The Ultimate Guide to Explainer Videos

Explainer Videos from A to Z. Everything you need to know about explainer videos to create successful marketing content.

The Ultimate Guide to Explainer Videos

Much has been said about explainer videos and there is a lot of information floating around out there. We get asked a lot of questions as well, so I took the time to gather all the questions people have asked us about explainer videos. In this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know!


1 Contents
2 What is an Explainer Video?
3 How Explainer Videos Work
   3.1 The Structure of Explainer Videos
4 Why Explainer Videos Are So Effective
5 Which Style Will Work Best For Your Brand
6 Types of Explainer Videos
   6.1 Screen Recorded Explainer Video
   6.2 Live-Action Explainer Video
   6.3 Explainer Video With Stock Footage
   6.4 Animated Explainer Videos
7 What Makes a Good Explainer Video?
8 How Long Does It Take to Create An Explainer Video?
9 Explainer Video Production Stages
10 How Long Does It Take to Create An Explainer Video?\
11 What’s the Best Way to Create an Explainer Video?
   11.1 Figure Out The Strategy & The Concept
   11.2 Decide The Role Of The Explainer Video In Your Sales Funnel
  11.3 Create a Strong Call To Action
12 Launching Your Explainer Video
   12.1 What are the Ways to Use an Explainer Video?
   12.2 Selecting Business Video Hosting
   12.3 Embed It To Your Website’s Homepage
   12.4 Post Across All Social Media
   12.5 Include In Your E-Mail Marketing
13 How Much Does an Explainer Video Cost?
   13.1 1. Online Video Creation Platforms ($50 – $500)
   13.2 2. Hiring Freelancers (costs vary)
   13.3 3. Hire an Explainer Video Production Company ($4500 – $10000+)
14 How to Choose an Explainer Video Production Company
   14.1 Can I Make an Explainer Video for Free or Cheap?
15 Final Words

What is an Explainer Video?

An explainer video is a short marketing video, usually animated, that is designed to explain a business idea in a simple and engaging way. Explainer videos are often used in online marketing strategy by addressing pain points and then offering a business solution with compelling visuals.

What is an Explainer Video

How Explainer Videos Work

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Explainer videos are unique in that they, well, explain!  They are universal work perfectly for all stages of marketing and sales funnels.  

You can explain your idea, show how your products or services work, and announce new features through online and offline marketing channels.

how explainer video work

The Structure of Explainer Videos

Depending on the objectives and goals, explainer videos can have different structures. But they all cover 5 main points:

  1. The problem — addressing the pain points of the audience.
  2. The solution — revealing the company and the value proposition.
  3. How the business or product works.
  4. Benefits — the end result the customer will experience.
  5. Call to action — a compelling reason to take the next step.

Why Explainer Videos Are So Effective

  1. You can deliver your message in 30 – 60 seconds
  2. Show a problem and a solution
  3. They simplify complex ideas and make them easy to understand
  4. Increase conversion rates
  5. Spread the word to potential customers
  6. Improve your Google ranking
  7. ROI (return on investment) is high
  8. Explainer videos  can be used everywhere
  9. Can be used for all stages of the marketing and sales funnels
  10. Show brand personality
explainer video statistics

Which Style Will Work Best For Your Brand

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This is something we recommend consulting a professional about. Every company is unique, and so is every message. You can read recommendations and blog posts and even eBooks, but whoever wrote it doesn’t know your business.

There’s no main camp or rule —there are dozens of choices. That said, all those choices stem from 2 main styles. Read on to learn about them

live action vs animation

Types of Explainer Videos

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The most popular format is 2D motion graphics. It’s cheap to create and it has unlimited possibilities. However, there are about two dozen styles that can be useful, including:

Screen Recorded Explainer Video

This style is great when you want to demonstrate mobile apps in action or create website tutorials. Also screen recorded videos are cost-effective. All you need is to record directly from the browser or app and then add some visual tricks (highlights, zooming and scaling, big mouse pointer, etc.). However, making a fluid video from screen recording is harder than it looks. Be prepared to spend considerable time and doing multiple takes if you want it to look professional.

Live-Action Explainer Video

Live-action is a great choice when you absolutely must show your product or service working in the real world. It’s also a good pick for testimonials or when someone important in the business wants to address an audience personally.

Budget can be reasonable when it’s simple content like that, but costs can skyrocket once locations and a crew are needed.

