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Explainer Video Pricing [2020 Update!] How much should you invest?
How much does an explainer video cost? The short answer is usually somewhere between $50 and $100,000. The reality is that video pricing is based on a large number of variables, some of which are easier to quantify than others. While the old adage “you get what you pay for” tends to hold true for explainer videos in the same way as it does for most other products, we’ve also worked out which options could give you the results you want without paying more than you need to.
We’ve taken a good look at the market, bringing together key information that covers everything from what an explainer video is through to the variables which affect costings and the options which are likely to deliver a favourable ROI with minimal expenditure. Covering everything potential video customers need to know about price before embarking on a commissioning process, our explainer video pricing guide is essential reading for budget holders, marketing managers, business owners and related professionals. Read on to discover the advantages a professional explainer video can bring, as well as some top tips to ensure that you’re able to commission a video that delivers the outcomes your business needs and which your customers deserve.
At its most basic, an explainer video is a short piece of film which conveys concepts about a business which are frequently too complex or multi-factorial to deliver meaningfully in any other form. What a business does, for example, or what gap in the market it fills, is frequently easier to demonstrate visually. Information which might fill a comprehensive report, or long-winded documentary, can often be successfully encapsulated in a 60-second explainer video. The aim of an explainer is to convey not only facts but also impressions and key messages about the brand, giving customers an accessible and compelling way of connecting with your brand or organisation. Explainer videos usually feature prominently on a home page, as well as on social media and as part of a marketing strategy. Some companies have more than one explainer video, tailoring the timing and content for different purposes. Common to all explainer videos is the need for brevity and focus: between 30 to 60 seconds of film is common, but more than two minutes is rare, as it’s likely that will be too long to hold the attention of viewers.
Ultimately, an explainer video is an investment which should deliver a return. For every dollar that’s spent on the video, a dollar or more needs to be recouped in additional sales or larger sales. There is plenty of research which shows that a strong explainer video generates additional leads and sales. For example:
- 76% of marketers indicate an explainer has assisted them in improving sales.
- Around 70% of high ranking Google searches contain an explainer video.
- About three-quarters of businesses which use an explainer video say it increases traffic.
- Around two-thirds of people have decided to purchase an application or other piece of software after watching a video on it.
As not all explainers are created equal, it’s important to find a provider that’s able to deliver what you need for a competitive price. That’s where consideration of the specific variables that combine to inform the purchasing decision is a priority.
Generally, the higher the value of your product, the more discerning your audience are likely to be. This means that your explainer needs to be of exceptional quality if you are likely to be dealing with seasoned customers who demand the best. If, for example, you are selling expensive plants, sophisticated technical equipment or demonstrating to senior budget holders why your organisation is the one they want to be doing business with, a professionally created explainer is essential. A half-cocked, amateur video is going to stand out a mile, as well as sending out all the wrong messages.
It’s absolutely the case that you can use online software or a freelancer to deliver an explainer from as little as $50, but that type of visual aid is highly unlikely to persuade high stakes buyers that what you have is of value. That said, for a small start-up or a business that offers a straight-forward, necessary but no-frills service, a cut-price explainer will often deliver advantages over no explainer at all. Even using simple software, with a little time and patience it’s possible to create an amateur effort which may engage some additional trade. Taking the time to consider your audience and the type of video that’s going to be most likely to attract their interest is critical when it comes to setting an appropriate budget.
Not only do videos vary in quality and price between different providers, but the sort of budget needed also varies significantly between the various types of video producers and creators. Here we consider the four main mechanisms for obtaining a suitable video, along with details of potential prices and the pros and cons of each option.
1. Use an online video maker – potential budget $50-$500, with some choices costing as much as $1,000.
Almost invariably the cheapest option, an online video maker employs sophisticated software to create a suitable explainer video. At its most basic, you insert the required information, and the software does the rest. Understandably, given the lack of professional input, this is usually the cheapest option to go for.
The major benefit of this approach is cost – if you’re on an extremely limited budget (for example, you’re newly launched or simply feeling the crunch and needing a budget marketing boost), this could be what you’re looking for. In addition, you will end up with a video – it may not deliver exactly what you’re looking for, but it will deliver something. Obviously the downsides of this type of approach are that quality is almost invariably mediocre (or poor). There are relatively limited options for customisation: not only does this mean it’s often difficult to capture your specific message, but it also means that your video is going to look very similar to hundreds (maybe even thousands) or other videos out there on the internet. Generally, unless your budget is such that any other option is unreachable, video software is unlikely to deliver the high-grade showcase your business and your product (and your viewers) deserve.
