Epic Explainer Video Guide (includes process, solutions and mega-lists)

This is an EPIC guide to explainer videos!

In this guide, you will learn about:

  • What are explainer videos (Best examples, types, styles)
  • Why do you need explainer videos?
  • How to make your explainer videos? (The process and solutions)
  • How much they cost?
  • And highly actionable mega-lists; 27 agencies, Tips to find freelancers, 57 explainer video software!

If you want to make eye-popping explainer videos in 2020, you will LOVE this guide!

Let’s get started.

What is an explainer video? The 101!

An explainer video explains: a product or concept, the problem it is trying to solve, the benefits you will get, how the product works, the features, the CTA and more! It can have various ‘types’ and ‘styles’ and you can use more than 1 solution to make your explainer video.

Let’s understand in detail what an explainer video does.

What is the purpose of an explainer video?

#1 – Explain the number one BURNING PROBLEM or a set of problems, that your product will solve.
Explainer Videos Identify Pain

Screenshot from the Headspace explainer video

Headspace captured the burning problem of sleep so well, they now have millions of paying customers. Lack of sleep is a ‘burning’ problem and 25% of Americans suffer from acute insomnia.

They are unable to fall asleep, no matter what they try (something always keeps them awake). Even if they manage to sleep, they wake up every now and then (sometimes just to check the time!). And finally, when the alarm goes off, they wake up tired and lifeless without the energy to face the day.

Through a series of explainer videos, Headspace was able to show these typical pains and win their audiences’ confidence. They were so successful that some people improved their sleep by just watching their explainer videos!

When you make your explainer video, your audience should think:

“This is my story! That character, those situations, those pains, those desires are all mine. That’s what I go through every single day! It’s like the people who made the video were reading my mind!” 

Takeaway #1 – An explainer video (a good one) captures burning, emotional problems or strong desires for which the audience needs a solution.

#2 – Explain the UNIQUE SOLUTION your product has to offer

Screenshot from the Dropbox explainer video

A whiteboard explainer video positioned Dropbox as a solution so well, it helped to get 10% extra conversions, estimated at $48,000,000!

Back in 2007, sharing and maintaining the same files across devices like your desktop, laptop and mobile was a nightmare. Dropbox came as a ‘one-of-a-kind’ solution automatically synchronizing files across all devices.

The Dropbox explainer video explained the radical and fresh solution with great effect.

Takeaway #2 – A great explainer video projects the product as the best solution for the problem at hand!

#3 – Explain the BENEFITS your customers can get

Screenshot from the DollarShaveClub explainer

After the DollarShaveClub video launch, the next 2 days were a disaster for the team! The video was so viral, it brought down their website. Every razor in their inventory was sold in the first 6 hours!

And why not? The video highlighted the benefits so well (with a lot of humor), the audience didn’t want to miss out!

A simple line like, “For a dollar a month we send high-quality razors right to your door” summed up the benefits. Every man who saw the video was thinking, “Why should I go out and spend so much on branded razors when I can get affordable and high-quality razors delivered to me?”

Takeaway #3 – An amazing explainer video like DollarShaveClub always prioritizes benefits over features.

#4 – Explain the differentiating FEATURES of your product

Screenshot from the Crazy Egg explainer

The Crazy Egg explainer video showcased the features so well, it was able to generate an additional $21000 income every month!

Let’s say your product is a smashing SEO tool that can help rank websites and blog posts on the 1st page of Google. And you have a feature, a simple blog post scanner that reads your blog post line by line and gives a dashboard with the SEO issues and solutions.

And your market research says that your customers may ask, “What will I get if I buy it?”. To answer this, your explainer video can show a cool feature like the blog post scanner to satisfy your audience.

Takeaway #4 – A well-planned explainer video includes features that stand out and can create a ‘wow’ feeling. It doesn’t harp on the features alone. It also presents irresistible benefits that the user can get if they use those features!

#5 – Explain the CTA (call-to-action) your customers should take

Screenshots from the Dropbox MVP demo explainer

When Dropbox was still in beta, the founder released a demo explainer video with an extremely simple CTA. But it was powerful enough to grow the waiting list from 5000 to 70000 overnight!

Ask yourself, “What should the viewer do after she watches your explainer video?”. Sign-up for the free trial, subscribe to the email list or buy your product? That will be the CTA you have to present in the most convincing manner.

But even a great CTA will fail if your product and video content don’t excite the viewer.

Takeaway #5 – A good explainer video has a CTA the viewer cannot resist but it has to be backed with a strong product, offer and content!

#6 – EXPLAIN any topic in an easy and engaging way

Screenshot of the MinutePhysics Youtube channel

The ‘MinutePhysics’ YouTube channel has managed to pull 4.9 million subscribers by explaining physics topics ranging from simple to complex! Their explainer videos are very simple hand-drawn images on a whiteboard. But the topics are presented in such a crisp and engaging way, that viewers keep coming for more!

Whether you are in academics explaining a history chapter or making an electric toothbrush, you can use an explainer video to describe the topic in an engaging manner!

Takeaway #6 – An explainer video breaks down a topic into a story that educates and entertains!


Now what explainer videos do, let’s dig into the history to find out how it’s trend started!

History and trend

Screenshot of the Singer commercial

That 1954 Singer commercial was one of the oldest explainer videos! After all, a commercial can also an explainer video, right? In this case, you would have noticed how beautifully it explained the benefits of the new Singer machine.

But the term ‘explainer videos’ didn’t come into existence until these 3 events.

Event #1 – In 2007, Commoncraft had their ‘light bulb’ moment when they wanted to convert their blog post into a video. They used hand-drawn paper cut-outs and used stop motion to film the video. And it was a massive hit!

Event #2 – They made another one for Dropbox and it was a viral hit, generating a wave of interest, leads, and revenue.

Event #3Groupon made another explainer video using 2D animation and that made record-breaking sales!

These short and crisp animated videos ‘explained’ the product while promoting it. The business world was taken by a storm and everyone wanted to make an ‘explainer video’. A trend was started which is still going strong!

With this legacy, short animated promos were called ‘explainer videos’. But there is no ‘holy text’ to say what type your explainer video should be.

FidoDido in 2020 – Tribute to my favorite character

It can be short and concise (like a typical promo) or it can even be a detailed demo! This article on Forbes correctly puts it. A ‘short promo’ is a type’ whereas a ‘whiteboard’ is a ‘style’ of explainer video. We will see all types and styles in some time.


How good is learning without seeing some stunning examples? Let’s dig in to see some finely crafted explainer videos. 

5 Stunning Explainer Videos

These are the BEST examples of explainer videos ever! If you ever make a list, DO NOT miss them. They explain, engage and entertain without being over-promotional!

Dollar Shave Club

Shout out to all start-ups; You should idolize this video! The founder Michael Dubin, put 5000 dollars to make this (turned out to be the best investment). He wrote a fabulous script, cast himself and drove viewers nuts!

It is about 90 seconds long but hilarious from start to finish! Face-crashing through a paper barrier, a toddler shaving her dad’s head, using a sword to cut a duct-tape, the fun never ends!

In all the hilarity, it never loses the grip on its primary purpose of ‘explaining’ everything about the product.

If this was hilarious, the next one has classy animation.

Crazy Egg

Every expert will say, Use the first 5 seconds of the explainer video to grab eye-balls”! And that’s precisely what this ‘Crazy Egg’ explainer video does. In fact, in the first 4 seconds itself it highlights the #1 problem users face and makes you visualize the product.

The video is a bit longer (2 min, 38 secs) but doesn’t disappoint! With an energetic voiceover and top-class animation, you won’t take your eyes off!

It showcases benefits and also clarifies a few queries which may crop in your head. You also see the logos of companies that are happily using the product. If that can’t give your trust level a booster shot, what will?

A truly engaging and entertaining video.

The next video is the one that started the trend and set the ball rolling!

Dropbox

This Dropbox video made everyone say, “I need an explainer video to promote my product”.

The makers used real paper cut-outs, cameras and stop motion to make this a classic video. It’s a bit over 2 minutes but never fails to engage!

As Dropbox had a revolutionary concept, just explaining features and benefits wouldn’t resonate with the audience. So they used a beautiful story of a backpacker exploring the African jungles. In the midst of adventure, it pitches Dropbox as a true guide and a savior of memories!

The next video proves to be a savior too but this time in a typical workplace!

Panorama 9

If you are an 80’s videogame fan, you will love this! It uses a nostalgic old-school pixelated animation style like that of Mario Bros.

At 2 minutes 41 seconds, it is the longest on this list but loaded with fun! It traces the everyday struggles of an IT helpdesk guy (a fine example of role-based targetting). It entertains you throughout but never misses a chance to explain the benefits.

The next one teases you with darkness and intrigue!

Weeds Season 8 Teaser

“Little boxes on the hillside. Little boxes made of ticky tacky.” The song sets the tone for madness!

What a brilliant idea to use a whiteboard scribble for a teaser! It builds up the tension like a bomb ticking under your chair!

Engaging animation, stunning song and the right length for a teaser (under a minute)! A Mexican standoff, a dead body, a swan carrying a smiling child and lots of such crazy visuals. Along the way, it also introduces the cast.

‘Violent, quirky and dark’. These words sum up this perfect teaser! It teases you enough without giving the plot. It just explains the mood and what to expect from the series. Superb!


You saw some great explainer videos and all had one thing in common. All of them were ‘promos’. But apart from promos, there are a few other ‘types’ of explainers.

Let’s check them all!

Explainer video types – 5 major types

Types of cakes – Wikipedia

As per Wikipedia, you can eat a whopping 227 different types of cakes from around the world! And if you are feeling miserable, you can have the ‘Miserable cake’ too!

If you look closely, many of these cakes may have similarities. All such cases (or cakes) can be grouped under a ‘type’. If you search you will get around 15-20 unique types!

The point is, with explainer videos too, there can be many ‘types’. At the highest level, there are 5 types of explainer videos.

If you are asking yourself, “Which ‘type’ of explainer video should I make?”. The short answer is – Identify the purpose!

Why are you planning to make one? Do you want to promote a new product, show how a feature works, go deep-dive or just explain a concept? Once you are clear about this, the type is a no-brainer.

If you have a hot product ready to be launched or just want to promote something, you need a promo explainer like that of Headspace. Let’s look at it.

#1 – Promo explainer (the most popular)

Sleep by Headspace promo

This Headspace video presented some vivid scenarios that every person with a sleep problem will identify! The voice and the visuals are so soothing, you may go to sleep just by seeing the video! With such compelling audio-visual, viewers are bound to take action (and they did that by subscribing to the app).

So what do you need to make a promo like that of Headspace?

It should have great visuals, informative text, startling statistics, soothing music, and an engaging voiceover. All wrapped up with a nice, super edited story, some key takeaways, and a strong call-to-action.

Next up is a ‘type of explainer video, that explains ‘How to’ do something, ‘How it works’ etc.

#2 – ‘How-to’ or ‘How it works’ explainers

‘How to’ storyboard by Crazy Egg

If you saw the Mint ‘How to’ video, notice how smartly they titled the video. The title doesn’t talk about Mint at all. Once you start playing the video, it shows how to make a budget through the ‘lens’ of the inbuilt Mint features. The idea is to make the audience remember ‘Mint’ when they think of ‘ creating a budget’.

A ‘How-to’ or ‘How-it-works’ always focuses on specific feature or a topic and explains it in an engaging way.

If you use it for product promotions, its like a level 2 promo which explains a particular aspect in detail. As a result, it nudges the audience a little further to take action.

If you are an educator you can pick up a specific topic or chapter from any subject and make a crisp video. You can can use this video in your classroom sessions to trigger collaborative learning experience. A few good examples of academics are the Minutephysics videos that teach Physics topics.

Sometimes you need to demonstrate an entire product in action. Let’s check it out!

