How to Make the Next Explainer Video

Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

So you’ve made one explainer video. You’ve created a detailed yet succinct video to highlight how your product or service works. If it was a hoot and your audience is clamouring for more, you might be considering how to approach the next one. Or perhaps it wasn’t quite as successful as you’d hoped and need to go back to the drawing board. 

Explainer videos are an incredibly valuable piece of content. Incorporating more explainer videos to answer questions about various products and services shows that you are listening to your audience and eager to develop a trusting relationship with both current and potential clients. A stronger understanding of your client base won’t just optimise your content marketing strategy, but will also help you create better products and services that meet your customers’ needs.

We’ve listed below some effective methods of creating your next explainer video. Whether you’re looking for some inspiration or need to make some amends to your current approach to explainer videos, we’re here to guide you on all aspects of your video content marketing strategy. 

What else needs explaining?

First things first – why do you want to make another explainer video? Is there a product or service your audience is asking questions about? How do you think another explainer video will benefit your brand?

Identifying a product or service that needs further clarification is the first step in creating your next explainer video. You can do this in a multitude of ways – through social media, product reviews, your website, and an FAQs webpage. 

Promoting your products and services on various social media platforms will inevitably result in both current and potential clients voicing their opinions and asking questions about them. Pay close attention to repeated queries in the comments sections beneath your videos to gain a better understanding of any grey areas your clients are concerned about.

Have a look at product reviews both on your website and third-party sites hosting your products to see what questions your audience is asking. You want your clients to be completely comfortable in making purchase decisions. Creating an explainer video that specifically answers these queries will show that your brand is one step ahead of your clients’ needs and always ready to help. Using these methods to identify your customers’ concerns will give your explainer video a clear purpose and build a strong relationship with both current and potential clients.

The design

Have a look at your first explainer video. What worked? What didn’t? Is it the right style for your brand?

Analysing the layout, format, style and tone of your first explainer video will give you an idea of which aspects you want to continue creating and which ones you want to discard. If you’re starting your next explainer video content completely from scratch, it helps to spend some time looking at specific details that either disadvantage your brand or that you dislike. Ensuring that all aspects of your content marketing strategy represent your brand in its entirety is crucial to its effectiveness and increases its chances of resonating with your audience.

Do you still approve of the colour scheme, the graphics, and the overall approach? What about the actors, lighting, and voiceover? Does the language also succinctly explain your product whilst also representing your brand’s vernacular? 

Asking all of these questions about your first explainer video will help you see what amendments you need to make, ensuring a fully effective video content marketing strategy. The more detailed your analysis of your first explainer video, the better your next one will be.

Similarities in Explainer Videos

It’s worth noting that if you’re making more than one piece of video content for one specific type, you will end up creating a video series. A video series is a set of videos that all serve the same purpose but with different content. With your next explainer video, therefore, it might make sense to keep things as similar to your first one as possible.

This is ideal if you’re happy with the outcome and overall result of your first explainer video. Using the same colour scheme and style, as well as the same actors and voiceover artists, will show consistency in your branding, which is essential for a successful video series, particularly for explainer videos.

An explainer videos should feel similar to each other. You want your clients to immediately recognise your brand, therefore deciding on a consistent theme and setup will help you build a strong connection with your audience. Your clients will know that the information in your explainer videos is from a trusted source, emphasising your reliability and credibility as a brand. An explainer video series with an erratic format will weaken your branding and disadvantage your trusting relationship with your customers.

Variation

Let’s not forget that keeping absolutely everything the same in an explainer video series has its disadvantages. Changing things up a bit will help your clients differentiate your videos from each other. It will also save you from confusion when promoting different videos at specific times.

In an explainer video series, you don’t want all of your videos blurring into one. You don’t want to confuse your audience to the point that they accidentally mix up your products. By changing one thing, such as the central actor or voiceover artist, your clients will see a clear difference in each of your videos. Even incorporating a more varied colour palette can do the trick. This shouldn’t be a huge deviation from your brand’s colour scheme, but using lighter or darker shades will also effectively differentiate your videos.

Of course, you want to keep the overall style and tone of your explainer videos consistent. But making little tweaks here and there won’t just help your viewers differentiate your videos from each other, it will also pique their interest and prevent them from becoming bored with your video content.

Live-Action vs Animation

If you need to rethink your marketing strategy specifically regarding your explainer videos, it might be beneficial to analyse the overall style, tone and graphics you chose for your first explainer video. This is where the age-old debate between live-action and animation comes in. 

Animation is usually the preferred style for explainer videos. Due to vibrant colour palettes and motion graphics, animated video content automatically disarms viewers and draws them in. The main benefit of animated video content as the main style of explainer videos is that they break down complex topics. Animated video content transforms abstract ideas into digestible chunks of information. In fact, viewers retain 15% more information from animated than live-action video content. An explainer video for an online service or an intangible product will benefit from an animated format.

However, all is not lost if you’re leaning towards live-action explainer videos. With live-action video content, you can automatically create a natural, human connection with your audience. An actor talking directly to viewers humanises your brand and makes your explainer video more personal. If you have a tangible product that you want to answer questions about, a live-action video will work better than an animated video, as viewers will want to see a physical product. 

