The Explainer Video in 2014

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Rare in 2009 and widely used by startups by 2012, explainer videos have amped up countless business value propositions by introducing products and services in one digestible, attractive, and easily shareable package.  So what should you be looking for in an explainer video company this year?


The explainer video in 2014

At once a bait, hook, and filter system, a well-distributed explainer video serves a multi-functional purpose to

1. Increase the quantity and quality of your leads and

2. Free up considerable marketing and sales resources.

Recently, the rise of interactive video has ushered in explainers that can automatically convert your leads into hard conversions and provide you with valuable audience feedback…but more on that later.

With an estimated 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide citing video as the content type with the best ROI, video content creation continues to be a safe bet.  Here’s everything you should expect to get from your animated explainer video this year, and more.


The facts and figures

At its most basic level, a solid explainer video offers your audience a snappy overview of what they need to know about your product so they can decide whether they are interested in learning more.  This includes a quick explanation of how your product will solve their problems (relevancy), what specific benefits you offer (quantified value), and what differentiates you from your competition — in a quick 60 to 120 seconds.

If that seems too short, consider that a recent Forrester research report confirmed that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.  That’s roughly 3,600 typical web pages of content.  It’s also weeks of writing, curating, and designing web content that your audience is unlikely to wade through, when the average internet user takes about 8 seconds to determine whether to stay on your website or bounce.

But even before your audience is able to watch your video, they have to be able to get to it.  As it so happens, a well tagged video is 50 times more likely than text to get organic page ranks in Google, because the competition is so much lower than for written content.  What’s more, since videos and visuals are far more attractive to your audience than simple text, the presence of a ‘play’ button or video thumbnail in the link can increase a search results CTR by 41%.

But why would we waste your attention ourselves by making you read all of these stats, when we could just let our own explainer video do the talking?


Taking it one step further with interactive video

Recent technological developments such as heat maps and interactivity have broken significant ground in enhancing audience engagement and providing businesses with actionable feedback.  The trend continues to turn towards replacing vanity metrics, such as video views and shares, with actionable information and hard conversions including contact information, product orders, and audience feedback. As the concept spreads in the coming years, interactive will only grow in popularity — according to a recent study by Sizmek, interactive video has already gained steam in mature markets and is poised to go global by 2014.

Coupled with the engaging power of visual content, interaction is ideal for actively engaging your customers, and analyzing and benefitting from their feedback.  Multi-linear ‘choose your own ending’ storylines allow you to customize and optimize your explainer video for multiple target viewers.  This form of video puts the viewer in the driver’s seat, allowing them to direct their video path, while you learn from the choices they make and information they choose to receive.

“Interactive layers” are also invaluable in collecting actionable data on your customers.  Whether you apply a download form, add a contact form, opinion poll, or product placement, you’re enabling your audience to act instantly and take the leap from a lead to a conversion immediately within the video.

What is an interactive video anyway? Try it out, and see for yourself!What is an interactive video anyway? Try it out, and see for yourself!



What should an animated explainer video cost, and what is it worth to you?

As with any service, the cost of an explainer video covers a broad range, with production companies charging anywhere between $1,500-$20,000+.  For bootstrapping startups, rates can seem exorbitant and it’s certainly true that investing in the most expensive production company does not necessarily equate to a proportional return on investment.  However, in the long run it also doesn’t pay to be penny-wise and pound foolish.  Choosing the lowest-cost provider or opting for a DIY approach simply to save money can severely undercut the effectiveness of the powerful piece of content in your hands.


A well-made and reasonably priced animated explainer video can go incredibly far — since this Lucidchart video was published two years ago, it’s gained over 400,000 views and has been a brand awareness contributor for the company and its lucidchart diagram app.


Basic Services

Any production company you team up with should provide the following within their price:

  • A well-researched script
  • In-house illustration and animation that can quickly be adjusted to feedback and corrections
  • A professional voiceover included in the price

During your decision process, compare various production companies’ portfolios.

  • What animation styles resonate with your company’s look and feel?
  • Can the production team customize a style to fit your branding?
  • If you have trouble navigating the visual world of animation, ask to see a styleguide to help you choose a style that works best for your video’s messaging and audience.


An explainer video company as your visual partner

As a startup, animated explainer videos are a medium through which you can express your brand’s unique story in a new and often fun way. While your video doesn’t necessarily have to be amusing or silly, even explainers with a professional tone should combine effective copy and skillful visuals to ensure your business avoids the risk of ‘blandvertising.’ To produce an explainer video that shines, you may want to consider hiring a full-fledged production team that values originality and creativity throughout the production process.

Once you’ve found a company whose look and feel jive with your brand, take time to consider their process.  An explainer video company worth their salt will do extensive research about your brand and story before diving into the script.  A detailed questionnaire or pre-production consultation between you and a creative director will ensure everyone understands your business concept and the goal of the video. Meanwhile, good communication and a clear-cut feedback system throughout the process are indispensable for keeping your production rolling and delivered on schedule.

In 2014 visual content marketing is only set to rise further, with 70% of marketers planning on using more visual content in their marketing efforts.  Consider this in your hunt for an explainer video company and find a production company with a reliable process and a broad range of customizable products that you can always turn to in the future for your visual content needs.


We’ve covered a lot of ground here, but if you have any lingering questions for us, do get in touch!  Call us at +1 347 983 0188, fill out our contact form, or e-mail us at, and we’ll be happy to discuss your company’s visual content needs.