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Explainer Videos: Guide to Creating Videos that Convert

Explainer videos have become one of the best ways for businesses to communicate important information about their products and services.

When you use explainer videos, you will be able to share important information like your prices, specifications, goals, and benefits in a clear and interesting way that can capture your audience.

This article will be your guide for knowing all about explainer videos that convert from its meaning and benefits to the different types and categories.

What is an Explainer Video?

An explainer video is a short video, normally of no more than 1 to 2 minutes that explains a product, service, company or even just a concept in a very simple and easy to digest manner. The focus of these kinds of videos is the viewer. 

Interestingly the first official explainer video ever uploaded was published by Common Craft in 2007 on YouTube. Called RSS in Plain English, it does exactly what it says on the tin. 

Due to the success of the concept, it became the benchmark for many other businesses and websites who made similar videos and included them in their marketing strategy. Although they often take the form of animations or “whiteboard” videos, there are no hard and fast rules about it.

Why Should You Use Explainer Videos in Your Marketing Strategy?

Now that you know what explainer videos are, here are some reasons why you should include them in your marketing strategy:

1. Videos are easier to digest for audiences.

72% of customers would choose to learn about a product or service through a video

Since humans process information through both the visual and auditory channels, videos are an effective way to audiences to digest information in an easier way compared to just reading information.

Explainer videos get to stimulate both the visual and auditory channels because they give us something to watch and something to listen to as well.

2. Explainer Videos help with saving your time and resources.

Preparing for pitches and providing customer service takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. Explainer videos can help lighten this workload that may become overwhelming.

Instead of having your sales team present the same pitch over and over to potential clients, you can just prepare an explainer video that will touch on the most important information that clients will be looking for.

Explainer videos also help with dealing with inquiries that are directed towards your customer service team. You can create explainer videos that can answer the most prominent questions and concerns your customers may face. 43% of video marketers say that video has been able to reduce the amount of support calls they have received.

3. Videos provide you with a great return on investment.

It is worth it to make great explainer videos because when they perform well, they provide you with a great ROI. They can give you great results when it comes to your reach, traffic, and even conversions.

Videos can help you gain better reach because anyone that is online can find your video and even share them with their friends and family. Social videos are able to generate 1200% more shares than text and photos combined.

87% of marketers have also said that videos have helped them in increasing the traffic to their website. Along with this, videos can also increase the organic search traffic for your website by 157%.

youtube video website

What Makes an Explainer Video a Good One?

Now we have covered the basics, let’s look at what is normally included in these kinds of videos. While the content may be different, almost all explainer videos meet the following criteria.

  • High Quality – the quality is important, with regards to quality and production, for the video to successfully engage with the audience
  • Match the brand tone, style, and target audience – explainers are most effective when their tone and style matches with the company branding and are designed with the target audience in mind
  • Focus on solving a problem – rather than just talking about a product or service, the best focus on a problem the audience is familiar with and explain why they need a product or service to solve the problem.
  • Feature an effective call to action – there’s no point in having a great explainer that doesn’t tell your audience what you want them to do after they’ve finished watching it.
  • Short – you will find most are less than 3 minutes, with the most effective lasting only 1 to 2 minutes. 

With the above in mind, then, how do you convey all you want to in such a short length, while maintaining the quality, including a powerful CTA and solving a problem in a way that’s easy to understand?

You follow the same structure that all explainer video creators follow:

  • What is the problem?
  • How does your service/product solve it?
  • Why should your target audience choose your solution?

You need to be economical with what you include in your explainer videos. Too many fail because they get wrapped up too much in the what or the how without focusing on what’s important, the why.

You see, it’s all very well explaining your company, its product or service, but if you don’t effectively communicate why they should choose your solution over others, you’ll lose your audience. 

Different Types of Explainer Videos

Now that you are more aware of what good explainer videos are, here are some of the most common types of explainer videos that are being used by businesses:

1. 2D Animation

2D animation is one of the most popular types of animation that is used and is also used a lot for explainer videos.

This type of animation involves characters and scenes that are done in a two-dimensional environment, but professional animators can find a way to add depth as well.

