When you’re trying to estimate the cost of an explainer video, Google isn’t much help:
$5k – $35k per minute? How do you get budget approval for a range like that?
Here’s the thing: Google’s range isn’t totally wrong. Video creation costs vary so much because every video, every product, and every explainer video company is unique. There’s a big difference between throwing together a 15 second do-it-yourself video and commissioning a 5 minute masterpiece from top video pros.
Here are just some of the things that can affect the cost of an explainer video:
- Animation style and depth of animation
- Video length
- Delivery timeline and when you need the final product
- Custom graphics, characters, and scripts (versus template graphics)
- How technical your product is and how involved the script will need to be (the more technical, the more upfront research video pros will need to do)
That’s why even Google struggles to come up with a useful range of costs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a better estimate. In fact, we believe the following statement is accurate for a majority of companies in need of an explainer video:
To get a high quality video that does what you need it to and meets your success metrics, expect to spend at least $10,000-$15,000 per minute.
But today, we’ll explain where that baseline comes from so that you can budget for a quality explainer video that drives results. We’ll also talk about your 4 main options for creating an explainer video and the pros and cons of each.
What changes when you invest more?
Just like with coffee, you get what you pay for when it comes to animated explainer videos. So what changes when you invest more? You get:
Extensive research and a real understanding of your brand and product
When you pay more premium prices for an explainer video, you get a lot more than a video that just looks nice. You get an explainer that’s tailored to your brand. A video that’s designed, head to toe, to convey who your brand is. That means you won’t see an eerily similar video on your competitor’s website.
An explainer designed to serve a particular purpose and drive a specific result
These days, strict, aesthetic quality is pretty good across the board, but the strategy behind the graphics are what make your video a success—and those are the first things to go as rates get lower. Investing more in your explainer video means you get a final product tailor-made to produce the exact results you need it to.
Expert work on every aspect of your video
When you invest more in an explainer video company, you’ll often get to work with specialized experts instead of one jack-of-all-trades who’s responsible for everything. Your animation should be done by professional animators. Your script should be written by professional scriptwriters.
100% custom graphics, characters, and video ownership
Premium explainer video companies approach every project from scratch. That means your video is 100% yours—it’s unique to you and you have total ownership and control over how, where, and when you use your video.
Depth and attention to detail in the animation
Low pricing typically includes basic 2D style, with plain backgrounds and little depth. With a larger budget for your video, you can afford to spend more time having animators create in 3D, add shadows, highlights, and more.
All of those things add time and expense to the production process—but they make the finished product more worthy of the brand its representing.
Your Options for Explainer Video Creation
When it comes to creating an explainer video for your business or product, you have 4 main options:
- Do-it-yourself tools
- Gig-based video creation
- Low cost video providers
- Mid- and high-tier explainer video companies
As you go down the list, cost goes up along with the value and professionalism of the video you’ll end up with. Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of those options—so you can decide with makes the most sense for you.
Do-It-Yourself Video Creation
Cost range: Lowest
Advantages of DIY Videos
- Cheap: DIY videos are typically your cheapest option for explainer video creation.
- Quick turnaround: The timeline depends entirely on you—if you need it fast, you can make it in a hurry.
- Lower quality: You aren’t a video professional so, naturally, the overall quality of DIY videos are lower.
- Internal risk to reputation: If you’re taking this on yourself, you are responsible for the overall quality.
- Lack of direction: Your video could lack direction and be missing some of the strategy and goal-orientation you need to be successful. That’s because successful explainer videos are built with your specific goals in mind and designed to speak to your customers.
- Lost time: Since you aren’t a video pro, creating your own video can end up eating up a lot of your time (and can add frustration). It’s hard to use these tools as a beginner and fully realize the vision you had.
- Ownership ambiguity: When your video uses templated graphics and scripts, you may not end up owning the final product.
Gig-Based Video Creation
Cost range: Low
Advantages of Gig-Based Work
- Cheap: Working with one freelancer or contractor typically means lower costs.
- (Can be) quicker timeline: Depending on the contractor, you may be able to speed up the timeline or pay extra for a quick turnaround.
- Jack-of-all-trades: One person handles the entire project—instead of multiple experts who specialize in each aspect of video creation.
- Unclear quality: It can be difficult and time-consuming to weed through your options and find a video pro you know you can count on. When you use a freelancer marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork, you can drown in hundreds of responses with no clear way to identify the best or most experienced people.
- Not goal-oriented: Few contractors bring the level of expertise it takes to design an explainer video that drives the specific results you’re looking for.
- No process for revision: Little to no options for how to handle your feedback and include your revisions.
Low Cost Video Providers
Lower cost explainer video companies handle the whole video production process and typically run on the lower end of Google’s $5k – $35k cost range. They can offer lower costs because they use pre-existing graphic and character templates to build your explainer.
Cost range: Low-mid
Advantages of Low Cost Explainer Companies
- Lower cost: Because it takes less work to create a video from templated graphics, they can charge lower starting costs.
- Faster turnaround: Since it takes less time when you start with templates, these companies can often turn around videos faster than a fully custom video.
- Generic and non-branded: The vast majority of explainer video companies that charge less than the $10k-$15k baseline mentioned in the beginning of this article are using templated graphics and characters to build your video, which means they aren’t tailored to fit your brand and audience.
- Ownership ambiguity: When companies use templated work, you may not actually own your final explainer video.
- Lack of strategy: As we noted above, when companies charge less, the research and strategy that inform a successful explainer video go right out the window.
Mid- and High-Tier Explainer Video Companies
Mid- and high-tier explainer video companies work with you to create a completely custom, high-quality explainer video. This is the kind of process we use at Explainify. Mid- and high-tier explainer video companies have extensive experience and work with specialized pros for each aspect of the video. The starting cost for most companies of this caliber is anywhere from $10,000-$15,000 per minute.
Cost range: Mid-high
Advantages of Mid and High-Tier Explainer Video Companies
- Full customization: Everything about your video is 100% custom and tailored to your brand and ethos.
- In-depth research and strategy: At higher price points, explainer video pros have more time to get to know your product and audience and build a strategy to guide your explainer video.
- Experience: These companies have experience using video to drive results, like conversion or lead generation. Many mid-high tier video production companies also specialize, so you can find one with video experience specific to your niche.
- Built-in feedback opportunities: The best explainer video companies have a honed and efficient process that includes several opportunities for you to weigh in and provide feedback.
- Implementation & strategy support: At the end of the day you need your video to drive a specific business result. These video pros are more likely to help you avoid mistakes and stay on track so that you can accomplish that goal—that way you’re not left stranded with a video file and no idea how to use it.
- Higher cost: Higher quality explainer videos cost more, of course. It’s important to remember, though, that better explainer videos yield higher results.
- Diminishing returns: When the cost of your explainer passes a certain price point the actual business returns tend to fall off in favor of more artistic and cinematic videos.
How much should an explainer video cost?
For the most part, the cost of your explainer video should be in complete alignment with the amount of impact you’re looking to make. The bigger the splash, the higher the cost. By investing in a higher caliber company, you ensure your explainer will do more than just look pretty—it’ll drive the real business results you’re looking for.
Since you probably have some questions about your very own explainer video, and we know you want to make the biggest splash possible. We want to offer you a free consultation. We’d like to get to know more about you, your business needs and give you the best estimate possible. Click here to request a consultation so that you can see big time results in YOUR business today!