2. Employ a freelancer – variable budget depending on individual competencies
Freelance explainer video makers are out there! Available through freelancer sites (Fiverr; People-per-hour; Upwork etc), or advertised as a solo concern, a freelancer may be able to complete some or all of the work needed to create your video. The benefits of a freelancer vary widely, depending on the freelancer: you may be lucky and find someone who delivers exceptional work for a reasonable price; equally, you may end up with sub-standard work, or a piecemeal delivery mechanism where some parts will need to be recontracted out to other freelancers.
Unfortunately, there are several fairly significant disadvantages to using a freelancer, which is why it’s not usually a great option if a high-quality video with a low-hassle delivery mechanism is your preference. Without a clear brief, freelancers are unlikely to have the in-depth knowledge needed to deliver an exact match for your needs; there may be a need to hire several freelancers in order to ensure that all parts of your video are completed; almost invariably, relatively high overheads and issues around work insecurity means that freelancers will charge more pro-rata than an agency; quality is variable and a lack of capacity means adherence to suitable timescales may be a challenge. Although in some cases a freelancer will work out well, this is by no means a given.
3. Use an explainer video company – an explainer video from one of these will cost between $2,000 and $15,000
As the name suggests, an explainer video company has been created specifically to make explainer videos. As this is the sole focus of what they do, your chances of ending up with a premium product that ticks your boxes are fairly high. Some of the significant benefits of using a specialist explainer video company for your next video project include professional expertise that’s specifically targeted to your project; access to all the equipment, artists and technical support needed to create your high-quality video in a timely manner; a single point of contact who can answer any queries you may have, as well as give information on progress; sufficient capacity to deliver a custom solution to your video; investment in premium video tools and software, as this is the main purpose of the business; a good understanding of what the competition is likely to have, current video trends and ways to make your video a better marketing tool; and a professional who can help with the early stages of defining what the end result will look like, saving you the time and effort needed to design a specific project specification.
Unlike a marketing company that incorporates video making into a suite of other services, you’ll only be paying for what you need. Obviously, factors such as the type of video you want and its length are going to have an impact on price, but, generally speaking, a professional explainer video agency offers the best chance of reasonable pricing for a robust, high-performance result.
4. Use a marketing agency – prices range from $15,000 up to $100,000
A multi-faceted agency that often includes a video as part of a suite of marketing measures, marketing agency videos don’t come cheap! Probably the main advantage of a marketing agency is that it is able to provide a complete solution to your marketing needs: from defining an appropriate strategy through to identifying appropriate campaigns, delivering SEO optimised content and more, a marketing agency offers a one-stop “catch-all” service. Within that service, the video is just one part. This may mean that the agency has limited infrastructure to deliver a premium film, particularly if you’re looking for a niche production or specialist techniques. In some cases, the work for the explainer may even be sub-contracted out to a specialist explainer video company to complete, then repackaged as part of the service you receive from the marketing agency. If a high-quality explainer for a fair price is what you’re looking for, an explainer video agency is frequently the best way forward.
Paradoxically, longer videos may not be significantly more expensive than ones lasting 30 or 60 seconds. To understand why this is the case, it’s important to remember that each video, regardless of the length of the finished product, will need to go through the following six stages:
(a) Research -Before scriptwriters and animators can get to work, they need to have a clear idea of the type of organisation you are, the messages you want to put across, your brand values, what final look you’re aiming for, what you want your video to achieve (for example greater awareness; awareness of a specific event that’s important to your brand; or more sales), the characteristics of your audience and a wealth of additional, related information. This all needs to be researched and collated before the next stages of the product are completed. Additional information may also be requested from your organisation, enabling a fuller picture of your needs to be obtained.
(b) Scripting: Arguably the backbone of a premium video, the right words can make or break a video. Frequently, a specialist agency will have their own scriptwriter, who will be able to put together a form of words that captures exactly what you want to say, but in a way that’s suitably appealing to your audience.
(c) Storyboard/animatic: The storyboard is essentially the plot or format that the video will have – a plan of how the video will proceed. A series of stills with the relevant script portion beneath them forms the storyboard. This informs the final video, giving a clear idea of the messages that will be conveyed and the style that will be used. The storyboard may be subject to several revisions until the concept tallies with your expectation.
