Everything You Should Know About 30 Second Explainer Videos

There is a time when short explainer videos can work well. In this article, you will find everything you need to consider when making your decision!

Everything You Should Know About 30 Second Explainer Videos

If you’ve read our blog posts, you may remember we often talk about how long should perfect explainer video be. Generally speaking, we almost always recommend aiming for 60 – 90 seconds.

We’ve written plenty about why this is, but this time we’re going to talk about something else – going shorter.

There is a time when 30-second explainer videos can work well, but there are several things you need to consider when making your decision!


  1. Why 30 Seconds?
  2. Why a 30 Second Explainer Video is Different
  3. How to Create a 30 Second Video
  4. When 30 Second Videos Work the Best
  5. Planning Your Message for Each Media Channel
  6. Planing the budget
  7. Planning the duration

Why 30 Seconds?

Sometimes we get asked by our clients if we can make them a 30 second explainer video. And we always make sure to ask them “why” they want a short video.

Here are a handful of the answers we get back:

– We want to save money
– Shorter is always better
– The newest social media trends report that people only watch the first 30 seconds of a video on Facebook
– Viewer attention spans are too short
– We don’t want to confuse people with too much information

Why 30 Second explainer video

While on the surface these answers seem reasonable, they are all coming at the question from the wrong angle.

The truth is, video is one of the most successful forms of modern communication when used correctly. But if your content isn’t backed by a strong marketing hook, it won’t work even if it’s a short 30 seconds.

However, if you’re using sales and marketing techniques correctly, a half minute, full minute, or even 5-minute video could be hugely successful.

It’s all about knowing how to share your message effectively.

So let’s take a look at some of the reasons a 30 second explainer video can work.

Why a 30 Second Explainer Video is Different

Let’s first make a distinction.

30-sec is almost always a great amount of time for a quick commercial, brand reinforcement, or announcement. In other words, using the time for a message that is simple.

But explaining something is different.

You need to properly plan your message, know your exact target audience, keep in mind what media channels it will be used on, and more.

Let’s break it down.

How to Create a 30 Second Video

There’s no quick and easy step-by-step guide for creating a 30 second explainer video. Instead, what’s important is that you craft your message right.

Emotional Engagement: Turning Views into Actions

And to do that you need to make sure your video gives people a solid reason to take the action you want them to at the end of watching it.

  • Are you hitting their pain points?
  • Showing your business as a solution?
  • Will they be motivated enough to do something?
  • Be curious enough to take the next step in your video sales funnel?

We often see videos with no emotional hook. No reason to take any action.

The whole video is “We’re glad to announce,” or “Introducing our product to the world,” or the all-too-common “Now available.”

Sometimes it’s just a funny 30 second commercial script that doesn’t sell anything.

Who cares?

A chuckle from a viewer doesn’t sell your product. Making a video like that is a waste of your money.

planning 30-seconds explainer video

Five Keys to a Persuasive 30-Second Video Message

So while putting your message together, you need to be sure of a few things:

– Your message is clear enough so that even a 12 year old kid can understand it
– Your target audience is primed and ready to hear from you
– Your message is persuasive enough to get them to take action
– Your benefits give viewers enough reason to do what you’d like them to do
– You’ve generated significant interest for someone to take the leap into a new solution with you

That last point is important when creating a 30 second video. Remember the famous quote by Henry Ford:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Meaning your customer may not even know that your solution is a solution until you show them.And that may require an additional 30 seconds or even 60 seconds to get that across. You have to teach your audience, and then convince them why they need your product or service.

When 30 Second Videos Work the Best

Short videos work when the audience you’re reaching knows you and is happy to hear from you.

You’ve already established your business as a trusted brand in their minds, and you don’t need to spend the extra 20-40 seconds making a connection or giving them a reason to keep listening.

It works perfectly for big corporations and companies with loyal fans.

They’re waiting to hear from you and you can capitalize on this with short videos and simple messages.

Here is a great example by MailChimp

When Short Videos Could Be a Mistake

If you don’t have a loyal fan base or brand saturation, you may struggle to get people to invest themselves without the proper introduction.

You wouldn’t go up to a stranger and ask them how their children are. They have to know you, trust you.

Same thing with your business.