#3 – Demo explainer

The Dropbox MVP demo

This was the demo explainer video that brought an additional 70000 people to join the Dropbox waiting list overnight! This demo video was a straight forward but effective video showing how the product works.

Back in 2007, there was no other solution like Dropbox. To gauge audience interest and to convince them to sign-up, there was no other way than to show them a working demo. In the demo, Drew showed file synching between Mac and Windows, photosharing etc. The audience was blown away by the concept and features and showed huge support!

This 4+ minute long video is still very engaging to watch. Imagine what it did the audience who saw this unique concept back then!

It proves, if the product is awesome and never-seen-before, you have to demonstrate! Make a killer demo and let your audience do the work!

The next type lets the audience ‘show the love’ with testimonials!

#4 – Customer reviews or testimonials

Zoom customer testimonial

93% say online reviews have a big impact on their purchase decision.

– Podium.com

With increasing video consumption, viewers are flocking to customer testimonials.

And can it get any better? Let your customers ‘explain’ how they used your product, the scenarios, the benefits and how it has improved their business.

If you saw the Zoom testimonial, their customer describes the pain they had to collaborate with remote teams working on animation projects. With Zoom, they were able to happily work as ‘one team’ without communication barriers, inspite of their geographical distances.

Great testimonial videos are powerful tools to boost to conversions and sales!

The next one is an FAQ & QnA explainer, a great way to engage the audience and build trust.

#5 – FAQ or Q&A

Jason Vong FAQ Fridays

If you saw the FAQ Fridays’ video, you will notice how the audience takes the ‘center stage’. Jason picks up the best questions and features them along with the user profile. This is a nice way to make the audience feel special.

With FAQ videos, you also create a ‘special connect’ with your audience. And if you publish on a fixed day (e.g. Friday), it sets an expectation with the audience and they eagerly wait for it.

To make an engaging FAQ video, compile your audiences’ concerns, common questions, fun questions and provide helpful solutions. Keep the audience engaged and they will trust you and be loyal!

That completes all the types. If you find something missing, hit that comment box and tell me!


How about making your videos eye-catchy? That’s where an explainer ‘style’ comes into play. Let’s see how many are out there!

Explainer video styles – 6 primary styles

Source – Insider.com

Would you fancy this pair of ‘double jeans’ as your style statement? Apparently this style was priced $695 a pair and sold out in no time!

Whether you like to go for the simple or extraordinary, a ‘style’ gives a unique appeal to your explainer video. Broadly speaking, there are 6 explainer styles to choose from and the first one to check out is Animation!

#1 – Animation

2D animated explainer video of Whatsapp

Animation is the #1 style for an explainer video!

Why? With animation, there are infinite possibilities to create any character, background, and scenario!

If you saw the Whatsapp explainer video, notice how beautifully the animation blends with the story, music, and branding (typical hues of green). Any other style would not create the same impact.

And with animation, you will never be out of choice, as there are many sub-styles to choose from! Cartoons, 2D, 3D, Whiteboard, Parallax, Motion Graphics, Stop motion and many more!

And the bonus? You don’t need to spend truckloads of money! You can make one with any a small or big budget.

Best Suited for:

  • Any industry (Education, Finance, IT, etc). Not great for cases where you need to show real people (retail, hospitality, etc.)
  • Any scenario. If you can imagine it, you can animate it!

There are some instances, where you need live-action. Let’s check it out!

#2 – Live-action

Live-action explainer of Slack

There was no better way than a live-action style for the Slack video you just saw. For such a video, you need people, real locations and the ambiance to nail it!

As an example, what if you want to show a pretty girl wearing smart black boots (your product)?

It’s a freezing cold winter morning and a pretty brunette girl steps out of her house. She is wearing a winter hat, a warm jacket, a pair of gloves, figure-hugging pants and a pair of stylish black boots.

You don’t have a choice but to shoot a live-action explainer!

Best Suited for:

  • Scenarios where you need people, locations. For example, team videos, customer testimonials, retail ads, etc.
  • Retail, Hospitality, Travel, etc. Any industry where other styles will not work.

The next style on the list will help you make a demo!

#3 – Screencast

A screencasting video showing a demo

Your software is on the market but people have questions. “Does it have the image stabilization feature? I can’t decide before I see that feature working”.

The best way to quash such questions is to make a great demo using ‘screencasting’. Deep-dive and open up your product to the world!

If you saw the video, you will see how effectively it demonstrates the nitty-gritty.

All you need is a great screen recorder, a mic, and editing software!

Best Suited for:

  • Demos, tutorials, long educational videos, etc.
  • Any software product, in any industry.

The next ‘style’ enables a viewer to play and interact with your video!

#4 – Interactive

The ‘Bear Grylls’ interactive video – a fun example

The ‘Bear Grylls’ video you just saw is a good attempt at simulating an interactive video.

A real interactive video on the other hand, is usually embedded on a website and needs specialized software. But you can do some really cool things with it.

“Can a viewer buy a jacket the model is wearing? Just clicking on the jacket should take the viewer to the website and show the details and pricing.” If you ever ask a similar question; with an interactive video, you can create some real ‘shoppable’ experiences like this.

Best Suited for:

  • Onscreen call-to-action. E.g. Shoppable videos.
  • Retail, Hospitality, Travel, Education, etc.

Do you prefer text but want that in a video? Then choose this next style!

#5 – Kinetic typography

If you watched this video, the words ‘Curiosity’ and ‘Creativity’ will stick to your thoughts.

That’s because along with the voiceover, important words and phrases are shown as ‘text’ with dramatic motion effects. As a result, the video is able to cleverly plant those messages in your mind.

If your aim is to highlight words, phrases, and terms, use Kinetic typography videos with ‘text’ as your primary character. And not just regular static text but one that moves, dances, entertains and drives home the message!

Best Suited for:

  • Cases where your priority is highlighting words and phrases.
  • Any industry

Want to give a new dimension to your presentations? Go for the next one on this list.

#6 – Slideshow explainer

Planning an after-lunch presentation and want your staff to stay awake? Then spice it up with slideshow explainers!

Not only presentations, but it also works well for all types, for example, a listicle video.

Add an energetic voiceover, cool images, animation, and music to transform your regular, boring slide decks!

Best Suited for:

  • Simple quick videos. It is a powerful replacement for the usual presentations.
  • Any industry.

Pat your back! You now know what explainer videos are! But why do you need them? Why does your business need them?

Let’s see the success stories, numbers and the science behind it!

Disclaimer: This post has a few affiliate links. When you click such links and purchase a product, we will get a commission. For such a purchase you will NOT pay anything extra. Please read the affiliate disclaimer for details.

Why do you need explainer videos?

Success stories

Explainer-video-success-stories

Credits –
*Dropbox case study, **DollarShave success, ***Demo Duck case study, ^Jellyfish success, “`Bestseller success
Infographic created using Visme

The above infographic shows that if you have a great product and an excellent explainer video, you can skyrocket your chances of success!

There are a few more (like below) which deserve to be discussed.

Headspace – Viewers got results by just watching the explainer video

The Headspace series of explainer videos are so well made, many people found results by just watching the explainer video! There is no doubt such people would have become paying subscribers!

Explainer videos success story 1
Card game producers beat their fundraising goal by 87000%

Screenshot from the Exploding Kittens explainer video

The makers behind ‘Exploding Kittens’ set out to raise $10000 via crowdfunding. They put up a fundraising page and an explainer video to introduce their card game concept to the world.

Little did they realize, they will raise $9 million in 30 days with 219,382 people backing them!

A teacher plans a ‘student-led’ educational strategy

As I write this post, a teacher is trying to present a new educational strategy using whiteboard explainer videos. Though this is not a success story yet, the teacher fully believes in the power of whiteboard videos and has already tried it in his classroom sessions. The following are his own words.

“I truly believe that the educational strategy I am presenting will be beneficial to students on every level of learning. The work involves self produced short historical documentaries that teach a clear and digestible amount of information, that would normally be given in class in notes. These notes consume 90% of the classroom time in order to cover all of the standards based material. My work allows the students to prepare for the information before class, and frees up class time for student led learning in discussions, debate, free analysis, inquiry learning, and projects. These videos and the online discussion format allow the teacher to become a facilitator in the class rather than being the “sage on the stage”. Students come away from the experience, more confident in their learning and with deeper historical skills. I want to share this with a national audience.”  

These companies and individuals created killer explainer videos and reaped the benefits!

The credit, of course, goes to these awesome products, teamwork and a lot of other work that went behind the scenes. But those awesome explainer videos gave them the edge above the competition!

Now let’s see what the people say (video marketing survey) about explainer videos.

Customer’s voice – Video marketing survey 2020

96% watched an explainer video to learn more about a product!

And in 2020, an explainer video is the #1 choice for video marketing! I am not saying this, people are!

656 marketers and consumers participated in the 2020 Video Marketing survey by Wyzowl. Not just 2020, but every year, there is an exponential increase in the usage and ROI for video marketing.

This eye-catching infographic sums it all!

And let’s not stop at surveys alone! There is strong scientific backing too!

Psychological impact – Scientific proof

Whiteboard explainer videos are addictive, 66% more shareable, 33% more entertaining and able to retain information 15% better!

By theory, whiteboard explainer videos are addictive! The audience likes to watch them over and over! And why is that?

After watching a whiteboard explainer video, the brain produces a lot of dopamine (a dopamine rush!). Clara Clark, a psychology expert, said this in a podcast ‘Your Brain and animation’.

Dopamine is a ‘reward’ hormone.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

You get that rewarding feeling when you see a whiteboard video and naturally, your brain will tempt you to see it again and again! And not just theory, there’s proof too!

Richard Wiseman, an award-winning Psychology professor, did a fun experiment.

He put people into 2 distinct groups. One watched a whiteboard video and the others a talking-head video. The whiteboard group was able to remember the information better (15% better)! They found it to be 33% more entertaining and 66% more shareable!

Screenshot of the whiteboard experiment video

This fantastic whiteboard video elaborates on the experiment!


You now know how explainer videos can make a difference to your business! Now let’s see how you can make one!

How to make explainer videos (the process)?

Explainer video process – 10 Steps you must know!

Screenshot of the Dabbawalas’ video

The ‘Dabbawalas’ from Mumbai deliver tiffin boxes with 99.99 percent accuracy, which means less than 4 mistakes per a million transactions!

They don’t use any specialized pieces of equipment. They go to each home, collect tiffins full of food, carry them on bi-cycles, then on a local train, again on bi-cycles to finally deliver to offices. Then on the same day, in the late afternoons, they carry the empty tiffins back to the homes.

How are they able to manage this stunning accuracy? Through a well-tested system and a defined process!

For a stellar explainer video, you don’t need to have a ‘six-sigma’ process as the Dabbawalas, but you still need a strong one! Let’s see the process across 4 key stages!

Pre-production

This is the ‘planning’ stage where you define a ‘blueprint’ for the video. Ignoring this is like ‘shooting in the dark’.

The first question you should ask yourself is, “What do I want to achieve?

#1 – Freeze your requirements

Poor requirements are one of the TOP 5 causes of project failures!

– Global consensus

Making a good explainer video is a project and you need to know your requirements.

Ask yourself, What results am I expecting?” Do you want to promote a product, win new customers, demo a product or explain a chapter from chemistry?

After you have a high-level objective set, answer these questions:

  • What problem will your product solve? This problem should pop out in the first 5-10 secs of your video!
  • Who is your target audience? Your explainer video should resonate 100% with them.
  • Which type, style and tone do you think will suit your audience and industry?

Document all the answers as you will need them for the next step which is to write the script!

#2 – Write the script

azquotes.com

To make an explainer video, you need an excellent script! After all, you have only a few minutes to impress the audience, to explain a concept, to get the desired CTA.

