What Kind of Explainer Video Is Right for My Business?

Animated vs. Live Action Explainer Videos

“Should we go with animation or live action?” This is a common question from business owners and marketers who are looking to create an explainer video.

The answer depends mostly on the nature of your business and what you’ll be using your video for. What would your target audience resonate with? If you’re a restaurant with delicious food to showcase, you should probably choose live action over animation. If you’re a tech company, animation can explain the features of your software products far better than live action can. At the end of the day, you need to consider what you’re trying to communicate and how your audience would like to see that message illustrated. You may be well-positioned for either video style.

Some businesses may see animated videos as too cartoony or whimsical for their taste. However, not all animated videos are actually cartoons — they are simply motion-graphic based. The advantage of animated videos is that they can last a very long time. They don’t easily go out of date or need to be revised (this may also depend on your script, however). They can also entertain with fun styles and techniques that provide conceptual illustrations where concrete illustrations fall short.

Live action videos will require casting, props, and on-set production. If changes need to be made, all of this must be resourced again. With animation, edits are much easier to make later in the process. On the flip side, even though animated videos require fewer elements, computer animation can be time-intensive. Don’t assume that either one is more expensive; pricing is mostly determined by the video company you use and the nature of the video you want to develop. The video company you work with should be able to show you multiple examples, let you choose your preferences, and make recommendations based on what you’ve chosen and what they can provide.


Screencast / Demo Video

A screencast or demo video is separate from the animated and live action styles. Although it is possible to use animation or live action for a demo, screencast videos can be much more efficient for this purpose. A screencast is produced when the computer screen itself is recorded so that the user can demonstrate the capabilities of a certain product (or ways to use it). These videos can be made with DIY screencasting tools like Loom, or video production companies can create them, providing more polish and editing. Since these straightforward demo videos can keep prospective customers from having to read large portions of text, they can accelerate understanding and provide a helpful boost in conversions.


What Is the Ideal Explainer Video Length?

How long should your explainer video be? The short answer is… short. It’s reported that viewer attention drops off after two minutes, and many businesses keep to this standard: Small Business Trends reports that 73% of B2B videos are less than two minutes long. To keep engagement high, focus on creating an explainer video that’s between 60-90 seconds long. You may only need a video that is 30 seconds long; or you may need one that is two minutes long. This will largely depend on what you’re trying to communicate. Overall, however, if you stay under two minutes, you should be able to keep your audience’s attention.

Be aware that longer videos will naturally cost more, simply because more time and resources will be involved in developing them. This is why carefully distilling your message and tightening your script on the front end is so important.

Shorter videos fit the short attention span of today’s audiences, but they may also leave viewers confused about what to do next if they don’t include enough information. Your video should be interesting, compelling, and to-the-point — leaving viewers with a clear call to action. They should know exactly what to do next once the video is over.

If you’re unsure what length of video you need, consult with your video production company to see if they have suggestions. You should know your preferred length before you get into production, but sometimes you’ll be deciding once you see the script. Any changes prior to production, however, will cost much less than those during or after production.

Intro - What Is an Explainer Video, & How Should It Be Used?
CHAPTER 1 - Why Do You Need An Explainer Video?
CHAPTER 7 - How Do I Choose the Best Explainer Video Company?
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