If you need to tell your brand story in a better way, consider using one of these explainer video tools to make an explainer video that stops us in our tracks. In this post, I share 5 easy-to-use and affordable Explainer Video Tools.
UPDATED 21 FEBRUARY, 2019 | BY DONNA MORITZ
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I also explain why video is a great way to tell your marketing story and how explainer videos should be part of it – and which tools to use.
Over recent years, explainer videos have become more and more popular as video storytelling becomes more prevalent.
But until recently, creating explainer videos were limited to those who have big budgets or can afford a marketing agency – the cost of video production, design, animation… it meant most of us were not in the market for explainer videos.
That is until explainer video tools hit the market that were user-friendly and easy for anyone to create engaging videos with. I'll show you some of the best explainer video tools I've found in this post.
But first, let's jump into just why explainer videos work.
Why You Should Create an Explainer Video for Your Business:
There are a few reasons why Explainer videos are powerful marketing tools for your business. Here's just a few of them. They:
- Help to keep viewers engaged (when done right).
- Convey complicated messages by using simplified language. Explainer videos can be used to break down concepts so that your target market “gets it”.
- Tell a story in a way that other mediums can't necessarily do. They help to take a problem, show how it can be solved (and how a product or service plays a pivotal role in doing so).
- They help to convert customers! Research by Wyzowl showed that 74% of customers who watch an Explainer Video to learn more about a product or service, ended up buying it. The same research showed that conversely, 61% of users say they have been put off buying a product after watching a bad explainer video!
Examples of Great Explainer Videos
It's probably easier to show you a few explainer videos first up, so you can see what I mean about how they work. Here are 3 of my favourite explainer videos – all different and unique – but they share their message powerfully:
Slack's video is one of my favourite examples of how to create an explainer video that keeps you engaged and interested while showing how the product (Slack) solves a problem. This was one of their original launch videos that is still at the top of my list:
And here's a recent version that shows, with animation, just how Slack takes your team from the clutter and overwhelm of multiple message streams to the bliss and flow of Slack:
The music and visuals match perfectly to take us from chaos to calm! Notice there are no words.
2. Spotify's Launch Video
Spotify explained exactly what we should expect with their launch video. It's simple, clear, engaging, shows how the problem of accessing music across devices will be solved, and designed to make you want it!
It's a good example of how to use animation + words to show a product and it's benefits to the user for solving a problem.
Now if only Spotify would also listen to customers and allow us to toggle off the privacy settings permanently (instead of every. single. time. you listen to music) it would be ace. But I digress…
3. Fifty Three's Pencil
Sometimes you don't even need words on your explainer video. This explainer video from Fifty Three about their Pencil is very clever and says it all with images:
But aren't these videos expensive to make?
Yes, you can probably now see why an agency might get involved in creating an explainer video – there are a lot of steps involved and some of them are highly finished productions, like these above.
But if you use some of the awesome explainer video tools below.. it makes it much, much easier. Sure, it's often wise to invest in a higher quality professional production for your main launch video, but for many businesses that may be out of their budget.
The good news is that there are smaller products, smaller launches or smaller business, for which an in-house video can be enough if you have quality explainer video tools to play with.
Lets take a look at some of the tools you can choose from and then I'll follow up with some tips for what to include in your explainer video:
5 Explainer Video Tools that will Stop Us In Our Tracks
Here are 5 explainer video tools that will give you more than enough room for creativity. Please note that I have added the link to pricing for each tool, and also a quick overview of any free plan that they have.
Other than that, the list of features below are mostly on paid plans. I suggest you check out the features and pricing list for each tool as some features will be included at different levels.
1. Animatron Studio and Animatron Lite
Animatron Studio is a great option for inclusion in this series of explainer video tools. It's designed for you to create HTML5 and video animations and you can create explainer videos, white-board style animations right through to full animations.
Animatron Studio includes the main software and also Animatron Lite mode (which we will get to in a moment).
Here are some of the best features of Animatron Studio:
- you get access to thousands of pre-animated characters, props and background – and they're FREE!