Remember this when writing an explainer video script:

  • Clearly define the problem your product will solve. This should come as early as possible in your script!
  • Don’t make the script sound promotional, instead, project your product an understated hero and a solution to the problem.
  • Dish out the benefits and pair them with a glimpse of the features. Always put benefits over features and don’t make it scream, “feature, feature, feature”.
  • Have the right call-to-action (CTA). Make it compelling yet elegant!

Use the PSC (problem, solution, CTA) model for explainer scripts.

A few other formats like the below work well too!

  • Using an analogy – What if your product is complicated or it’s a never-seen-before thing? In such a case, use a different scenario and try to co-relate it with your product. The ‘Dropbox’ explainer used a beautiful analogy of a magic pocket to store personal belongings.

  • Showing a user story – A personal user story works best in some cases. You can show practical, emotional day-to-day challenges a user faces, like the ‘Panorama 9’ explainer script.

If you are short of ideas, learn from these awesome explainer video scripts from blockbuster videos!

If your explainer video is meant for educational purposes, apart from the above, you can follow certain principles and guidelines, summarized below:

  • Identify keywords and key phrases in your script that you want students to remember. During the voiceover, give added emphasis to these words and when you produce the video, annotate these words on-screen.

  • Address the student directly in the script to increase a sense of social partnership. For example use sentences like, “This is how you can create your own borax crystals at home!”

  • To make the student feel more at ease, use sentences with excitement like, “Consider how the cell solves this tricky problem of needing to regulate three genes in sequence; it’s really cool.

So if your script is ready, are you done? No, you need a storyboard! Let’s understand it further.

#3 – Create the storyboard

Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash

A password for your email, another for your second email, one for your membership site and another 20 for everything else. How will you manage so many?

Imagine you have an email management product and those lines are from the explainer script. Those lines would be spoken by the voiceover artist. But you want to show a frustrated employee with a messy desk and messier email habits!

How will you capture these visuals, before producing the video? Yes, you can have that in your mind and write those scenes separately. But if you present that visually, it becomes easier to translate that into the actual video (you also don’t forget).

That’s where a storyboard comes into the picture! Storyboards are rough sketches of the scenes to visualize them before they are made!

A dragon from the sky, a happy child holding a balloon, a dog parachuting over the hills. Whatever your imagination, put it on a storyboard! And for a storyboard, you don’t need to be an artist, even simple stick figures like this are enough.

Storyboard

For each line or group of lines in your script, make storyboard slides like the above as per the required visuals.


That was planning! Now comes the fun part; producing your explainer video!

Production

It’s time to say ACTION and action for an explainer video should start with a voiceover!

#4 – Record the voiceover

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Did you know that long chats on airplanes can harm your vocal cords? On higher altitudes, the humidity falls to around 12% which is as dry as the Arizona desert! That’s a warning sign for all voice over artists!

Talking about a voiceover, the audience can forgive mediocre visuals, not a bad voiceover!

That’s why the script is so important. The lines have to be spot-on so that the voiceover artist can sound like a god! A detailed voiceover script guide can be pretty handy but you can follow this quick summary:

  • For animated explainers, the first step is a voiceover followed by animation. This will eliminate the need to re-record voice and will give the voiceover artist the freedom to express!
  • For live-action, when you want to replace the actor’s voice, record the voice after the shoot.
  • Eliminate all grammatical errors from the script that can confuse the voice artist.
  • The voice artists may not understand some words, so read out the entire script for clarity.
  • Clarify the accent you need (American, British, Australian, etc). A ‘semi-truck’ can be pronounced ‘seh-maay-truck’ or Or ‘seh-mee-truck’ based on the accent.
  • Want an emphasis on specific words? Mark them in BOLD or highlight them with a different color. See below the same line with different words that are emphasized. The messaging changes completely because of the emphasis!

    “Solving this problem is one of the big ideas behind Dropbox“.

    Solving this problem is one of the big ideas behind Dropbox”.
  • Want a specific emotion for a particular line in the script? For example, if you want an upbeat line, do this:

    [Upbeat] “Solving this problem is one of the big ideas behind Dropbox”

NOTE – Many social media platforms play silent videos by default. Many audiences nowadays prefer silent videos. So along with the voiceover, plan for captions.

After the voiceover, comes the most exciting part; the visuals.

#5 – Produce the video (the visuals)
Words-video-comparison

If a minute of video can create such an impact, make each minute count!

And to do that, you have many explainer styles in hand (you already know what those styles are)! Let’s see how you can make a video in each style.

Live-action

Source – Wikipedia

Tiefland (meaning lowlands) holds a ‘Guinness Book’ record for a film with the longest production time! It took a staggering 14 years to produce, including 4 years of shooting and massive delays primarily because of World War II.

Today, the production time for all videos has reduced drastically, thanks to the new-age process and tools. For your live-action explainer, the process is:

  • Decide if you are going to use original or stock footage.

  • Original footage – For this, you need people, equipment and locations. Once you start filming the sequences, shoot more footage than less. You can trim it in the final editing but if you fall short, you will have to redo a lot of things. You may need B-roll footage, so plan for it. B-roll footage are shots of secondary subjects (customers, teams, office, etc).

  • Stock footage – Stock footage is a ready collection of scenes like a work-place with employees, a family having a great time at the beach, etc. DIY video platforms like InVideo offer massive collections of stock footage with great video editing tools.
Animation (including Kinetic Typography)

Screenshot of the first animated film

The first animated film was made in 1906! The animator created this beautiful animation using simple tools like chalk, a blackboard and a camera shooting at 20 FPS!

The process seems very painstaking, but all that has changed today (better processes and tools)! But the principles of animation remain the same, which are:

  • Create objects (can be characters, background, furniture, etc). These could be 2Dm 3D, whiteboard doodle, motion graphics. etc.
  • Give movement to these objects, which includes facial expressions, walking, running, speeding cars, passing clouds, fluttering butterflies, etc.
  • Create scenes that include these moving characters. Use transitions to ‘stitch together’ scenes so that the video looks seamless. Add intros (starting scene like a company name) and outros (ending scenes with credits, CTAs, etc).
  • Finally, you combine everything together to make a ‘whole video’ which conveys your story.

For animated explainers, you can either use pure animation or DIY video software.

Pure Animation Software

Do you need 100% custom animation for your explainer? Then use professional animation software like Adobe After Effects. It’s a good option for wannabe animators and people invest time in learning the software.

DIY video software

If you find the right one, you can learn DIY explainer software in no time. And they are affordable too! You will get a ton of ready characters and backgrounds which you can customize.

Renderforest, for example, has tons of templates for many industries, events, and occasions.

Screencasting and Slideshow

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

For great crowd-pulling demos like Dropbox, you need a screencasting software. A screencasting software records mouse clicks, keys presses, etc.

The process of making a screencast video is simple. Record your on-screen actions as per the script, record audio (if needed) and edit the video to make it complete! Screencasting software like Filmora Scrn offers video editing as well and is pretty affordable.

For slideshow explainers, you have a ton of choice! Every DIY software has templates for these; for example, Renderforest has 9 categories of slideshows.

Interactive

Callaway Golf’s interactive video

The interactive video of Callaway Golf’s attracted 5X more viewers than estimated and the average bounce rate dropped by 50%.

With the right process and software, you can also drive a ton of viewers! This is the typical process to make an interactive video (a simplified version):

  • Once you have shot your video, identify scenes where you want the viewers to interact. If you are selling skateboards, your video may feature a guy doing stunts. Identify high-octane stunts and other exciting scenes for interactivity.

  • Decide what ‘interaction’ you need. For example, when the skater is about to flip, give 4 options to see different flips. Or give a pop-up describing the skateboard when a viewer hovers the mouse. Along with it, give a BUY button that takes the viewer to your website.

  • Once ready, embed the video on your website landing page.

Making interactive videos is easier than ever with software platforms like Coolix.


After the visuals, it’s time for post-production. And the first step is music and sound!

Post-production
#6 – Add music and sound effects

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay

Music and sound effects are the perfect allies for a video! But they have to be just right, neither overwhelming nor dispensable.

When adding music, here are a few points to note:

  • The sound level should never overpower the voiceover. Use the right emotion; if your voiceover has a flat tone, you can’t have dramatic music!
  • Use a tone that complements your brand, business, and mood of the video.
  • It should take the story forward and add another dimension to the video. You should not have a soundtrack just because you are making a video.

Add sound effects only if you need them! As you would know, a funny sound will not make a scene funny. If the script has humor, viewers will laugh!

Use subtle sounds to lift a scene. Let’s say your explainer is for a phone app. You have a close-up scene of a user swiping the phone. A gentle sound for a swipe will work as long as it doesn’t hijack everything else!

The next step brings the pieces together; that’s editing!

#7 – Editing and fine-tuning

Source – videoeditinginstitute.com

That huge machine in the picture was the world’s 1st editing machine invented in 1924! What a piece of machinery with a robust bare-bones model!

Editing nowadays doesn’t require such huge machines and is all digital and much more simplified.

Editing is an art to combine individual scenes into a polished video! It is both a technical and an artistic work!

Editing for an explainer video will involve:

  • Sequencing scenes and shots – During production, you always create scenes in random order.

    Let’s say you are producing an animated explainer. Among all the scenes, you like a particular scene because it has some dramatic moments. But that scene is one of the last in your video as per the script.

    You can still go ahead and produce that scene. In the end, you will have lots of such scenes that have to be arranged sequentially as the script demands.

    Sequencing is one of the most important aspects of editing!

  • Reducing video length – After sequencing the scenes, you discover the video is too long! It is twice the length you planned! So it’s time for editing again.

    Sometimes you are not just able to cut any scenes from your video. As you have made it, you think all of them are important. To review the video impartially, ask your friend, colleague or spouse to help.

    They would be able to find unwanted scenes. Some may have technical glitches, some may not add any value to the story and video. Remove those scenes ruthlessly from your video. You will find that your video suddenly becomes quick and agile but it still packs powerful punches, like Mohammad Ali!

The market is loaded with great software options like Movavi that covers end to end editing.

After editing, you will fine-tune your video:

  • Add any special effects to live-action explainers. Let’s say you have a fantastic northern lights night shot, add an on-screen caption with graphics. Or add fun animations and smooth scene transition effects. All great editing software like Magix Movie Edit Pro has these features.
  • Do you want specific messages or text on-screen? Use stylish annotations.
  • Check and remove background noise. If your editing software doesn’t include good sound editing features, use a full-fledged software like Audacity (it’s free).
  • Does your live-action explainer has a fantastic shot of open green lawns and you want the greens ‘extra green’? Use ‘color grading‘ features that are available in software like Vegas Pro.

After editing, your explainer video is ready. But it needs a ‘home’ to stay. That’s where hosting comes into the picture!

#8 – Hosting

Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

“My explainer video is ready. I will now upload it to Youtube and embed it on my website landing page”. Do you think using YouTube for hosting your explainer is a good idea? No!

To look professional, go for a video hosting platform like Vimeo or Wistia.Why?

Imagine you just hosted your explainer video on Youtube. You embed the default YouTube player to showcase your video like a HERO on your website landing page. A visitor comes to your website and starts watching your explainer video.

Just when your product is introduced, his phone rings. He pauses the video and answers the call. A few minutes later, he finishes the call. Now, on top of your video, Youtube reminds the visitor to see ‘More Videos’.

YouTube screenshot

These ‘more videos’ have extremely tempting thumbnails. A Pilot chick, free software, global air traffic, and Steve Jobs posing for a great speech! What does he do?

He chooses the pilot chick thumbnail and starts watching it. He also clicks the YouTube icon, which opens another tab and takes him straight to YouTube! He spends the next 30 minutes watching ‘pilot lessons’.

