What is an Explainer Video — How It Works: A Complete Guide

Video marketing and explainer video production have become a business and marketing essential in 2020. Industries are becoming more competitive as a barrier to entry has been lowered by technology, the race towards Search Engine Optimization and ranking high on the SERPs becomes harder, 70% of the top 100 search listings on Google have shown to include videos.

Videos are human-friendly, interactive, and incredibly engaging. Studies suggest that videos ensure that your web visitors spend 88% more time on a website than they would on a site with no videos.

For businesses, explainer video production opens new doors towards providing value-driven information to your target audience. Today, you can leverage infotainment instead of the old-school style of providing boring news, and that’s the key to successful marketing in 2020.

So let’s dive into the world of explainer videos. We’ll be covering the following key takeaways in the article:

  • What is an Explainer Video?
  • How Much Does Explainer Video Production Cost?
  • Best Practices for Explainer Video Production
  • How to Make a Successful Explainer Video?
  • The Advantages of Using Explainer Videos For Businesses.

Enough Chit-chat, let’s take a look at the first question, “what is an explainer video?”

What is an Explainer Video?

Explainer videos are 90–120-second longs marketing videos used to explain a company’s services or products to its target audience. These animated explainer videos are used on landing pages, websites (home and service pages), product pages, and social media marketing.

Websites report an increase in conversion rate by 144% with the help of explainer videos on their websites, while 87% of marketers report increased web traffic since the inclusion of an animated video on their website, signaling an impact on their Search Engine Optimization.

Now let’s take a look into the types of explainer videos that you can leverage for your business.

Types of Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are an incredible tool for business success and an asset in a marketer’s toolkit.

But Explainer videos aren’t homogenous, and in fact, depending on your brand and target audience, certain animated explainer video types might suit your business better than others.

That is why it is important to know the different types of explainer videos and understand what kind of explainer video your brand should leverage.

The 3 most popular types of explainer videos are:

  • Animated Explainer Videos
  • Live-Action Explainer Videos
  • Whiteboard Explainer Videos

Let’s analyze these types and their best use cases based on top industry practices.

Animated Explainer Videos

Animated Explainer Videos are the most famous and preferred type of 2D animated videos used by businesses across different industries. Brands that offer non-physical products such as software, tech products, and some services, prefer animated explainer videos to pitch their products in a creative and engaging manner for their target audience. They are a highly dynamic type of 2D animation which makes future edits and changes easy, making them a top choice for businesses.

Live-Action Explainer Videos

Live-action explainer videos are used for exactly the same purpose as animated explainer videos. They are a great tool to explain your businesses’ products and services to a potential customer.

The difference in use cases between the two is based on the nature of the product (i.e., physical products vs. digital products) that a company sells or if their services are people-oriented.

Mostly used by car wash companies, law firms, and restaurants — live action explainer videos use real people to create a real emotional connection and relatability with the audience.

Though most live-action explainer videos are limited to the real world, there’s no reason why you can’t include track elements to integrate fun animations and 3d interactions to your live-action animation videos.

Whiteboard Explainer Videos

Whiteboard explainer videos are a pocket-friendly alternative to animated explainer videos and have risen to popularity amongst startups and small businesses. A whiteboard animation includes hand-drawn animations over a whiteboard, giving it the feeling of a classic school class look while ensuring that your audience gets a clear picture of what your product/service is through immaculate story-telling

How Much Does It Cost to Make an Explainer Video

Depending on where you’re looking in the market, you will find a wide range of pricing options for explainer video production. Producing an explainer video involves a high level of creativity and the combined efforts of a highly diverse and skillful team of professionals.

From storyboarding and animation to audio editing, scripting, and voiceover artists — explainer video production requires a wide range of skills. This is why some explainer video companies charge more than others for their services — they believe their expertise and team are more qualified than their competitors.

The average cost of hiring an explainer video company is between $10,000 — $15,000 for a standard 90-second video. Though this price could fluctuate between $5,000–25,000 depending on the explainer video production company you choose, the base cost of the production revolves around this industry average.