- it includes professionally-designed infographics, as well as full sets of icons and animations so you can quickly build out “scenes” for your video.
- you can import and edit your own photos, graphics, audio and videos
- You can animate text and branding elements
- It's easy to annotate, combine, splice or overlay your media.
- you can add animated text and branding elements quickly and easily.
- It's possible to customize in many different ways with Animatron Studio – from basic shapes to fully fledged animated characters. This means that you can reshape, re-color or edit any piece of content from the marketplace of assets.
With all of these features, it's no surprise that it is a popular tool for both professionals and novices alike! But if you do find this tool a little too much at first, I have good news for you. Now there's a simpler version called Animatron Lite.
Animatron Lite is a quicker, easier way of using Animatron. It's perfect for non-designers and non-animators like me. The best part is that this “Lite” tool is also part of your Animatron subscription. Sweet! As I said, it's part of your subscription to Animatron Studio.
Check out this video about Animatron Lite:
So what's the difference in Animatron Lite that makes it “Lite”? Here's a few things that make it attractive to animators and non-animators. In a nutshell, it allows them to work quickly:
- Drag-and-drop to create animations
- Access to free content in a large marketplace.
- Create pro-quality animations in just 10 minutes
- You can create engaging animation videos and presentations
Lite Mode is super simple to use. Just like Animatron you can add images, audio, video and important files and logos.
Then simply download your finished product as a GIF or video file!
Animatron Lite is ideal if you are just getting started with Animation. It allows you to make full animated videos and explainer videos vs just animated images or short social posts. And if it becomes too easy for you, you can upgrade to its big brother, Animatron.
The best part about Animatron Lite is that you can easily start with the basics and then move up to the more advanced features in Animatron. Your subscription includes both explainer video tools.
How much does Animatron Studio cost?
Free Plan: You can get stared for Free, with up to 5 public (not private) projects per month, 2GB storage and access to 2,200 royalty-free animated objects. You also get a number of export options including SD video up to 10 seconds, SVG/SVG+SMIL and GIFs. You can also import basic media into your project but your finished projects include a watermark.
Pricing: Paid plans start at $15 per month for Pro and then $30 per month for business if you're on an annual plan (it's slightly more if you pay by the month).These plans include unlimited projects, no watermark, more storage, real-time collaboration features, commercial rights to use the finished videos, more than 100,000 royalty-free pro video clips, 200,000 royalty-free audio clips, 250,000 royalty-free photos and 2,200 royalty-free animated objects. You also get to download in more formats and make longer videos.
Powtoon is a video and presentation tool that has evolved over the years to be a great option for explainer videos. And like Animatron, it has the added bonus of giving you animation features to create really eye-catching videos.
Here's an overview of Powtoon:
Some of the features that you'll find in Powtoon for creating awesome explainer videos are:
- Loads of ready-made templates with drag-and-drop functionality that are scripted and ready to use in minutes.
- Choose from 5 animation “themes” and then pull together a range of layouts, characters, objects and backgrounds to tell your brand story.
- Full video, animation, GIF and image file implementation
- Export to YouTube, Facebook, Wistia and Vimeo.
- Publish as Powerpoint and PDF
- Large choice of aspect ratios and sizes.
How much does Powtoon cost?
Free Plan: You can create videos with up to 100mb of storage on the Free Plan – all videos are exported with the Powtoon watermark.
Pricing: Paid plans start at $16 per month and range up to $99 per month for enterprise plans. As the plans increase you get access to more content/features, video exports and storage.
Another of the well-known explainer video tools is Animaker. Here are a few of the features you'll find in Animaker:
- a large collection of animated characters, icons, charts and maps.
- 6 video styles including 2D, Infographics, Handcraft (hand swiping elements on the video), Whiteboard, 2.5D and Typography.
- You can use one of these styles or mix and match them. I like that Animaker has Whiteboard and Handcraft styles – which can be great for explainer videos. Here's a video showing their whiteboard video tools (with a few twists!).
- pre-designed templates to help you get up and going quickly – including templates for vertical videos.
- export videos in full HD video quality
- a video infographics maker to brighten up your data visualization – includes 100+ charts, 1000+ icons, and 3000+ maps.
