What You Need to Create a Great Animated Explainer Video

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Making a great explainer video is a lot like baking the perfect cake; it comes down to the process and the quality of the ingredients.

Making a great explainer video is a lot like baking the perfect cake. While much of it comes down to process (i.e., how long to spend on each part), it's also largely down to the quality (and quantity) of your ingredients.

Video, done right, is a go-to storytelling medium for brands of all shapes and sizes, leading to all kinds of benefits. A recent survey saw a sizeable chunk of marketers agree that video has helped increase understanding of their product or service, boost organic traffic and conversions and reduce support calls.

So, what ingredients do you need to add to your mix to help you create the perfect animated explainer video?

Let's take a look:

1. Start with a liberal dose of story

Success in modern marketing pretty much begins and ends with effective storytelling. This often means a little bit of introspective thinking and consideration to help you establish, ''what makes me different?”

We believe that there's a sweet spot behind every brand, product or service. Seriously, even the most functional offering has been created to fulfil a particular need, and in some minuscule way, make the world a better and easier place to live. Take for example, the Crazy Egg Explainer video:

So much has been written about what makes a great story, but from a video point of view, the best ones tend to have some common trends. They clearly establish and explore the original problem; build empathy with the audience; and then artfully demonstrate exactly how their product or service solves that problem.

Related Article: 4 Ways to Lower the Cost of Making a Business Video

2. Add some fun (to taste)

An element of fun in your video is by no means compulsory, but it's a key component of many of the most successful explainers. From Dollar Shave Club to Crazy Egg and IT-Man at Panorama9, people love an explainer video that also entertains them.

It's important to strike the right balance here. Sure, you're making a video for your business rather than a fully-fledged cartoon. But, with that said, the beautiful thing about animation is that it offers almost unlimited possibilities, so why not have a little fun along the way? This can really help build the engagement levels of your video, while adding a human side to your brand messaging.

3. Throw in a sprinkling of high quality graphics

Great graphics (i.e., character design and scenery creation) are clearly a key part of any great video. As Walt Disney famously said, “Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can achieve.” Much of that endless possibility begins with the Storyboard, where your animated world is first conceived; a lot of the vibrancy, color, humor and fun that we associate with animation boil down to effective graphic design.

However great your story, soundtrack and transitions are, if your graphics aren't up to par and look patchy or unprofessional, you're sending out all kinds of bad messages about your brand, which can actually undermine your whole message.

Related Article: Lights, Camera, Action: Ways to Add More Value to Video Marketing

4. Stir in some audio

Choosing the right soundtrack for your video is vastly important, and involves choosing the right music, a high-quality and on-message voiceover track, and any sound effects as required.

We all know that music is a great way to influence mood; it's used to great effect in film and TV where, for example, an eerie soundtrack can effortlessly create a ominous effect       .

In the same way, music sets the mood for your video and sends out a surprisingly clear message about who you are and what you do. Make sure you only include tunes you're legally allowed to use; we recommend AudioJungle as a source of audio free music and sound effects.

Voiceover is really important, too. If possible, have this recorded professionally. A DIY approach may be tempting, but it's harder than you might think to make high-quality recordings, and run through your script at a professional pace.

5. Animate the mixture, allow it to cool and serve to the right audience

Now it's time to bring your video to life. Great animation is a tricky craft to master for yourself; so if you're tackling the job alone, make sure to know your limitations and don't get too ambitious! On the other hand, if you're working with a studio, make sure to use the revision rounds to make sure you end up with a product you're genuinely happy with. Don't forget to include a call-to-action at the end of your video so your viewers know what they need to do next!

Once your video is complete, it's important to promote it properly; upload it to a hosting site, embed it on your website and share on social. Get that finished video in front of as many potential customers as possible!

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