These animation videos work well as explainer videos because it allows you to customize a lot of elements. You can also edit or update these elements in the future if you need to make adjustments.

2. 3D Animation

3D animation is known for being high-end and for having a high-quality finish. Because of its added dimension, it is easier for audience to engage and learn from what is being shown in the video.

Since these videos have a high-quality look to them, they require a lot of time, effort, and budget to create.

These 3D videos require a longer production time compared to other animation videos and it may be difficult to come up with changes or adjustments once the video is done.

3. Whiteboard Animation

Whiteboard animation videos can provide you with a great way to visualize and explain a certain product or service. The video involves black-lin graphics over a white background which mimics the act of someone drawing on a whiteboard.

It has a streamlined style that does a great job keeping viewers engaged because of its dynamic movement while also explaining concepts in a simple manner.

Because of how it explains ideas in a simple manner, it is one of the most preferred animation styles used by businesses for their explainer videos.

4. Live Action

Live action explainer videos are when real people are in front of a camera to explain a product or service. This type of explainer video is best used by companies that are selling a physical product or a service involving people.

Having actual people in the video to explain can help create an emotional connection to viewers because they can attach faces to the company.

The possible downside to using live action explainers is that you will be confined to the real world so there is not a lot of room for creativity or added visual elements which can be done with animation videos.

Main Categories of Explainer Videos

You will probably have noticed that there are a lot of different kinds of explainers out there. Let’s focus on the two main categories for explainer videos: Animated Explainer Videos and Live-Action Explainer Videos.

All You Need to Know About Animated Explainer Videos

What are animated explainer videos?

Animated explainers are the most popular and common form, because of their stylization and how easy they are to make. As explainers by their very nature are designed to be educational, animations are more interesting to watch than a man or woman standing (or sitting!) in front of a camera and talking. Within the category of animated explainers there are a few different styles you can opt for, including:

  • Motion Graphics – often featuring 3D animation, these are normally used to explain the story of a company or product with the use of objects that represent what is being discussed to engage with your target audience’s imagination using images rather than text.
  • Character-focused – these depict cute and relatable cartoon people based on your target audience and are used to tell the story of your company’s services or products and how they can be used to solve their problems
  • Simulations – this form of animated explainer features fully screencast video footage of the service or product you are promoting in use and are used most frequently as an overview for digital service or product or software.
  • Chalkboard/Whiteboard – although popular, it could be argued that the whiteboard/chalkboard explainer is a little overused these days. They basically feature writing and (sometimes) rough sketches on a whiteboard or chalkboard. One of the reasons they are a popular choice is that they are fun and inexpensive to make.
  • Infographic – infographic explainers use iconography, graphs, and charts to explain the features of a product, service or business in a similar way to an infographic.
video presentation

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Great Animated Explainer

Here are all the important steps you need to take so that you can create a great animated explainer:

1. Plan out your explainer video

Before working on the video itself, you should be able to get a clear understanding of what you want your animated explainer video to be like.

You should consider who the audience of the video will be, what questions you want it to answer, and what goals you want it to achieve. Once you have made all of those clear, you can move on to the next steps.

2. Come up with the script for the video

The next thing you need to work on is the script for your video. Since your explainer video should not be too long, your script should also be simple and short while still keeping your audience’s attention.

You should immediately communicate your key message and benefits in the first 30 seconds of your video so that your audience won’t lose interest. Another way to keep them engaged is by speaking in first-person so that you are talking directly to them.

Speaking directly to your audience shows that your business is approachable which can be enough to convince audiences to avail of your product or service.

3. Create the storyboard

With your script done, you should now create your storyboard. Your storyboard will look like a rough sketch of the explainer video that you are going to create.

The storyboard lets you visualize your script because it will contain all the shots you want as well as the transitions. This gives you a solid look at how you will animate your video moving forward.

4. Choose and design the animated illustrations

Now is the time to choose and design the animated illustrations you will use for your explainer video. This is where you finalize the characters and surroundings that you will animate.

