An explainer video is a short online marketing video that is used to explain a business idea in a simple, engaging and compelling way, by using a clear, concise language; and appealing visuals that quickly grab the viewer’s attention.

Explainer videos have become extremely popular for businesses because it leads to better conversion rates for the business. In fact, some sites have been known to increase their conversion rates by as much as 144% after including an explainer video on their website.

Most businesses post these videos on their landing pages or feature them on the homepage of their website, and some even use these videos to advertise their product or service on Facebook or other social media websites. Whichever way you decide to use it, an explainer video would always serve your purpose.

Types of Explainer Videos

Explainer videos come in various types, and the type you should use would depend on the kind of message you want to pass along and the type of product you sell. They include;

Live Action Explainer Videos: this type of explainer videos are usually none animated and they are used to explain a product or service. This type of explainer video is good for companies that want to build a personal relationship between them and potential customers by showing real people in real scenes. Having flesh and blood people in your explainer video can create an emotional connection for your viewers. In live action videos, everything is recorded using a camera and then they are edited. Here, you would not have the luxury of using animations to make things appear more real or more fun. You are stuck to the real world, and as such, you have to make the best of what you have by creating the fun yourself.

Animated Explainer Videos: animated explainer videos are explainer videos that use animated images. They are more often used to illustrate services or intangible tech products like software or products that are not physical. The animations are used to create whatever the creator has in mind. Because of the educational format of an explainer video, animated explainer videos tend to be more visually interesting than a man standing alone in a room talking. Animated explainer videos allow for more creativity, and they are easier to edit or update if adjustments are to be made in the future.

Animator explainer videos come in various formats like;

Infographic: Infographic animator explainer videos use charts, graphs, and clever iconography to emulate the style of an infographic. These chats are then used to  explain the key features of the business.

Product Simulation: This style features actual screencast footage of your product in action and is most useful as a high-level overview of a software or digital platform.

Character-Driven: This explainer video uses cute cartoon figures that should represent a prospective customer to tell the story of a product or service and how it can solve customer’s problems.

Motion Graphic: Usually 3D-animated, this type of explainer video aims to tell a product or company’s story using representational objects to incite an audience’s imagination with pictures instead of words.

Whiteboard Explainer Videos: A whiteboard video is an explainer video in which animation is hand drawn and erased on a whiteboard. This animation is then backed by voice to explain the product or concept. As the images are drawn, the whole story just creates itself right in front of your eyes and out of thin air, and draws you in from the start. Whiteboard explainer videos are used to indebtly explain a product, service or process. This format of video has become popular due to its ease of operation and low cost, making it one of the cheapest types of explainer video to create

Kickstarter/crowdfunding Explainer Videos: Kickstarter has become a hugely successful platform for funding projects through the power of the people. To date, Kickstarter has funded over 130,000 projects with more being successfully completed all the time. All kickstarter campaigns start with an explainer video of sorts to explain the idea to people. Kickstarter explainer videos aren’t so different from a regular product or service explainer video, although they do tend to be longer, and they carefully explain the product so people can understand.

People essentially want to see you, hear your passion, and get excited with you about your product. Viewers also want to make sure you seem competent and trustworthy. Making a great connection with your viewers is key to making a great kickstarter explainer video.

Screencast: A screencast is the digital recording of a screen capture containing audio narration. Because of its form, a screencast costs little to produce, and they are basically used by small businesses and for giving tutorials. If your product is a complex software or platform, you can benefit from this style to showcase how it works. A real time demonstration of its capabilities might be what you need to show to keep your audience’s interest.

Characteristics of a good explainer video

Certain features make explainer videos a masterpiece, and for you to keep the attention of your viewers long enough to pass your information to them, you video should have these features.

