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How to create a great explainer video

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Did you know that your customers want to see explainer videos from your brand? It’s true. In a recent Wyzowl survey 87% of people said they want to see more video from brands and 39% of them cited they want to see more explainer style videos. So, why do audiences and customers love explainer videos? Humans are naturally curious and like to learn about new things especially, before we purchase or invest in them.

A well-executed explainer video will clearly explain topics of interest in a visually compelling and easy to digest way, in this article we’ll discuss how great explainer video are created and why.

What is an explainer video?

“An explainer video is a short video commonly used by businesses to quickly tell their brand, product or services story in a memorable way.”

Video educates audiences in an engaging way

The Wyzowl video marketing report also found that 96% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service and 68% of people say they’d prefer to learn about a new product or service by watching a short video. This makes video more popular as a learning tool than text-based articles which were only preferred by 15% of people.

Incorporating explainer videos into your marketing strategy will enable you to tell the story of your product, brand, service, business etc. in a quick and easy way that viewers will enjoy.

The main benefits of explainer videos

We know users want to watch them because the best videos are easy to understand and digest in a short space of time but what value can explainer videos add to your business? Here’s three reasons to get your explaining video production hats on:

  • Increase website conversions: a well-executed explainer video placed on your website homepage or product page has the potential to drive more sales or leads, video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. Video is a great sales support tool online and 64% of customers often buy a product after seeing a product video about it.
  • Increase awareness and reach through video sharing: videos are easy to share on social media platforms, for users all it takes is one click or tap to share a great explainer video with their network of family and friends. It’s not surprising to us that 48% of people said they’d be most likely to share video content with their friends, ahead of any other type of content.
  • Ensure potential customers clearly understand what you do: many businesses have a difficult time clearly explaining their services or products and visitors to their website often leave not understanding their offering and benefits clearly. An explainer video will help all viewers know exactly what your brand can do for them.

Key types of explainer videos

Each type of explainer video is designed to enable a brand to distill a wide ranging and complex idea into a viewer friendly package, after watching the video a viewer should leave with a clear understanding about what a company does and why it’s products or services exist. Explainer videos are short and compelling, and there are three types of explainer videos commonly used by businesses today:

  • Animated explainer videos
  • Live action explainer videos
  • Whiteboard explainer videos

Animated explainer videos

Use of animation in explainer videos is very popular amongst companies with a complex story to tell that doesn’t involve a physical product or tangible service. Brands that use this style of explainer video clearly articulate what they do and the benefits of it with the help of animated characters, scenes, words, voiceover etc. The style of animation varies greatly between brands from simple stick men to elaborate 3D universes, brands that use animated explainer videos have complete freedom to create their own unique look and feel which will effectively showcase and explain their stories.

This style of explainer video is easy to edit and update going forward which makes it a cost-effective choice for businesses with a smaller video marketing budget. Animated explainer videos are a great choice for most kind of businesses from tech software companies to sustainable coffee bean producers. All you need is a little imagination and a creative video production team to partner with.

Example: Klarity Training – The Happiness Course

This animated explainer video was produced by Fresh Cut for Klarity Training to explain their service ‘The Happiness Course’. The story being told in this video is a real customer testimonial, the customer narrates her experience with the brand as a colourful animation of her plays on the screen.

Combining a customer testimonial with animation creates a fantastic explainer video; the real voice of the customer adds a level of empathy and builds an emotional connection with the viewers, whilst the simple animation makes the story more engaging and easier to follow. This video has been crafted especially for its target audience of clients who may be lacking confidence or feeling lonely, and it inspires them to contact Klarity Training to learn more.

Live action explainer videos

This style of explainer video is basically non-animated, and they work best for companies with a physical product or people orientated product to sell, such as a beauty product or airline tickets. When you feature real people in video you can create a more powerful human and emotional connection with your viewers. What do you want users to feel when they watch your video? If it’s a strong emotion such as humour or sadness a live action explainer video could be the best format for your brand.

