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4 Simple Things You Need to Write an Awesome 90-Second Explainer Video

bread n beyond explainer video
When we were still a startup newbie, we believed that what made an explainer video cool included flashy colors, smooth transitions, and a silvery narration voice.

We put most of our emphasis on the visuals since that’s what we were equipped for. The characters’ appearances and smooth transitions between scenes were our main focus for quite a while.

Until we realized that we’d overlooked something of great importance.

Script.

The script is the foundation–or the blueprint, if you will–for explainer videos, or any directed video, for that matter. Movies, vlogs, ads, you name it.

When a script is excellently written, the visuals are like ice cream toppings.

Like DropBox’s and Dollar Shave Club’s explainer video, which now have well beyond 20 million views.

A script isn’t that long of a text to begin with.

But that’s the tricky part in making an explainer video script: the length. You have to compress a stack of ideas and supporting facts into a compact piece of writing.

It’s not everyday writing. An explainer video script must be as easy to understood when read out loud as it is when written down.

Before you begin to write your script’s draft, keep these few things in mind:

1. The problem you solve

Imagine your company produces a foldable baby stroller. What kind of problem could make a family think they need one? Maybe their car is too small for traveling with a normal-sized stroller.

Say your company manufactures an extremely durable DSLR camera. Why would any photographer want that? Maybe they are outdoor photographers who’ve dropped their cameras onto hard surfaces and broken them, whereas your product would have survived.

The problem statement is crucial for creating a relatable introduction in a script. The more specific the problems you solve, the stronger the bond you form with the more focused audience.

2. Target audience

The target audience or target market segmentation is a specific group of people who need or want your product.

Choosing the right target audience starts by determining what needs your product or service meets.

Who is most likely to use your product? As you answer this question, consider factors like age, buying power, geographical location, and marital status.

Take, for instance, a recent college graduate who has just started her first job. She will have needs that differ from those of a mother to four teenage children.

Or indoor and outdoor photographers. They need different types of lenses and different sets of gear.

Be as specific as possible when defining your target audience.

3. How you will solve the problems and why you are better

Let’s say you’re in an appliance store, looking to buy a blender to make fruit juice with a smoother texture than any you’ve had before.

A sales guy approaches you and says that blender A is what you’re looking for. You think, “How so?”, right?

And you expect answers like:

“It has blades made of ultra-sharp stainless steel,” or “it cuts at 5,000 rpm faster than other blenders.” You expect details that make you want that blender.

That’s how your audience thinks when they see your explainer video.

And that’s why you need to think as a customer, and write the script using that mindset as a reference.

4. Duration and script length

Bread n Beyond’s articles page has hundreds of articles. However, Google analytics always shows a significant spike from a particular article: How many words does a 60-second explainer video need?

Our sales team received lots of queries about how long a script and a video should be. To answer this question, we checked our YouTube video manager and took a look at the 20 most viewed videos on our channel.

The result is quite close to what we predicted.

When we reviewed 20 of the most viewed videos in our YouTube channel, 40% of them were 90-120 seconds long. The remaining 60% is split evenly between videos under 90 seconds long (30%) and above 120 seconds long (30%).

Out of the total 392,304 views we received from our top 20 videos, 79.8% were from videos between 90 and 120 seconds long. Videos under 90 seconds and above 120 seconds made up 4.9% and 15.3% respectively.

That’s why we suggest that your explainer video script should result in a 90-second video.

recommended video duration

Bread n Beyond’s video performance chart

Based on the last 50 explainer videos we made, the average script length for a 90-second video was 247 words.

# Title Words Duration Words/Sec.
1 Globos Payaso 77 40 1.925
2 Orderly Email 125 45 2.778
3 AXS Health 108 46 2.348
4 Green Streak 174 59 2.949
5 MyAccount 146 59 2.475
6 Abacus 166 60 2.767
7 Gsnap 151 60 2.517
8 Haus 150 60 2.500
9 Open Polls 166 60 2.767
10 Tribr 173 60 2.883
11 Communify 169 63 2.683
12 The Great Voice Company 163 63 2.587
13 Smart Commute 164 64 2.563
14 Chameleon 184 65 2.831
15 Hive Team 175 67 2.612
16 Bluefrog 170 70 2.429
17 Mink 149 71 2.099
18 MediaZone Pro 165 72 2.292
19 Paperli 195 73 2.671
20 DriverReach 166 74 2.243
21 Bizzmine 191 75 2.547
22 Prize Rebel 172 75 2.293
23 BMS Trustworks 181 80 2.263
24 Local Wine Events 183 80 2.288
25 MyTeamWorks 192 82 2.341
26 HOA Express 223 83 2.687
27 Armada Power 227 84 2.702
28 EDIS 201 85 2.365
29 Checkmarc 181 86 2.105
30 BountyBuddy 289 90 3.211
31 KC clean 204 90 2.267
32 Local Supply 228 90 2.533
33 Smart Pension 180 90 2.000
34 Web Community Creator 250 90 2.778
35 Xona Software 204 90 2.267
36 Perma Safety Tub 255 90 2.833
37 Web Mortgages 237 91 2.604
38 Go Procure 251 101 2.485
39 Converge 220 102 2.157
40 Startup Thread 300 104 2.885
41 LiveZilla 260 106 2.453
42 NextPond 311 114 2.728
43 KD Smart Chair 291 117 2.487
44 CharityVest 326 122 2.672
45 Serve Your City 352 123 2.862
46 OptimumHQ 341 130 2.623
47 Smile Interactive 351 130 2.700
48 BMT Fluid Mechanics 324 135 2.400
49 MicroRidge 245 139 1.763
50 Energy Feeds 640 247 2.591
AVERAGE 218.920 87.040 2.515

