The Ultimate Guide to Animated Explainer Videos


animated explainer videos

Video animation is hot these days. Why? Well for starters, it’s accessible, it’s eye-catching, and it conveys even complex concepts in a way that oozes quirkiness and creativity. No boring commercial actors, no stock footage, just unique storyboards limited only by the outer edges of your imagination.

Animated explainer videos are bringing that same forward-thinking mentality and an added touch of whimsy to the world of digital marketing and the results are massively popular. Illustrating your ability to solve your customers’ real-world problems is valuable; sharing that message in an approachable format is even more so. It’s educational but it’s also a lure, calling people back to your homepage where they can click and buy.

Eager to increase your credibility, strengthen your branding, capitalize on huge ROI potential, and captivate and convert new prospects? When you create an animated explainer video, you’re doing all of the above by crafting an incredibly versatile piece of content that can be used throughout your marketing as well as boosting your organic search rankings.

Sound good? You betcha. Is there more you need to know? Absolutely.

What is an Explainer Video?

Think about marketing as a communication tool. Pure text content is a bit like communicating in black and white; it’s classy, the focus is on the content, but some people just can’t connect with the material. Graphics are better, but they’re still static. Explainer videos transform that content into vivid color. Use one on your website or in a social media post and you’re suddenly in an entirely different league from your competitors. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an explainer video is compelling and engaging in a way that’s practically priceless.

“70% of marketers say video is the most effective medium for driving conversions.”

Source: Demand Metric

That’s because a great video explains how your product or service can help solve a specific pain point in a way that makes consumers more likely to take action – exactly what you need them to do.

Your Digital Elevator Pitch

Explainer videos are generally short and to-the-point – two things essential for an effective elevator pitch. You’re boiling down the essence of what you do and molding it into an attractive, relatable package. As a result, your audience can absorb the information while putting out very little effort. Entertain and education join forces for something exponentially powerful.

Keep in mind, a video is only as powerful as its script. Hire someone who can take a complex idea and distill it down into a concise narrative that your visitors will remember.

Why Do I Need an Explainer Video?

For starters, there’s education, but who wants a lecture when they can be entertained? Your audience is far more likely to care about the background of your brand or your own story if those tales are told in a way that’s visually interesting as well as informative.

Next comes simplicity. If your work involves a complex idea or concepts like service design, aspects of information technology, or bits and pieces of some other technical field, traditional marketing collateral could have readers exercising their right to scroll before you even get started. An explainer video bridges the gap between boredom and engagement so there’s suddenly a connection between your product and the audience who needs it.

Incorporating a visual presentation also helps increase your brand’s credibility. There’s a definite commitment involved in developing a marketing video and to clients and customers that displays a certain amount of skill and confidence. You wouldn’t invest in your company if you didn’t believe in your abilities, right? You’re showcasing how much you value your people and you’re empowering your audience in the process. It’s a double whammy of entrepreneurial excellence and it looks good, too.

Lastly, explainer videos are a stellar way to boost brand awareness. While other brands are still riding stinky old horses, you’re over here in your state-of-the-art Tesla, zooming towards the future and leaving competitors in the dust.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of an explainer video is that it delivers delight. Rather than relying on presentations that are as heavy and tiring as a four-course dinner with five kinds of forks, video clips are versatile and snackable – perfect for readers on the go and ideal for repurposing in a blog, on forums, and in email marketing. (We call that “getting media mileage” and it’s one of our favorite things.)

What are My Options for Animated Explainer Videos?

If you can see it, your animated video can show it. Need to explain how your service works? There’s a video for that. Want to launch your business with panache? An explainer video can do that too. Dress up your home page, give anyone touching down on your landing page something that makes them want to click ‘buy’, ratchet up the click-through rates for your e-mail marketing campaigns, sprinkle marketing magic on your social media feed… the possibilities are virtually endless.

And then there are the actual design options. Be real or embrace a dimension populated by fairies and purple people eaters. Turn your characters into vegetables or give animals voices. Reflect your brand colors or wave in a rainbow of hues that would make a leprechaun’s eyes open bigger than his portly pot of gold.

With so many choices, your video is guaranteed to reach unicorn levels of individuality and awesome.

Why are Animated Explainer Videos a Good Investment?