Explainer Video With Stock Footage

This can be a good compromise when you want a live-action look without a fully custom live-action budget. It’s especially effective when you use an agency that knows how to assemble the right pieces and then make them engaging and somewhat customized with motion graphic animation and text overlayed on top.

Animated Explainer Videos

The most popular choice for explainer videos, animation is also the best value for the money. Designers can create all types of worlds with original illustrations and bring them to life for a fraction of the cost of live action.

Animation is also highly flexible and relatable. This is one of the primary reasons companies from startups to global giants like Microsoft, Google, Slack, etc. prefer animated videos.

What Makes a Good Explainer Video?

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• It has to have the right length.
• The video should speak to the right target audience.
• The message should be clear and to the point.
• Focus on benefits is a must.
• A conversational tone works better in most cases.
• Visuals should be custom designed, not templated.
• The music track and sound design (effects, mixing) should fit the brand and message.
• A strong call to action!

How Long Does It Take to Create An  Explainer Video?

The perfect length for an explainer video is 60 – 90 seconds. Anything too much shorter than 60 seconds doesn’t give you enough time to establish trust. Anything longer than 90 seconds is best used when you’ve got an audience that is excited to hear.

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The Ultimate Guide to Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are, at their essence, a means of communication. And it’s important to keep in mind that there are some rules that you need to follow. For example, you talk with people differently when you first meet them vs. when you’ve known them for a long time.

So if your explainer video is for viewers who don’t know you, you need enough time to introduce yourself but not so much you wear out your welcome.

The perfect range for this is 60 – 90 seconds. Anything too much shorter than 60 seconds doesn’t give you enough time to establish trust. Anything longer than 90 is best used when you’ve got a brand people are well familiar with and are excited to learn as much as possible about.

If you’re creating a video for an already established audience, then you can definitely work outside that range. But if the video’s main purpose is reaching people unfamiliar with your company, it’s best to stay in the sweet spot.

Explainer Video Production Stages

explainer video production stages

An explainer video has three main stages of creation.

1. Pre-production.

  • Brief
  • Concept
  • Script

2. Production.

  • Storyboard
  • Style & Visuals
  • Voice Over
  • Animation

3. Post-production.

  • Music Track
  • Sound Effects
  • Rendering

How Long Does It Take to Create An   Explainer Video?

Most video production companies usually ask 4-8 weeks to create a custom 60-90 seconds explainer video. This gives them enough time to learn about your business, create original content (from the script to the visuals), and allow time for feedback and revisions.

What’s the Best Way to Create an Explainer Video?

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explainer video process

Before you begin, however, there are many factors to take into consideration; you first need to decide on the goals for your video. Understand exactly who your target audience is and then select the right message to address them with. Plan the platforms you’re going to use the video on and let the production company know. That way, they’ll be able to use that to decide on your main message and deliver it in the best way possible. Then you can start production.

We’ll cover that in this chapter, as well as the other aspects you’ll need to take into account.

Figure Out The Strategy & The Concept

Here are a few more things that you must decide before beginning explainer video production.

What Is The Main Goal Of Your Video?

Are you explaining how your product works?

Trying to capture email addresses?

Looking to drive website traffic?

Or simply let the world know you exist?

It’s important to choose 1 main goal and remember that the video should be a part of your sales funnel, not replace it.

Your Main Message.

Being too broad is a common mistake because business owners always want to share as much as they can with potential customers. It becomes very easy to overwhelm viewers. Remember that if people are frustrated or overwhelmed, they’ll tune out or turn off. Instead, focus on 1 main message and develop the rest of the concept around that.

Who is Your Target Audience?

This is also tricky because you may think you already know, but you have to get specific.

Let’s say you have an app that helps purchase bulk airfare on a corporate level. Do you want to target mega-company CEOs? Middle-managers who arrange travel schedules? What about the actual buyer on an administrative level?

Each person has a different approach with how your message should be crafted.

Tone, Style, and Brand Standards.

First of all, you’ll need a custom visual style. Templates or online cookie-cutter platforms aren’t going to work.

You’ll want a color palette that matches your logo and brand standards. You’ll also want a style that fits your brand voice.

Additionally, your script should also fit your brand voice. Humor can work, but mileage varies depending on your business.

And never forget to emphasize the benefits your explainer video viewers will be getting and have a strong CTA to end the video with.

