How to ELI5 Your Explainer Video to Perfection

Published by Julia Domagalik on 12/05/2016

Explainers are made great through a conscious process of editing, removing words, and finding simpler ways to explain concepts. A strong explainer should Explain Like I’m 5, transforming the complex and sophisticated into child-like simplicity.

Instead of building the perfect explainer, we’re going to offer you some tips on how to cut-down the fat on your explainer and craft a slim, tight, simple message.


Simplify to One

The simplest videos are the most memorable. Remember Sesame Street? After all these years, they still practice the art of simplicity, dedicating each episode to a single letter and number—a theme carried for a whole 20 minutes! Your explainer video is only a fraction of that time.

Pick the single idea (or simple sentence) and devote your time, scriptwriting, and ideas to supporting that message. In terms of animation, think about how to incorporate a singular thread, like a “a car driving through different cities” or “Bob makes his way through an office building.” Knowing that you have only one angle for your product, message, and visual storytelling will keep your message focused, and your viewers will be able to grasp much more

If you find yourself having to explain too many products, angles or services, it might be time to split your message into multiple videos. 


Cut out technical talk

Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in language and jargon specific to our industry. But in a short explainer, technical or complex words can diminish the value and distract viewers. Check a thesaurus for synonyms and think about how you would casually explain your message to an outsider. Think about what words would use and what analogies would you make to explain it to a newcomer, and see how that fits into explaining your product or services in the video medium.


Benefits over Features

A quick fix to shaving off extraneous details is to identify whether you’re focusing too much on features instead of benefits. People respond quickly to benefits because they are “actions” instead of “things.” For example, something that enables you to “Shop faster” is a benefit that is simple and easy to understand. On the other hand, a feature like “integrated checkout management” is unrecognisable and will fly over the heads of most viewers.


Explain without pitching

An explanatory video is certainly a marketing tool. But that doesn’t mean it’s a place for marketing jargon. Save the sales talk for your advertisements, and make room for your explanatory video to appeal to the logical, informational, and educational needs of your audience. “The best”, “fastest,” and “cheapest” are all marketing jargon terms which might be effective in an advertisement, but they don’t tell a story. Instead, use figures and statistics to show importance (e.g. over 1 million people visit us), or explain how the process leads to results (we reduce maintenance time and cost by automating X, Y and Z).


Image from Unsplash here


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