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How We Produced an Eye-Catching Animated Explainer Video That Grabs the Attention of a Key Influencer

Influencer network
Earlier this year, Video Brewery shared a roundup of the best explainer videos produced during 2015. They gathered 10 of the best explainer videos “brewed” — as they put it — in 2015.

Our client, Access Investor Network , takes the #1 position as the best explainer video produced in 2015.

Video Brewery reached out to Aaron McDaniel, Access Investor Network’s CEO, asking for a short interview regarding the video. The interview is also published on Video Brewery’s blog.

In addition to talking about Aaron’s interview with Video Brewery, I’m also here to give you more insights into how we produced the #1 video in Video Brewery’s annual roundup article.

In response to the first question from the interview:

Q: Why did you make this video?

A: To present the Access Invest mobile equity crowdfunding aggregator app to prospective customers in a clear, concise, and clever way.

Access is a mobile aggregator for equity & debt crowdfunding deals, simplifying the user’s search for the right deals.

In other words, Access gathers crowdfunding platforms and private investment deals in an app.

There haven’t been many investment apps made by other developers. The concept of the stock market in a mobile app itself is still rather unique.

That’s why BreadnBeyond made Access a simple and attractive explainer video so that the concept is easily digested by viewers.

Q: Was this your first time making a video?

A: It was the first time I made a fully animated video. We had used other ‘do it yourself’ platforms for videos in the past.”

I can confirm that there are hundreds of “DIY” animated video tools out there. They’re good and practical, I give you that.

But those tools work only for people who have at least basic knowledge of graphic design and animation.

Even if some people have what it takes to use those tools, the end result might not be as good as desired.

Not to mention that not everyone has the time it takes to make an animated video.

These DIY tools, despite their practicality, are missing some features used by “heavier” softwares such as Adobe Illustrators and Adobe After Effect, which our team use on daily basis.

BreadnBeyond, as a dedicated explainer video company, has a team of illustrators and animators who have been dealing with graphics design not only for a living but also as their passion.

That’s why BreadnBeyond doesn’t take Access’s project (or any project for that matter) for granted. We do it out of love for our drawing tablets and pens, so to speak.

The other platforms were cheaper, but the finished product didn’t come out nearly as nice, and so using these do-it-yourself sites had an adverse effect on our brand.

The next question for Aaron was rather deep and technical. But Aaron sure did know where he was going with his explainer video project when he pitched the project to us.

Q: Did you consider other video styles? If yes, why did you pick the style you did?

A: Since we are talking about investing we had to balance between making our video serious enough to show that we are a credible company, but at the same time didn’t want to make our brand appear stuffy, intimidating, or disconnected.

He knows precisely what an explainer video is all about. Investing and crowdfunding really could sound stuffy and disconnected if you think about it.

Take a look at this sentence I pulled from a website in a similar niche as Access: “…identify and qualify your orders executed outside the National Best Bid or Offer (NBBO) by viewing the Price Improvement information displayed for your orders.”

Quite stuffy and intimidating, don’t you think?

We felt an animated cartoon was ideal for sharing key parts of our value proposition while also showing that our app is approachable and easy to use.

In order to grab people’s attention and to give the impression that Access is really user-friendly, Aaron chose a cartoon video.

There are many variations of animation styles you can choose from when you make an explainer video. These animation styles are highly flexible and adjustable to any concept, really.

But if you want the best results, you have to know which one suits your product/service concept best.

You should read our article, Which Animation Style is Best for Your Video? For detailed insight about each explainer video style and which one suits your company.

Q: How have you used the video?

A:The video is prominently listed on the homepage of our website since it explains what we do so well. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth tens of thousands. We also posted the video on YouTube and social media to make it more discoverable and shareable.

Aside from the fact that online videos are better than other media types for marketing purposes, listing an explainer video on website’s landing page can boost conversion up to 86%.

The decision Aaron made was on point and we’d like to give him a thumbs-up for that.

Taking a look at Access’s homepage, my first impression was “Neat!”

Access Investor Network

Another thumbs-up for the clean and tidy website design of Access. It’s definitely a smart decision to put the explainer video in the middle. I noticed it instantly when I opened up their website.

Q: Do you consider your video a success? If yes, can you elaborate on why it is successful?

A: Yes, it definitely has been a success. A key influencer in our industry said that while people message him all the time asking for advice and to partner together (most of which he ignores), he responded to us and wanted to partner together purely because of how awesome our video is!

We make our videos with skills and quality. We know it’s only a matter of time before one of our clients feel the impact of a well-made animated explainer video.

Getting noticed by a key influencer in a niche is the ultimate goal, or a holy grail if you will, when you are producing an animated explainer video.

