Put simply; an explainer video is a short animated marketing video that explains your services and benefits to customers in a quick, easy, simple and digestible way that’s easy for anyone to understand.
It can address their pain points quickly and show how you can help them; it helps build trust.
Explainers are dynamic and catch their attention quickly; it should work as a stand-alone video with no context – as a simple intro to the brand or product. The video usually addresses the user’s problem and shows the solution quickly, we don’t weigh heavily on the features, it’s more benefits-led.
If you’re in the USA, you may know it as a modern-day elevator pitch.
What do Explainer videos look like?
Generally, an explainer is an animated video; it can be illustrated bespoke, or made up more cheaply with stock images. So in this way, the look and feel can vary really quite a lot.
We’d recommend hiring a professional explainer video company to produce it, not an automated website. Automated video websites tend to all have the same look and are very limited. With a professionally created video, the script and visuals will be much more relevant and focus your marketing better – so it may cost more initially, but you’re bound to get a higher ROI. They’ll also represent your company or brand more effectively with bespoke imagery tailored to your branding, and show that you put value in your brand.
There are various levels of quality and budget with explainer animation, and the design can be pretty flexible in style. You see more simple icon style videos up to character animation or a more hand-drawn style. The visual look primarily depends on what you want to say and your video budget.
Video by Digital Finch
Where are explainer videos used
As well as used in meetings and on your company website and blog, they’re generally pretty effortless to share across social platforms and in email newsletters.
You can have more than one video; you may find each product or service offering needs an animated explainer video and a general company services overview.
You may have an explainer video series on the site. Or have a very short mini explainer series on Tik Tok or Instagram Reels as a social media series.
Wherever a potential client will see you online, you can use it.
Explainer video Tone of Coice
One of the great things about explainer videos is that they can be a little light-hearted. They are often a lot less corporate and formal than your standard corporate video production and more conversational sounding – so they speak to people more directly.
And because it’s designed and animated (not filmed), you can be a bit out there with the visuals if you want to. We’ve animated dancing grannies, Trump, and all kinds of silly stuff. Visual metaphors can work really well to get the point across quickly too.
On the other side, if you have a sensitive topic to convey, an explainer video can be good for promoting what you do without putting anyone at risk. It anonymises the content so that it can be more relatable too. An explainer doesn’t have to be funny or silly; you can also be serious and create empathy when needed.
Who can use it?
All kinds of businesses, brands and charities can use explainer videos in their marketing strategy.
We find it’s often charities and businesses offering a service that come to us the most. But an explainer can work well for products too. As the name suggests, if you have anything you need to explain, then an explainer video can help.
They don’t always follow the same format, and an explainer can be adapted to suit your needs.
If you have a complex sale, for example, in medical or healthcare or SaaS, explainer videos may be helpful as a part of your marketing strategy. It can also be purely educational with no or minimal sales attached.
What is it not
Explainer videos are generally not lengthy.
90 seconds to 2 mins or under is optimal for runtime, the more concise, the better! The ideal length, according to studies, is just 45-90s long.
People tend to have a short attention span when online, so you need to be able to capture their attention quickly and then show how you can help them.
Generally, it’s not filmed video; that is usually more like a general marketing or corporate video. It’s not strictly limited, you can incorporate filmed parts, but with animated elements. But generally, explainers are almost always animated; they’re often 2D, but they can be 3D animations or a mixture of both.
It’s not a generic brand/company story video. Usually, an explainer is much more targeted and talks about the benefits of a particular product or service, not a company history or an ‘About Us’ style video. You probably need both on your website!