Call or Text Us Now! 845 244 4888

For a FREE and QUICK consultation (available 24/7)

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

Originally published July 7, 2017  ·  Updated August 21, 2023
4 Simple Things You Need to Write an Awesome 90-Second 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.


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 videos, 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 understand 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 on 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 voiceovers 2.5 words per second.

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

Get a Free Consultation Today