- An “Animation Deck” feature that merges the effects of video with powerpoint-style presentations. Use it as a video or presentation.
- Text support for more than 50 languages and custom font support
- Choice of sound effects and music tracks
- Pro-level features for creating animations such as camera in/out effects, record, transitions, enter/exit effects and more.
How much does Animaker cost?
Free Plan: You can create videos at a reduced length and no of videos per month (currently 5 per month) and publish with the Animaker watermark.
Pricing: Paid plans start at $12 per month for a personal plan and range up to $19/39 for Startup and Business Plans. There are also enterprise plans that give you access to team features like in-app messaging, file and task management and multi-user collaboration.
An Aussie company, (yay) Biteable is definitely helping to make video creation easier. Their tool is simple to use and they have some slick templates. The thing that stands out to me with Biteable is that it is designed to be “simple”. It's a great way to get started with creating short explainer videos.
This is an older video but shows how effective a simple script + animations can be with Biteable:
Here are some of the features of Biteable:
- access to 5,000+ real-life Shutterstock clips, as well as animations direct from the Biteable studio.
- a huge selection of (as they call them) “surefire” templates that enable you to get started quickly with creation videos.
- a range of template styles including infographic templates, intro videos, YouTube channel trailers and Startup explainers.
- a range of sharing options – your videos are yours to keep forever – ready to share everywhere or download and use later.
- you can upload your own videos and clips too – then add features like effects and animation!
- add professional branding with logos and use your own brand colors.
Here's a Facebook Live that the team at Biteable did recently talking about branding social videos and it goes through some of the templates, features and styles in Biteable:
How much does Biteable cost?
I actually really like that Biteable comes in just two plans – again, keeping it simple. You can try the free plan and then upgrade to the paid, premium plan:
Free Plan: You can publish up to 5 video projects per month at HDTV quality, as well as publish to YouTube and Facebook (but no direct downloads). You also get 1GB of storage compared to the usual unlimited videos on the paid plan. As with most of these tools, there's a watermark on all videos made on the free plan.
Pricing: As I said, it's just two plans – Free and Premium. This makes it easy to decide on whether to upgrade as you only have one choice when you do decide to up-level your video creation. If you upgrade it will cost you $29 per month or $23 per month, billed as $276 per year.
Renderforest is another option for creating explainer videos and a lot more features too. It includes animation features, as do some of the above tools. Here's a walkthrough of their features – in animation style of course!
Renderforest is more of an “all-in-one” business tool as it helps you to create logos, videos (including explainer videos) and website landing pages, but we will focus on the video component. Here are some of the features of Renderforest for video:
- Renderforest allows you to create all sorts of videos, not just explainer animations – including kinetic typography,music visualizations, product or service promotional videos, wedding or travel slideshows, mobile app promotions, corporate presentations, event invitations, and infographics.
- a large selection of animated templates including unusual styles like 3D animation.
- After choosing your template, you can tap into hundreds of animated scenes and configure them to your needs – or start from scratch
- You can choose music, colors and add voice-overs.
- 1-click download or publish videos to YouTube or Facebook.
How much does Renderforest Cost?
Pricing: Paid plans start at $14 per month up to $49 for Pro and Agency accounts. Inclusions on paid plans increase in terms of video quality (up to HD 1080p), length of videos (up to 60min), storage (up to 80gb), access to commercial music tracks (up to 120+ tracks), no watermarks on all paid plans, and ability to upload or create unlimited logos.
BONUS FREE TOOL: Wave.Video (NO Watermarks!)
I wanted to add Wave.video here as this tool has something very cool going for it right now – the new plans and pricing mean that it has one of the best “free” options:
There is NO Watermark on your videos…for free….for real.
Has that got your attention?
I wouldn't have initially thought of Wave in the “explainer video tools” bucket, as their parent company's tool, Animatron (featured above) tend to tick all the boxes on that one.
But honestly, with all the new features of Wave, it's now a definite contender for this list of explainer video tools. If you're using text, video, images and stickers and you don't need a lot of animation, then it's a great option and super affordable.