Example: Dollar Shave Club – Our blades are f***ing great 

This is a fantastic example of a live action explainer style video ad which was so effective and engaging, it went viral. Not only is the content expertly structured, this brand understands their target audience perfectly and have scripted their video storyboard to appeal to the twenty-something razor using male’s humour. Explainer videos created to advertise a brand often don’t come better than this example.

Whiteboard explainer videos

The most low-cost option for creating an explainer video is a whiteboard explainer video. These videos have a very low-key look and feel, they feature hand drawn animation on a white board which is added and erased. Whiteboard explainer videos work well for B2B propositions which are complicated yet not too corporate. If you choose this style you are limited with how much of your brand you can visually inject into the video content.

Understand your target audience

Every great explainer video begins with a clear video content brief and video storyboard. Planning is an essential step in creating any video and when it comes to explainer videos you must have a solid understanding of the target audience(s) who you are explaining your story to. It’s sounds obvious but many brands think from their own perspective first rather than the customers, don’t make this mistake too.

We recommend that you bring your target audience to life with a persona moodboard. Consider what are their likes and dislikes, their current mindset, any challenges they are facing, priorities etc. as well as any relevant demographic detail such as gender, age, location etc. This simple yet effective process will help get ideas flowing and guide you towards the right tone of voice and content style for your brand’s explainer video.

How can an explainer video be used?

Explainer videos are often featured on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Linked In, or a website’s home page, prominent product page or dedicated landing page. Where you feature your explainer video will depend on your video marketing strategy goals but you can really use it anywhere, from your team’s email signatures to face-to-face new business pitch meetings. If it’s appropriate for somebody you know to see it why not share it with them and invite them to share it with their network too.

What makes a great explainer video

There many elements that come together to create a great explainer video and they are depend on the video brief and type of explainer video. However, the key elements to consider that will ensure your explainer video is credible and engaging are:

  • The story: What are you explaining and why? This needs to articulated well so that your target audience can understand it clearly. Ensure that your story covers: who is your brand, what do you do, what problem or challenge to your customers face, how does your brand help them, what should the viewer do next.
  • Voice over: Many explainer videos incorporate a voiceover, particularly animated explainer videos it makes perfect sense to have a knowledgeable voice explain what’s happening as a visual story is played out on your screen. Read our tips to understand more about great voiceovers and how to produce a professional one for your video. 
  • Video length: Try to keep your explainer video under 2 minutes long, 90 seconds is usually the best and most effective length.

How to make your own explainer video in 5 steps

  1. Define your video brief: What are your marketing goals? What do you want to viewers to do or feel? Who are your target audience(s)? Where will your video be used? Whats your budget? Do you want to appoint a video production agency?
  2. Create a video storyboard: Plot out your story frame by frame and play about with the sequence of them to ensure you have all angles covered and explain a cohesive and compelling story. Always circulate your video storyboard with your video creative team ahead of production or shoot day(s). 
  3. Write a script: Will your explainer video have a voiceover, or will the actors speak? Will it be a bit of both? Write an engaging script to support each of your storyboard frames and practise the flow of it out loud before you move on to step 4.
  4. Explainer video production: Whether you are creating an animated explainer video or live action for a top class execution we recommend appointing an experienced explainer video company, such as Fresh Cut. However, an animation tool such as PowToon makes it possible to produce an animated explainer video yourself.
  5. Edit to perfection: Now is the time to add the finishing touches such as voiceover, background music and/or sound effects. Strive to ensure slick execution of every visual and audio element as your story unfolds frame by frame. Your goal is to explain your story in a quick (circa 90 seconds), easy to digest and engaging way!

Let’s create a great explainer video

Does your brand have a great story, product or service to introduce and explain to the world? If so, let’s make a fantastic explainer video and tell your target audience about it. Fresh Cut are a leading video production company helping brands tell their stories on TV and online since 2006. With studios in Leeds, Manchester and London we are proud to work with brands and budgets of all sizes. Take a look inside our fantastic portfolio of creative video content and get in touch with our talented team to discuss your next video project.