Therefore, we are (and have been) trying our best to help our clients to get the holy grail of content marketing. When it does happen we feel accomplished as a B2B company.

Trusting us to produce their explainer video paid off for Access.

Our client’s happiness is our happiness as well. If Access finds the video working out great for them, it’s our pleasure to have the bragging right that BreadnBeyond, in a way, played a part in making that happen.

However, we merely facilitated Aaron’s great initiative to make his company grow more by producing an animated explainer video.

In the right hands, an animated explainer video can work wonders. Aaron was more than good to execute the other steps along the way.

One of the best places to publish video content, whether an animated explainer video or any other form, is social media.

It’s a bit tricky though: if you share it with the wrong audience, the effect could be adverse for your company.

We wrote an article, Tips to Share Explainer Video to Social Media, that you should check out for more information on that aspect of video content.

Q: How do you measure your video’s impact?

A: We do our best to trace video views to app downloads (customers). So far we have had hundreds of video views, many of whom went to the app store and downloaded our app.

Q: What did you learn throughout the video creation process?

A: I learned how many elements go into making a great video – the script, the voice actors, the music, the characters – and that all of them must integrate well together and focus on the same goal to be effective at amplifying the message of the video and my company.

Making an animated explainer video isn’t the hardest thing in the world though the process can be a little more than complicated.

First of all, we have to make a script that is short and interesting enough to keep the audience hooked, while explaining the product or service clearly. The hardest part is reaching an agreement with clients about the script.

People think differently. Some business people aren’t the best to discuss with, but working with Access was quite an exception.

The voice actor choice can be tricky at times. It’s not easy to find actors with the right voice to match the script AND who have years of experience working on explainer videos instead of radio commercials.

Luckily, we have skilled and talented voice actors who have been working with us for years. That makes our job much easier.

Other technical aspects such as character design, animation rendering, and music embedding are handled skillfully by our team.

Our skills didn’t develop overnight, obviously. How we got to this point is a long story of 7 years and over 2,000 projects of ups and downs.

Q: Do you have plans for creating more videos in the future?

A: Yes, both for Access Invest and future businesses. Videos are a great way to attract new customers, educate prospective buyers, and even pitch to investors.

Videos are indeed a great way to advertise your business. They have become the majority of Internet’s content and they are still rising in numbers.

Instead of making our videos alone, we make sure that our clients are involved, or at the very least, follow up with the process.

We do that to provide opportunities for our clients to improve the video we are making for them, since they are the ones who show us the way to reach their audiences.

Whether it is to attract new customers, educate audience, or pitch concept/idea to investors, the best way to produce an explainer video is to always work alongside clients to make sure their animated explainer video projects work out the way they want it.

Q: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

A: I was pretty well planned from the beginning (in terms of having a script and idea of what I wanted), but I wish I would have known how many video/animation/voice talent/music options were out there and how detailed I could get about deciding what I wanted. The sheer number of choices can be both overwhelming and exciting at the same time. If I had planned the details a little better I would have had my video out in the market even faster.

Preparation helps explainer video companies, a great deal in terms of time.

Aaron came to us prepared: he knew where he was going with his idea and concept of explainer videos.

Among the 5 key components that make up an awesome explainer video, the script is fundamental.

That’s why taking time to discuss the script and plan ahead for the design, voiceover, and animation process is the best way to start off an animated explainer video project.

Planning a DIY explainer video is not easy.

At the very least, it requires you to browse the internet for hours to find the voice actor, music, design, and suitable animation style for your product or service.

That is, if you don’t count how long it takes to come up with a great idea or concept.

On our separate interview section with Aaron, we asked him a few questions regarding the explainer video.

Q: What do you want to achieve with this video? Is it to increase your conversion rate on a specific page?

A: “With this video we wanted to explain what our mobile app was in a simple and straightforward way and get people to visit the app -store to download the app.

Not only did we post the video on YouTube/s/Social mMedia pages, but we also embedded it into our homepage so people would understand our product and download it (increasing conversion of website visits to app store downloads).”

Explainer videos or videos in general are very mobile and shareable across different platforms on the internet.

To optimize this potential, posting an explainer video to different websites is definitely a good idea in addition to embedding your explainer video in a landing page/homepage.

That led us to the next question:

Q: Other than on your website, where else did you use the video? (an exact URL would be nice)

A: “On Twitter here and on YouTube here , and we also referenced to the video in our Apple app store page listing.”

Twitter and YouTube should always be on your video-sharing list.

For SaaS company that have an app store/play store listing like Access, that should be the next on the list.