Sometimes, a combination of both animated and live-action formats can be equally effective. For example, you can use motion graphics or an animated company mascot to highlight specific features about your product.

Style and Tone

Now that you’ve decided on the path you want to take regarding the overall design of your next explainer video, the next step is to make sure the basics of your style and tone are in line with your branding. You want to keep things simple and comprehensible, ensuring that all queries are covered. But most importantly of all, you want your explainer video to make a valuable contribution to making a sale.

An instructional, light and comedic tone is ideal for an explainer video. Using language that your audience will understand is hugely important, especially if your product has quite complex features. If your language is too simplistic, chances are your audience won’t be satisfied with your answers to their queries. On the other hand, very complex language will confuse and disengage your viewers. Potential clients might also find your products and branding quite daunting and won’t want to invest in your services.

Making your products easy to use is essential to explainer videos. All customers want a user-friendly experience, therefore, it’s important to show potential clients why people buy from you. An amicable and informative tone of voice accompanied by useful visuals of your product or service will create a positive impression of your brand and motivate viewers to invest in your products.

Getting Going – Steps to making an explainer

If you’re looking at making an explainer video, the first thing to consider is whether you handle it in-house or use a video production company. For most organisations, it’s a job that’s best managed by an external agency with the expertise and knowledge needed to make explainer videos that get results.

The benefit of finding a good agency is that they will guide you through the whole process. You tell them what you want and they will help to find practical ways to achieve it. So let’s look at how it works:

  1. Creating a brief

The starting point when working with an agency will be providing them with a brief. This is a simple breakdown of what you want to achieve along with a budget and timescale for production.

While the primary purpose of an explainer video is going to be explaining something they can achieve much more than this. They can be used as a powerful marketing tool that builds your brand and connects with your users.

So the first step is to think about exactly what do you want from it. This should cover:

  • What needs to be explained and who to?
  • How and where will the video be used?
  • How should your organisation be portrayed?
  • How do you want viewers to act or feel?

It’s figuring out these kinds of basic questions from day one which is the secret to an effective creative process. It helps to make sure everyone is moving in the same direction and working towards a shared goal.

  1. Deciding a plan

The agency will use the initial brief to explore the best ways to achieve the goals. This will be based on knowledge of what will work best and balanced against what’s achievable within the budget and timescale.

Moodboards and storyboards will often be used to help provide the client with a feel for what the finished video will look like. More than one solution may be proposed with the client choosing which one they prefer.

Communications and adjustments will be made until the client and agency are both happy and the project can move into the production phase.

  1. Getting it made

Once a strategy is agreed, the agency will create a production schedule which breaks down:

What needs to be done

Deadlines and completion dates

Roles, responsibilities and contacts

The nature of the production will vary depending on the style of the explainer video. A live-action approach is liable to require a more complex production schedule that manages elements such as casting, kit hire and location agreements.

The production schedule should also set out the communications with the client during production. This can be a structured approach with work-in-progress shared on specific dates or a more informal agreement to keep clients ‘in the loop’.

  1. Adding finishing touches

Typically, clients will be sent a draft version of the final explainer video. This provides a chance to make any last changes before the finished version is created with FX, music, narration and any additional visually effects added.

A good creative process aims to ensure that any changes at this stage are minimal. Once sign off from the client has been received, a final version is created in the various formats required.

  1. Getting it seen

Now that you have a great looking explainer video, you just need to get it out there. A good agency will ensure that the finished product is tailored to how and where it’s being used, whether that’s:

  • Website landing page
  • Social media share
  • Corporate presentation
  • Mailing list distribution

Different versions of the same video can be delivered to match the requirements of each format – such as a shorter version with subtitles for social media use.

Working with an agency means they will also advise you on the best ways to track the success of your explainer video. How to share videos in ways that provide a wealth of analytical data such as:

  • Who’s watching
  • How long do they watch
  • Where they are located
  • Where viewers arrive from

All of this information can be used to help track performance and find the best ways to promote and share an explainer video.

 

Examples of great explainer videos

So what kind of things can be achieved? Here’s a look at some ways that explainer videos have been used to communicate products and services:

  1. PayPal: A simple 2D animation that communicates exactly what the service does within 30 seconds – and without the need for any voiceover.

 

 

  1. Google: Sometimes the most effective way to explain something is to simply show it being used. This is a great example of a live-action approach used to make it relatable.

 

 

  1. Spotify: Using a hybrid blend of animation and live-action, this is a good example of how an effective explainer can go beyond explaining to also communicate the style and feel of a brand.

 

Final Thoughts

Explainer videos are brilliant at showing your consideration for your customers and the queries they may have. Creating the next explainer video is all about strengthening your understanding of your audience. Basing your next explainer video off your first one will set you in good stead for an eventual explainer video series. By keeping your overall theme, style, tone and colour scheme consistent, clients will find your explainer video content engaging, reliable and trustworthy, increasing brand recognition. On the other hand, you need further guidance on creating explainer videos, it’s worth thoroughly analysing every aspect of your first explainer video, so as to create a final explainer video you are pleased with. 

We can make video work for you, not the other way around. With over 2000 videos, both animated and live-action, we can sort all of the logistics associated with your testimonial video, meaning no hassle or stress on your part. Still interested? Contact us to get our creative partnership started.