These days, the internet is full of competition, making it harder to sell products and services. Standing out among the crowd is more important now than ever. And let’s face it, there are endless ways to advertise your business, so it’s hard to choose a solution to help grow your business. This is where creating explainer videos can help!
Most marketing experts agree that the most effective visual marketing strategy is one that includes high-quality (explainer) videos. Not only do they grab the viewer’s attention, but they also retain it for longer than static visuals without life.
However, like any other advertising campaign, it has to be done right.
Enter this guide.
The following information will explain everything you need to know about creating explainer videos and step-by-step how to make them.
Table of contents
- What Is An Explainer Video?
- Types of Explainer Videos
- 5 Great Explainer Video Examples
- When Can I use an Explainer Video?
- Do Explainer Videos Work?
- How Do I Make An Explainer Video?
- Who Is Your Target Audience?
- Define A Clear Message and Call to Action
- Write a Powerful Script or a Creative Brief
- Collect Data, Research It, and Analyze It
- Make The Data Suitable for Video
- Find the Right Music for Your Explainer Video
- Find the right Voice Over for Your Explainer Video
- Select the right tools
- Hire A Freelancer to do it for You
- Identify the Template and Style
- Focus on visuals
- Video Production
- Publish Your Explainer Video and Distribute Online
- How to Make Your Explainer Video Go Viral
What Is An Explainer Video?
Explainer videos are best described as short videos that present services or products in a way that’s inviting, creative, and as unique as possible. Most are kept around the minute and a half mark but still include a great deal of information. These videos can be created using 3D animations, live-action, or animated illustrations. Furthermore you may even find one that’s made using a mixture of styles, as the videos are made to fit every company’s style and brand story.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Isn’t that just a commercial with a fancy name?” The short answer is no; they actually have differences.
See, explainer videos reside on the internet where the information is accessible on demand. So, an explainer video must tell a short story that can convert quickly.
Alternatively, television commercials are often repetitive and salesy. Let’s face it, and they are hardly ever even entertaining.
Types of Explainer Videos
There are four main types of video explainers. Here they are:
#1 Live-Action Explainer Videos
Live action explainer video is just what the name infers – footage of live people. In this style, the person(s) can directly talk to the camera or be an actor behind the narration. Such videos can also include elements of motion graphics such as text, colors, shapes, or lines.
#2 Whiteboard Explainer Videos
These are a fan favorite! Whiteboard explainer videos (also known as Doodle videos) are created to show someone drawing or writing on a whiteboard. This style works best when a creative approach is used to add the elements to the board. Here are a few pen-board explainer video styles:
- Some show a person doodling or writing on a board while being filmed. The video is then edited and narrated.
- Others may show a digitalized design that shows information being drawn automatically onto a board.
- Or simply a stock image of a hand appears on the board along with other information.
#3 Stop Motion Explainer Videos
Perhaps the least common (and sometimes underrated) style is stop motion. These videos are created using physical sculptures and Plasticine characters that are captured frame by frame before being animated using a video editor.
#4 Animated Explainer Videos
The last type is the animated explainer video. This animation style is the most common style of explainer video, especially for tech products and services. Some services have few or no physical objects to work with, and this is where animation video saves the day. Rather than make a live action video that makes no sense, it’s much easier to get creative with motion graphic explainer video. This form even allows you to update and edit for future use.
Animated explainer videos can also feature a 2D or 3D style, depending on the brand.
5 Great Explainer Video Examples
These videos are increasingly popular, so examples are everywhere on the internet. Here are a few of our favorites:
#1 Purina One
If you’re looking for a great example of a 2D animated explainer video, then look no further than Purina One. It depicts an animated cat and the owner. Both images are nice and friendly to view as the voice-over explains the benefits of Purina cat food.
Purina from Mac Wojcik on Vimeo.
Airbnb’s “What is Airbnb?” provides a great example of what an explainer video that uses two or more styles looks like. In this video, you are shown a mixture of animation and live-action to explain what an Airbnb experience entails. This video is well-made and does a great job explaining and demonstrating the perks of the company’s unique system.
