The Top Qualities of a Killer Explainer Video: Insights and Tips

When you need an explainer video for your business or charity, it can be tough for some to imagine… What will it look like? What do we need to say? How long is best for conversion? Will it do what I need for my brand? 

Here are some proven strategies and pointers that will help your explainer video to win for you.

Short Script

People generally have a short attention span for a video online, so keep the rambling down; it’s essential to consider what the viewer will see alongside the explainer that goes into more detail. It will generally always be with more context on a web page, brochure, or in-person meeting, so you can afford to leave extras out and keep the message concise.

An explainer video is designed to be short and catchy, and you can’t do that if you go over 2 mins. Ideally, 90s to 2 mins would cover the message without losing the audience. You can read more about video lengths and attention span here

Well Designed Visuals

The design of a video can be very impactful in one way or another. It can represent you poorly if it’s not well thought out – or it can show off your strengths. 

A motion designer with a good understanding of visual communication and how people usually perceive form and colour, for example, can quickly elevate your video and convey exactly what you mean with simple but powerful drawings.

Good Concept

The concept should be figured out at the start of the production. An exciting concept will make you stand out and make your explainer more memorable. Do you have an unusual idea? It might just work. Or if you don’t, leave it to the creative team of the explainer video company you’re working with.

Ideation is an exciting part of my job, coming up with concepts takes practice, collaboration and openness – especially at the start when everyone is just throwing ideas around. But it is worth it to find those unique solutions. 

Having a concept or device, either visually or with the script will bring your explainer video up a level.

Simple Script Language

Everyone uses a certain amount of jargon in business, but there are not many places for it in explainer videos. Spoken language is often quite different from written language, it’s less formal and more colloquial.

It needs to be simple. Shorter sentences and shorter words make it much easier to digest quickly. This will help your audience understand, even if they’re only half-listening or watching. 

When it comes to scripting animation for your business – think concisely and use simple words.

Address Your Target Audience

Being able to frankly speak to your audience and address their exact pain points will be much more useful than trying to catch everyone with vague propositions – or details that aren’t relevant.

If you have a strong idea of your buyer persona it will be much more impactful to them. Again this targeting comes in mostly at the scripting and art direction stage, getting the story right for your audience. 

High-Quality Animation

This feels very obvious to say, but the higher the quality of the animation the more viewers can be absorbed in the story. Weird bits where someone moves funny, the whole scene stops still, or it’s jerky won’t catch their eye. As soon as they are distracted, they’ve lost the flow. 

The goal of animation is not to be noticed and to hold that attention. More time spent on the animation will give this. 

Try not to Be Too Serious

The world is full of quite serious looking corporate videos, and there is still a place for them, but Explainer videos are generally more light-hearted. You can bring out the fun side of your brand or product. You can add some personality to the video, gaining empathy or a few chuckles. 

Because explainers are drawn bespoke, you can show pretty much anything visually. It gives you a lot more scope to make unusual comparisons or exaggerate a little. Something unique will make you be remembered.

Benefits not Features

Going on about the features of your new software or service may be thrilling to you, but your audience needs to know precisely why it’s worth it, what does it do for them?

It’s a Them not Us approach in the script that will help.

Keep Your Team Small

The bigger your approval team is for reviewing the key stages, the more disjointed the video may end up. It’s a classic case of too many cooks – you will get a lot of personal opinions. 

And you need to define, is their feedback valid – will they make the video better? or are they adding more complication?

Music and Sound Effects

High-quality music can set the tone – I’d always recommend using a royalty-free track, not just a free music track as they’ll likely be blander / or massively overused. It’s also good to keep your personal music taste out of it and trust the production company, as they will have a better idea of a track that will be more universally liked, or at least not universally disliked. 


And if your video is set in natural surroundings – for a more filmic option, adding SFX of recognisable sounds can really immerse the audience and set the scene fully – you’d expect it on a filmed video. 

Or if the animation and design are more conceptual/high tech based, adding sounds effects of beeps and boops and subtle whooshing, etc help to reinforce movement and flow – making it more immersive.

Explainer video from Giant Ant, with a powerful soundtrack – invoking empathy in the audience

A Good Video Production Process

This is the only part where we are serious! Having a precise method in place for the video will make sure that you can review it at each stage, and approve the script, treatment, style frames, design and animation. 

This robust methodology leaves little room for error and means that you should be pretty happy when you see the final product! Any video production company should be able to give you an idea of their methodlogy before you start on a project with them. 


You can see a lot of what makes a killer explainer video is in the concept, and script stage.  The story you tell and how you tell it is the basis for the whole video and isn’t to be overlooked, or rushed. 

Everyone is often excited to get to the visual stages, but the planning makes it. 

To see some video examples, head to our animated explainer video page.  Or if you want an explainer video for your business or organisation, let us help you