He may or may not return to your website but that moment, that opportunity is lost! With private hosting, you can avoid this and host ‘distraction-free’ videos. You also have full control of your video! It will always be there till you want to take it down.

After your video gets a nice place to settle, it’s time to spread the word and let everyone know!

#9 – Marketing & promotion

Biggest cake sample photo – Source cakes.pitsed.com

In the 1980s, advertising genius Claude Hopkins made the ‘biggest cake’ in the world, to market an ingredient called Cotosuet (replacement for butter)! He cleverly placed this enormous cake near a huge bay window of a departmental store in Chicago that was about to have a grand opening. It was a win-win for both!

When the store opened, there was a sea of people to have a glimpse of this huge cake, leading to a big traffic snarl! A whopping 105,000 people went to see it over the course of the week. Moreover, the cake was on the 5th floor and elevators could not carry so many, so they climbed the stairs!

The marketing was a huge success and Cotosuet made recording-breaking sales! Whether it’s the marketing of food products or explainer videos, the principles remain the same. You have to tell the world about your explainer video in ways no one has done before!

These are a few tips you should use irrespective of your marketing strategy.

  • Showcase it on your website landing page. The first thing anyone sees on your website should be your video!
  • Add the video link to your social media profile page with a great description of it.
  • Pick a product benefit or a feature and make a social media post on it. Link the video to this post, so viewers can see everything the product has to offer.
  • Add the video link to your email signature.
  • Follow basic SEO techniques to rank on search engines and YouTube. Some of these are to put the right titles and descriptions (with keywords), add catchy thumbnails, etc.
  • Ask all your pals, business associates, influencers to link to your explainer video if it fits their content.

Once you market it well and people are engaged, it’s time to test the engagement and improve it!

#10 – Test and improve

Source – getwallpapers.com

In 17th-century Japan, a samurai sword of exceptional caliber was tested and it was able to cut through 7 bodies in 1 stroke! Before your head starts spinning, let me tell you, these dead bodies were of criminals (they were dead before the testing was conducted).

Fast forward to post World War II, Toyota, influenced by American business and quality management, developed the Kaizen model. Kaizen, a Japanese word, translates to change ‘change for better‘. It includes all activities to continually improve all business functions, products, processes, etc.

Just imagine what would happen if Kaizen was introduced before the Samurai swords were tested! I bet it would cut through an entire army!

While Kaizen is generally used for manufacturing, IT and other industries, you can improve your explainer videos by split testing, also known as ‘A/B testing‘.

You can try some of these ideas but always do that within budget and schedule.

  • Try multiple videos with different CTAs. For example, one can be a sign-up form, another can be a phone call. Usually changing this is relatively easy as you have to change only the last bits of the video.
  • Use analytics (like engagement stats) provided by the hosting software or social media platforms to identify possible changes for your video. If you are planning to use YouTube (who doesn’t want to?), VidIQ offers unique solutions to monitor, rank and improve engagement.
  • If your video is on a platform like YouTube, try experimenting with different titles, descriptions, and thumbnails.
  • Without sacrificing the essence and message, try with different video lengths.

You just learned the entire process of making explainer videos! If I grossly ignored something, give a shout in the comment box!


We just discussed the full technical process but something stands out and is widely discussed. That’s explainer video length! Let’s dive in to understand.

Ideal explainer video length? The big question!

Photo by Charles on Unsplash

What do statistics say?

Wistia did a staggering study of 564,710 videos and more than 1.3 billion plays, to find the ideal video length! Even if 10 persons did the study for a year, that comes to 155 videos per person per day. And the number of plays per person; that’s very difficult to calculate!

You can definitely take guidance from this massive, painstaking work! The below graph sums up the study.

What are the key highlights?

  • Videos less than 2 minutes – The audience absolutely loved such videos. If your videos are this length, you can expect great audience engagement.
  • Between 2 and 3 minutes – The engagement sees a big drop.
  • Between 6 to 12 minutes – The engagement is pretty stable, which means the audience liked the videos.
  • Over 12 minutes – The engagement sees a steady decline, which means the audience was losing interest.

Google also conducted a video length study but they analyzed viewer responses to the same ad that had different lengths.This is what they found!

Google also studied YouTube stats.

What are the key takeaways?

  • Promo videos (or ads) – The audience engagement was highest between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
  • Creator videos (usually how-to videos) – The majority of YouTube creators made videos over 10 mins long.

Now let’s combine the data and try to make a guideline that you can use for your explainer videos!

The ideal length by video type
  • Explainer promos and testimonials – Keep them under 2 minutes. Testimonials can be a bit longer if the content is really good!
  • How-to, Educational videos & Q&A6 to 12 minutes is the sweet spot.
  • Demos10 and 12 minutes max for detailed demos.

Whatever length you choose, capture attention in the first 5-10 seconds! Paint a vivid picture of the problem and the possible solution in your viewers’ minds.


If you are at this point, CONGRATS!

You know a lot about explainer videos; the detailed process to make them and the technicalities.

Now, are you going to make them yourself? If so in which cases? Are there any other options?

Let’s look at all the solutions in hand!

How can you make explainer videos (solutions)?

A video agency

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

When should you choose a video agency?

If you have a marketing budget, without thinking much you should approach a video agency (in the below scenarios).

  1. You have a start-up company and want to build a hugely popular explainer video campaign (that will grab eyeballs) to promote your product or service.
  2. You already have a product/service in the market and want to grow your audience and revenue.
  3. You want to use your explainer video in conferences, roadshows, etc in a bid to attract investors.
  4. Other cases –
    1. Non-profits trying to spread rapidly via massive promotional campaigns
    2. Educational institutions trying to promote large scale programs, etc.
Why should you choose a video agency?

Let’s look at the success of Dropbox to know the reasons.

Reason #1 – Brand image and reputation are critical

During beta testing, Drew himself made a screencast video that drove 70000 subscribers overnight! For the actual product launch, he planned a landing page with only 2 things; an explainer video and a download button!

It was very easy for him to say “I made one video that got me, 70,000 subscribers overnight, let me make another one for the launch”. But there was a lot at stake; of all, establishing it as a brand and reputation were absolutely unavoidable! He decided to seek professional help for the video and the decision was spot on!

The agency did a perfect job of explaining a ground-breaking concept, getting the results (sales and revenue) and making Dropbox memorable. Even today, when you search ‘explainer video’, every website will refer to this popular video! And whenever you ask anyone about a file-sharing solution, Dropbox always tops the list!

Takeaway #1 – When launching a product, your promo video should elevate your brand and reputation!

Reason #2 – Explaining a product can be difficult

The concept of Dropbox was difficult to explain. The video agency (CommonCraft) thought the best way was to weave-in Dropbox into an engaging story and present it as the only solution.

They used some very interesting elements to hook the audience; An analogy of a magic box to store files and a beautiful story of a backpacker on an adventure to Africa! As the story unfolds, Dropbox is presented as a savior of memories, every step of the way.

The story worked and the audience was dying to get their hands on a paid subscription!

Takeaway #2 – Your explainer video should explain the concept so effectively, even a 5-year old can understand!

Reason #3 – You need a crowd-puller (a novel idea)

Although Dropbox didn’t have many competitors, the difficult concept had to be presented in a novel and unique way. The agency produced a ‘first-of-its-kind’ cut-out whiteboard video, mixed with animation and live-action. The audience went crazy and lapped it up!

Takeaway #3 – Your video should have a ‘novelty’ factor to make it stand-out in the competition!

Reason #4 – No time to make a video

The founder was dabbling with many things on his plate for the perfect launch! Making the best version of Dropbox, managing this team, meeting investors for finance, planning growth strategies, managing the existing beta subscribers and much more.

Would it be a wise decision to make an explainer video all by himself or his team? Absolutely not! He had the money for marketing, so he gave the job to professionals who could do a better job, while he managed his launch.

By the time he was ready with the product launch, the explainer video was ready to break the internet!

Takeaway #4 – During the launch, you should spend time towards business-critical activities than making an explainer video yourself.

Reason #5 – A great video can give a big ROI (return on investment)

Before making the explainer video, Drew spent a lot of money on paid search (that as 2009) which translated to $300 per customer whereas the selling price was $99! This obviously made no business sense, so he started looking at other viable and effective options.

As he had realized the power of video and he also had the budget, he found a great agency to make this video. He spent approx $50000 (it was quite expensive back then) to get the entire video campaign ready. The rest is history, as the ROI was 959%!

Takeaway #5 – A professionally made explainer video can prove to be the best investment for promoting a new product!

For an existing product, let’s look at the Crazy Egg success story.

Reason #6 – Powerfully present an existing product

Many A-list customers were already using Crazy Egg but the founder (Neil Patel) wanted to increase conversions without impact existing customers. He wanted more people to understand the product, clarify their concerns and get them to subscribe for the trial.

The video agency (Demo Duck) not just met the expectations but also set the highest production and branding standards! The Crazy Egg video is another explainer video that is revered for its ability to entertain, explain, clarify and boost conversions, all at the same time!

Takeaway #6 – Seek professional help if you need to accurately present an existing product and boost conversions.

PROs and CONs of hiring a video agency

Hire a freelancer

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

When should you choose a video freelancer?

If you don’t have a marketing budget and you need fully customized explainer videos, you should choose a freelancer (in the below scenarios).

  1. All scenarios for a video agency apply (product launches, existing product promos, etc)
  2. You are ready to trade-off time to review and guide the freelancer through the course of the entire video production.
  3. Incase the freelancer doesn’t deliver an end-to-end video, you are ready to get the remaining work done. This can be script writing, voiceover, editing, music, etc.
Reason #1 – Benefits of a video agency at a low price of a freelancer

If you find the right freelancer, you can get a great explainer video for as low as 10% of an agency quotation! Freelancer marketplaces are buzzing with talent with some like Fiverr offering dedicated pages for explainer videos!

Takeaway #1 – Find a great freelancer and you don’t need to find an agency to get a great quality video at an affordable price.

Reason #2 – You want videos regularly but don’t want to make them youself

What if you want to make 5 explainer videos every month but you don’t want to make them yourself? You can’t employ an agency as you will need a truckload of money.

The best option is to find a great freelancer and establish a long term partnership to make videos for you.

Takeaway #2 – Use a freelancer to get explainer videos in bulk (in cases where you don’t want to invest your time and energy).

PROs and CONs of hiring a video freelancer

Use video software (make videos yourself)

Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

When should you choose a video software?

If you want to make explainer videos regularly and you are ready to learn using the software, you should go for video software (in the below scenarios).

  1. You are ready to invest time and energy to learn the software (most video software are easy but you still need to learn them).
  2. You are ready to work on the entire production process including be script writing, voiceover, editing, music, etc.
  3. You want full control over your videos and want to be involved in each and every aspect.
  4. Typical users of video software are bloggers, business owners (travel, restaurants, real estate, educator etc), marketing teams, freelancers, agencies, animators, and anyone who would like to make videos on their own.
Reason #1 – You want an affordable option

Anshul Raja, a budding author used DIY whiteboard video software to make a video that reached 2 million students and made his study guides the #1 bestseller!

He was blown away by a hybrid whiteboard, motion graphics and 2D animated video by Ray Dalio. When he enquired with the creators, he was further blown away by the price of $80000! He obviously didn’t have that kind of budget, so he found a whiteboard animation software like Videoscribe. The software would have cost him about $100 per year (0.1% compared to the Ray Dalio video).

While his video didn’t have high animation standards (comparable to Ray Dalio video), it was good enough to strike a chord with the students! And he got the results which he expected!

Takeaway #1 – Explainer video software is one of the most affordable options.

Reason #2 – You want to make them yourself (even if you have a company)

These are actual user comments from an explainer video blog post on NeilPatel.com.

It is clear that this company wanted to own the end-to-end process of the video. After spending time learning, with teamwork and outsourcing (voiceover), they were able to make a great explainer video using DIY video software.