The app store/play store is a big pot for a potential audience. You just have to find a way to gain their trust. Embedding an explainer video to your app store listing is one way to do that.

With your audience knowing what they’re about to download, they might prefer your app over other similar apps that don’t provide an explainer video.

In short, you stand out among other similar apps by having a demo video.

Q: Are you doing A/B testing?

A: “Not with the videos, no, but that would be cool.”

Q: Is there any specific button or call-to-action that you want to measure?

A: “Yes. It would be great to have a call-to-action on the video page itself, but we haven’t implemented that. The call to action would be to visit the app store to download the app.”

Technically, at the end of an explainer video there’s always a call-to-action.

Unfortunately, the chance of visitors watching the video until the end is relatively small. Maintaining audience retention is not an easy task to do after all.

This is why a call-to-action button is unquestionably necessary in order to boost conversion on the website.

In case visitors decide not to watch the entirety of the video, there’s still something that’ll pull them into downloading the app or making purchases.

We suggest that Access implement a call-to-action button on their homepage in order to boost their conversion.

But with an explainer video, keeping visitors hooked up with the video is doable.

Our recent explainer video case study with one of our clients, we found out that our explainer video gets 11.25% better audience retention compared to the average video within the same duration range.

Q: Could you please share some information about your website, mainly pageviews in a period and conversion rates for a specific call-to-action?

A: “Since launching the video, we on average have ~120 unique site visitors each week and 64 click-thrus to our app in the app store (so around 50%), and around 45% of those who visit the appstore actually download the app.”

That means since they launched the video, Access has 53% click-through-rate and 45% download-rate; that’s a 23.8% visitors-to-download conversion rate.

In extreme cases, free apps conversion rate could reach 30%, but noting the fact that Access hasn’t implemented any call-to-action button to their home page, this is an excellent start.

Once the call-to-action button is implemented by the folks at Access, the conversion rate might just jump through the roof.

This is not our work alone. Aaron played a big role in the production process and that definitely resulted in an amazing explainer video.

Aaron and his team has invested a great amount of work in developing Access app. That’s why it is an awesome app on its own.

But we are here to help them climb even higher from where they started.

Once again, we’re very glad that the explainer video we produced works well for our client and of course, we look forward to working with you!

Conclusion

  • Don’t expect a poorly-made animated explainer video to stand out and be noticed by the biggest influencers in your niche.
  • What matters most is who you share it with and where you publish it.
  • When you have a great-looking video, make sure you make it worth its weight in gold by reaching out. Don’t keep it hidden.

Case Study: How We Made Edgar’s Explainer Video Resulting in 11.25% More Audience Retention

When it comes to social media automation, Edgar is one of the top-notch social media automation tools on the market.

Edgar provided more than adequate guidance on how to use their automation tool both on their homepage and in their screencast tutorial video.
meetedgar

But Edgar lacks of something in those two helps: fun.

Either you read a bunch of text or you watch a tutorial.

Why not make the text into a video while injecting fun to it?

We reached out to Edgar about our intention to make an explainer video for them and conduct an explainer video case study with their website as the ground zero.

They approved and we made the video. We’ll talk about the production process later on.

Over the course of measurement, the video led them 27% visitor-to-sign-up conversions. Out of 2,151 views the video received, there were 585 signups during the mentioned period.

Edgar tested and measured the video by keeping it up on their website for a month (December 2015 to January 2016). Out of 10,664 visitors to Edgar’s website, they got 158 sign-ups. That’s a 1.49% conversion.

Analyzing conversion is tricky since there are so many factors to account for. But we’re more than happy to know that our video worked well in Edgar’s homepage.

Edgar youtube analytics

According to a research by Wistia, videos under 1 minute long have an average audience retention of 80%.

The average watch duration of Edgar explainer video was 89% of the total 88 seconds duration.

It means that Edgar’s explainer video is 11.25% better in audience retention compared to the average of videos in the same duration range.

Well, that’s the result of Edgar’s explainer video. Let’s dive into the production process.

Script Writing

When we reached Laura Roeder, Edgar’s CEO, she let us know that they already had a script and voiceover ready, so we asked to take a look at them.

We reckoned it was too long for an explainer video. From what we’ve learned after making over 2,000 videos, 1-2 minutes is the best duration range for explainer videos.

The only thing visitors really care about is whether you or your products are what they need.

For this very purpose, we needed a short, straightforward and focused script.

So we worked with Edgar to make a shorter version of the script, putting in few pointers from our past experience.

It is necessary to involve our client when we are working on a script because we need them to guide us on which demographic audience they are aiming to reach.

Besides that, we also needed their valuable understanding about the market and their expertise in social media.