If all the reasons above don’t already have you ready to throw money at an animated explainer video expert like you were born to make it rain Benjamins, maybe a few facts will keep you from missing out on what could be huge ROI potential:

  • A quick, simple explainer video demonstrates your value to new visitors in a way that’s fresh and interesting
  • According to Forrester, emails with video lead to a massive 200-300% increase in click-through rate
  • Vidyard advises up to an 8x increase in open to reply rates in emails with video
  • Using a video on your landing page could raise conversions by 80% while simultaneously boosting your SEO up to 50%
  • Using an animated explainer video to accomplish these marketing ‘must-haves’ is more economical than using live actors. Leave all of the logistics to the digital team and skip the set and the personality clashes

What’s Your ‘Why’ and Your Story?

You are the story in your story and your marketing should showcase that. Start with the most basic question: What do you want your audience to know about you? Strip away the artifice and let your authentic self-pour out onto the pages of a script that’s uniquely you.

Still staring at a blank page and hearing nothing but a whooshing sound in your head? Try these 7 tips:

This isn’t your entry for Best Picture at the Academy Awards – think Animated Short instead. Keep it concise, pack it with info, and take only the time you need to effectively express your message.

  1. Sum up your core message in the first 30 seconds of video so your audience is clear about your purpose. People have short attention spans and you get no points for ambiguity.
  2. Use active voice and speak directly to your potential customers.
  3. Adopt an engaging tone that will resonate with your audience. This is when it pays to understand your target demographic. Which influencers do they follow? Infuse your tone with elements of that style.
  4. Choose language that reinforces the best aspects of your branding. When your audience sees you in a positive light, you get more leads.
  5. Humor is powerful but with great power comes great responsibility. Wield your weapon with care and avoid controversial topics and any delivery that could be considered offensive.
  6. Don’t rush! Sounding hurried makes listeners feel anxious. Remember, being concise and being quick aren’t always the same thing.

How to Maximize ROI with your New Animated Explainer Video

After you’ve created your explainer video, it’s time to release it into the wild and promote it like crazy. Here’s how to distribute your video to the masses so you can generate oodles of inbound traffic:

  • Social Media
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
  • Website
    • Homepage
    • Landing Pages
    • Product Pages
    • Blog Posts
  • Email Marketing
    • Newsletters
    • Drip Campaigns
    • Nurture Campaigns
    • Autoresponders

Social Media Channels

Post your animated explainer video on your social media pages (both business and personal) and share it far and wide. Amplify your return with a call-to-action like “Did we make you laugh? Share this with your friends!” or “Visit our website to learn more about the Big Bald Bear”.

Reach out to friends directly via DM or email to tell them what you’re doing and how they could help by spreading the word. Encourage feedback, both privately and on the post itself. Every on-post interaction increases visibility and that’s practically money in pocket.

Join forums in your niche, contribute useful information and become a valuable part of the community, then share a link to your explainer video. Medium and Tumblr have new communities that could prove to be breeding grounds for new brand converts. Cross post as often as your manpower and creativity allow – your goal is to drive traffic back to your home page, not to annoy other members. (*Notice we said to become a part of the community first; joining and promoting your video link on the same day is a great way to get some very negative attention. Nobody likes a spammer.)

Google Plus posts are indexed by Google, which is a roundabout way of saying that posting your animated explainer video on GPlus could boost your overall SEO (even if there’s no one in your Google Plus circle to witness your mini moving picture).

On Your Company Website

Upload your animated explainer video to your website as part of a blog post optimized for long-tail keywords. Posts with videos are more likely to rank on Google and your pretty and energetic images make things more memorable for distracted readers. Share a link to that blog weekly. Don’t pester your followers, but do be persistent. Switch up your post lead-in and highlight different parts of the blog to appeal to different pain points and personalities. Alternatively, upload your explainer video to your landing page and add a strong call-to-action. You’ve already got your big fish swimming around the hook – this is where your wiggle the bait and get them to bite. Leverage your video masterpiece to entice people to click through and purchase goods or services or sign up for your email list.

Email Marketing

Embed your animated explainer video in an email nurture campaign. It’s another to coax readers into action, compelling them to stop by your site if they haven’t visited in a while. Instant traffic boost and you’ve breathed life back into a relationship that might otherwise have gone stale. Consider pairing the release of your new video with a business promotion. You can maximize your first impression without maxing out your marketing budget.