On average, the last 50 explainer videos we produced have 218.9 words and are 87 seconds long. That makes the average reading pace of our voice overs 2.5 words per second.

Video length has other determining factors, such as language used, pauses, emphases, and the script tone.

Different languages require different speeds of pronunciation and different paces of reading for sounding as natural as possible.

Emphases can trigger certain emotional reactions from viewers and deliver the message precisely how it is meant to be delivered.

And a serious (or formal) tone generally will be slower than a casual tone due to the necessity of using proper and un-abbreviated words and phrases. Abbreviations such as “that’s,” ”it’s,” ”I’ve,” etc. should be pronounced as “that is,” “it is/it has,” and “I have,” in a script with a serious tone, and a large quantity of that results in longer time.

How can this information help me?

The essence of an explainer video is its ability to transfer an idea from the company’s side to the audience’s side. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

An explainer video is the visual representation of that quote. If you can make your audience understand your ideas, it means you’re an expert in that particular field.

Outsourcing your explainer video production means channeling your ideas to an agency and asking them visualize them for your audience.

Failing to explain everything to the agency can cause a chain of failures, which indirectly will make the final video less effective because the ideas behind it weren’t successfully communicated.

In conclusion, preparing your answers to the points mentioned above gives you a head start before you even begin reaching out to an explainer video agency.

Preparing your ideas for an explainer video is like soaking a potato in a warm water before peeling it. You don’t have to do it, but doing it is worth the effort you make.

Closing thought

Coming up with answers and a general overview about your company perhaps is as easy as pie. You might even know more than what your script needs.

But the real work begins when you (or whoever you hire) start picking which of those answers needs to be presented in the script and, more importantly, how they’re going to be presented.

This is why most (if not all) explainer video agencies will give you questionnaires that generally ask about the elements mentioned above.

The point is, no matter how skilled, pricey, or recommended an explainer video company is, the key lies in what the client’s side has and their willingness to be involved in the process.

An explainer video project requires teamwork. If you are well-prepared and willing to discuss ideas with an explainer video agency, you are much more likely to get an amazing video.

5 Scary Questions You Should Ask Before Writing Explainer Video Scripts (with examples)

breadnbeyond explainer video
You’d heard about explainer videos. Then you read more about them on the internet and found out that it’s not about how smooth the animation is, or how realistic the characters are. It’s basically about how the quality of the script you use to direct your explainer video.

The script is the cornerstone of a quality explainer video. But there are very few (if any) guidelines to making explainer video scripts the right way.

It’s not easy because the explainer video script should be unique for every explainer video, not templated. Thus, it’s quite hard to make the Holy Book (or rule book, if you prefer) of writing scripts for explainer videos.

We wrote a list of tips for writing a great explainer video; it’s worth a read in addition to this article.

Producing more than 2,000 explainer videos has given us insight into the fundamentals of a quality explainer video script.

How long should it be?

An explainer video is most effective if it’s anywhere between 60 to 120 seconds. It’s not too short of a period for showing the main features of your product/company/service, and it’s not long enough to bore people.

But how do I count 60 to 120 seconds in words?

Given the normal speed of reading from your voiceover, a 1-minute explainer video is approximately 140-160 words in English.

That means a 2-minute explainer video has around 320 words. But don’t rely on word count alone: Try reading your script aloud and measure how much time you need to finish it all.

We created an app called WordsTimer to get a near-exact measurement. Give it a try when you write your next explainer video script.

In addition, check out our article on how many words a 60-second explainer video needs for a broader view.

For what it’s worth, the best way to write a piece of copy (yes, writing an explainer video script is copywriting) is by writing it down as a whole, re-reading it, and taking out the fluff. Rinse and repeat until you get the shortest, clearest version of what you’re trying to tell your audience.

What should I write?

In a nutshell, you should write about your product/service/company in a way that gives your audience value instead of up-front advertising.

Script Writing 101

These elements are essential to getting the word about your products out to your audience:

  1. Main problem(s): To create a feeling of relatability in your audience, and to give the impression that they could have such a problem right now or in the future.
  2. The solution you offer to solve the problem(s): The part where you introduce your product as the problem solver.
  3. How you are going to solve the problem(s): Where the visual part plays a big role. What you can say with a thousand words, you can show it in a single slide in your explainer video.
    P.S: I recommend reading our article to decide on the best animation style for your video.
  4. Call-To-Action(CTA): People will not come to your house party unless you invite them. The concept is the same when doing an explainer video campaign. No matter how you plan to tell your stories with your explainer video, you should always include a call-to-action.

