How to Create Explainer Videos [Complete Guide]

Tara Parachuk | August 23, 2020

Explainer video clapper against a blue background

Explainer videos help to engage existing and potential customers by communicating your brand’s services and products in a simple and engaging way, particularly through attractive visuals and clear language. They are usually short, educational clips that help your customers understand how your products and services work, as well as address frequently asked questions.

Ultimately, explainer videos are an amazing tool for brand awareness, and increasing conversions. 

In this article

  1. Explainer Videos – Rise in popularity 
  2. Why Create Explainer Videos
  3. 4 Ways You Can Use Explainer Videos
  4. 1. Trade Shows and Conventions
  5. 2. Sales Pitch
  6. 3. Corporate Training
  7. 4. Website Placement
  8. Characteristics of a Great Explainer Video
  9. Animated Explainer Videos vs Live Action Explainer Videos
  10. Live Action Explainer Video
  11. Animated Explainer Video
  12. How to Make An Explainer Video
  13. Explainer Videos Improve Learner Retention
  14. Explainer Video Examples in 2020
  15. Ready to make one?

With all these great benefits, explainer videos are being used by more and more companies around the world. Here is everything you need to know about how you can leverage these powerful videos to raise your brand’s profile, and your revenue.

Explainer Videos – Rise in popularity 

Explainer videos weren’t always around, and they only started gaining popularity in the early 2000s.

In 2009, Dropbox and Common Craft created a short video explaining their services, which resulted in 10 million sign ups. People were shocked to see such a response, and tech gurus starting talking more and more about explainer videos, spreading the trend across the globe.

As Jason Kincaid explains in this Tech Crunch article about the power of video demos regarding the average consumer’s mentality, “If you don’t have some kind of bite-sized hook that introduces them to your product, there’s a good chance they’ll stare quizzically at the screen, shrug their shoulders, and head back to Google to find something else that fixes their problem.”

And this is exactly why the explainer video format worked, it was delivering ‘bite-sized’ information in an exciting way. Not long after that, several more viral videos popped up. This was only the beginning.

In 2012, Dollar Shave Club’s edgy explainer video went viral and people realized how valuable such content could be. Far from dry and boring, this video became famous for the way it leveraged the power of humor. It perfectly explained the company’s services in an entertaining way, yet the message was not lost in the comedic delivery. This is where the success lies. The video showed how people’s short attention spans could be used to deliver educational content in a memorable way. 

And from there, the trend only grew. Now, you can see almost every brand employing video content that attempts to connect with the audience on an emotional level. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, which all support videos, have boosted the explainer video’s popularity even more. Short, value-packed content is perfect for deployment on social media, while also still engaging short attention spans.

Why Create Explainer Videos

Positive examples from the Dropbox and Common Craft’s explainer video, as well as the Dollar Shave Club, demonstrate why the videos went viral. However, you might still be wondering if explainer videos are a good fit for your brand. Here are a few reasons why you may wish to create an explainer video:

  • Ease of comprehension: Explainer videos help you break down your products and services in a way that makes the information digestible and easy to understand. 
  • Showcase your brand to a wide audience: Explainer videos help you strengthen your brand because the video carries your brand voice and image, reaching millions of potential customers everyday. 
  • Explainer videos are cost effective and have ‘viral potential.’ The reach is so vast and unimaginable because people share what they find unique and the next thing you know, your video has gone viral. This is why it’s a perfect tool for digital advertising. It’s just so cost efficient.
  • Shorter videos are more cost-effective to produce than traditional-length ads: Because explainer videos are usually less than a minute long, the cost and time put into them is comparatively lower than normal ads. Small brands can also afford to use them for their marketing strategy.
  • Explainer videos are excellent content for digital distribution and social media: The rise of social media has decreased our normal attention span and people are now wary of long, overbearing ads. Nobody cares how good your product is, they don’t want to watch a 5-minute long video on your high-tech hair dryer. They would rather scroll Instagram for hours and that’s the truth.

All of these reasons and more offer insight into why you need short and snappy content for your brand, like an explainer video. The videos also have a universal appeal because they are easy for diverse audiences to understand and you can also translate them quickly.

4 Ways You Can Use Explainer Videos

Explainer videos can help you increase your conversions, but they can also address many other things such as customer issues, industry processes, industry news, and brand strategies. They are highly versatile.

You can use them for trade shows, conventions, sales pitches, corporate training, website placement, etc. Below, we’ll explore four powerful ways to use explainer videos:

1. Trade Shows and Conventions

Explainer videos help you stand out at trade shows and conventions. Trade shows are always competitive, but it is important to take advantage of the crowds and reel them in. Having an explainer video playing in the background at your booth (perhaps on a laptop or TV screen), quickly shows onlookers what your brand is about. 

Similarly, using explainer videos at conventions is a great way of getting industry insiders excited about your new products or services. It creates an instant buzz and gets people talking.

2. Sales Pitch

Explainer videos are great for a sales pitch because they can breakdown complex products and services for customers and clients. The explainer video can help convey the ideas behind your product or service and also leave a lasting impression on the viewer. As a result, you begin making more sales and who doesn’t want that? 

