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The Ultimate Guide to Creating Engaging Explainer Videos

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Engaging Explainer Videos

The only thing worse than no video is a boring video.

We've all been there – clicking play on an explainer video, only to find ourselves zoning out 30 seconds later. Our eyes glaze over as the narrator drones on, reciting specs and features in a monotonous tone over cheesy stock footage. Blech.

But creating videos that engage doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. With thoughtfulness and strategies, you can make explainer videos that grab attention, communicate effectively, and inspire action.

In this post, we'll break down the critical ingredients for making compelling, watchable explainer videos that people want to see. You'll discover proven techniques to:

  • Craft a powerful story
  • Choose visuals that pop
  • Write concise yet engaging scripts
  • Record narration that sounds human
  • Edit for maximum impact
  • And more

Let's get started on making your next video, the one people can't take their eyes off of. The play button is waiting.

Why Explainer Videos Are So Effective

What Are Explainer Videos

Before jumping into the production process, it’s essential to understand what makes explainer videos such a powerful medium. Here are some key advantages:

Increased Engagement and Understanding

Viewers are much more likely to sit through and pay attention to a short, dynamic video than slog through blocks of text. Explainer videos use visuals, motion, colour, sound, and more to engage audiences and hold their interest actively. This leads to higher comprehension and retention of critical information.


Reading level, language barriers, learning styles, and simple viewer preference can all affect how well a person understands written content. Videos are inherently more accessible by conveying information through visuals and audio in addition to (or instead of) on-screen text.

Personality and Emotion

Unlike sterile corporate brochures or spec sheets, animated videos can inject warmth, humour, and humanity into a brand. Simple animated characters and background scenes bring a business to life. An upbeat soundtrack drives the emotional tone. These techniques make for a more relatable, memorable viewing experience.

Cost Effectiveness

Professionally produced live-action videos can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. In contrast, animated videos can communicate the same amount of information at a fraction of the price. The most essential elements are the script, storyline, graphics, and vocal talent – all affordable.


Video is highly shareable on social media, websites, email, and other digital platforms. This expands the potential reach and exposure for branded video content. Explainer videos tend to get widely shared and spur organic growth because they provide value to viewers through clear, helpful information.

Crafting an Impactful Script and Storyline

The foundation for any compelling explainer video is the script. This outlines the verbal message and overall storyline that will engage viewers. Follow these steps to develop a script that maximises impact:

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Clarify the Core Message

Start by distilling your brand, product, or service to its essence. What is the core message you need to communicate? Common examples include:

  • Our loan application process takes just 5 minutes
  • Our dog training app fixes behavioural problems in just six weeks.
  • Our analytics platform helps companies double website conversions

Be specific and concrete. Use numbers where possible to create a bold, tangible message.

Outline the Story Structure

Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end:

The beginning introduces viewers to a problem or need. The middle shows your business effectively solving that problem. The end conveys the benefits and value achieved through your solution.

Flesh out the basic storyline by jotting down 5-10 plot points that will logically guide viewers through this narrative arc.

Choose Your Tone

Match the tone and style of the script to your target audience. A casual, conversational tone may work well for a consumer app. An upbeat but professional tone may be better for a B2B product.

You can inject personality through word choice, sentence structure, metaphors, rhetorical questions, humour, and more. Just ensure the tone fits your brand identity and viewer sensibilities.

Refine the Message

Now, begin writing out the entire script. Focus on clearly explaining the problem, solution, and benefits through simple language and memorable phrasing.

Read the script aloud and tighten up the message. Cut any fluff or unnecessary tangents. Refine phrases so they roll off the tongue. This helps keep viewers engaged from start to finish.

Time Your Script

As a general rule, plan for each finished paragraph of voiceover to last 1-3 seconds when read aloud at an average speaking pace. This ensures your full script fits comfortably within a 60-120-second explainer video timeline.

Include a Clear CTA

End your script with a call to action that tells viewers what you want them to do next – visiting your website, downloading an app, or subscribing to your channel. This gives people direction on turning interest into action.

Storyboarding Your Video

Explainer Videos Storyboard Example

With the script in hand, it’s time to create a storyboard – a visual outline mapping each scene, shot, and piece of animation. Follow these steps:

List Each Scene

Break your script into paragraphs and assign each to its scene on the storyboard. Include critical dialogue, voiceover lines, or on-screen text that will appear in that scene.

Visualise the Action

Roughly sketch what will be shown on-screen during each scene. Will it be animated characters? Stock video clips? Screenshots? Text graphics? Icons? Logos? Draw quick storyboard frames to represent the visual action.

Map Scene Transitions

Indicate how you’ll transition from one scene to the next. Will scenes fade in/out? Use a motion graphic transition. Break with a completely different shot? Mapping scene changes visually maintains good pacing and flow.

Include Art Direction

Make any notes on visual style for characters, environments, colour schemes, etc, so your creative team clearly understands the visual direction. Provide visual references if helpful.