Takeaway #2 – If you own a company, work for one or you are a single-person entrepreneur, a video software can help you take full control of the process and output!

Reason #3 – You want convenience and flexibility (make a video anytime)

Let’s say you a blogger working on a massive post that you want to publish but you are already behind schedule. After you publish the post, to promote it, you want a simple explainer video that summarizes the key points.

Luckily, you have learned a DIY video software and you are confident that you can make a video the same day and share it with your followers. You don’t have to wait for an agency or a freelancer for weeks. You can do it any time of the day without hassles.

Takeaway #3 – With video software, you have the convenience of making a video anytime with 24/7 access.

Reason #4 – You want many videos (example: 1 video per day)

What if you want 10-20 videos per month? You cannot go to an agency or choose a freelancer. The only choice is a good DIY video software! With so many templates and features, it is even possible to make 1 video every day!

These are some example scenarios in which you need a lot of videos!

You have a real estate business and every day you get tens if not hundreds of property deals. Even if you don’t plan to make a video for every property, what about those premium deals like an uber penthouse with a pool and jacuzzi? With video software, you create a dazzling video that can spark excitement and eagerness in a potential buyer.

What if you have a restaurant? Make a video of that new dessert, the delicious blueberry cheesecake, and send it to your followers or show it off on the LED screens in your restaurant.

If you are a teacher and you have 20 complex biology topics to teach, a simple DIY software will help you produce 20 videos in a short amount of time!

Takeaway #4 – Video software allows you to scale your video production (even making 1 video per day is possible).

PROs and CONs of DIY explainer video software

How much do explainer videos cost?

Let’s explore the pricing by category.

How much do agencies charge?

Agencies can charge anywhere from $1000 to $200,000! The price depends on many factors and among them, video length, style, and deadline are the most common.

Here are some of the top agencies’ approx pricing. Use these price ranges only for reference! Agencies will always give you a custom quote. It is always better to directly reach out to them for a great deal!

Range-based pricing

Some agencies like Next Day Animations specify an approximate range as shown below.

Per-minute pricing

This one from WowMakers gives a price range per 60 seconds.

Idea Machine Studios has a unique fixed per-minute pricing.

Indicative pricing

Studios like Sandwich work on big-budget productions and just use an approx starting price.

How much does a freelancer charge?

Freelancer cost can be a mixed bag really! The price can vary from $50 to a few thousand dollars. For a good quality, custom explainer video, prepare to spend approx $500.

These are some examples from Fiverr.

And these are from Upwork.

How much does video software cost?

DIY explainer video software plans come in 4 categories.

  • Monthly plan – You pay a recurring monthly charge.
  • Annual plan – You pay for 12 months upfront (in most cases you get a discount).
  • One time plan – This is usually a lifetime license.
  • Pay-per-video – In this case, you pay as you go, per video.

The recurring plans start as low as $10 per month, for example, InVideo.

Filmora 9 is an example of a one-time payment plan starting at $59.99.

Renderforest, for example, apart from recurring payment plans, offers a pay-per-video starting at $9.99.

Pure animation software is a bit expensive starting at approx $200. But it usually is a one-time payment license. See this example of Cartoon Animator 4.

27 Best Video Agencies

If you hire a video agency, doesn’t it make sense to meet them in person? Discuss requirements face to face or drop in to review progress? Even if you can’t meet them, you should be able to talk to them on the phone.

So choosing an agency in your timezone will really help.

These are the best video agencies as per geographies (no specific criteria to rank this list). I am also highlighting on the specialty or differentiation factor. For full details of their services, you should visit their website.

NOTE – Most of the agencies work across timezones and have offices around the globe. It’s best to check with them directly for services in your country.

America

#1 – Switch Video, Canada

Screenshot from Switch Video Showreel

If you want different CTAs and split testing options, choose Switch Video. They even offer a tempting 60% engagement guarantee!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – LinkedIn, Amazon, IBM

#2 – Next Day Animations, United States

Screenshot from Next Day Animation showreel

Next Day Animations can deliver your explainer video really fast! With an agile and streamlined process, you can get a video literally the next day (as their brand name suggests).

They also have wide industry experience and unique offerings like ‘social media sizzler (gripping 15-second videos). They also offer learning management systems compliant e-learning videos.

Styles offered – Animation, Top clients – Cannon, Toro, Novartis, United Way and more.

#3 – Yum Yum Videos, Argentina

Screenshot from YumYum Videos showreel

If you want unique and excellent quality animation, Yum Yum Videos is the way to go! Apart from other services, they also deliver animated video series, tutorial and educational videos.

Styles offered – Animation, Top clients – Walmart, RedBull, Docusign

#4 – Demo Duck, United States

Screenshot from the Demo Duck showreel

Demo Duck made the popular ‘Crazy Egg’ explainer video. If you are looking for something similar, you know where to go!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Shelton Group, Glint

#5 – Ydraw, United States

Screenshot from the Ydraw demo reel

Ydraw claims to have invented the whiteboard video style in 2011. If you are looking for diverse styles they have some unique ones like Disney quality 2D, Animatic story, etc.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Verizon, Disney, Amazon

#6 – Idea Machine Studio, United States

Screenshot from the Idea Machine Studio demo reel

If you are looking very clear upfront rates, go for Idea Machine Studio. They offer a tier-wise per minute rate card.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Pfizer, ESPN, Boeing

#7 – Grumo Media, Canada

Grumo Media has a specially designed video production process and passion for startups looking for a great video campaign.

Styles offered – Animation, Top clients – Plarity, Microsoft Dynamics CRM

#8 – Sandwich Video, United States

Sandwich Video specializes in big-budget productions that include live-action explainers, TV commercials, and even documentaries.

Styles offered – Live-action, Top clients – Facebook, AirBnB, Ebay, Slack

#9 – Epipheo, United States

If you are looking for diverse offerings, Epipheo has a portfolio of unique services like trade show video, video mini-course, video whitepaper, etc.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – P&G, Epson, SAP

#10 – Thinkmojo, United States

Thinkmojo creates viewer experience campaigns (including TV commercials) for leading brands and companies.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Google, WordPress, VISA

#11 – Video Explainers, United States

Screenshot of Video Explainers process video

Video Explainers offers a very fast delivery service; you can get your explainer video in 3 days!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – NASA, CocaCola, HP

Europe

#12 – Cognitive Media, United Kingdom

Screenshot of Cognitive Media video

Cognitive Media is the leader in whiteboard animation. If you are looking for hand-drawn, intricate works of art, they are the ones to go with!

Styles offered – Animation (whiteboard), Top clients – RSA, BBC, NYT, eBay

#13 – Wyzowl, United Kingdom

Wyzowl has unique offerings in their portfolio like micro-interactions (small bits of animation), testimonials, etc. It enjoys a very good reputation in the video industry because of a valuable video marketing survey it conducts every year.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Uberflip, Mavenlink

#14 – Skeleton Productions, United Kingdom

Skeleton Productions not only offers end to end video production but also helps you with the marketing of the video (with unique services like Youtube optimization)!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Amazon, Samsung

#15 – Spiel Creative, United Kingdom

Spiel Creative not just makes explainer videos but gives you the latest video marketing strategies and powerful analytics. It also provides corporate and interactive video services.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – M&S, Ebay, HSBC

#16 – Yans Media, Armenia

If you are not able to decide a style, Yans Media can help you with their unique production process. They offer several ‘Mood Boards’ that showcase different styles so you can choose something that perfectly aligns with your vision!

Styles offered – Animation, Top clients – Adquick, StacksCity

#17 – BluBlu Studios, Poland

It does not matter which part of the world you are from. BluBlu Studios can deliver an explainer video to any corner of the world with its strong processes that adjust timezone and cultural differences.

Styles offered – Animation, Top clients – Forbes, Mentos, Bayer

#18 – Animation Explainers, Dublin

Animation Explainers is an explainer video company with experience in a wide range of industries, domains, and styles.

Styles offered – Animation, Top clients – Isle of Man Government, Thinktel

Asia and others

#19 – Wow Makers, India

If you are looking for a complete branding solution along with an explainer video go for Wow Makers. They handle end-to-end branding and user experience.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Microsoft, Mercedes Benz, Citibank

#20 – Breadnbeyond, Indonesia

If you are looking for a time-bound delivery guarantee, choose Breadnbeyond. They guarantee to deliver in 25 days or you get your money back!

Styles offered – Animation, Top clients – Paypal, Glassdoor

#21 – Kasra Design, Malaysia

Kasra Design offers video production services in all timezones and languages!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Panasonic, Intel

#22 – Gram Videos, Singapore

If you are looking for interactive explainer videos Gram Videos can help you!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Uber

#23 – Bode Animation, India

Bode Animation offers 3 unique explainer video packages to suit every customer!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Google, Adidas

#24 – Doodle Mango, India

Doodle Mango has a 3-tier pricing structure making it easy for you to make a choice!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Flipkart, Royal Enfield

#25 – Studio Tale, India

Studio Tale creates handcrafted videos including product demos.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Xiaomi, Swiggy

#26 – Pixelgenio, India

Pixelgenio is a digital marketing agency. Apart from your digital needs, it also offers explainer videos.

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Cleartrip, Western Union

#27 – Orange Videos, India

If you are looking for an agency that specializes in the corporate world, go for Orange Videos!

Styles offered – Multi-style, Top clients – Aviva, Tata

Choose the best explainer video agency. 15 reliable tips!

Photo by Anthony Martino on Unsplash

These are a few tips to help you select the perfect video agency. Read on and select what matters to you the most!

#1 – Quality of work

Scrutinize the videos in their portfolio and look for aspects like these.

  • Are the visuals top-notch? Do they offer smooth, seamless animation? How good are the live-action visuals?
  • Do they have a variety of good quality voiceovers?
  • Are they able to convey the message in a short time?
  • Agencies should deliver 100% custom videos. If they don’t, strike them off your list!
#2 – Delivery time

In today’s competitive market, it is absolutely necessary that they deliver fast! Check if they have well-defined delivery timelines.

Ask if they have an option for express delivery. For example, agencies like Next Day Animations offer super-fast delivery services. You can get a video in 24 hours!

#3 – Process

Do they have an iron-clad video production process to give you a high-quality video? The process should cover all stages like scripting, production and post-production.

The next stage should begin only when you approve the earlier. See this example from Cognitive Media. They even have detailed videos to cover each stage!

#4 – End to end video

They should handover a 100% complete video that you can publish immediately! It should never happen that you are running to another agency or freelancer to get bits and pieces of work completed.

For example, if they asking you to get a voiceover done separately, look for another agency!

#5 – Fixed-price

It is always better to go with a fixed price upfront. You don’t want any last minute surprises that spoil your marketing budget.

#6 – Style expertise

Does the agency specialize in a style? For e.g. some may specialize in whiteboard videos.

It is not necessary to go with an agency that does every style. Just make sure they have done enough work in the style of your choice and you are good to go!

#7 – Industry expertise

Have they worked in your industry? If so, that’s good news. It will make a huge difference to the entire production process.They will be able to translate all that knowledge into making a video that resonates with your audience.

Based on the experience working with many clients, they will also be able to guide you on what works and what does not!

#8 – The volume of work

How many videos have they made? 10? 100?You should obviously favor an agency that has done a lot of work.

But always keep a fine balance between quality and quantity. Sometimes it’s wise to choose an agency that has made 10 high quality videos over a one with 100 mediocre videos!

#9 – Number of revisions

Let’s say you forgot a crucial product benefit or you don’t like the tone of the voiceover. You want to make changes. But will they accept it?

Be crystal clear on the revision policy. How many revisions are allowed and it which stages?

#10 – Responsiveness

How soon will they respond to your queries? 1 business day? 2 business days? Having clarity on this will save you from a lot of headache during the production process.