One important thing to remember when choosing your animation style is to keep it consistent among your characters and surroundings. This makes for a more visually pleasing experience which can be a great help in delivering the information through your explainer video.

5. Compile and animate all your elements

Now that you have chosen and designed the illustrations you will use, you can now compile everything and start to animate them.

The process of animation is a crucial part as it is what gives life to your explainer video by having your animated elements move and interact with each other. Great animation will make your elements look as lively and humanely as possible, while bad animation will just make your explainer video look like a fast slideshow.

6. Finalize all the audio elements that you will need

Once you are done with animating your video, you will now need to include all the audio elements like the voice overs, music, and sound effects to complete your explainer video.

For your voice over, you should hire a professional voice actor because that is the voice they will be listening to while watching your explainer video. Having a good voice actor will help you establish an emotional connection with your audience.

For the music and sound effects that you will choose, make sure that they will complement your video and not drown out the animations.

Tips for Creating Animated Explainers That Drive Sales

These are some of the tips you will need to make sure that your animated explainer videos will drive sales:

1. Carefully go over your video’s script

When writing your explainer video’s script, you should make sure that you are efficient in choosing your words because you have a limited time to talk to your audience.

To do this, you can break up your explanations into certain points and use these points to create a logical path for your audience. All your points should be meaningful and relevant to the viewer and should have a steady pace when being explained.

2. Make sure that your animated visuals complement your script

The visuals and the animation you will have should be able to complement your script so that audiences will be able to easily visualize and understand the concepts you are explaining.

For the video’s animation, try to come up with a visual look for each important point that you want to communicate. Your animation should focus clearly on the key messages and concepts you want to explain so try to avoid unnecessary additions.

3. Be precise with the audio elements of your video

Your explainer video can include both voice over and music, but this can all depend on what business you have or what concept you are trying to explain.

If you do employ a voice artist, make sure you give them a clear brief so that they know what style you want them to use. The delivery style is crucial in whether or not your viewers will understand your explainer video.

Examples of Good Animated Explainer Videos

Here are some examples of good animated explainer videos:

Slack

Coca-Cola

Visme

What You Need to Create Animated Explainer Videos

If you want to create your own animated explainer videos, here are some of the things you will need:

A Computer

To find a computer that is best suited for both 2D animation and 3D animation, you should have one that is powerful because rendering these animations take a lot of power and time.

You will look for a computer with a high-level CPU, a lot of space in its hard drive, a considerable amount of RAM, and has a great GPU.

Graphics Tablet

A graphics tablet or a drawing tablet is a hardware device that allows you to draw on a graphic or animation software with a pen stylus.

It has a drawing area where you can do your art work. It can connect to a computer and will display your strokes on your screen.

Creating animated explainer videos on your own may be a difficult task especially if you or your team are not that experienced. If that is the case you should seriously consider hiring a video production company like fewStones who can create great 2D animation or 3D animation explainer videos for you. You won’t need to get a computer and a graphics tablet because our will have all the equipment and expertise to create the best explainer video for your business.

All You Need to Know About Live-Action Explainer Videos

What are live-action explainer videos?

Live-action explainers are exactly as they sound – videos using people and real-world objects to explain the service, product or even company you are trying to inform viewers about.

They are a great option to use if you have a tangible product to sell. If your product is something people will want to either see or use in person, using live-action explainers is more appropriate to showcase your product in action rather than just an illustration.

Live action explainers are great for connecting with viewers because people are more likely to connect with something if it involves other people like them as well.

Although they are much harder to do well, when they work, they can be very effective.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Great Live-Action Explainer Video

1. Determine the plan and goal of your video

Just like for the animated explainer videos, the first thing you need to do is to determine the plan of your video and what goal you want it to achieve.

This is the part where you think of your target audience, what topics you want to explain, and where you would want to post this video. Once you have finalized all these details, you can move on.

2. Come up with the script for the video

Coming up with your video’s script is the next step which is similar to the creation of animated explainer videos. The script should be short and sweet to keep the attention of your audience all throughout the explainer.

Speaking to your audience in first person is a way to keep them engaged all throughout the video because they will feel like you are talking directly to them.