  • It should be reasonably short: Explainer videos can be anywhere from one to three minutes, but the best ones are often shorter, between one and two minutes. If it goes any longer, it would turn boring.
  • It should be a call to action: Explainer videos should clearly state what they want their intended audience to do after watching. They should generate that pull that would prompt the viewer to get the product.
  • Be focused on addressing a problem: Products are created because there are problems to solve. Explainer videos should be focused on addressing that specific problem, explaining the product or service, and answering why they are the solution.
  • Match brand and audience: Explainer videos are best when their style and tone match that of the brand, as well as the customer they’re trying to reach.
  • Be of good quality: Explainer videos need to be of very good quality, both in production and quality of content, to effectively communicate a brand’s value proposition.
  • It should answer the basic questions of What, Why and How: These three questions are explained thus;

What: What’s the audience’s problem?

How: How will your product or service fix it?

Why: Why should the audience choose you?

Too often, explainer videos are good at explaining a product or service, but not effective at communicating the company’s underlying purpose, and why such product or service is needed in the first place. Sometimes, the “how” and “why” acts are quite similar and they overlap a little or they are actually the same thing, but that’s not a problem. But you must note that any one of these questions that are not answered in your explainer video means that you video is not complete.

How to write an explainer video script

An explainer video has the power to tell a convincing story about your business in 120 seconds, or less. But before you even begin to think of your illustration and animation, you need first of all develop a fitting explainer script.

To make sure that your expainer video is able to hit its target everytime it is played, you have to ensure that you know your audience, your message and your call-to-action, and you ought to prepare well before scripting the video.

Here are tips that can help you write a successful explainer script

  1. Keep The Script Short

One of the cardinal rules of explainer videos is to keep them short. The same applies with the script; keep it short but don’t skimp on the message. The longer a video is, the less likely people will be to watch it all the way through. It has been proven that 85% of people will watch an entire 30-second video, but only 50% will watch a video completely if it’s up to 2 minutes. I shouldn’t tell you what will happen if the video is more than 3 minutes.

To know the proper length of time for your video, you have to first of all determine where the video would be most seen. A captive audience in an auditorium endures about six to eight minutes before beginning to drift. An Internet surfer tends to check out after two to three minutes depending on how compelling your material is and whether or not she needs your product.

If your script is too long, you may not get to pass on your message before you lose the attention of your audience.

2. Build up the problem

A problem is the first thing that gets featured in an explainer video. While writing your script, you need to set up the problem as quickly as possible in no more than fifteen seconds. A problem can be explained quickly in a precise visual, or a series of shots showing the same problem over and over again as it applies to each person.

Whether you use a disembodied voice over or recognizable figure, it does not matter. What matters is that you cast characters that are related with the problem you want to solve. If you are marketing to fitness buffs, cast a trainer; if it is a maternity related product, cast a pregnant woman, etc.

3. Create your solution

Once a problem has been identified, the solution should come next. When you script your solution, you need to emphasize on it. State clearly what your product does, but not how. Providing the solution is not the same as explaining the product.

You may want to explain all the ins and outs at this moment, but don’t be tempted to do so. Just get across the solution and give your viewer time to latch onto it. Holding back a bit instills curiosity as to how you’re going to make good on what you just laid out.

To emphasis this pivot, the best explainer videos change the music and camera to reflect the optimistic tone of the explainer video script. The narrator’s inflection can be more happy and upbeat. You need to incorporate all these in your script.

4. Explain the solution

This is now the crux of your script. Here is where you should provide all the nifty details about how your product works. This is the meat of your video, and it should run for about one minute long. Be selective with what facts you choose to highlight. Answer any natural questions that would come from your product. This is in fact your chance to dazzle your viewer with how great the product is. The solution is meant to pique the interest of the viewer and you have to use this section to satisfy that curiosity.

5. Call to Action

Without a call to action, viewers won’t know what to do next. Your call to action will appear at the end of your video and remain on screen for a few seconds so that users can take in the important information. Make it clear in your script what you want your audience to do after watching your video. It could be subscribing to the product or buying a merchandise. Take note not to make multiple calls-to-action in the same video. Make only one, and make sure it’s straightforward and clear.

Your “Call to Action” should be short, but effective. This section should only account for 10 seconds of your explainer video. Restate the problem and your solution again in one concise sentence. Clearly state your product’s name at least twice, and flash it onscreen. If you’re posting your explainer video on Youtube, be sure to add an annotation so people can actually click the video and go to the product.

6. Write like you speak

Writing is one of the most important features of a successful explainer video script. There is no excuse to write poorly or provide content that doesn’t have any real value. You must know that a poorly written script would reflect on the video. Writing like you speak means writing in a way that is easily understandable and free from long words. Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader: it is a dialogue. So, when you’re writing your explainer video script, imagine yourself trying to explain your products to a close friend.

7. Cut the chase

You’ve already learned that an animated marketing video must be short enough to deliver your business idea quickly and directly. Now, another key piece of advice is: keep it simple! Don’t try to explain absolutely everything about your company in a single 2-minute-long script. Get straight to the point, and take the time to think about what’s important to include in your video and what’s not. Later on, once your audience gets really interested in your product or service, you’ll have the time to explain the details that couldn’t make it into the video with sales calls, blog articles, more videos, etc.

8. Speak to your audience

An explainer video is typically made for people outside, that is people you aim to reach with your marketing message. For this reason, you have to write your script to address them directly.

The most important thing to keep in mind with your marketing video must always be your audience and how you can help them solve their problems. Don’t try to sell to your audience, but rather make them understand that you can actually help them. Only then will they truly trust in your brand and decide to purchase your product or service.

To connect better, you have to use personal pronouns like “you” and “your”. Again, don’t waste time telling your audience what they already know. Focus instead on what they need to know about you that will bring them to trust you and to take the action you want them to take. Don’t talk down to your audience or over their heads. Make friends with them and they will be far more likely to give you a chance to sell them something.

9. Engage with them through your tone

The key to a great explainer video is engagement. To be able to engage with your audience, you have to find the right tone that can help you connect with them. Keeping your audience in mind is more than just thinking about the solution they are looking for. It’s about remembering who they are, where they come from, their age and background. All of these will help you nail the right tone your video should have.

Write your script in a way that can be easily read by the voice actor. That means including the pace and tone as well as the words, events or phrases that you want to highlight. If you have story-driven characters, imagine real people as mental place-holders. It’s much easier to write realistic dialogue if you are writing for someone whose habits and mannerisms you know well. The tone you choose for your video will then drive your choice of setting, narrator or cast, tempo, pace and type of dialogue for the script.

10. Build up a story

Every explainer video must tell a story. While it’s important to present viewers with a problem-solution scenario, and the odd statistic here and there, it’s equally as important to make sure your script tells a story. It often starts by presenting a problem, a solution, and where the solution can be found. Presenting dry facts, statistics and definitions can potentially kill your video.

Instead, use the power of the screen to show your audience actual people your company has helped, or benefits your services have bestowed on your customers. Human beings create stories about themselves to help them define who they are. The better you tell stories about yourself, the more likely your viewers are going to understand what your company is offering and what it can do for them.

11. Add a touch of humor

Humor is a great tool for story-telling so long as the humor supports your message. Research has found that funny content is more likely to be shared than serious content. Even the most corporate brands can afford to loosen their straight laces a little when it comes to creating an explainer video. If you’re able to find an unexpectedly funny angle for your business, you should make good use of it.

Make sure your attempts at humor fit seamlessly within the story you’re trying to tell, and keep in mind that misplaced or poorly timed humor can be distracting and may actually put off potential customers. Humor works best when you are writing a script for an animation explainer video.

12. Don’t flow too fast

While you might be able to speak 200 or more words per minute on your own, keep in mind that the voiceover needs time to breathe, allowing viewers to absorb what you’re saying. Machine gun fire dialogue quickly overwhelms viewers, causing abandonment, and decreased comprehension. You need to keep the dialogue to between 125 and 150 words a minute. Get feedback from friends and co-workers, and make sure that your script is engaging and easy to understand.

Conclusion

When you break down your script, carefully go through each scene and determine what cast members, props, etc. you need to make your explainer video come to life. The best explainer videos take what could have been boring voice over and turn it into short scenes.

You can keep your budget much cheaper by writing the explainer video script on your own, but it is always wise that an animated explainer video script be done by professionals who can really understand the script process and its cinematic value. But, you can always try to write it on your own at first, if your budget isn’t big enough to accommodate outside help.

Ajaero Tony Martins