#11 – In-house team

Photo by Pascal Swier on Unsplash

Check if they have a full in-house team of animators, voice artists, illustrators, scriptwriters, managers, etc. This makes a lot of different to the quality and schedule.

#12 – Customer portfolio

How does their portfolio look? Do they have customers from your industry? If so, the chances of getting a video that your audience likes, are very high!

Do they have A-list customers? If they do, it means top companies have chosen them because of certain standards. You should definitely think of shortlisting them.

#13 – SPOC (Single point of contact)

You should be able to talk to an ‘X’ person, anytime, for all your queries! Dealing with many people will create confusion. An agency should give you a dedicated SPOC (single point of contact), for example a manager.

#14 – Go local

Most agencies provide global delivery and work in all the timezones. But it helps if the agency is in your country or timezone. Anytime you need an update, you can just call up! The communication becomes very simple and effective.

#15 – What is their specialty?

Do they have some unique services? For example, Epipheo has unique offerings like video whitepaper. Next Day Animations creates social media sizzlers (short 15-sec videos) and learning systems compatible videos. Each agency will have its own niche. Find the one you like!

Hire the best explainer video freelancer

If you are planning to hire a freelancer, these tips should help you find a great fit.

#1 – Keep your requirements and script ready
  • What do you want to achieve? What is your key message? Who is your audience and what is your CTA? Document all of this!
  • Write your script or hire a freelancer. Some freelancers offer script, voiceover and other services along with the video.
#2 – Record the voice-over

In most cases, the freelancer should also provide a voiceover. Even if they don’t, you can use these tips to get a voiceover recorded separately.

  • Along with the script, clarify the tone, emotional punches, etc. Have a look at this detailed voiceover process.
  • Ask for voice samples so that you can choose the right one.
#3 – Choose the right freelancer platform

Top freelancer platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer & Upwork have tons of video freelancers. Taking an example of Fiverr, you can find great talent in 3 ways.

Option 1 – Using the ‘guided search’.

On the home page, scroll down to ‘Explore The Marketplace’. Then select ‘Video and Animation’.

Select ‘Whiteboard & Animated Explainers‘ and you will find the option ‘Find your Video Creator‘.

Under this option, you can choose the type of animation, script, voice-over, etc.

Option 2 – Using the Search bar or Menu option

This option is a no brainer. You can either manually search or use the ‘Video and animation‘ menu.

You can then use filters like ‘Category’, ‘Services Options’ and ‘Seller details’ to narrow down your search.

Option 3 – Using a simple Google search

Search for ‘explainer video freelancer’ to get a result like this.

For example, the Fiverr results will get you a list of freelancers. Check the ratings, profile, completed projects, etc and shortlist your candidates.

#3 – Create an exciting project description
  • Give a high-level brief of the project – This should include your expectations, goals, script overview etc
  • Clearly spell out the explainer style – Do you need 2D animation, whiteboard or something else? Clear instructions will get you accurate responses and bids.
  • Video length – This is one of the pricing factors. Mention this clearly in seconds (60 seconds, 90 seconds, 120 seconds, etc).
  • Voice-over – Clarify if you need the voice-over or you will provide one.
  • Most important – Give a link to a video that you like. Ask them to refer to this video for style, tone, animation etc.
#4 – Set the right budget

Put a very low price tag and you lose top talent. Set a high price tag and you lose the freelancer advantage. As mentioned earlier, $500 is a very good price for a video freelancing project.

You can also check for prices quoted by freelancers. As the prices vary drastically, make it simple! Select a few services and take an average of the prices!

#5 – Prefer a tailored bid

Let’s say you want your video made with Adobe Effects (AE). You get 20 bids as soon as you post the project. But only 1 has details about the AE experience. Isn’t this the best bid?

Always choose tailored bids! It shows the freelancer has carefully reviewed the requirements and is serious!

#6 – Review the profile and portfolio

Review each bid and profile. Get answers to these questions.

  • How many videos has this freelancer produced? How many projects?
  • Will you get a video including voiceover? Some freelancers deliver everything.
  • Is the freelancer an expert in a particular explainer style?
  • How many revisions will you get?
  • Is this a freelancer or an agency? This will help you to negotiate better.

NOTE: You will find quite a few small agencies on freelancer platforms. Review the profile and you will get to know.

#7 – Customer feedback

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

When reviewing customer feedback, you should obviously go for a top-rated freelancer.

Watch out for any common negative feedback (common trend) like unprofessionalism, poor communication, etc. For example, look for complaints of ‘horrible communication‘, ‘quitting the project on the last day’, ‘severe delays‘, etc.

Also, check the freelancer’s response to negative comments. Does he/she respond with flair and elegance? Is the tone professional? Or just trying to play a victim?

At the same time, some customers can be unrealistic and unfair. So always hear both sides of the story!

#8 – Communication

Your freelancer may be on a different continent; how are you going to communicate?

Check the freelancer availability to answer queries and give you updates. Is he/she flexible enough to reply at any time of the day? Will you communicate via chat, video call, etc?

The #1 problem with freelancers is communication (no communication, poor communication etc). If you set the expectations upfront, it will help you find the right person for the work!

#9 – Going the extra mile

Is the freelancer willing to support after the video is published? Let’s say, after testing you want to make a change to the CTA. Instead of your logo, you want the website URL.

Will the freelancer support such a request?

This check is not necessary but it will be a great test of flexibility. It will also tell you if the person is ideal for a long term working relationship!


57 super-useful explainer video software

What are Forever Free and Trial video plans?

Before we look at the massive list, let’s see what ‘free software‘ means.

Almost all of the video software has a FREE plan. Some offer a Forever Free plan and some offer a Free Trial plan. But what is the difference?

Let’s find out!

Forever free or ‘FREEMIUM’ plans

A ‘forever free’ or ‘freemium’ accounts have no time limits. You can use it forever (unless there is a change to the policy) with certain limitations.

For example, InVideo the AI-powered video platform, provides a FOREVER FREE plan.

Free TRIAL plans

Free trial video plans typically give you access for a limited period (7 days, 15 days, etc) with some limitations.

For example, you can try Explaindio, a multi-style all-rounder explainer software for 14 days without any cost.

Explaindio Trial

The complete list of 57 explainer video software

This is the list of the 57 video software you can use for your explainer videos. This is a mixed bag of the best DIY video, editing, template-based and animation software.

The list is grouped by Forever Free, Trial and Paid software. Each of these groups has subgroups based on styles like Animated, Whiteboard, Live-action, Interactive and Multi-style.

NOTE: I have not used any criteria to sort the list. If some software is #1, it doesn’t mean the one at #57 is any lesser.

Without delay, read on!

20 awesome FOREVER FREE explainer video software

These are some fantastic explainer video software with Forever Free plans.

Live-action
#1 – InVideo

Screenshot of the InVideo Demoreel

With InVideo, make live-action promo, How-to videos and more, with the easy to use AI-based software. It is also very affordable and you get the full value of each dollar you spend!

Best features:

  • I have personally used the easy interface; it’s a breeze to use! And the library is massive (1200 online designs).
  • The Intelligent Video Assistant will guide you every step of the way. The result? Remarkable and picture-perfect videos!
  • You get access to an amazing 24/7 support team to unblock you.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: You get to try all the fabulous features and export up to 60 videos per month with a watermark.

#2 – Fastcut by Magix

Screenshot of the Fastcut Demoreel

With Fastcut, you can edit simple live-action videos with lightning speeds for FREE!

Best features:

  • It’s FREE, no hidden costs!
  • It is good for making simple live-action videos with music tracks (for example making a live-action promo for a retail store, restaurant etc.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Free access to all the features of the Fastcut basic version.

#3 – Lumen5

Screenshot of the Lumen5 Demoreel

Lumen 5, is a NEXTGEN AI-based live-action video creator.

Best features:

With it’s AI engine you can create videos with a click of a button; literally!

  • Have your script in a text file? No problem! Feed it to the hungry AI engine and see magically transform into a ready storyboard.
  • Point and click your blog post URL and see your video taking shape via the storyboard.
  • Try the killer automation. Plug-in your RSS feeds and automatically create piping hot video templates every day!

The AI-engine is a great asset for blog owners looking to transform their blog posts into videos.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Make 5 videos every month. If you like music, you have access to a massive 3000+ track library!

#4 – Wave.Video

Screenshot of the Wave.Video Demoreel

With Wave.Video, make live-action and image-based explainer videos.

Best features:

  • You get a lot of choices thanks to the large media library.
  • Make tailor-made videos to suit the social media platform. It has a ready library of 30+ popular social media sizes to choose from.
  • You can play with a variety of stickers and GIFs.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Share up to 15 sec long videos (720p) on social media with a watermark.

#5 – Filmora 9

Screenshot of the Wave.Video Demoreel

Whether you are a beginner or have intermediate editing skills, Filmora 9 can help you with all your video editing needs. You can create some awesome live-action explainer videos using its amazing user interface.

Best features:

  • Do more than split and crop with its wide range of editing tools.
  • Tons of video effects including titles, transitions, motion graphics and more.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Create unlimited watermarked videos.

#6 – Biteable

Screenshot of the Biteable Demoreel

Biteable gives you the flexibility to make all styles of videos. Just grab a template and make your live-action explainer video.

Best features:

  • You get loads of templates across industries and social media platforms.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Make 10 watermarked videos for sharing on social media.

#7 – Filmora Scrn

Screenshot of the Filmora Scrn Demoreel

Filmora Scrn allows you to make screen recording and webcam-based demo explainer videos!

Best features:

  • Support for up to 120 FPS that can even record video games! Perfect for those who want to make a demo explainer videos of games.
  • One of the most affordable screen recording software in the market.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Record unlimited videos with a watermark. You have to download the software.

#8 – Screenflow

Screenshot of the Screenflow Demoreel

Screenflow is another great screencasting and video editing software exclusively for Mac. You can record some great demo explainer videos.

Best features:

  • You get great options like recording directly from your iPhone.
  • You can also create animated GIFs and PNGs on the fly.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Unlimited videos with watermarks.

#9 – Soapbox by Wistia

Screenshot of the Wistia Soapbox video

Soapbox is a screen and webcam recording software. Make fabulous demos, ‘how-tos’, promos, etc.

Best features:

  • No need to install the software. It is a very lightweight chrome extension.
  • You can create great video thumbnails and share them on email!

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Create unlimited Soapbox videos but you can only export to the Wistia account.

#10 – Da Vinci Resolve

Screenshot of the DaVinci Demoreel

With Da Vinci Resolve, you can combine professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects, and audio post-production all in one software tool! Use this to edit your live-action footage into a fabulous explainer video.

Best features:

  • It has some nextgen features like the DaVinci Neural Engine and machine learning. You get super cool features like facial recognition, speed warp and more.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Unlimited editing with all the basic functionalities with a watermark.

Multi-style
#11 – Renderforest

Screenshot from the Renderforest showreel

With Renderforest, you will be spoilt for choice! Use the massive library of ready-to-use templates. Make explainer videos of all styles; explainer video styles unleashed!

Best features:

  • Grab a read-to-use template or a toolkit and start modifying your scenes. Make a fantastic 2D animated, whiteboard, kinetic typography or any other style you wish!
  • Super easy to use – I have used it myself and it’s great fun! The interface is very easy and intuitive. You can use ready presets or supply a script and it creates a storyboard automatically!
  • Complete branding solution; All plans (even the free) include video creation, unlimited logos, and a free website. Now that’s a steal!

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Unlimited 360p video exports, unlimited logos, a website, free support and more…

#12 – Animaker

Screenshot of the Animaker Demoreel

Make eye-catching animated and live-action videos with Animaker.