You should limit your focus on one or two key messages and end with a strong call to action prompt to urge viewers to perform a certain action.

3. Create the storyboard

Once your script is finished, you will need to create your storyboard. Your storyboard will help make sure that your script will line up with the visuals that you want to be shown on camera.

This can give you a good look at how you want your frames and shots to look like when you start shooting for your live-action explainer video.

4. Shoot and record your video

With your script and storyboard ready, you can now shoot and record your live-action explainer video. Obviously, this will be much different compared to an animated video as this requires a video production team for the video shoot.

You can try to do the production in-house but it may be a better idea to hire a professional video production company so that they can provide you with their equipment and experience in shooting live action explainer videos.

5. Edit the video

Once you have gotten all the footage that you need from your video shoot, it should now be edited. If you have hired a video production company, they can take care of the video editing as well since it may be a difficult process if you are not experienced with it.

During editing, editors will stitch all the footage together to make it match the storyboard you created at the beginning of the process. This is also where editors can add music, sound effects, and even on-screen graphics to make your explainer video look as appealing and as understandable as possible.

Tips for Creating Live-Action Explainers That Drive Sales

These are some of the tips you will need to make sure that your live-action explainer videos will drive sales:

1. Make an immediate impact

For your explainer video, you should make an immediate impact to grab the attention of your viewers. You should not take your time building up to your main points and messages.

You should immediately start with a strong statement of the questions or problems your audience is facing and then explain how your product or service will solve these problems.

2. Keep the video short and sweet

Since the main purpose of your explainer video is to inform, you have to keep it short and sweet so viewers won’t get bored or overwhelmed with information.

Keeping your explainer video under two minutes long, or even shorter is generally the best way to go since too much information might overwhelm people and make them easily forget. Focus on a few main points so that you can maximize retention.

3. Make sure to have a strong narration

Having a strong narration is crucial to how well people will understand the product, service, or concept that you are trying to explain to them.

Strong narration means having the most appropriate type of voice and tone that will resonate the most with your viewers. You should think about whether they should be male or female, young or old, or serious or humorous. It should be a voice that your audience will find appealing and relatable.

Examples of Good Live-Action Explainer Videos

Here are some examples of good live-action explainer videos:

Musixmatch

Dollar Shave Club

Zendesk

What You Need to Create Live-Action Explainer Videos

If you want to create your own live-action explainer videos, here are some of the things you will need:

Cameras

You will need high quality cameras to shoot your live-action explainer videos. You can have a lot of different options which will depend on your budget and your level of expertise in shooting videos.

If you are on a tight budget or want a more authentic feel, you can actually use your smartphone camera to shoot your video. However, if you are looking for actual camera options, you should consider having a DSLR or a basic camcorder as two of the more affordable options for beginners.

Cast and Production Crew

A live-action video shoot requires a cast and a production crew who will take care of all the tasks needed during the shoot. Your cast will be the talent that will perform in front of the camera and the production crew will be working behind the scenes to make sure everything in the production is going well.

For your performers in front of camera, you should hire actors if you have the budget as this will assure you of great performances during shooting. You will also need people like camera operators, directors, and producers to take care of everything behind the camera. You will also need a video editor to edit all your footage once shooting is finished. You can hire freelancers for these positions but it is more suitable to get a complete production team.

If gathering all the equipment and crew on your own may be too burdensome for you, hiring a video production company can make your live-action shoots a lot easier. A video production company like fewStones is able to provide you with live-action video services which can be great for your explainer video.

You can read this article to learn more about the specific advantages and disadvantages of live action videos and animated videos: Live Action Videos vs Animated Videos: What’s Best for Your Business?

When you work with fewStones, our team will already have the equipment and the video production experts to help you with shooting your explainer video. This means you won’t need to buy your own equipment or hire your own production crew. We will have everything we need to help you in planning, shooting, and editing your live-action explainer video.

You can learn more about fewStones by checking out our website and viewing our 2D animation services, 3D animation services, and live action video services so that you can check out what kind of explainer video your business needs. You can also get an instant quote for free by clicking here.

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