We mixed information, entertainment and marketing value in one script.

The aim is, of course, to get audience’s attention long enough to make them discover what Edgar is and what it does, all in under 1 minute.

When that purpose was accomplished, we made a little extension for the call-to-action.

And here’s the script that we ended up with.

Day after day, you spend your time writing, uploading, and scheduling your social media status updates – and a lot of them are going to waste.

It’s not your fault! Less than half of all Twitter users are logging in daily, and less than a third are logging in more than once.

So when you spend time writing and posting an update, odds are, not many people in your audience are going to see it. In fact, most of them won’t, no matter what social network you share it on.

So why publish it only one time? Why let that message you worked so hard on go to waste?

That’s where Edgar comes in. Edgar automatically saves every Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn update you post and publishes them again and again over time, so you never have to spend time writing updates that nobody notices.

They get to be seen by more and more new people in your audience as time goes on – people who otherwise might never have known that those updates even existed.

Edgar never stops working, so you can spend less time writing and publishing brand-new updates every day and spend more time interacting directly with your audience.

Your work doesn’t go to waste, your social media accounts never run dry, and you never lose touch with your fans and followers – even if they miss a message the first time around.

Meet Edgar today, at meetedgar.com.

Visuals

With the final script in hand, we moved forward to rounding up ideas for the illustration and design for the video.

The overall process went smoothly with some little troubles here and there, but we managed to overcome them easily.

The first 2 slides of the illustrations were done in a day’s work. There wasn’t that many revision from Edgar for the first mock-up, so we did the revision and went on with making storyboard sketches.

We had little to no trouble in making the storyboard sketch. The folks from Edgar were very cooperative in giving and taking advice on what we should put into the storyboard.

Here are some rough early sketches that we pitched to Edgar.

Storyboard sketch
Storyboard sketch
Storyboard sketch
Storyboard sketch
Storyboard sketch

One thing for the sake of exposure: in illustration terms, “rough sketch” means exactly that. These are the basic ideas about what the video will look like.

It’s made very simple and sketchy because it’s easier to change if there is any suggestion, different opinions, and new ideas during the process.

After they gave us the green light, these were what we had for the final storyboard:
final storyboard
final storyboard
final storyboard
final storyboard
final storyboard

We didn’t come to agreement overnight, though. What’s interesting about working with other company is the process for settling differences in opinion.

As an explainer video company, we involve clients and ask them for valuable input that they have.

We see our clients as the experts on their niches, while we become the creative force that crafts an explainer video for them.

That’s why we value their opinion and suggestion during the video production process.

If we think their suggestions don’t lead to improvement for the video, we come up with ideas to discuss with them.

That’s what made an explainer video stand out from other video ads.

We agreed on the visuals and proceeded to the animation process.

It took 1 week for our animator to get the whole video done with the animation. With the visual ready, the audio embedding process was good to go.

Audio and Voiceover

We picked our music choices from AudioJungle, an Envato marketplace for music and sound effects. Then we pitched it to Edgar to see which one they like best.

AudioJungle is a good place to look if you’re looking for royalty-free music for your future videos.

They provide plenty of options with minimum hassle, since most of the music there is royalty-free. You don’t have to worry about future copyright strikes when you use royalty-free music.

You should read our article about legally allowed content for your video if you ever have any concern about this issue.

The process is quite simple, really. Once the voice over recording is done and approved along with the music, our team embeds them into the animated video.

Final Result

After a month of working on Edgar’s explainer video and its quite tiring revisions, we merged all the components together and the final cut of the video looks awesome.

We produced an animated cartoon video that explains what Edgar is and what it does. To say that we’re proud of it is an understatement.

The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of an explainer video is to test it in the field and see what the audience says about it.

Edgar is now doing several tests on their website using different arrangements and components.

At the time this article is published, the explainer video is also featured on Edgar’s Facebook page.

When we reached out to Edgar for their final comment, Tom Van Buren, Edgar’s Content Manager, said,

The video performs well, the average percentage viewed during that time period was 89 percent! We’re very pleased with the video, and can’t think of any improvements it may need right now.

What We Learned

  • If you are a business owner, your opinion matters and is highly influential in producing an out-of-this-world explainer video.
  • An explainer video is an important factor in driving conversion, but there are others that may support and amplify its presence.
  • Having one well-made video is one step forward to a better conversion rate.
  • Explainer videos work well NOT only for your website landing page but also for social media pages.

So, do you think an explainer video could play a big role for your company’s conversion rate? Let us know what you think in the comments!

