TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Is An Explainer Vdeo
- What Makes A Good Explainer Video
- What Type Of Explainer Video Should You Make
- How Do I Create An Explainer Video
- How To Make Animated Explainer Video
What is an explainer video?
An explainer video is a short-form video usually used for marketing or sales purposes that highlights a company’s product, service, or business idea in a compelling and efficient way. Most businesses host explainer videos on their landing pages or feature them on the homepage of their website. Some even use these videos to advertise for their product or service on Facebook or other social media websites.
Here are the key elements of an explainer video and what you’ll need to know to create your own.
What Makes a Good Explainer Video?
Every good explainer video has five things in common.
- Short in length: Explainer videos are typically under three minutes, but the best ones are often shorter, between one and two minutes.
- Strong call to action (CTA): Explainer videos should clearly state what they want their intended audience to do after watching.
- Focused on solving a problem: Explainer videos are focused on addressing a specific problem, explaining their product or service, and answering why they’re the solution.
- Match brand and audience: Explainer videos are best when their style and tone match that of the brand, as well as the customer they’re trying to reach.
- High quality: Explainer videos need to be high quality, both in quality of production and quality of content, to effectively communicate a brand’s value proposition.
So how are the best explainer videos able to keep their length short, their quality high, their call to action strong, and their solution simple to understand? They all follow a similar structure.
- What: What’s the audience’s problem?
- How: How will your product or service fix it?
- Why: Why should the audience choose you?
Too often, explainer videos get caught up on the what and the how, and forget to focus on the why. They’re good at explaining a product or service, but not effective at communicating the company’s underlying purpose. In order to effectively communicate the why, your company needs to understand who their target audience is through a video marketing strategy and present a strong underlying mission statement that uniquely connects with their intended audience.
What Type of Explainer Video Should You Make?
In order to create your own explainer video, you first need to decide what type of explainer you want to create. Most explainer videos fall into one of three major categories.
- Animated Explainer Video: The most popular option, animated explainer videos are used most often because of their visual nature and relative ease to create – no extensive productions required. Because of the educational format of an explainer video, animated explainer videos tend to be more visually interesting than a man standing in a room talking. Animated explainer videos range in style and function, but some popular styles include:
- Infographic: These use charts, graphs, and clever iconography to emulate the style of an infographic, while explaining the key features of your business.
- Chalkboard: An overused but popular style of animated explainer video, this style features writing on a chalkboard or whiteboard and is popular because of how easy they are to make.
- Product Simulation: This style features actual screencast footage of your product in action and is most useful as a high-level overview of a software or digital platform.
- Character-Driven: This explainer video uses cute cartoon figures that should represent your prospective customer to tell the story of your product or service and how it can solve your customer’s problems.
- Motion Graphic: Usually 3D-animated, this type of explainer video aims to tell your product or company’s story using representational objects to incite your audience’s imagination with pictures instead of words.
- Live Action Explainer Video: This type of explainer video uses people and objects to explain your company’s product or service. Harder to pull off, but excellent when done well, the live action explainer video requires a lot of creativity to keep things interesting. These explainer videos usually feature a spokesperson who takes the viewer through a visual journey as he or she explains the company’s product and service. They’re often the founder or CEO of the company and focus on highlighting their mission and purpose.
- Crowdfunding Explainer Video: Another popular video style is the crowdfunding explainer video These explainer videos can be both live action or animated, and often include a combination of the two. Virtually every crowdfunding video is an explainer video by nature, but often run longer as they have to include more information about how they plan to spend the funds raised. When done right, a creative crowdfunding explainer video can make or break a campaign and result in hundreds or even thousands of more dollars raised.
How Do I Create an Explainer Video?
An explainer video follows the same three-step production process that any video production would.
- Preproduction This is when you come up with your concept, write your script, gather your crew or partner with a video production agency, and plan your shoot or animation.
- Production This is where you begin animating or start shooting your explainer video.
- Post productionThis is where you edit everything together, record your voiceover, and overlay any music or additional sound effects.
The process is very different depending on whether you’re animating or shooting a live video, so make sure you reach out to a third party video product or animation studio to help you if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. Many agencies and production houses can help guide you through the process, but make sure you go with a company that specializes in or has created explainer videos before so you don’t get caught up making a Spielberg-level production and paying a heavy price for it.
Explainer videos take a considerable amount of coordination, talent, and skill to pull off. It all starts at the script level, so make sure you get your structure down and work within the five key elements that all good explainer videos have in common. From there, it’s all about picking the style and concept that best fits your company’s brand, mission, and product or service.
If you’re looking for additional resources or support for making your own explainer video, we can help! Reach out to one of our creative producers today to find out how Lemonlight can help you with all your explainer video needs.
One of the most important steps in selling a product is making sure consumers are knowledgeable about what it offers. For many businesses and marketers, this means creating an animated video helps them increase the number of time users spend on their website, generate more leads, and, most importantly, and help users better understand their product.