This price can go higher or lower, depending on pricing policies with regard to specific companies. Some video production companies charge for each edit run they have to make post-production, while others include that in their initial fee on which we have based the industry average. These hidden costs are something you should always remember when choosing your creative partner for explainer video production.

Best Practices for Making an Explainer Video

It’s crucial to understand that while explainer videos offer a great ROI, satisfying 91% of marketers, not all videos are the same. There are crucial elements to creating an explainer video that contributes to its success.

Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for making a successful explainer video:

  • An explainer video of the length of 60–90 seconds is ideal.
  • The first 30 seconds of your video should convey your USP and key take away. Take a simple and direct approach to your script.
  • Centralize your audience using 2ndperson speech, i.e., “You” and “Your.”
  • Keep your language accessible and simple. It ensures that your brand is easy to understand and engage with.
  • Keeping a conversational tone is crucial to keep your audience hooked to your story and message.
  • People like to be entertained more than they like to be informed. Add a touch of humor to your videos to increase engagement, viewership, and social shares.

How to Make an Explainer Video

If you’re looking to boost your marketing strategy using explainer videos, then you have to know how to make an explainer video. Producing an explainer video is a tough job; it requires creative thinking and a lot of work on the technical end. From scripting to working on music and sound effects, it usually takes a team of experts to create a high-end explainer video.

If you’re just starting out, perhaps you can free explainer video makers such as PowToon, but if you’re interested in using high-quality explainer videos, then you can look towards hiring a professional explainer video company.

Nevertheless, here are 5 steps to make an explainer video for your business:


A script is the soul of an animated explainer video. It’s what connects with your audience; it’s what reels them in, and what convinces them that your product or service has value in their life.

You can get the best voiceover, the most dazzling of graphics, and the best quality animation — but if your script doesn’t have the impact and the ability to touch hearts, those fancies won’t be effective.

The script of an explainer video should effectively highlight the pain points of your target audience, their struggle, the kind of solution they’re looking for, and how your products fit that need perfectly.

Obviously, to get that down, you need a lot of research, so I hope you’ve done that already. If not, you can start right now. The script establishes the pain points (a conflict) and presents your product/service as a solution(resolution) in a way that shows value. If you start thinking about your script like a conflict/resolution case, you’re already halfway there into writing an impactful script.

Here are the 5 most important factors for an explainer video script:

  1. Centralize your audience and establish the problem they face that your product solves.
  2. Introduce your product and provide an overview of what it does.
  3. Discuss what makes your product unique to any other in the market and the value it brings to the lives of your customers.
  4. Share a success story, award, or positive client experience to drive home your point with a real-life example.
  5. Add a CTA(Call To Action) to guide your customers into taking action ( that’s your ultimate goal). Make sure your audience knows what to do to get your product if they like it.


Storyboarding is an essential part of the pre-animation process and lays down the groundwork for the flow of the animation, the use of all the visual elements, and provides a pathway upon which an explainer video is made. In essence, it is the framework that will guide your animation process

Voiceover Recording

Once you have a script and storyboard, you’ll need a voiceover. You can do your own voiceovers(if you’re a professional or have professional recording and editing equipment), or make use of some of these platforms to hire a professional voice artist.

Voices.com: Voices.com provides you with a large network of professional voice actors to choose from.

Craigslist: We’ve all used Craigslist to hire professionals with skills we don’t have. It’s old, tried, and tested that can get the job done for you, including finding voiceover actors.

Fiverr: For as cheap as $5, you can find a professional voiceover artist on Fiverr, although the price is most likely going to be higher. Though, you wouldn’t find a more cost-friendly option than the trusted Fiverr.

Explainer Video Production and Animation

Let’s take a look at some free explainer video makers and some paid options that you can choose from for your explainer video production project.