Best features:

  • As many as 720 different styles to choose from. What does that mean for you? Make a new style explainer video, every day for 2 years! Wow.
  • A newly launched interface that’s super easy and fast.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Unlimited HD quality videos with watermark, free support and more…

#13 – Moovly

Screenshot of the Wave.Video Demoreel

With Moovly, you can make Live-action, animation, and whiteboard animation videos explainer videos.

Best features:

  • You can either use a drag and drop or a read-made template. It’s that simple.
  • Nextgen features like ‘Moovly Automator’ can help you produce videos in bulk!

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Create 3 min unlimited SD 480p with watermark, publish to YouTube and more…

#14 – MakeWebVideo

Screenshot of the MakeWebVideo Demoreel

With MakeWebVideo, make all styles of videos with easy to use templates.

Best features:

  • A very wide variety of ready templates including some really cool and unique ones like the ‘Ink Effect’ and ‘Scrapbook’.
  • The pay per video model allows you to buy any HD video.
  • You get free hosting and a video player to embed videos.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Make unlimited low-resolution videos for download and export.

#15 – Animatron Studio

Screenshot of the Animatron Demoreel

With Animatron Studio, you can make animated, whiteboard, live-action, and presentation-based explainer videos

Best features:

  • You can fully customize a huge variety of pre-animated objects.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Make 5 Public projects, SD video (up to 10 sec)

#16 – Motion Den

Screenshot of the Motionden Demoreel

Motion Den allows you to make videos of all styles. You will have a wide spectrum of choices for your explainer videos.

Best features:

  • There is a lot of variety with a huge collection of templates.
  • You get the sweet option to buy an HD quality video (pay per video).

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Full access to the massive template catalog to create up to 5 videos.

Animated
#17 – Powtoon

Screenshot of the Powtoon Demoreel

With Powtoon, you can make all types of videos and presentations

Best features:

  • The interface is super easy and quite similar to Powerpoint!
  • There is a rich library of templates that covers almost all industries and domains.
  • All plans include commercial rights, which is really cool!

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Unlimited Up to 3 mins (HD) downloads with watermark.

#18 – Animiz

With Animiz, make 2D animated and presentation based videos as well as cool GIFs.

Best features:

  • Loads of choice; 300+ Scene templates and 1000+ built-in animated roles.
  • You also get access to lots of royalty-free vectors.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Publish unlimited 576P videos with watermark.

#19 – Blender

Screenshot of the Blender Demo

Blender is an open-source software to create amazing 3D animations. If you have some experience with animation, you can easily make some jaw-dropping 3D explainer videos.

Best features:

  • It’s free to use! But don’t underestimate the power of this free software. You can create some outstanding 3D animation using this.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Unlimited usage of the software. No limitations whatsoever!

Whiteboard
#20 – MySimpleShow

MySimpleShow gives you a platform to make cut-out styles whiteboard videos! If you loved the old Dropbox video, you will love this!

Best features:

  • The only software that can help you make classic cut-out whiteboard videos.
  • I have tried this extremely easy whiteboard video software. Just add your script and the software creates readymade storyboard with images.
  • Turn your boring PowerPoint presentation into a cut-out video by simply providing a file.
  • The text-to-speech feature automatically adds a voiceover to your videos. A great option if you don’t have the time or money to hire a voice artist.

What you get in the Forever Free plan: Create unlimited low-resolution videos with a watermark. You get a public page to share your videos on Youtube, etc.

25 fabulous Free Trial explainer video software

Live-action
#21 – Movavi Video Suite

Screenshot of the Movavi Demoreel

Movavi Video Suite is a combined package of video editing and screen recording features. Create awesome live-action promos and demo explainer videos!

Best features:

  • Full editing and screen and webcam recording features.
  • Like to play with different video formats? You can convert around 180+ media formats.
  • Want your videos offline? Burn them to DVDs and Blue Ray Discs.
  • Bring really old memories back with VHS and TV signal recording!

What you get in the Forever Free plan: A 7-day trial with limited functionality and watermarked videos.

#22 – Animoto

Screenshot of the Animoto Demoreel

Animoto allows you to make live-action explainer videos based on the massive stock library.

Best features:

  • Lots of branding options and unlimited video creation (no monthly limits).

What you get in the Free Trial: 14 day trial of the Professional plan.

#23 – Magix Movie Edit Pro

Screenshot of the Movie Edit Pro Demoreel

Magix Movie Edit Pro is a pro-level video editor (for beginner and advanced users). Slickly edit your live-action and stock videos and turn them into live-action explainer masterpieces!

Best features:

  • Correct shaky videos with the stabilization feature.
  • The automatic shot match allows you to match the color and lighting of 2 different videos.
  • Easily remove and replace unwanted backgrounds.

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited and basic functionality. You have to download the software.

#24 – Magix Video Pro X

Screenshot of the Video Pro Demoreel

Magix Video Pro X is an editing software for professional editors. It can support videos shot in different resolutions. Even if you have shot a crystal clear 8K UHD live-action explainer video, it can help you edit it without problems!

Best features:

  • A multi-format timeline to make your editing blazing fast.
  • Want to shoot a video with a green background? The advanced color grading and chroma keying will help you to seamlessly put any background.
  • No more shaky videos; footage stabilization is there to help you!
  • Want to make your travel memorable? Create an animated travel map of all the places you visited at the click of a button!

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#25 – Vegas Pro

Screenshot of the Vegas Pro Demoreel

Vegas Pro is a professional editor tool that offers the fastest NLE (non-linear editing).
Make awesome live-action (particularly outdoor) explainer videos with super-editing features.

Best features:

  • Speed up your editing with features like nested timelines.
  • No ugly jump cuts; remove sections of your video without any trace!
  • Highest level of color grading, even in HDR.
  • Create incredible slow-motion scenes with the optical-flow slow-motion feature and more…

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#26 – Vegas Movie Studio

Screenshot of the Vegas Movie Studio Demoreel

Vegas Movie Studio allows you to create a live-action explainer video in 5 easy steps!

Best features:

  • Smart features like the step by step guided video creator make editing a no-brainer.
  • Want to add a text or visual effect to a moving object? With the motion tracking system, you can do that in seconds.
  • Add oomph to your videos with the NewBlue transitions and effects.
  • Use the impressive hover scrub to quickly glance over the video and find the right thumbnail.

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

Paid plans pricing: Starts at $49.99 a year

#27 – Vegas VR Studio

Screenshot of the VR Studio Demoreel

With Vegas VR Studio, you can create stunning interactive virtual experience videos using 360-degree clips and images. Perfect for explaining a hotel property, tourism site, real estate, educational sites, etc!

Best features:

  • Do you know the biggest problem with 360-degree videos? They are shaky! The image stabilization feature gives a smooth finish to your 360 videos.
  • You get the free virtual reality player (VR-X player) to play your 360-degree videos.

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#28 – Vegas Post

Screenshot of the Vegas Post Demoreel

Vegas Post is a complete suite of pro-level editing and post-editing software. It includes the Vegas Pro, Vegas Effects and Vegas Image (to create images from the videos). This is a complete branding solution for your live-action explainer videos. From videos to creating posters!

Best features:

  • Module 1 – Vegas Pro – As you read earlier, this is an awesome pro-level non-linear video editing software.
  • Module 2 – Vegas Effects – Gives you over 800 effects and filters to make your videos really special!
  • Module 3 – Vegas Image – Allows you to create awesome composite images.

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#29 – Adobe Premiere

Screenshot of the Adobe Premier Demoreel

For the past 25 years, Adobe Premiere is one platform, editors swear by! Make live-action explainer videos with pro-level editing.

Best features:

  • Apart from all the pro features, you can edit from any device like a mobile phone. How cool is that?

What you get in the Free Trial: 7 day free trial with limited features.

#30 – Camtasia

Screenshot of the Camtasia Demoreel

Camtasia has become a synonym for screen-recording software! You can make some cool screen recording demo explainer videos with it.

Best features:

  • It is the most widely used screen recording software. And it covers every feature you will need to record your demo videos!

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

Multi-style
#31 – Explaindio

Screenshot of the Explaindio Demoreel

Explaindio is the #1 explainer video software at this price range. It is a complete all-rounder package. You can make live-action, 2D and 3D animation, whiteboard, motion graphics, kinetic typography and many other styles of explainer videos!

Best features:

  • I have used this product. If you spend some time learning it, you can really make some cool stuff! There is a ton of customization options available!
  • You can import your own images, animations, videos, and vectors to customize them. For example, you can import any SVG image and make a whiteboard sketch in minutes!
  • It’s one of the most affordable and value for money explainer video software in the market.

What you get in the Free Trial: 14 day trial with all features. Unlimited, unrestricted access to the product. You need to download the software.

NOTE – You have to use your credit card for getting the free trial. There will be no charge during the 14-day trial. At the end of the 14th day, you will be charged $67 for 1 year. Cancel anytime during the trial.

I recommend using Paypal for using your credit card. The reason? The cancellation process is much faster with Paypal.

#32 – Wideo

Screenshot of the Wideo Demoreel

With Wideo, you can make live-action and animated explainer videos.

Best features:

  • Build your explainer videos from scratch using the easy online builder or using a massive library of templates.
  • Creating for mobile? Make vertical videos. You have a lot of options to choose from; square, vertical, etc.

What you get in the Free Trial: 7-day free trial with limited features.

#33 – Rawshorts

Screenshot of the Rawshorts Demoreel

With Rawshorts you can make all styles of explainer videos using the nextgen features. Use the AI-based tools to automatically help you produce a great video.

Best features:

  • With the AI platform, you can automate your videos:
    • Provide a script to the engine and it starts creating a video.
    • If you have all your users’ data in a spreadsheet, you can create personalized videos using the spreadsheet-to-video feature.
    • You can convert all your blog posts into videos.
  • Tons of templates and stock videos to play with. Make a video ready in minutes.

What you get in the Free Trial: 7 day free trial with limited features (5 watermarked 480p resolution exports).

#34 – Vyond

Screenshot of the Vyond Demoreel

With Vyond, create explainer videos of all styles (animated, whiteboard, live-action, etc).

Best features:

  • A super easy to use interface.
  • Make your animation ultra realistic! The platform offers realistic lip-sync, action and animation.

What you get in the Free Trial: You can try it for 14 days with limited features

Animated
#35 – Cartoon Animator

Screenshot of the Cartoon Animator Demoreel

Cartoon Animator allows you to make 2D animated videos using your photo or webcam. Now make your explainer videos with one of your own facial avatars!

It is an animators tool but you can still use it for explainer videos. If you are already an animator, you will find this a breeze to use!

Best features:

  • Full facial motion capture for webcam and iPhone; Just be as emotive as you can on your webcam. As you record it, your favorite 2D character will mirror your expressions!
  • Create lots of characters and scenes!

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software (it’s an offline software).

#36 – iClone

Screenshot of the iClone Demoreel

iClone lets you make awesome 3D animated videos. It’s a pro-level tool. If you have a little experience in animation, you can make splendid 3D explainer videos with it.

Best features:

  • The software uses cutting-edge technology. You can get real-time 3D visuals to spice your videos.

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software to use it.

#37 – Harmony

Screenshot of the Harmony Demoreel

With Harmony, you can make Hollywood standard 2D animation! And if you already are an animator, use this to make some head-spinning animated explainer videos.

Best features:

  • For animators using tools like the stylus, this software is a treat! The software will recognize each gentle stroke, crazy angles, and stuff!

What you get in the Free Trial: 21 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#38 – Adobe After Effects

Screenshot of the After Effects Demo video

If you are an animator, you can use After Effects to create amazing animated explainer videos.

Best features:

  • The software comes loaded with pro-level features. For example, don’t want that weird object in the video? Remove it seamlessly, as if it didn’t exist!