Decide The Role Of The Explainer Video In Your Sales Funnel

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video in marketing funnel

Just like any other marketing piece, an explainer video should have its own place in the sales funnel. If you’re a startup, then there’s a good chance your video will be used at the top of the funnel to build awareness and interest. Your CTA then should not try to close a sale, instead directing viewers to the next stage in your funnel.

Here’s a brief look at how your video can be used in every stage of the sales funnel:

Awareness. As mentioned above, this is a great option for startups or for businesses looking to spread the word about new products or services. Reveal your brand, and let viewers know what you’re about.

Interest. Once viewers have awareness (either from earlier in the video or a different part of your sales funnel), you can create interest. Engage your viewers by relating to them and their problem and let them know your benefits and exactly how your company will solve their problems.

Conversion. Using an explainer video in this stage requires that viewers are already familiar with your brand and trust you enough to take the next step with you. You’ll most likely skip the early stages of your sales funnel and go directly to detailed information or even a CTA.

Retention. Explainer videos are an underused tool for increasing customer retention. They’re the perfect medium for explaining new features, announcing discounts for existing customers, or sharing information to those already in your marketing funnel.

Create a Strong Call To Action

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Your CTA, or call to action, will vary depending on your target audience and where in the funnel your explainer video will live.

Here are some examples of great uses for CTAs:

  • Call for a sale. Link directly to a purchase page, free trial sign-up, or app download.
  • Send the viewer to learn more about your product or service.
  • Visit your website or landing page.
  • Give a phone number to call (rarer these days, but still useful).
  • Contact (email link or text).
    Schedule a demo.
  • Try now (quite effective if you’ve got a product that works with this).

Launching Your Explainer Video

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Now you’ve got your explainer video fresh out of the production video.

Congrats! So then, what comes next?

Obviously you want it to be seen as much as possible.

What are the Ways to Use an Explainer Video?

You can use your video everywhere! Here are some suggestions:

  • Website homepages
  • Product or service landing pages
  • Social media ads
  • Email marketing
  • Trade shows
  • Sales meetings

For example, if you use the video for remarketing, you’ll probably talk about how you are different from your competition. In that case, you’ll probably be using a video designed for social media.

Alternately, if you’re targeting a brand new audience, the video should be attractive enough to engage – encouraging them to take action to find out more.

Selecting Business Video Hosting

Of course, you need to host your video somewhere. There are lots of hosting options out there, and each have their own pros and cons. Let’s take a look at our top picks:


Vimeo shines is with options. There are different tiers, but their business plan stands out. With interactive cards, email capture, and Google analytics integration, it contains everything you need for a successful campaign. You’re not just getting hosting, but invaluable marketing tools for your explainer video.

Free to $75 per month


Wistia is another heavy hitter when it comes to video hosting that provides powerful marketing tools. With a customizable player, lead generation tools, advanced analytics, and integrations with CRM software like Hubspot, Wistia is another excellent choice.

Free to $99 per month


While YouTube doesn’t offer the advanced tools the others do, you should still upload your video here.Perhaps not for your main hosting, but in addition to it.

Here’s why:

YouTube is the second biggest search engine behind Google. And since they’re owned by Google, YouTube videos are given preference in Google searches.

What that means is, if you’ve got a parking app, and someone searches “parking app” on Google, and you’ve got your app explainer video up on YouTube, there’s a good chance it’ll show up front and center on that Google search. You can’t beat that kind of free marketing.

Embed It To Your Website’s Homepage

Once you have your hosting set, you can embed your video on your homepage. But don’t just put it anywhere, put it front and Center! The goal is to capture your target audience’s attention and catch it quick.

If visitors need to read or scroll to get to the video, you’ve already lost them. This is why we recommend the video be at the top of your landing page. There should also be a clickable link or next step the visitor can follow through with.

explainer video in numbers

Post Across All Social Media

Of course, you should also share your video across your social media platforms as well. With Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, you’ll be able to share the link to where your video is hosted directly.

For Instagram, you’re going to have to upload it to their platform. Something to keep in mind: Instagram only allows videos up to a minute, so when you’re getting your explainer video created, make sure it fits that time!

If you’ve got a longer video, ask the production company for an edited version for an Instagram upload. Few things look more unprofessional than having your awesome explainer video chop off before it ends.

Include In Your E-Mail Marketing

Email may seem like old news with all the new digital alternatives, but it’s still one of the best ways to reach people already in your marketing funnel.