Paid Explainer Video Production

If you’ve got the budget for it, you can leverage the help of professional explainer video production companies for a show-stopper explainer video. Sure, it could cost you $5,000 — $20,000, but that’s the cost for high-end custom production that fits your branding and messaging perfectly, with the help of creative geniuses working at these animation studios.

Though if you’re looking for a more pocket-friendly solution, hiring experienced freelancers can also be a great idea. Though you might not get all the services that an explainer video company might give you, freelancers are also much cheaper and can get the job done. You can find great freelancers on Craigslist and Fiverr for a fraction of the price that a video production company would charge

Free option

Moreover, if you’re an iPhone user, using a DIY Explainer Videomaker such as iMovie or Camtasia can also be a solution well worth the look. The only problem with such a solution is that it’s not scalable. If this is a one time project, then these free products work, but for a long-term video marketing strategy, perhaps choosing a creative partner or an animation studio might be the best bet.

Free explainer video makers such as Pow Toon can also be a remarkable option if you have no animation experience but want it to give it a try for yourself. Though Pow Toon has a paid option, it’s free option great for someone with no animation skills and only requires basic computer operating knowledge, and the rest you can learn using tutorials.

Music & sound effects

If your explainer video needs music or sound effects, then you should know where to get them from. These platforms allow you to source music files, create your own, or edit sound in post-production.

  • MusOpen: Offers you a database filled with free music resources such as recordings and music sheets.
  • Audio Jungle: Provides you with royalty-free audio files, sound effects, loops, and a lot more.
  • Audacity: Audacity helps you create your own sound effects and edit audio and music in post-production.

If you get all these steps right on your own, well, you can produce some dazzling animated explainer videos that will help your brand stand out from your competitors and boost your business’ by many percentages.

Though you should remember, even if you choose to go alone, consulting a professional can always help you do a bit more than ordinary, and making an ordinary explainer video can harm your business.

Advantages of Using An Explainer Video

Throughout the article, we’ve talked about some crazy advantages of using an explainer video. Here’s a shortlist of all the benefits you can get by making explainer videos a part of your marketing strategy.

  • Improved conversions from your Website
  • Higher social media engagement
  • Increase lead generation efficiency for your business
  • Improve your Search Engine Optimization
  • It makes you stand out and stick-out in the memory of your target audience, unlike your competitors.
  • Gives your brand the character it needs to drive up sales.

5 Great Examples of an Explainer Video

Lastly, let’s take a look at our picks for the best explainer videos in 2020 that you can take inspiration from for your explainer video production project.

1. Asana

A visually appealing animation that focuses on exhibiting the value of a product in the life of an employee and a business through striking animation, clear scripting, and an immersive visual experience.


Slack makes its message clear, it is a consumer first. “Slack is simpler” is what drives their message and remains the common thread throughout the script and the message portrayed through an incredibly appealing visual experience. Now that’s how you establish conflict and present a resolution.

Twitter: Flight School

Concise, to the point, and targeted. That’s what the Flight School explainer video is all about. It drives home the message and establishes a Unique Selling Point, to make it stand-out from its competitors and showcase the unique value it brings to the lives of its users


The explainer video from Practicus symbolizes the power of storyboarding and conceptualization mixed with scripting to provide a powerful message using simple design tools. It’s creative, it’s effective, and it’s engaging and that’s the key to a successful explainer video

Dubai Association Centre

No explainer video quite establishes the persona of a business like DAC’s explainer video. It’s where branding and storyboarding comes to life with a shiny outlook that symbolizes class and sleekness, making sure that the visuals support their crisp script that establishes their value proposition in style.

Wrapping it Up

Now you know the secret to creating an explainer video that can make a buzz, go viral, and deliver the kind of impact that drives up a business’ revenue, it’s time to take your first step towards explainer video production.

So what are you waiting for? Get started using DIY tools to create an explainer video or reach out to an explainer video production company and place your business on the path to executing a successful video marketing strategy.

Originally published at https://buzzflick.com on May 5, 2020.



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