What Makes an Ass Kicking Explainer Video (it should cost < $2,000)

If you are looking for an alternative way to improve your visitor retention rate (and thus, your page rank), you should consider having an animated explainer video made. A recent survey revealed that visitors who watch a video will stay on the site twice as long as those who did not see a video to view.

Having an explainer video that clearly shows your product or service is the best solution for you as you entice potential customers, which will, of course, bring you more revenue. StacksAndStacks.com reported that visitors were 144% more likely to purchase after seeing a product video than those who did not.

This means that including an explainer video is always a good investment for your marketing plan. Now the question is: how much should you have to invest to create a good animated explainer video?

Before you estimate the total cost of creating an explainer video, let’s explore the components of an explainer video.

1. Script
2. Storyboard
3. Voice over
4. Sound effects & background music
5. Animation

1. Script

A professional scriptwriter could cost you somewhere between $50 and $250. Therefore, you may be enticed to try and write a script that effectively sells, but you might not have the necessary skills.

Joining a copywriting course can be a good solution, but it may cost you more than hiring a scriptwriter. Going in this direction, however, definitely helps if you are looking to produce more than one explainer video for your business.

2. Storyboard

When it’s done, the script needs to be visualized. A good script is merely just a story if not accompanied by a good storyboard that visualizes it.

A good storyboard should be able to clarify the story and show how it will unfold when it’s animated.

3. Voice Over

Voice over is another expense that you can try to cut. A professional voice artist will cost you around $100 to $200 per hour. There’s also a cost to rent a recording studio with proper equipment.

Even if you think of recording your own voice, there are still some expenses that you need to consider. Purchasing professional recording equipment such as a good microphone, pop filter, mixer and creating your own recording booth does require a big budget. You should also think about hiring a coach to help you learn the intricacies of being a voice over artist.

If you are not looking to spend that much money on the voice recording itself, you might be much better off renting a professional recording studio with first-rate equipment such as Edge Studio.

4. Sound Effects and Background Music

Similar to voice acting, mixing sound effects and background music is not an easy feat to master. It surely may look easy to you (how much time could it possibly take to add in a few clicking sounds and some background music – tasks that you can accomplish in less than an hour using iMovie?).

However, I assure you that what you do with iMovie or a similar program can’t be compared with the professional work of a talented sound editor – work that will take several hours in order to produce a minute of detailed sound effects and background music for your video.

5. Animation

Last but not least is the animation itself. This is the core skillset of an explainer video company.

Needless to say, this is the heart of the video. It’s really important to find an animator or an animation studio that has a strong portfolio and is able to work with you to create the video you envision.

If you want to create good animation, you should consider spending the largest portion of your budget to hire a good animation studio or freelancer and not be stingy on this.

You might have the skills needed to complete your explainer video by yourself, but remember, you also have a business to grow. You can pay attention to creating you explainer video, but then it might distract you from you primary function of managing your business and handling customers. In the end, you might find yourself with less profit, possibly even less than if you hired someone else to do the job for you.

Having an explainer video created by expert animator is the hassle-free solution to save most of your time so you can focus on growing your business.

Calculating the budget to work with an expert animator is related to two factors:

1. Style

You might have some favorite videos whose styles appeal to you, and want your explainer video have a similar feel. Every style has its own level of difficulty, so you might have to be ready to pay a higher amount if you want your video to take on a particular look

2. Timeframe

You can’t rush creativity. Every animator will explain to you how long he or she needs in order to deliver an explainer video. Even when you work with top expert animators, they still need a certain amount of time to create your perfect video. You can try following their timeline, but if you’re in a hurry, get ready to pay more.

That’s why the best way to save your money is to plan ahead. If you know you want to publish your video in time for a particular trade fair, for example, you have to plan your video early.

Every component surely requires a certain budget, and depending how much you want to spend in total on your explainer video, you should think carefully about the right budget allocations in order to maximize the results. Forget the old adage that claims “you get what you pay for.”

In this global market there’s always a rough diamond that may have not yet been discovered in the third world. Breadnbeyond is that rough diamond in the field of explainer videos and many folks from around the world have already discovered us. Making us, of course, a brightly polished gem.

Therefore, while other great expert animators may charge you an arm and a leg, Breadnbeyond offers you an explainer video with much more affordable pricing.

Working with Breadnbeyond is an efficient way for you to go, as we provide everything you need to create an engaging video. Not only do we help you by producing an interesting video that will give you more calls, we also deliver the finished product in a relatively short period of time.

See our portfolio, choose the style, and contact sales@breadnbeyond.com to begin with your killer explainer video, today!

How to Choose an Animated Explainer Video Production Companies

animated explainer videoWant to create an animated explainer video for your startup?
Confused with too many choices of animated video production companies? Continue reading

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