Those are the essential features people would want to see in your explainer video. How you execute it to be as interesting as possible is the real challenge.

Are there different styles in writing script?

Not every product serves the same purpose. That’s why not every explainer video script should be written the same way.

Some ways will be very effective; others will be less effective. Here is the short version of different ways to convey your valuable message to your audience.

  • Storytelling: Self-explanatory. You tell a story that leads up to your product/service/company as the ending.
  • Showing off: Basically, you show your audience how good and useful your product is in a specific situation. The situation should be relatable and likely to happen in real life.
  • Educational: You are going to inform and educate them about an issue they may not yet be aware of. The message is still related to your product or service, of course, but your main goal is not selling or acquiring, but increasing awareness.
  • Intro-tutorial: The public needs an impressive introduction and guidance whenever they encounter a brand-new product (usually coming from a startup). An intro-tutorial is the go-to type of explainer video script for startups.

To read more about writing an explainer video script, read the article 4 Different Ways to Convey Your Message.

Where can I find script-writing services?

On a scale from 1-10, the importance of an explainer video script is an 8. It’s crucial to keep in mind that if you decide to write one yourself for your explainer video, it may not turn out as you expect.

It takes a lot of experience to be able to write a quality explainer video script, so you might want to spend a little extra to get more for your script.

WriterAccess and Upwork: They are the best marketplaces where quality freelancers are available for hire at affordable prices. These websites have exceptional features that help both customers and freelancers get better deals.

They provide information about the freelancers such as sales made, customers’ review, and portfolios. This makes it easier for customers to make the right decision.

The difference is in Writer Access they provide specifically writing services, while Upwork has freelancers from various industry.

Explainer Video Production Studios: Most explainer video production company offer packages with the script-writing process included. So, if you’re not on a tight budget you might as well invest more for a better quality explainer video.

Takeaways

  • A 1-minute explainer video script consists of 140-160 words, depending on the reading speed.
  • It should be written by professionals. If you’re on a budget, go to Upwork or WriterAccess for $25-$50.
  • Here’s a proven storytelling method that works almost all the time to increase your conversion:
    a. Problem
    b. Introduction to your product (a.k.a the solution)
    c. How it works
    d. Call to action

So, how would you like to write your explainer video script? In-house or outsourcing from the pros? Let me know in the comments.

Use The Movie Trailer Formula For Better Explainer Videos

movie upload

It’s been over 100 years since the first movie trailer was shown. In the early 1910s, movie trailers were shown at the end of movies in the theatre, hence the name, however the goal was the same: to advertise upcoming movies.

To achieve this, trailers need to sell the films and make them sound too good to be missed. They can’t give away the whole film as people wouldn’t go and see it.

Trailers also need to be quick, audiences have very short attention spans and unless they are seeing the main event, they will be unwilling to sit through a long advert.

So What Can You Learn From Movie Trailers?

An explainer video has the same function and can take inspiration from movie trailers. Audiences are more likely to engage in exciting videos than commit any time on brands that develop slow videos with a poor storyline.

There are several dramatic elements that movie trailers use that can be transferred over to your videos. These elements include:

1. Short Scenes

Most movie trailers only have scenes that last just a few seconds. This quick change of images helps to keep your audience engaged.

2. High Impact Music

Music inspires an emotional response in audiences. Adding suitable music to your explainer videos will increase the emotional response in your viewing audience.

3. Focused Information

There would be no point in a movie trailer unless there was enough information for the audience to take action afterwards.

This includes when the film will be showing, who is directing the film and the leading actors. The same level of information should be on your explainer videos.

4. Not Giving The Game Away

Just like with trailers not giving away the full story, your explainer video must do the same. Create open loops on your explainer videos. Then your salesperson can pick up where the video leaves off when they meet potential clients.

Conclusion

Movie trailers are a source of inspiration for explainer videos. Consider watching some and take their key elements to make your explainer videos more successful.

What elements do you think make movie trailers successful? How do your videos compare?

Remember: The script is the key to create an awesome explainer video.

Get the secret to writing one below.

download script

5 Expert Clues for Writing an Awesome Explainer Video Script

 

Explainer video script

An explainer video script is a narrative read by voice actor for an animated explainer video. The script is a quality explainer video’s cornerstone.

Writing an explainer video script is a tricky matter. A good explainer video must have a uniquely written script instead of a templated script. Diction, phrasing, and references in an explainer video script must reflect the company’s character or persona.

A voiceover is the other half of the video’s visual aspect. They work in harmony: the voiceover explains what might be overlooked in the visual, and the visual shows what the voiceover can’t quite deliver with words alone.

That said, writing an explainer video script is a handful–but you can do it yourself, assuming you have the time.

Having written over 2,000 explainer video scripts, our writing team has passed on some of their wisdom about explainer video scripts.

Based on what they’ve told me, I want to make sure their legacy doesn’t end there, so I’ve written down their tips for writing an explainer video script and I’m sharing them with you. Continue reading

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