Marketers aren’t the only ones saying video makes a difference. Consumers agree – 68 percent say they prefer to learn about a product or service by watching a video. Additionally, 79 percent say a video convinced them to purchase software or an app.
How to make an animated explainer videos
Creating this type of instructional video can seem like a daunting task. Many people think they have to hire a video production company to get it done. While that is always an option, it’s not a requirement. In a lot of cases, with just a little know-how, determination, and, of course, a video editor like Techsmith Camtasia anyone can create a great animated explainer video.
I’ll show you how.
Step 1: Choose a video style
Many explainer videos are made using animated graphics, but that’s not the only style. Consider the options below and select a style that you feel matches your product or service and audience best.
Today we’re making an animated explainer video, but other options include:
- Live action/Talking head
- Screencast video
- Whiteboard drawing
While you can change this choice later, it is helpful to know what kind of video you’re aiming for so you can keep the visual style in mind as you write your script.
Step 2: Write a script
The script is the most important part of an explainer video. A voice over drives the story and explains to viewers what they’re seeing. The visuals, which we’ll get to later, play a key role, but their purpose is to illustrate and support what is being said.
- Your script should answer the following questions:
- What is your product or service?
- Who is it for?
- What problem does the product or service solve?
- How does it solve the problem?
- What should a user do to get started?
Most animated explainer videos are 1-2 minutes in length. Practice reading your script out loud so you have an idea how long your finished video will be. Write concisely, and get to the point as fast as possible.
Step 3: Record and edit the audio narration
For this step, you first need to choose who will be the ‘voice’ of your company. The truth is almost any voice can work. The key is how they say the script. You want the person reading to reflect the right attitude for your company, product, or service.
Once you have voice talent chosen, use a recording studio or very quiet space, a high quality microphone and recording software to record the script. One option for recording audio is adobe audition If you prefer a free alternative, Audacity is another great choice and easily enough gets the job done.
When recording, don’t worry if the person reading stumbles over a line. Just pause, take a moment, and then re-start the sentence.
Then, edit your audio to remove bad takes, mistakes, and anything you won’t use. You should also remove background noise, breaths between lines, and, as much as possible, the little clicks and pops that many refer to as “mouth noises.” This will leave you with just the narration, as close to perfect as possible.
Step 4: Collect graphics, video, and other assets
How you complete this step depends on what type of video you decided to create.
For animated videos, this is when you collect or create graphics, icons, and other media. If you’re doing a talking head, screencast, or whiteboard video, you will set up and complete these recordings.
This part can be intimidating, and it’s most likely the point where you’ll feel like you need to hire outside design or video talent. The reality is, in a lot of instances, that isn’t necessary.
There’s no need to use overly-complex visuals–simple, clear visuals that illustrate the message in a straightforward way to help the viewer keep their focus on the overall message and avoid getting distracted. One place I often get visuals and other media is from Technical assets which has tons of resources that work great with Camtasia.
Step 5: Edit and arrange media
You’ve gathered the raw materials, now it’s time to forge a masterpiece. Start a project in the video editor of your choosing. Camtasia is a great choice because it’s easy to learn and has features like Animations and Behaviors that make animating your graphics a snap.
Use these tutorials to learn how you can use Animations, Behaviors, and other key features in your project, no matter what style of video you decided to make:
It’s usually a good idea to create the first draft of your project and share it with colleagues or stakeholders for review. I always use Techsmith video review because it allows reviewers to add comments and annotations to specific places in the video.
Step 6: Add music
Animated explainer videos almost always have music. It’s a critical tone-setting element in a video. Music conveys emotion and gives energy that narration alone lacks. It’s also easy to add and edit a music track in Camtasia.
There are lots of resources, paid and free, for acquiring music. I mentioned TechSmith Assets earlier, and this is another time when it is a great resource as it has lots of music tracks to choose from. Here are a few other places you can try:
Whatever you choose, make sure you give proper attribution, if required.
Step 7: Publish, share, and track performance
When the video is complete and has all the necessary approval, it’s time to produce and share it. That means deciding where to host the video. Two key aspects of hosting, in my opinion, are the flexibility of where you will be able to place the video and performance statistics. This post goes into detail about video hosting, but I will provide a few suggestions here.
A fast and easy way to get a video online is to use techsmith screencast You can send a video straight to it from Camtasia and then share the link or embed the video where you want it. A free account is available to get you started and, if you need more space, you can always upgrade to a Pro account.
YouTube is an extremely popular place to host videos. They have all the tools you need to get the video online, allow you to embed it in your website or another location, and track the number of engagement metrics, which are critical to understanding the success of your video. YouTube has the additional benefit of making your video discoverable, which means it is displayed to users on via search results and suggested videos when it matches a user’s interests.
Wistia is another hosting place we use at TechSmith, as the engagement metrics, player controls, and appearance are second to none. Wistia is ideal for hosting the video and displaying in a website or blog, but, it is good to note, it lacks the discoverability of a video on YouTube.
That’s everything you need to know to create an animated explainer video..