5 Ways to Make Better
Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are like commercials on steroids and the extra running time gives you the space to demonstrate a potentially complex product or service works. But There are still some important factors you need to think about.

Intro

An explainer video is a short animation or live-action film that explains a concept or promotes a product or service. They have been around for a while but have become increasingly popular and influential in the last few years, especially with start-ups. It's an ideal way to get a potentially complex idea across to an audience in a short time. When asked how they’d most like to learn about a product or service, a massive 73% of people said they’d prefer to watch a short video. This is compared to just 11% who’d rather read a text-based article, website or post. You do the math. There are several kinds of explainer video to choose from: animated, screencast, whiteboard or live action - choose the one that makes the best connection to your service or product. In this blog, we'll look at 5 things to consider to make you video even better.

1. Create a Short Sharp Script.

01

Introduce the problem

02

Answer the problem with your solution (via your product or service)

03

Finish with video with a Call to Action (e.g. sign up for our free trial by clicking here)

80% of explainer videos are less than 3 minutes long and most are between 30-120 seconds, so be ruthless in your decision making. Being concise and focussed with your message is absolutely crucial, especially in the beginning where you will be battling for the attention of the viewer. Set out what you’re going to be explaining and say why it’s important. If it's a complex subject, try and break it down into logical, digestible sections. If in doubt, leave it out.

You need to understand your audience and match their needs. Don't explain things too simply and don't get too complicated. Who is my audience and what am I trying to say with this video are probably the first two questions you need to ask and have solid answers for.

Focus on the benefits of your solution rather than the features. Features are often too complex and forgettable.

Once you have your concept and rough idea, it's always good to create a storyboard so you can see if it's working and refine it if it's not. Get input at this stage from people whose opinion you trust, but not from so many people you end up with 20 different opinions.

Don't be afraid to show off your accolades - these can be just as important as your benefits. Listing your well-known clients, awards, write-ups, quotes etc all establish an instant sense of trust between you and the viewer.

Problem. Solution. CTA. BANG!

2. Seeing the sound

If you are using voice-over, hire an experienced actor to give it credibility.

When choosing music, remember that musical taste is very subjective and use something that is appropriate for the tone of the video.

Using text in the video in addition to the audio is an effective way of highlighting key information that the viewer will remember.

It is also strongly recommended to consider how effective your video will be if it is muted when watching. How much information will be lost? A large % of people watch videos without the sound on so text and titles can convey information without the need for audio.

Sound and vision working together to create
an instantly fascinating and engaging experience.

3. A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Visuals can often explain a concept better than words so try and use visual metaphors if possible.

Explainer videos have a very specific purpose and goal so don't spend too much precious time and budget trying to create a beautiful piece of art. Keep it simple and direct. Having too much going on in your video may be distracting. Remember that the viewer can visit the rest of the site if they need more information, so for now focus on the key facts that will keep their attention and give them directions for additional info if they might need it.

For the budget you have, you should go for the best quality you can afford. There's nothing worse than a video that looks cheap and amateur and ultimately it won't reflect well on your brand. This is why animation is so popular for explainer videos. You can instantly bypass fear of bad acting and bad production values in your video with a medium that gives you more bang for your buck.

Clean simple animation lets you focus on the
message in this animated video from Motionhouse.

4. Think about the Psychological Impact

Less is more. If it's short and memorable, viewers will like it and follow it through to the end.

A strong initial hook gives a video a huge advantage to grab the audience's attention but ideally you need to retain it all the way through. Some visual tricks and smart editing will help to retain attention during the middle. A powerful CTA at the end will be the culmination of your efforts and that is what your should be aiming towards.

Ideally it should be simple, engaging, fun (if appropriate), visually appealing, non-distracting, informative and professional. Animated explainer videos tick all these boxes which is why it is the preferred medium of many companies.

A strong visual concept and fun
humour make this video stand out.

5. Branding

While making your video memorable, don't forget to make your product or service stand out.

Place your logo clearly visible in your video to maximize ad recall. Positioning it in the corner throughout or front and centre at beginning and end will ensure it gets exposure.

When designing the look of your video, use a visual style that complements your brand. What is the tone of the video? Is it modern or retro? Is your audience young or older? Does the colour palette work well with your company logo and branding?

And once your video is finished, what are you going to do with it? Creating a video is only half the task. Now you need people to see it. Your new video should be prominently promoted on your company website but also put it on hosting sites like Youtube and Vimeo. Share the video on all of your social media - it's unlikely an explainer video will go viral but you never know!

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways of reaching your audience so send it out on your email list with the CTA of getting people to watch the video. People prefer watching video to reading so build the video into your campaign and let it do the talking for you.

You certainly won 't forget
this explainer video.

Conclusion

Think of an explainer video as an elevator pitch. It's a perfect tool to sell your product or service with a short, punchy, direct, attention-catching message.

Their short length and simple design mean they are affordable to produce and the reward can be definitely worth it. 

Their flexibility means they can be embedded on a website, linked on social media or distributed via email.

And people like watching them - whether it's on a big screen at a work presentation, on the train going home… or even on a mobile device during a toilet break.

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