Here are just a few of the latest features from Wave:
Here are a few of the features of Wave.video that I am loving:
- a built-in video and image stock library with over 200 million assets to use in your video creation. You cna combine multiple clips or upload your own videos, which makes Wave a great way to create longer explainer videos.
- access to a huge range of templates, and a content-calendar filled with monthly content ideas.
- access a huge library of commercial-use audio tracks + add voice-over to your videos.
- resize your own videos by changing the aspect ratio in a single click. Choose from 30+ popular sizes with more being added all the time as social media platforms change. This includes square, vertical, landscape, Instagram stories, Facebook cover video and more.
- Add text (including moveable text!) to your videos and choose custom colors or fonts. Wave includes text animations too.
- Add your own logo to your videos or upload any sticker format png image.
- Add sticker animations and animated GIfs to videos – perfect for adding emotion or humour. Includes Giphy library search.
- Make as many videos as you want, every month on every subscription plan – there are NO monthly limits on how many videos you can make!
- Agency level features where you can create videos for clients or other companies – and get their approval with a white-label preview feature. You can also save brand color presets, custom colors and fonts in the one place.
How much does Wave cost?
Free Plan: Here is where Wave really shines. You can create unlimited videos with NO watermark. This is the only tool (that I know of) that offers this at the “Free” level. Anyone can get started with videos!
There are a few limitations in the length of video (15 seconds), quality (HD 720p) and the number of format sizes (landscape and square only). You can only export to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and no direct download. However, with the watermark gone and unlimited videos, this is one of the best tools for getting started or creating video on a budget for social media.
Note: You also get the following on the Free Plan:
- access to a free stock library of 1.5 million videos and images from Pixabay and Unsplash
- Access to over 300+ professionally designed templates, Content Calendar ideas and 350+ fonts, and text animations.
- animated emojis and built-in Giphy library search
- voiceover recording (audio tracks are not included on the free plan)
- Organize your projects in folders
- So, it's not bad for “free”. But if you want to upgrade you'll get a lot of the features above. Check out the pricing page here.
Pricing: Paid plans start at $8.25 per month or the Creator Plan and then $16.50 per month for Pro and the $33.25 for Agency. Personally, I think that Agency is one of the best deals available for being able to create videos for clients. Overall it's one of the most affordable tools for what it is.
Steps to Creating a Great Explainer Video
There are typically a few key steps involved in creating an explainer video. Here is how it often works:
- Initial Concept – this is where you decide on what message you want to convey and brainstorm ways to convey that message. A valuable thing to do as part of this process is to define your message in one sentence. This will help to keep your script-writing focused on what you want people to understand after watching your explainer video.
- Writing the Script – this is where you start to map out what you want to say/share/show in your explainer video, right down to the actual words, images, video, and text. The text will feature heavily as you define what will be said or what words will appear on screen if it is captioned.
- Creating the Storyboard – this is where you take your script and you start to map out how the “story” will appear visually on the video. It's basically a process of matching up the script with the images or video. Doing this on some sort of format that will allow you to move things around is smart – ie actual images that you can move like lego to create the final storyboard.
- Creating the Video – this is where you start combining all the elements – and adding in things like background video, illustrations, audio, voiceovers and graphics.
- Fine Tune the Video – this is where you fine-tune all the elements of the video like animations, overlays, audio and video.
- Publish your Video – when you've had all the checks done and everyone is happy, it's time to publish (and share!) your completed explainer video.
Hot Tip: Show your planned video to some ideal or current customers at around the Storyboard. It's a bit like explaining the explainer video. Ask them what message you are conveying with the video and see if it is resonating with them. Then you can make tweaks to the content if it's not hitting the mark (but hopefully it will!).
Wrapping it Up
There's a huge selection of quality tools in this list for you to create explainer videos. Choose any of the Explainer Video Tools and take them for a trial or start out on the free plan to get a feel for the tool.
Not every tool will suit every user so it's worth checking out more than one to see which one has the best features for you!
Over to You
Have you used a DIY tool to create explainer videos before? Let me know in the comments below.
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