Here are a couple statistics:

•According to Sprout Marketing, an first-time email with a video inside gets a click-through increase of 96%

•Another study by Forrester Research found that when there was an explainer video in an email to your regular mailing list, the click-through rate actually increased by 300%!

Obviously, email is still a very useful tool for marketing. And your email marketing provider will have a template that makes it easy to embed a video into your message. Don’t skip on that opportunity!

How Much Does an Explainer Video Cost?

The price for a custom high-quality explainer video is $3500 – $30,000. If the quality isn’t important for you can get a low-quality video for $500 – $2500 with freelancers and online video creators. However, it’s not recommended as the ROI will be very low.

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You wouldn’t start any business project without considering the budget, right? It’s no different for an explainer video. While you’ve got options all across the board, we’ve narrowed down your choices to 3 to simplify things.

1. Online Video Creation Platforms ($50 – $500)

You get what you pay for, and if you’re trying to get a great custom marketing video for a low cost, you’re going to be disappointed.

While the final product from these cookie-cutter sites may look slick at first glance, it becomes quickly obvious that there’s nothing custom in the look of the video. You’re going to have random stock video and fonts that all the other videos from those sites are also using.

That said, there are good potential uses for these cheap services — quick announcements and teaser clips are a fine way to use them.

2. Hiring Freelancers (costs vary)

Honestly, there’s no great way to make this work. You either have to also hire a freelance project manager to run everything or run the project yourself. Either way, you’re going to end up paying more than if you hire a production company since freelancers charge much more per hour.

You’ll also be working with a combined group who probably have never worked together and then hoping everything turns out alright.

3. Hire an Explainer Video Production Company ($4500 – $10000+)

It’s the option that works best for most businesses. You’ll have an entire experienced team working for you to create a great piece of marketing content. When you work with a reputable company, the team will have loads of experience working on projects together.

Plus, you’ll have a project manager keeping everything on track and keeping you updated.

So plan on budgeting at least $4500 for a 60 second animated explainer video. You may need to spend more for a longer video or one with more complex animations (like 3D), but $4500 should be your starting point.

hire explainer company

How to Choose an Explainer Video Production Company

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Simply put, there are 3 main factors to take into account: price, portfolio, and experience. At least 2 out of those 3 things should be easy to determine from a production company’s website. Many agencies don’t publically list their fees but will be happy to give you a free quote once they understand what you’re looking for.

Two other important aspects to ask about; can you get the project source files at the end, and does the production company have a marketing person or team on staff. For the former, you never know when you may need a change in your video. Sometimes you have a new logo, or want to try out a different CTA. If you’ve got the source files, it’s much easier to make that change down the line.

For the latter, it’s crucial to have an explainer video production team that understands the sales side and how to implement the funnel. That way you’re not just getting really pretty animations but lacking a strong marketing foundation.

Can I Make an Explainer Video for Free or Cheap?

If you want to create some text animation or a video with some slides, you can check out some online explainer video creators. However, I have never come across any platform that will create them 100% free.

The thing is that they all have some limitation or other; no HD, platform watermarks, etc. The same holds true for cheap services. But you shouldn’t buy something just because it’s cheap.

Here is the truth;

Every smart marketer knows that a low price isn’t the most important aspect; it’s ROI.

If you invest $300 and your time and the return is $600, you get an ROI of $300. But if you invest $3000 on a high-quality explainer video and the return is $50,000, which is truly better? That’s why it’s more important to focus on the ROI instead of the upfront price.

Final Words

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An explainer video made the right way is one of the best marketing tools you can use, whether you’re a startup or mega-corporation. Explainer videos build your brand, increase your online visibility, attract new customers, generate leads, and strengthen your relationship with your current customers.

According to explainer video statistics, 85% of people are more likely to purchase a product once they watch a video about it. That makes video one of the best tools to increase your sales conversions. Video helps you liven up a pitch, gets people excited about your product, builds your brand personality, and even pushes you up in Google search rankings. It’s a truly brilliant way to market in the digital age.

We hope this article has been informative and covered all the content you were hoping to learn about making your first explainer video.

If you made it this far, you’re obviously serious about getting one created, and you should be. It can’t be understated how valuable a great explainer video is. And if you want help from experts who have made hundreds of successful clients around the globe, please contact us today.

We’d love to help you achieve your business goals with a custom explainer video.

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