3. Corporate Training

Corporate training can be boring at times, but explainer videos can add some fun. More and more, companies are using explainer videos for a variety of training topics, especially for software basics such as project management and sales tools, like Asana and Salesforce etc. Explainer videos ensure that your employees can easily retain important information.

4. Website Placement

Placing an amazing explainer video on your website can decrease your bounce rate, as it will catch the visitor’s attention and entice them to learn more. However, for the video to be effective, you will have to make sure that it captures not just what you do as a brand, but also how you differ from competitors.

Explainer videos can amp up the beauty of your website and strengthen your brand image, because let’s be honest…who doesn’t enjoy captivating graphics?

Characteristics of a Great Explainer Video

Wondering what the magic formula for making an amazing explainer video is? Here are the qualities of an effective explainer video: 

  • Short: Explainer videos are usually shorter than 90 seconds. Keeping them under 1 minute is a good strategy.
  • Simple: They should be clear and concise. The main questions you should be answering are, ‘What, How and Why.’ 
  • Focus on customer pain points: The video should aim to address questions customers may have about your brand/products/services.
  • High-quality: The video will reflect your brand. Therefore, the quality must be high, otherwise people won’t associate your products/services with quality.
  • Brand colors: Use your brand’s color palette to make your video instantly recognizable.
  • Music: Set the tone for brand by using appropriate and attention grabbing tunes in your video.
  • Professional voice over: A good voice over can help your brand instantly connect with audiences. Having a voice over that reflects your audience is extremely important because explainer videos can reach millions of viewers.
  • Great script: To get a great voice over, you need a great script. Tip: Here’s an in-depth post on How to Write a Great Voice Over Script.

Animated Explainer Videos vs Live Action Explainer Videos

Your explainer video can use live action or animation to spread your message. The decision to go with one or the other depends on the nature of your business and audience type. Here is a bit about each type of video to help you choose which format will work best for you.

Live Action Explainer Video

Live action explainer videos are great if you are selling tangible products like bread or razors, because people like seeing how the product looks in order to determine the quality. 

Live action explainer videos are also appropriate for personalized services like restaurants and banks because they help people see your business in action. 

If you have a cool restaurant, you would want people to see it. If you use an animated version of your restaurant, the appeal won’t be the same, and all the hard work you put into setting up the place will go to waste.

However, producing high quality live action clips can be very expensive and time consuming. There are also limitations to what actors can do. For instance, not everyone can do stunts and intricate sets can be costly.

Most importantly, if you have a global audience, catering to all cultures can be quite difficult when you use live action. You won’t be able to appeal to some countries or regions due to cultural differences. This is where the animated explainer video comes in.

Animated Explainer Video

Animation allows you to explore your brand’s creative side by either revolving around something highly creative, or just simply showing your brand’s processes. Animated videos allow you to achieve what live action videos can’t, whether it’s depicting a flying unicorn or animating the production process, the possibilities are endless. Additionally, animated explainer videos are also easy to brand because you can use your own color palette and logo.

Just like cartoons, animated explainer videos appeal to a variety of audiences and can be easily dubbed in different languages by using multiple voice overs. Being able to add localized voice over makes explainer videos absolutely perfect for appealing to a global audience.

How to Make An Explainer Video

You know why you need an explainer video. Now what?

The next step is learning how to create an explainer video. Learn about the explainer video creation process to get started on your project today.

Explainer Videos Improve Learner Retention

Well produced educational videos are great, but their long length can cause learner retention issues. Nowadays a trend in elearning content has companies steering away from long lecture-style videos and choosing videos that are short and to the point.

Shortening the length and providing clear content vastly improves the learner’s retention rate, by delivering the right amount of information. Explainer videos deliver this information in an engaging way, taking normal retention rates up a notch. They are perfect for corporate training and new product launches.

Explainer Video Examples in 2020

Want to know what great explainer videos look like? We found 5 great examples for you, so you can get inspired and start creating one right away.

1. Mint

Mint uses 3D animation and linear motions to walk us through the benefits of their financial management software, with their upbeat voice over and graphics keeping viewers hooked.

2. What is AI or Machine Learning?

Hubspot’s video takes a complex topic like AI and breaks it down in a simple, yet exciting way. The animation style keeps viewers engaged and the video even throws in a bit of robot related humor. What’s not to like?

3. Amazon Go

Amazon uses live action to depict how their revolutionary grocery stores work. A complex process is broken down into simple steps, showing customers the ease of use.

4. Headspace

Headspace uses quirky animation to deliver the customer pain points and offer simple solutions. Their simple and straightforward style has a universal appeal and caters to all age groups.

5. Tripcase

Tripcase’s explainer video shows how their customers remain calm and collected during stressful travel situations, all because of their easy-to-use services. The actor is met with several interruptions, but she continues to do her thing, showing how the service simplified her life. This live action video is a great example of showing your audience the positive results of your services.

Ready to make one?

Now you know how to create a great explainer video and you’re probably excited to get started. So, begin your project today by finding the perfect voice over for your video.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *