What makes a good explainer video?


Date: 17 September 2020

A young Asian woman films an explainer video and unboxing of a new product.

If you're considering investing in an explainer video, you'll want to ensure it's as effective as it can be.  Done well they can be a great way to generate interest, engage potential customers and help to familiarise people with what your business offers.

If you want to learn more, we've produced a guide on how you can use explainer videos

An explainer video may take a prime position on your homepage, it can be posted to your social media channels and hopefully shared. Get it right and that sharing can take on a life of its own.

So, how do you get people buzzing about what you offer in a short explainer video?

It's all about the script

Every successful explainer video is based on a quality script. It's the foundation on which the whole video hangs, the thread that ties everything together, so it's important to get it right. It can be helpful to commission someone from outside the business to write the script. They can bring fresh eyes to the project and help to find angles that you might have missed.

When writing a video explainer script, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What's the elevator pitch? How would you describe your products and services in 1-2 sentences?
  • Who's your target audience?
  • What specific problems are you offering to solve?
  • Can you briefly outline three key benefits your product or service offers?
  • How does your product or service address key pain-points for your customer?
  • What kind of tone would you like the explainer video to use? Humorous, serious, trusted?
  • Will the video explainer contain a call-to-action? In other words, do you want people to do something specific after watching your video explainer such as get in touch or order a product?

The answer to these questions will make up your creative brief. You should refer to this when it comes to writing your script.

Keep it snappy

As a general rule of thumb, you should keep your script, and therefore your video, as short as possible to achieve the goals outlined in your creative brief. Don't make it so short it fails to tell people what you're offering, nor too long that the key messages get lost in lots of potentially confusing information.  The video is meant to hook potential customers and encourage them to get in touch to find out more.

A typical industry standard is a maximum 150 words per minute. You might be able to read quicker than that, but the chances are some details will be lost.

Keep it simple

To help keep your video short and snappy, you need to keep the message simple. Successful explainer videos focus on four key things:

  • Outline the problem. What's the issue your customers need to solve?
  • Outline your solution. Introduce your product or services as the solution to this issue.
  • How does it work? Briefly describe how your product or service works.
  • Call-to-action. What action do you want viewers to take? Get in touch? Place an order?

Highlight benefits, not features

It's a common mistake for businesses to want to list all the features of their product or service in their explainer videos. To people who aren't well versed in what you're offering this can come across as meaningless jargon. Smartphones are a case in point. Retailers often list a range of features which by themselves sound meaningless. When you explain they can help us capture great video or enhance our photos, customers immediately know what you're talking about.

What benefits can your product or service deliver that your competitors cannot?

Take time on the audio

Even if you have a killer script, it's meaningless if your words can't be heard. Make sure the voice over can be heard, and the voice itself doesn't jar.  Avoid going for something overly serious if you're selling something fun, and don't opt for a light, fluffy tone if you're selling something serious. Listen to the potential voice over options and choose the right one for your product or service.

Get the tone right

Make sure that the tone of your explainer video really resonates with your audience. If it's appropriate, don't be frightened to make your video fun and entertaining. If your video makes people smile, they're likely to remember it, and more importantly, share it.

Visuals should support the script

It's the script that will do the majority of the work so don't get too hung up about the visuals. These need to support and illustrate the script, not distract from it. The visuals should provide an anchor for the voice over and form a part of a coherent whole.

Use music intelligently

Music is an incredible tool for evoking tone and supporting your message. It can set the pace for your explainer and help to tie the script together with the visuals. Take some time to choose the right soundtrack for your video.

Get ready to launch

No matter how good your video is, if no one sees it your video won't generate any new customers for your business. Choose a platform for your video and make sure it's integrated into your website in a place where it can be seen. You should develop a marketing plan for your explainer video. Make sure it appears on all your social media channels, features in an email campaign, is flagged on your company blog and in any digital newsletters you publish.

Would any of your existing partners/clients be likely to share it for you? Why not encourage your followers to share it on social media with the chance to win free products or receive a discount for everyone who shares it on social media?

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jack Leigh of Eight Engines

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.