What you get in the Free Trial: 7 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#39 – Animate

Screenshot of the Animator Demoreel

With Animate, you can make 2D animated explainer videos! This is a pro-level software ideally for animators.

Best features:

  • Apart from other great features, you get loads of brush options. Use them and give your images a unique style!

What you get in the Free Trial: 7 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#40 – Autodesk Motion Builder

Screenshot of the Motion Builder Demoreel

Autodesk Motion Builder allows you to make pro-level 3D animation software ideally for animators and artists.

Best features:

  • You can create mind-blowing, realistic human movements.

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#41 – TV Paint

Screenshot of the TVPaint Animation Demoreel

TV Paint is a bitmap technology-based 2D animation software. Using this technology, you can animate natural renderings like watercolor, oil painting, crayon, pen, etc. If you are an animator, you can give an authentic and artistic touch to your explainer videos.

Best features:

  • Create advanced animations like stop motion using your camera and webcam.

What you get in the Free Trial: 30 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

#42 – Character Animator

Screenshot of the Character Animator Demoreel

With Character Animator, you can make custom 2D and 3D characters using your expressions via a webcam.

Best features:

  • It’s so fast you can Livestream while you are making your animation!

What you get in the Free Trial: 7 day trial with limited functionality. You have to download the software.

Whiteboard
#43 – Videoscribe

Screenshot of the Videoscribe Demoreel

With Videoscribe, you can make awesome scribe based whiteboard videos that can make a huge impact!

Best features:

  • If you like a 100% whiteboard ONLY software, go for it.
  • There are loads, in fact, thousands of customizable objects. Make your whiteboard videos super customized and sparkling!

What you get in the Free Trial: 7 day free trial with limited features.

#44 – Explee

Screenshot of the Explee Demoreel

Explee is another 100% whiteboard-style explainer video software.

Best features:

  • It has a very easy to use interface, with more than 6000 images to choose from!

What you get in the Free Trial: 14 day trial with limited features.

Interactive
#45 – Coolix

Screenshot of the Coolix Demoreel

Coolix lets you make new-age interactive and shoppable explainer videos!

Best features:

  • Want to add exciting product proposals in your video? You can add as many as 10 proposals at exciting shots in the video.

What you get in the Free Trial: 14 day free trial with limited functionality.

12 great PAID explainer video software

Animated
#46 – Toonly

Screenshot of the Toonly Demoreel

Toonly enables you to make awesome cartoon style 2D animated explainer videos.

Best features:

  • The interface is super easy with lots of cartoon characters, images, and backgrounds.
  • Create unlimited videos; no monthly limits.
  • Want to use it on multiple computers? Yes, you can do that.

#47 – Maxon Cinema 4D

Screenshot of the Maxon Cinema 4 D Demoreel

With Cinema 4D, give a 3D style to your explainer videos!

Best features:

  • Make fabulous 3D explainers with the easy to use, beginner-friendly interface.

#48 – MotionArtist

Screenshot of the Motion Artist Demoreel

If you are a fan of comic books, you give a comic flavor to your explainer videos! Convert your favorite comics into moving videos with MotionArtist!

Best features:

  • Give awesome parallax effects, to make the images pop out.
  • Want to add 3D elements? Try the advanced Camera Options!

#49 – Premiumilk

Screenshot of the Premiumilk Demoreel

If you are a professional animator, Premiumilk will help you make explainer animations in minutes! It has a collection of templates compatible with Premium Builder, After Effects, Premiere Pro, etc.

Best features:

  • Lots of ‘template packages‘ across the board! Diverse templates like motion graphics, Instagram stories and more!

Multi-style
#50 – VideoMaker FX

Screenshot of the Videomaker FX Demoreel

VideoMaker FX lets you make animated and presentation style explainer videos.

Best features:

  • It is one of the most affordable software on this list!
  • You get full rights to sell the videos. There is no separate cost for commercial licenses.

#51 – PlaceIt

Screenshot of the Placeit Demoreel

With PlaceIt, make all styles of videos using templates.

Best features:

  • A large collection of templates for all industries and occasions.

#52 – VideoHive (Envato Market)

Screenshot of the Videohive Demoreel

VideHive (Envato Market) helps you to make all styles of videos using stock footage and templates compatible with After Effects, Adobe Premiere, etc.

Best features:

  • A large collection of templates and pay per video model.

Interactive
#53 – Rapt Media

Screenshot of the Rapt Media Demoreel

Rapt Media has a cloud-based video platform to help you create interactive explainer video campaigns.

Best features:

  • You get not just cloud-based interactive videos, but even video hosting.
  • Advanced features like analytics will help you understand user preferences.

#54 – Hapyak

Screenshot of the Hapyak Demoreel

With Hapyak you can make awesome interactive explainer videos.

Best features:

  • You can get amazing interactive cloud-based videos with advanced features like analytics and video hosting.

#55 – Wirewax

Screenshot of the Wirewax Demoreel

Wirewax lets you make unique interactive video campaigns.

Best features:

  • You can get great options to great truly shoppable explainer videos.

Whiteboard
#56 – Doodly

Screenshot of the Doodly Demoreel

With Doodly, make awesome whiteboard sketch videos.

Best features:

  • Upload any image and it will convert that to a scribble animation.
  • Use it on multiple computers.

#57 – Easy Sketch Pro

Screenshot of the EasysketchPro sales page

Easy Sketch Pro will help you make amazing whiteboard and sketch explainer videos.

Best features:

  • It has a great one-off pricing model and is one of the most affordable on this list.

Limitations of Free explainer video software

Explainer Video Software Limitations

In almost all Forever Free or Trial plans, you will find some or the other limitations. These are some of the common limitations you will find in all plans.

  • Watermark – The software’s watermark (logo) may appear in all videos.

  • Low-quality videos – You generally get SD quality or 360p, 480p etc (No HD quality).

  • Limited media usage – Usually you would have limited access to all the images, animation, music, etc.

  • Voiceovers – Some will not allow you to upload your voiceovers. You get the default text-to-speech voiceover and that’s the only choice.

  • Download limit – Most of them allow only a certain number of downloads per month.

  • Video length – You may only create 2–3 minutes long video.

  • No download option – In some plans, you don’t get to download your videos. You only can export them to your Youtube or other social accounts.

  • No commercial rights – This means you can’t sell your videos to customers. 

  • No team collaboration – If you are a company or an agency with a team, multiple people can’t work on the same video at the same time.

  • Other functionalities and features – A lot of functionalities like premium templates, storage size, social formats, etc may not be accessible.

  • Limited or no access to support – If you face issues, you will have limited or no support.

How to fully utilize Free explainer video software? 8 useful tips!

Utilize Free Explainer Video Software

If you are going to use a FREE trial plan, these 2 tips may help!

#1 Think of some script ideas upfront, so that you don’t waste time once the trial starts! Typical trials are only 7–15 days. You shouldn’t waste those days.

#2 – If you plan to use the trial outside of your work hours, sign up on the weekends. That way you can plan to spend some time over the weekend to fully utilize the trial!

For both a FOREVER FREE or FREE trial, make sure you try all the features. And make sure you try these top 6 tips!

#3 – Try to add your own media (images, audio etc) to see how well the software integrates it.

#4 – For FREE plans with limited videos, do not publish the video until you are fully done. Else you will reduce the per month video count.

#5Don’t hesitate to reach out to support (if there is free support available). This is the best time to check how good the support is!

#6Delete unwanted projects and videos to free up the limited space in your FREE account.

#7 – If there is a download option, use it for all your videos! In case you plan to discontinue, you will at least have all the videos.

#8 – Normally for all of these FREE plans, a credit card is not required. But in case it is, keep a watch and cancel the account if you don’t need to continue.

Choose the best explainer video software. 6 foolproof tips!

Choose explainer video software

Now that you have got 57 options, which one should you choose?

Check software reviews and look for common trends, recommendations, and complaints. Beyond reviews, these tips should help you!

#1 – Try the software

Before purchasing any explainer software, try it! Almost every software comes with a forever free or trial. Take full advantage of these plans.

#2 – Remember the explainer style

Choose a software keeping the right style in mind. Do you prefer software that specializes in a style?

E.g. MySimpleShow is a pure cut-out whiteboard animation software whereas software like InVideo specializes in live-action (stock video based).

#3 – Check customization options

Can you customize your explainer videos using such software? If so, how much? Overall you get these options.

Option1 – Full customization

Like to have 100% customized animation? Draw new characters and scenes from scratch? Then use pure animation software like Adobe After Effects!

There is a steep learning curve but the efforts are totally worth it. If you learn such software, you are on the road to becoming a pro animator! 

Option 2 – Character and scene customization

Popular DIY software like Animaker allows character customization. Such software has a user interface to create videos.

You will get pre-defined animated characters and scenes. But you can customize expressions, gestures, settings, colors, etc. I have tried this and it works awesome!

Option 3 – Template pack customization

Ready template packs are best to create explainer videos fast! Whiteboard packs, 2D explainer packs, infographic packs, stock video packs are a few examples.

You also get event-based templates for Christmas, Diwali, New year and more! Just pick one, change colors, fonts, add voice-over and you are done! No-fuss!

Renderforest (multi-style) & InVideo (live-action) are great examples of template based software.

#3 – Choose the right payment plan

There can never be a ‘one-fits-all’ video plan. Ask yourself these questions and choose the right one!

Option 1 – Monthly payment

Are you planning to use it for the short term? Maybe you want it for your project but the deadline keeps changing. You are just not able to decide on the duration.

Without thinking much, go for the monthly plan. If you don’t want to continue, you can cancel it anytime! Videoscribe, InVideo, etc have some of the most affordable and value-for-money monthly plans.

Option 2 – Annual payment

Do you plan to use it for the long term around 10-12 months? Then go for the annual plan. Annual plans generally come with huge discounts of 20% to 50%!

Vegas Movie Studio, Explaindio, etc have some of the cheapest annual plans.

Option 3 – One-time payment

Not a fan of recurring payments? Choose the one-time payment (perpetual license).

Great options like Filmora 9 & Movavi Video Suite, are the most affordable.

Option 4 – Pay-per-video

Do you just want 1 video and don’t want to commit to any recurring plans?

Go for pay-per-video options like Renderforest or Invideo! Just pick a template, customize and if you want a high-quality video, just pay for that video alone.

#4 – Decide your usage

Think about the quality and quantity of the videos you are going to make. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you going to make 1 video per week or 1 video per day?
  • Are you going to make short or long videos?
  • Will you make 1080p full HD videos or 780p is good enough for you?

The answers will help you compare plans and decide the best option!

#5 – Cloud-based or offline?

Do you face bad internet speeds and connectivity issues often? Or do you want to work on heavy-duty (feature-rich) editing or animation? Then you need offline software! Movavi Video Suite, Adobe After Effects, etc are some great examples.

On the other hand if you have a slow laptop or don’t want to rely on it’s performance, choose cloud-based online software. Almost all DIY software like Renderforest, Wave.video etc are fully online.

#6 – Choose NEXTGEN features

Want to convert your blog post URLs, text file or RSS feed to a video with a single click? AI-based software like Lumen 5, Rawshorts or Invideo can help you!

 

Time for you to take action!

Now that you read this epic explainer video guide, let me ask you: Which solution are you going to use to make your explainer video?

Are you going to hire an agency? Look for a great freelancer? Or make an explainer video all by yourself using a great software?

Hit that comment box now!

 

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2 thoughts on “Epic Explainer Video Guide 2020 (includes process, solutions and mega-lists)”

    • I am glad you liked it!

      The purpose of this guide is to help readers as you learn about explainer videos, but not just learn, take action as well. That’s the reason, apart from the process, you will find all solutions to make explainer videos (DIY software, Freelancing, and Video Agencies). And each solution has a massive list of the best in this business!

      I would love to know if you like anything specific in this guide?

      Reply

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