Here’s the deal.
You know that animation makes understanding easier.
Videos make explaining simple.
(And fun, who doesn’t like fun?)
You’ve been in the game long enough to know that you only have a short amount of time to wow your audience and make them fall in love with your brand.
People want and need information fast.
And a short animated video will get to the point quickly. It will present what you’re offering using just the right amount of detail.
They are small but mighty in terms of the impact they’ll have on your marketing strategy.
These visuals are to be your new elevator pitch.
But, you have no idea where to start. It sounds like a tough gig, right?
It is and that’s why to us it’s alchemy.
And like any incantation, you need the right mix of ingredients.
Have no fear, we’re experts at this stuff so let’s explore how to create animated explainer videos for your business, to captivate your customers and get those all-important leads rolling in.
Choosing your animated explainer video agency
There are tonnes of options out there to choose from.
Just google ‘animated explainer videos’…(oh, you probably just did, didn’t you?) and you’ll find an overwhelming amount of resources.
From freelance animators (to the great, and not-so-great) to full-service digital agencies offering all the bells and whistles (for bucks, and even more bucks).
But, when you’re not sure what’s even involved in creating an animated explainer video, how do you choose your animated explainer video agency or freelancer?
There can be a lot to consider here and you can check out our article on 5-things-to-consider-when-choosing-a-creative-agency/ another time, but let’s cut to the chase…
The best way to choose is by referral or recommendation.
From someone you know, like and trust. People buy from people after all.
You could spend hours trawling through portfolios and sussing out price points but let’s face it, you’ve barely got the time to read this, so use the amazing and magical power of asking for what you want.
Reach out to your network and ask for recommendations. Once you have those, get in touch and ask those all-important questions. Starting with…
Tip: Go with your gut instinct. Sure, you can be lured by big fancy pants agencies that have worked with big brands. But if you don’t get along with the project manager who’s leading your production, it won’t be a fun process. Get to know who you’ll be working with!
How much does an animated explainer cost
It’s understandable if you’ve never attempted to create animated explainer videos before, that you would have no idea how much they cost.
But, sadly there’s no easy answer here. It’s one of those ‘how long is a piece of string?’ questions.
You could spend £200 with a freelancer on sites like Fiverr or Upwork, or you could spend £20,000 with an established agency.
Yep, it’s that broad.
It’s super important to be realistic and upfront about your budget with the agencies you are talking to, so they can show you something within your budget range.
Even if you only have a rough guide, it’ll help your potential agency, guide you towards what is possible.
Don’t make the mistake of expecting agency-level explainer videos though, for freelancer budgets. Always be realistic.
Tip: Never get too hung up on whether your agency or freelancer has created something for your industry or product before. Focus on the results, whether you have a connection and will work well together, and if they’ll deliver what you need with care and passion. Check out our article on what questions you should ask your creative agency.
How long should an animated explainer video be?
We’ve already established that people want information fast.
And the general consensus is that animated explainer videos perform best when they’re short and sweet.
You need your video to be long enough to include all of the important information about your brand, product, or service; but you also need it to be short enough that viewers don’t get bored and click away before seeing your call to action.
But, whether you choose short form (generally between 10 seconds to two minutes) or long-form video (anywhere between 2-10 minutes) depends very much on why and where you’ll be using this content, and who you’re speaking to.
There are all things your agency will be able to advise you on (and if they can’t, run!).
For example, you may be creating an internal training video. In which case, you probably have a captive (in a nice way) audience and a lot of information to cover. So, it would make sense that you’re looking at long-form content. Like this.
Or, you may be launching a new product and investing in a TV spot, or some PPC ads and need something that will also be suitable for social media. Like this one. In that case, short-form content is going to be your best bet.
Tip: There are lots of ways to get the most from your animated explainer video investment. Although it may be cheaper in the short term to create a 10-15 second clip, it’s always worth considering creating a 2-3 minute animation (because the process is the same anyway) and then slicing and dicing that into snackable content for social. Then, abracadabra, you have a whole suite of content for all platforms.
