Did you know that customers who watch an explainer video are 85% more likely to purchase your product than those who don’t? Animated explainer videos are simple bites of product information that allow a consumer to make informed decisions without having to scroll through endless feature sheets.

Animated Explainer Video

So how do you get started creating such an effective marketing tool? We’ve put together 5 things to consider before diving into the creation of an animated explainer video.

1. Understand Your Target

Your target market is the root of … well, everything. So before you even order the donuts for your video brainstorming session, get a good handle on these two aspects of your target:

  1. Their Characteristics and Personality
    Understanding the ins and outs of your target will help to guide the overall tone of your video. This will determine if your video will be sophisticated versus fun or conservative versus adventurous. All other design aspects of your video including the script, images, colors and voice over will then be derived from this understanding.
  2. Their Problem
    The problem that you solve for your customers will be the bread and butter of your video. Understand what it means to them and the major pain points you’re resolving for them.

PadMapper offers a pretty phenomenal example of creating a targeted explainer video. Take at look at the graphics used and the added punch of humour. Who do you think they’re targeting?

2. Keep it Simple

The most successful animated explainer videos are simple. They have a defined goal and a clear message. When consumers are constantly bombarded with advertising and information, why make it more complicated for them to learn how amazing your product is? Start by considering what you want your users to take away from the video. Imagine that after every single viewer of your video will be asked to describe what the video was about in 1 sentence or less. Write out that sentence; this is your starting point.

3. Pick the Right Video Agency

Not all marketing departments are lucky enough to have an in-house creative video team. If you find yourself in this category, you’ll probably outsource the production of your animated explainer video. When you start looking for the right agency, ask yourself these questions:

  • What aspects of production do they complete? Some agencies will work with you from conception to completion of a video, while others will only do the video animation and leave the rest to you. The skills you have in-house will determine which route you take here but remember that you’re trying to build a simple, effective, explainer video to communicate a clear message to consumers. Having too many cooks in the kitchen can definitely get in the way of achieving this mission.
  • Do all of their videos seem alike? If you answer yes to this question run away! This should probably act as a very strong warning sign. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for animated explainer videos to end up undifferentiated and boring. Look for an agency that really tailors each video to the brand and doesn’t fall into the same idea for every video.
  • Do their videos keep you engaged? Sure, you might not be the intended target market of every video you view on an agency’s website, but if you’re consistently dropping off after 15 seconds you can bet they’re not great at creating engaging content. If, however, you find yourself wanting to watch the whole video, having a good laugh, or better yet, wanting to learn more about the product then what are you waiting for? Sign them up!

4. Optimize Video Time

The jury is still out on the optimal length for an explainer video. However, experts recommend keeping it in the 60 to 120 second range. This might seem like a small amount of time to explain your entire reason for being, but before you start practicing the tongue twisters to increase your average words per minute consider this: the purpose of any successful video is to be a teaser. Sure, viewers should understand what you do after watching, but you’re ultimately offering them a hook to encourage future action. Leave them wanting more. The main components of a compelling explainer video are:

  • The problem, focusing on the pain
  • Your solution, in one sentence or less;  
  • How it works, in a simplified explanation; and   
  • An effective call-to-action.

Watch Mint’s explainer video for a perfect example of these four categories in action:

5. Create an Effective Script

Whether you’re building your own script or working with an agency, there are some critical components to all effective scripts.

Firstly, realize that you don’t have a large word count to work with. The recommended speaking speed for videos is 150 words per minute.

Start your script by laying out the four sections of your video: problem, solution, how it works, and the call to action. The general guideline for timing and word count in a 60 second video is as follows:

Explainer Video Length

Keep in mind that is only a guideline. By no means are consumers going to penalize you for offering them a 46-word problem, instead of 45 words. But laying out your script like this offers you a great starting point. 

Above all else, when creating your script, it’s important to tell a story. Stories are powerful and relatable. They’re engaging. And lastly, stories convert.

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way towards an explainer video that’s clear, concise, and kicks your audience into action. What more can you ask for? Now get ‘splaining!

Kimbe MacMaster