isn’t a source of audio files, but instead helps you create your own.

Remember to read the fine print carefully on these sites with regards to what is or is not permitted under the sound file’s licensing agreement. Some are a cheap one-time purchase and royalty free, others require attribution, etc.

Measure the performance of your explainer video

Measure video engagement and be ready to tweak your video. You’ll be able to see some solid data with YouTube Insight, but Google Analytics can take you even deeper, so long as you’re game for setting up nifty custom event tracking.

Imagine seeing plays, pauses, how many viewers hit the 30 sec. mark vs. 60 sec. mark, etc. Wistia has some nice analytic tracking options too, and also makes it easy to sync up Wistia and Google Analytics.

Now go forth and create some killer explainer videos! Let us know how it goes or whether we can help you with the process.