(Here’s a deeper dive into short-form and long-form videos, from a marketer’s perspective.)
How to create animated explainer videos
Seek out the process. Trust the process.
As we mentioned, how your partners plan to go about producing the animated video should be one of the first questions you ask.
Imagine how out of control you’d feel if they took a brief, asked for your brand guidelines and then disappeared for a month without any contact or check-ins with you, before coming back with a ‘finished’ animated explainer that was as far away from what you’d envisioned as could be possible.
Now, you’ve lost money and time.
This is why you need to find out how they work, how they collaborate, when and how often they gather feedback and how they plan the milestones.
The process will vary depending on who you’re working with, the size of the agency and what you’re creating together, but the process should look something like this.
Whoever you work with, needs to understand your brand. They need to know how you see your brand and what you value. As well as how your consumers see you and the things they care about most. It’s a good idea to plan for 2-6 hours (depending on the size of your team) to make sure they gather everything they need to inform the next steps. Of course, depending on where you are in the world, this might be easier done virtually. However and wherever it takes place, make sure you cover things like;
Your chosen creative partner could approach this in a couple of different ways. They may have in-house storytellers and creative writers, or they may outsource to specialist freelance writers.
There’s no hard and fast rule here, but it is something you’d ideally have learned while you were sussing them out. (ask questions!)
What they’ll be doing next, is take the information you’ve given them at the discovery stage and transform it into a dynamic, engaging script that evokes emotion-driven behaviour in your audience.
They should also add visual notes to the document so you can get a flavour of how they plan to approach the visuals.
But don’t worry, if you feel it’s not quite hitting the mark yet, they should be willing to evolve and amend until you’re dancing for joy and itching to move on to the next stage.
Concept art is a really important part of the process and it’s a chance for you and your choice of animation agency to make sure the visuals align perfectly with your brand guidelines.
They should be exploring character styles, environments, colours and type to establish the overall theme of your video, before moving on to the next stage.
Your vision is starting to take shape.
At this point, you should have a really clear idea of how your animated explainer video will look, flow and sound. As your agency maps out the entire production (think comic book style).
They’ll also be exploring casting (hiring and sampling voiceover artists) to bring your script to life, exploring sound design to give it an added boost and it’ll be a chance to make any last-minute changes before production begins.
The magic is truly brewing, and your story is brought to life with motion, voice and music! Delightful. They’ll work to bring all the elements together to showcase your full animated video in all its glory.
Now, you’re ready to showcase it to the world!
The process may vary, as mentioned but there should always be a clear, transparent and collaborative process in place, so you have the opportunity to review, revise and refine this important marketing tool.
That’s how to create animated explainer videos, in the most effective way, to make sure you make the most impact.
Tip: If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process your agency maps out for you, it’s super important to communicate those concerns early on. They may have a really great answer to those concerns and be able to explain why they do things the way they do. Communication is important, keep those questions coming. You can also download our PDF guide to our process here as an example.
They say a picture paints a thousand words. But an animated video can explain ANYTHING!
You love magic, but prefer to avoid surprises.
So, it’s important to ask questions, speak up about concerns and be transparent about what you do and don’t know.
Remember, whoever you choose to work with should want you to succeed, because it means they succeed. So they’ll be more than willing to ease your mind and answer any worries you have.
And if they’re not?
There are plenty more fish in the sea.
Plenty more animators and storytellers out there who want you to help you showcase your brand in the best way possible.
You too can turn your product’s head-spinning features into on-demand moola with the spellbinding power of animated video.
If you’re looking for more advice, have any burning questions or need some help finding the right partner, a wizard is on hand to help today for an initial no-obligation call.
If we’re not the right people to help you? Well, we can point you in the right direction for sure.
We promise it’ll be the most spellbinding thing you do this year.