#3 The Infographics Show
The Infographics Show is a YouTube channel that offers an extensive library of explainer videos. The videos on this site are more for informational purposes than to sell a product or service. For example, their most popular video is called “What Happens When You Die?”. This explainer video has over 23 million views! It uses 2D animation to show exactly what happens to your body after death.
Mint created an explainer video called “Personal Finance Management With Mint – The Best Free Way to Manage Your Money” that shows why some companies are better off using animation instead of live-action. The company found an effective way to use animation to illustrate how they gather financial information from a customer’s life to include in their setup. You’ll also see that they had screenshots of their software to help viewers familiarize themselves with their product’s layout and design.
Our final example comes from Workflow. They used a completely different style than the others we’ve discussed. This explainer video uses 3D claymation animation. You’ll notice that each of the animated characters and other elements is made from Play-Doh or clay. They depict action taking place on a real desk where the characters show the company’s story and what they do.
When Can I use an Explainer Video?
Lots of companies use explainer videos to show off their services and products in a compelling way. There are many reasons these videos can be used. Here are some examples:
- The launch of a new service or product: Such videos make the perfect visual for the launch of something new, as they provide an enticing first look at a product or service. In fact, they are great for first introductions to customers or can simply be shared via email or on social media to send traffic to your website.
- To showcase a product and explain how it benefits customers. Explainer videos are great for showcasing a product and explaining what benefits it offers. Most companies include before and after photos in these videos.
- To show customers how to use a specific service or product. Sometimes explainer videos are used to show customers how to use something. Regardless if the company is discussing a product or service, the video is meant to work as a tutorial. These videos can be included on the company’s website to act as an online tool or used in online manuals.
- To aid with problem-solving. Explainer videos that set out to solve a problem use a storytelling approach. The main idea is to discuss all pain points resolved by the service or product. This helps tell customers their lives will be better with the product or service. These videos are known for trying to play on the audience’s emotions to use persuasion as a sales technique.
- To summarize a blog post or article. This is the least common way to use an explainer video, which is a shame because it’s very effective. Since most people have a very short attention span, they don’t take the time to read long articles or blog posts. If you really want to get your point across, include an explainer video at the top of the article to save your public from having to read the information.
Do Explainer Videos Work?
Explainer videos are more effective than most other types of visual marketing techniques. Why? Well, there are actually several reasons. Let’s take a look at them:
- They can simplify a concept for the audience. Many companies use explainer videos to simplify information into smaller, easier digested pieces. If done right, you can bring a boring topic to life using a concise script, animations, images, and illustrations. Thus an explainer video using these elements can help your customers understand any aspect of your product or service.
- They play on emotions. Certain explainer videos tell a story to play on the audience’s emotions. This is a great way to engage your viewer as he or she will want to know more, or maybe even act upon their intrigue.
- They depict data better. When a viewer is presented with too much data at once, they can become overwhelmed. Explainer videos help because they are engaging, animated, and easy to watch. This makes your readers want to know what you have to share.
- They create lasting memories. Users prefer data when it’s laid out in a fashion that’s short and easy to grasp. So, making your information engaging and attractive helps the video remain in the viewer’s mind long after they watched it. If executed properly, the viewers may even tell their friends about it!
How Do I Make An Explainer Video?
Okay, it’s time for the part for which you’ve all been waiting! Let’s discuss the best way to make an explainer video. Regardless if you’re trying to create an animated explainer video, whiteboard explainer video, or 30-second explainer videos, we’ve compiled a guide below to help you along the way.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
The first step to creating an explainer video is to determine who your target audience is. This is important to ensure you are marketing to the right people. For example, if you run a parenting blog, then you’ll need to reach out to mothers, teachers, etc. Or, if you run a fashion blog, you may want to target women between the ages of 20 and 30 who live in Los Angeles and have a Bachelor’s degree.
