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Creating engaging animated explainer videos: Part 1

explainer videosToday, video creation is as easy as point and click.  There are amazing free online tools available you can use to quickly generate animated videos for your products, business, or organisation. So anyone can create a great animated video right? Well certainly anyone can create a video, but whether or not it is “great”, engaging, useful, or effective really depends on a number of things.

In this three part series we’ll take a look at what animated explainer videos are,  then examine a few good ones, and finally look at some options on how to create your own video.

First, lets describe what a good animated explainer video is.

For the most part, the name says it all.  These videos are created to explain how a product or service works. Sometimes they explain a business concept or a company mission.

The medium used for the video is animation. This can be “cartoon-like” or a simple slide show generated using a program like Microsoft PowerPoint (though some will call the latter “white board” videos). Either way, the simple presentation format can make it easier for people to understand.

Another key aspect of a good explainer video is it must be short. The maximum length should be 90 seconds, but between 30-90 seconds is a good guide.  People’s attention spans are growing shorter all the time, and anything longer will test their limit.

But how can you keep someone’s attention even for such a short time? The best videos explain using a story that illustrates the topic in a lighthearted, entertaining way. It’s important it be a simple, non-technical, and easily relatable story to the target audience. The exception of course is if your audience is technically aware, then you can probably use more technical terms.  So much of what determines a “good” video comes down to the script. Great animation without a story won’t be interesting enough for people to watch. But a good story with even so-so animation is more likely to keep people’s attention. Of course a good story and great animation together are the goal.

These are the basics of good explainer videos. In part 2, I’ll share some excellent examples to inspire you to make your own.

Oliver Burt

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