If you’re making your first video or targeting a new audience, you must give them a reason to listen to what you have to say. Address their pain points. Tell them about the new, revolutionary way you’re going to help them. All the benefits your product will provide to make their life better. And of course, you’ll need to finish with a strong call to action. To accomplish this, you’ll need more than 30 seconds.

short explainer video structure

Of course, there are always exceptions. If you feel like you’ve crafted the perfect message in a 30 second window, then go for it. Just be aware that out of every hundred short scripts clients give us, there may be 1 that doesn’t need to be expanded to a longer length to work.

Planning Your Message for Each Media Channel

No matter where you use your video, your message should be very clear. Don’t try to sell every detail or list every single benefit one-by-one.

We know you’re excited about your product, but it will overwhelm your viewer and they will tune out before you get a chance to hook them in.
Your message should be as simple, concise, and direct as possible. That’s why short videos are great for announcing new features or taking an existing audience to the next stage of your sales funnel.

Let’s take a look at specific media channels:

Social Media

When creating a video for social media, it’s better to have a strong hook in the beginning. Additionally, many people watch videos on their feeds without sound. You should plan on having a strong visual hook and/or a text animation intro. And having a version with captions is a good idea, too.

Another important part of making your video is its size, which is kind of like choosing the right outfit for a party; you want to make sure it fits well where you're going to show it. Different social media places like Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok have their own favorite video sizes. It's a good idea to think about this before you start making your video.

But don't worry, there are three main sizes that work well almost everywhere:

  • 1920x1080 (Horizontal) is like the wide screen on your TV.
  • 1080x1080 (Square) is a perfect square, just like a game board.
  • 1080x1920 (Vertical) is tall, like your phone screen when you're not tilting it.

These sizes are like the one-size-fits-most in the world of videos for social media.


With expos or trade shows, you don’t even really have the option for audio. It will be too loud or chaotic, so you’ll need to make sure your video clearly explains your message without words, and your logo and must-see details should be big on the screen. Don’t go into details. Show only what is most important and show it big and clear. Think of it more like a 30 second promotional video.

Also, before creating your expo video, check with organizers to find out if the screens will be horizontal or vertical.

Sales Meeting

If you’re going to be using your video for meetings, concentrate on your main message. Don’t waste time since people hate spending time in meetings anyway. Just get to the point about your product. Avoid CTAs or slogans, since you can do all that in person. Concentrate on the benefits and finish the video in a way that starts a conversation about your product.

There are many other media channels and marketing strategies out there, far more than we can get into here. Even the ones we listed above have different nuances that can affect your message. We recommend you consult a video strategist to plan your video and budget accordingly. Book your free consultation with us now.

How Much Does it Cost to Create a 30 Second Explainer Video?

The cost for a 30 second explainer video starts at $3500 – $4500. This price varies, depending on complexity of production and a number of other factors such as voiceover, music licensing, etc. If you’d like to know which factors affect the pricing most, you can read this article.

Is a 30 Second Explainer Video Cheaper than a 60 Second Explainer Video?

Yes and no. Let me explain.

Sometimes creating a message for 30 seconds is much harder than for 60 seconds. Making concise, focused wording that still explains everything needed gets harder the less room you have to work with.

And there are a number of things the production company has to do to create even a 10 second video. They need to learn your business, find a concept that works with your brand image, create a unique art style, find a great VO artist, and a number of other elements.

So the real difference in cost between a short explainer video and a longer explainer video may only be 15%.

And again, we recommend a short animated video only if you have a strong fanbase or you’ve got an amazing script.

How Many Words are in a 30 Second Explainer Video Script?

Sometimes our clients send us long scripts and insist it can fit in 30 seconds. The reason for this is because they read it quickly and without considering pauses, room to take in visuals, or time it takes a viewer to ingest important key words and phrases.

The ideal amount of words for a 30 second explainer video is 70-75. Check out wordcounter.net to assess your own script.

How Many Words are in a 30 Second Explainer Video

What Should I Consider When Planning the Duration of My Video?

When planning the duration, you should remember that you need about 3-5 seconds for the ending and logo animation, and another 3-4 seconds toward the beginning for the brand reveal. This means that in a 30 second video, you’re really only working with about 22 seconds of time for your message!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to a short animated explainer video, here’s the bottom line.

Yes, they can work if you’ve got an audience that knows you and enjoys hearing from you. But otherwise, you’re almost always better off going with a 60 second or 90-second explainer video.

You need the time to establish a relationship enough for viewers to want to listen to what you have to say.

But again, every once in a great while there is an exception. If you’ve got a script you’re sure would work for a 30 second video, we’d be happy to give you a free consultation and let you know if you’ve indeed got a winning marketing message that could bring success to your business!

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