With this in mind, here are some questions to ask yourself that will help determine your target audience:
- Who are they?
- What’s their greatest problem, difficulty, or desire?
- Where do they usually get their information?
- How does your product or service benefit them?
- What negative attention may come?
- Who does your audience trust?
Define A Clear Message and Call to Action
Your explainer video should portray a clear message to your public and give them an action to take. When creating your message, be sure to use words and concepts your audience will understand.
Your call to action can be defined using one of several methods. Here are the most common:
- Tell visitors to learn more on your website.
- Offer them a discount or promotional price when they make a purchase.
- Contact your sales team to purchase or schedule a demo.
- Provide their email in exchange for offers and news.
- Share the video on their social media accounts.
The key to using a call to action in an infographic video is to be focused and very specific, so your audience knows exactly what to do.
Write a Powerful Script or a Creative Brief
The most important component of your explainer video is the script. You can have amazing graphics and a celebrity doing the voice-over and still fail if the script is not well-written.
This is one aspect you will want to put quite a bit of focus on. It’s always best to try to write the explainer video script on your own. No one knows your customer’s pain points and concerns better than you, and this is where those items must be addressed. Be sure to consider things such as safety concerns, aspects that may confuse the customer, and any other negative characteristics that may come up.
Most experts agree that your script should follow an outline similar to this:
- A product overview
- Introduction to the problem
- Your solution to this problem
- A call to action
- Showcase your expertise via awards, testimonials, or write-ups
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when writing an explainer video script:
- Keep the video under 90 seconds.
- Introduce your value proposition and key message within the first 30-seconds of the video.
- Use second person and words such as “Your” and “You.”
- A bit of humor never hurts.
- Choose the correct tone for your script.
- Keep the language simple.
Eduard Stinga from Videoplasty.com (a great resource for stock animation scenes and motion graphics) created a great video tutorial on how to write a killer explainer video script.
Collect Data, Research It, and Analyze It
The data used in infographics can be collected in several ways. For example:
- Primary research – collecting data through surveys, interviews, case studies, etc.
- Secondary research – collecting data through published research, trade journals, studies, etc.
- Other sources – customer interviews, focus groups, market research, etc.
- Tools such as Google Public Data Explorer, Google Consumer Surveys, Mechanical Turk, The Guardian Data Store, etc.
As you’re collecting the data, ensure that the same details are available on at least two trusted websites. This is the step where you’ll draft all statistics and start framing the storyline.
Make The Data Suitable for Video
Now that your script is completed, it’s time to create a storyboard, Visme offers a free and easy to use storyboard creator. This will serve as the first draft of your explainer video. During this process, you’ll create simple drawings that serve as individual frames. This may be something of which you want to seek professional help.
The process includes these steps:
- Turning the script into frames.
- Initial draft and necessary revisions
- Styling of the frames
- Create a “shot list.”
Find the Right Music for Your Explainer Video
Does your explainer video need some catchy tunes? If so, here are some great places to find some awesome music:
- Storyblocks.com (Paid)
- Incompetech.com (Free)
- Aaudionautix.com (Free)
- Freemusicarchive.org (Free)
- Free Sound (Free)
- Jamendo.com (Paid)
- MusOpen (Free)
- Audiojungle.net (Paid)
- Soundcloud.com (Paid)
- depositphotos.com (Paid)
- YouTube Studio (Audio Library)
- Premiumbeat.com (Paid)
- Audiohub.com (Paid)
- Epidemicsound.com (Paid)
Just be sure to read the fine print regardless of which site you choose to use. Specifically, look into the sound file’s licensing agreements. Some cheap ones require a one-time purchase, while some are royalty-free, and others require attribution.
Find the right Voice Over for Your Explainer Video
The ideal voiceover will largely depend on what you are promoting and the audience you are targeting. Keep in mind that a poorly selected voiceover can turn even the best explainer video content into failure. A professional voice over will save you a time, energy and money.
