What makes a good explainer video

A high-quality explainer video can generate countless leads and serve as a consistent revenue stream. We break down the key qualities that make a good video.

What makes a good explainer video

Producing a premium explainer video with a high conversion rate is no easy feat.

At Yans Media, we’ve delivered over 500 animated explainer videos over the past decade. Using our extensive experience, we’ve put together a case study analyzing multiple videos to show you examples of the critical factors that make the best explainer videos online.

After reading, you will understand the elements that have helped our agency create highly converting video content.


1. Clear, Concise Messaging

Clarity is key.

The messaging and objective of your video should be so easy to follow that a six-year-old could understand.

That means avoiding technical jargon that will limit your audience.

Explainer videos with high conversion rates clearly present a problem, how it is solved, and how the audience can benefit from the product or service.

2. Narrow Your Audience

Targeting too broad of an audience is one of the most common mistakes made by business owners.

Let me explain.

When we ask clients, "who are you targeting?" we give them three potential types of consumers: they either:

  • Don't know about this kind of solution
  • Already use your competitor
  • Or are in active research of making a choice?

The client usually answers, "well, kind of everyone."

explainer video audience

That's not going to work, and here is why.

When you target people who do not know what CRM is and how it will help them improve customer service, you need to construct your message about the main benefits of CRM.

If you target an audience with complaints about missing features of other software that is important for them, you do not need to define CRM. Instead, you build your message about how frustrating it is and how YOU solve that problem. (Also, maybe mention how it is easy to migrate from other CRM.

Once you’ve narrowed your audience, you can determine what direction your explainer needs to take.

3. Address a Common Problem

Another commonality among the best explainer videos online is identifying a problem. Clearly introducing a problem helps captivate the viewer and keep them engaged to the end of the video.

The problem should be specific to the product or service you are marketing and simplified enough to appeal to a large audience. Every viewer may not be a potential customer, but if you identify a common problem, they have an incentive to share your video or tag a friend.  

4. Capture the Viewer's Attention

Identifying the problem is just one of the ways to entice viewers. Because most internet users have an attention span of about 8 seconds, you want to capture their curiosity quickly.

You can produce an explainer video that captures the viewers' attention in various ways.

  • Addressing a problem
  • Creative storytelling
  • High-quality, stunning visuals
  • Appealing to an emotion
  • Creating a connection

The best explainer videos online captivate viewers by creating an emotional connection. Below is an example we produced for one of our clients, Cyclops. The video does a great job of capturing the viewer’s attention by showcasing how the innovative technology solves a common problem for brick-and-mortar retailers.

5. Offer a Solution

Explainer videos are unique because they walk viewers through how your product or service works.

Traditional advertisements will introduce their solution at the very end and encourage the viewer to inquire for more information. Instead, an explainer video should provide the viewer with an in-depth understanding of your product.

The best explainer videos introduce the solution much sooner than traditional ads, usually before the halfway point.

Not only do you need to offer a solution, but you must also thoroughly explain how your solution solves the problem, how it is used, and the benefits consumers will enjoy.

6. Focus on One Benefit

Remember that your explainer video will be short. The most common length falls between 30 and 90 seconds; there isn’t nearly enough time to stray away from one clear message.

Below is an example from our portfolio. We produced the explainer video for Varpet, an app that connects ordinary people with professional laborers.

As you can see, we present a common problem (everyday people have trouble booking contractors for simple repairs) and present the Varpet app as a solution.

7. Emphasize Your Unique Selling Proposition

Even if you’ve managed to find a market with only one competitor, your audience has a choice, you or them.

So, to stand out, you need to separate your solution from theirs.

Below is another video from our portfolio. In the video, our client Tourbuds shows viewers how the service offers value that traditional tours can’t.

8. Represent Your Brand with Quality Content

We've all heard the expression, "you never get a second chance at a first impression." The quality of your video is the first thing the viewer/potential consumer will notice. If your video uses an animation template creator, it could be inconsistent with your brand and the viewer will likely move on.

We are looking to capture the attention of the audience within 10 seconds. Therefore, presenting subpar quality is the fastest way to turn off the view and lose the potential lead.

9. Choose a Style, Music, Tone that Fits Your Brand

Capturing the vibe of your brand is an essential aspect of producing a quality explainer video. You don't need a massive budget or hire an expensive studio; you just need to communicate your brand's aesthetic through appropriate visuals, VO, music, and tone.

Google does an excellent job producing explainer videos representing the technology giant's brand image. Below is an example of a video released in 2014 during the Google Calendar rollout.

You can see that the video is super simple, showing the Google Calendar UI and a matching white backdrop with pops of bright colors. Google's clean, organized image is communicated highly effectively without overcomplicated visuals.

Useful Resource
20 Types Of Explainer Videos With Examples

10. Encourage Engagement

Every good explainer video leaves the viewer wanting more. So whether it's Googling the company name, leaving a comment, or sharing with a friend, creating engaging content is critical.

If you successfully produce a high-quality video that addresses a common problem in a creative manner, your chances of driving engagement are high. While all of the key elements we've covered help increase engagement, understanding your audience shouldn't be overlooked.

Proper research into what has worked in the past and what fuels your competitors' engagement are two great places to start understanding how to please your target market.  

11. Finally, a Call to Action

Explainer videos can feature a covert or overt call to action. The two videos above don't explicitly instruct the viewer to perform a specific request.

In the Google Calendar explainer, the video ends with expressing that the calendar can free up time "so you can do this that and the other thing, whatever the other thing is…pickles!" and ends with the Google Calendar app icon and a tagline.

Below is an example by Google drive that utilizes an overt CTA.

(First, you probably notice Google’s world-class branding on display; the same white backdrop, pops of color, similar upbeat music, and a relaxing VO as the Google Calendar video.)

In the end, viewers are instructed to visit the URL that takes them directly to the product.

Choosing the type of CTA your video needs is a personal choice. Going covert is riskier, but the viewer feels less pressure if you can keep engagement high. Strongly communicating the problem and solution is how successful marketers can produce explainer videos with a covert CTA.

Pro-tip From the Yans Media Animation Studio

Most successful video marketing campaigns cross promote on various platforms. We highly recommend using a different CTA on each one.

For example, if you create a video for social media, the goal is to direct views to your website and the CTA should be written accordingly. When you create explainer videos that live on your website, the CTA needs to be different because the potential customer is in a different stage in your sales funnel. An appropriate CTA would be more like “try our free demo” or “request a 7-day trial.”

As far as choosing the best CTA for your video, the only way to find out is test which one works better. At Yans Media, we always recommend an alternative CTA; they are easy to make and allow our clients to split test to find the best option. A CTA can make an exponential difference in an explainer video, as a result, we provide multiple options for our clients.

Useful Resource
How to Use a Call to Action in a Marketing Video

Final Thoughts

While there isn't a single template that every company can follow, we know that creating a generic explainer video with an unimaginative script that doesn't adequately represent your brand won't lead to likes, shares, and comments.

Every company has a different path to their best possible explainer video; working with a professional animation studio with experience in various industries is a logical path forward. Contact us today if you want to hear more information on the projects we've done in the past and how Yans Media can help your brand produce a premium animated explainer video.

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