Finalise Timing

Note the planned duration of each scene after finalising the art direction. This ensures your entire video will last the desired length. Adjust scenes as needed to keep proper pace throughout.

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Producing Smooth Animation

With your storyboard as a guide, it’s time to bring the visuals to life through animation. Here are proven techniques for making polished animations that engage:

Create Custom Graphics

Generic, cookie-cutter clipart undermines quality. Work with a designer to create custom animated characters, background environments, icons, text frames, and other graphics tailored to your brand and script.

Animate in Sequences

Break down more extended scenes into shorter animated sequences chained together. For example, show a character walking in one shot, opening a door in another, and entering through the doorway in a third shot. This adds dynamism.

Use Exaggerated Motions

Apply principles of squash, stretch, anticipation, follow through, and exaggeration to make motions more dramatic and captivating. For example, have a character stretch and squash before taking a big jump.

Focus on Fluidity

Maintain fluidity in sequences by using consistent numbers of frames between primary poses (keyframes). Go for 12-15+ frames between key poses for smoother perceived motion.

Use Motion Paths

When elements need to move position on the screen, use motion path animation instead of jump cutting. This makes movement more natural. For example, animate a phone icon sliding onto the screen from off-camera.

Include Interesting Camera Work

Use camera movements like pans, zooms, and trucking shots to add visual interest. Reveal new objects and areas of scenes cinematically through well-planned camera animation.

Overlap Actions

Don’t animate everything starting and stopping at the same time. Overlap motions and stagger timing between scene elements to add complexity and realism.

Producing Polished Vocals

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Equally important as the visuals is the voiceover audio. Follow these best practices when producing and recording narration:

Hire a Professional Voice Actor

Amateur audio can sabotage video quality. Work with an experienced voice actor who specialises in animated explainer videos. Avoid using a deep “movie trailer” voice which doesn’t fit this format.

Direct Tone and Style

Provide direction on tone, speaking style, inflexion, and pacing so the VO aligns with your script and brand. Have them read a draft recording before the final session so you can provide feedback.

Get Multiple Takes

Don’t settle for the first read. Have the VO record 3+ takes of each passage. This lets you pick the best delivery and punch the energy on multiple attempts.

Clean Up Audio Imperfections

Use editing tools to clean up clumsy wording, vocal tics, mispronunciations, coughs, plosives, sibilance, and other audio imperfections to have polished final vocals.

Add Music and SFX

Layer subtle background music and strategic sound effects during silent passages to maintain viewer interest and energy. Even small additions of audio go a long way.

Publishing and Promoting Your Explainer Video

Best Places To Publish Explainer Videos

You’ve produced a professional, engaging explainer video. Now, it’s time to publish it for the world to see. Here are key strategies to maximise your impact:

Host on a Video Sharing Site

Publish your video on YouTube, Vimeo, or a similar platform. This allows you to embed it anywhere online and makes it easy for viewers to share organically.

Feature Prominently on Your Website

Embed the video in multiple critical areas on your website, such as the homepage, About page, product pages, and blogs. Use it to introduce visitors to your brand and offerings.

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Share on Social Media

Post your video on all social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Write compelling captions encouraging followers to watch and share.

Promote Paid Ads

Incorporate your branded video into paid advertising campaigns across platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This exposes it to massive new audiences.

Email to Subscribers and Customers

Add the video to email newsletters and one-off promotions. Ask subscribers to pass it along if they find it helpful. Send to existing customers to educate them on new offerings.

Track Performance

Use video analytics to see total plays; average percentage watched shares, clicks, conversions, and more. This helps you refine your strategy and improve future videos.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about creating and leveraging explainer videos:

How long should an explainer video be?

For maximum impact, aim for 60-120 seconds in length. This provides enough time to effectively communicate critical messages while short enough to maintain full viewer attention.

What makes a strong video script?

A strong explainer video script clearly articulates a problem, presents your business solving that problem, and then conveys the benefits of your solution – using simple language and memorable phrasing.

What’s the best video style for brands?

2D animation provides the best balance of professional quality with cost-effectiveness for small businesses. Live action can also work well for brands focused on human connections.

How much do explainer videos cost?

For a professional 60-second 2D animated video, costs often range from $2,000-$8,000, depending on complexity and production values. Quality vocals add $500-$1500.

How can I make my video get shared?

Focus on creating genuinely helpful and educational content. Videos that provide value get shared organically. Also, directly ask viewers to share the video in end frames and descriptions.


Explainer videos allow brands to tell their story in a compelling way that resonates with modern audiences. By following the steps in this guide, you can develop videos that captivate viewers and effectively communicate your key brand messages.

The strategic use of visuals, motion, music, vocals, and more creates a dynamic medium for content marketing. Take the time to craft an impactful script, storyboard engaging scenes, produce high-quality animation and audio, and promote the finished video across channels.

With a strategic, professional approach, explainer videos offer an extremely versatile way for businesses of all sizes and industries to grow their reach and resonate with audiences. The viewing public is ready to watch, learn, and share. Now is the time to produce the video that tells your unique brand story to the world.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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