Select the right tools
The secret to creating the best explainer videos is using the right explainer video software, app or online video maker tool. After all, without the correct tool; you can’t even start your video infographic.
If you happen to be an artist or designer, then you may find Adobe After Effects your go-to program. However, if you’re looking for DIY tools that are easier to use, then you’ll want to check out one of these:
Explainer Video Maker Tools
Whiteboard Animations Maker Tools
Hire A Freelancer to do it for You
It’s understandable if you don’t possess the skills to produce a video. The good news is that there are lots of professionals on the internet who can help. Here are a few ideas of places to begin:
Top Freelancers on Fiverr
Here’s a list of popular Fiverr video creation talents.
- Cool and professional whiteboard video for your success ideas in 24-hours
- Create a 2D animated video
- Professional whiteboard animation services
- Custom markerboard videos
- Create a 60-second high-quality explainer video in HD
- Animated sales or explainer video
- Professional video creation of explainer videos
- Do a great animated explainer video
- Create brilliant whiteboard animation
- Make 2D animation, whiteboard animation, infographic, and Facebook video ads
Hire an (Animated) Explainer Video Production Company:
Here’s a list of good explainer video production companies:
- Yum Yum Videos
- BluBlu Studios
- Explain Ninja
- Demo Duck
- Next Day Animations
- Animation Explainers
- Bread n Beyond
Identify the Template and Style
Now that you’ve chosen a quality explainer video maker tool, you need to decide what style you’ll use. Many of the tools we listed above offer editable templates, making it easier to create an explainer video clip.
Here are a few design styles from which you can choose:
Focus on visuals
Keep in mind that your explainer video’s graphics matter too. So, before you choose the ones you plan to use, be sure you understand what the Assets are and how they work. Some tools, such as Animaker offer a collection of assets where you can choose between numbers, charts, maps, etc.
Also, the key to visuals to remember is – a video infographic contains “info” and “graphics.” Be sure both elements are eye-catching, consistent, and relevant to your topic and brand.
Once you have everything in place, it’s time to figure out video production. This process consists of animation processes as well as the addition of sound effects, voice-overs, or background music. Producing a video infographic is very similar to producing a normal video, except for a few minor details. Here are the steps:
- Arrange every scene in the correct order. Check connections from one scene to the next.
- Place the elements in the appropriate space to coincide with the script.
- Enter all input data for the elements.
- Adjust element timing with each scene.
- Add all background music.
- Preview and edit as needed.
Publish Your Explainer Video and Distribute Online
Your video is officially finished. Here are some steps to help publish and distribute your explainer video:
- Export your explainer video onto hosting platforms such as Vimeo or YouTube.
- Share the video on every possible platform such as (but not limited to):
- Email Marketing
- Drip Campaigns
- Nurture Campaigns
- Create a website landing page
- Blog Posts
- Product Pages
How to Make Your Explainer Video Go Viral
If there were a secret code to create a viral video, everyone would be doing it. Sadly, it seems viral videos are an exception, not a rule.
Still, should you give up on video marketing? Don’t even think about it!
Most marketers will tell you not to put all of your focus into going viral. Of course, it’s everyone’s (secret) goal, but if we’re honest, we know it rarely happens.
Instead, focus on your audience and attracting them. While you may not have millions of audience members, you probably have at least some loyal followers. These people look to you for information, so never forget to consider their needs.
You’ve reached the end of our guide. We hope you now understand what explainer videos are, how to create them, and how to use them.
Do you have any advice that we forgot to mention? Or questions that we can answer? Comment below and let us know!
Finally, be sure to check out our page with 24 Awesome Infographic Tools to Create Stunning Infographics.
3 thoughts on “How to Create Explainer Videos: The Only Guide you’ll Ever Need”
Thank you, Sebastiaan for this blog article. I used Vidtoon to create my explainer video and it does help with explaining important aspects in a more interactive way.
Thanks for explaining explainer videos! Great article, really interesting.
Glad to hear you liked it, thanks Jermaine!