(d) Voiceover: This is the voice that will narrate your script. As a key part of the finished video, a professional voiceover is pivotal to success. A good designer will employ a voiceover artist who has the tone needed to match your individual style. Top voiceover artists aren’t cheap but may deliver the finished effect you want, particularly if you are a high-end, aspirational brand that wants to maximise appeal.
(e) Design and animation: This phase is when the video comes to life! Moving parts and characters transform the stills which make up the storyboard into a recognisable video.
(f) Sound design: As well as the script, you may also want or need to have background music, sound or special effects. The right sound really makes a difference, so this stage can often require a surprising degree of time and expertise.
In addition to these six phases, there is also frequently a need to edit the video, in order to bring it in line with your requirements. In some cases, the initial video may also need to be repackaged so that it can meet the needs of different media or portals. For example, whilst the explainer video on your home page may be a full minute long, you may also want a number of shorter videos – perhaps as little as 20 seconds – which hone in on key parts of your message. These brief snapshots of your brand are useful for social media campaigns or to tempt traffic to your site in order to view the extended video. This process usually takes a minimum of six weeks; more if specialist voiceover artists need to be booked or the project is a particularly complex one that requires numerous edits. In addition, video companies need significant amounts of expensive tech in order to deliver superior results: from mixing and sound equipment through to software, hiring creatives and more, the overheads and project costs to achieve a high-calibre video can be significant.
Less than 30 seconds
In many cases, a longer video simply isn’t needed – 10, 15 or 20 seconds of premium video is all that’s needed to put across a key concept successfully. These short videos require a high degree of expertise, as every single second needs to contribute to your message in order to get the result you want with just a few seconds of exposure. The package we offer, known as Social Bites, provides cost-effective “mini-videos” (typically 20 seconds or less), which are ideal for social media advertising.
Somewhere between $2,000 and $4,500
Alongside the variables already mentioned, the price differential will also be due to the type of video under consideration. 2D, whiteboard and kinetic typeset videos, for example, are likely to be cheaper than those which feature 3D animation (if you favour 3D, but price is a consideration, it’s possible to incorporate just a few seconds of 3D alongside 2D – this will frequently give you the effect you want but without the higher price tag).
Somewhere between $3,500 and $5,500
It is possible to get a video for less than this, but generally only if you go down the online software or freelancer routes. Given the numerous disadvantages which these methods have, it’s usually best to enlist the services of a professional, experienced explainer video company to deliver what you’re looking for. As Red Adair once said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur!” This statement is as true for explainer videos as it is for most other things – professionals almost invariably give better results. Given the high exposure your video is going to have, and the fact that the reputation of your business (not to mention your traffic, sales, branding and customer loyalty) significantly depends on the impact it makes, for most businesses, the budget route could end in disaster! If you are concerned about cost, a skilled video maker will be able to suggest ways to lower costs without compromising on the quality of the finished product which you receive.
Somewhere between $5,500 and $10,000
Note that a longer video doesn’t necessarily cost much more. As all videos, regardless of length, require the same steps to be carried out, it’s often possible to scale up a video without a commensurate rise in cost. For some businesses, a longer video could be a fantastic opportunity to explain a larger number of concepts. In addition, a segmented video can present several different facets of an organisation – different web pages could link to various parts of the video. That said, for many customers, more than a minute of video is too much to hold their concentration. Whilst B2B concerns may find the extra time of value, B2C enterprises may prefer a “short but sweet” approach to their explainer video.
If you like the idea of a longer video or feel that it could work for your brand, we can deliver you a premium film for a competitive price. We have a good understanding of the market prices being charged currently, which is why we feel confident in saying that we will provide two minutes of high-end explainer video for the price you’d normally expect for a single minute of video. Our efficient production system, low overheads and specialisation in explainer videos enables us to keep prices low without ever compromising on the product which you receive. Like Social Bites, our “two minutes for the price of one” offer is specific to us, allowing us to give our customers even more bang for their buck.
Obviously not all videos are the same! The amount of work required to complete a particular type of video, as well as production costs, voiceover choice and similar, will all affect the end price. The following are common video options but remember it’s perfectly possible to blend several different styles together in order to create a unique video that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Whiteboard videos: Possibly the most basic type of video, whiteboard videos (also known as scribing or RSA style videos) are a popular way of getting concepts across to a target audience. Infinitely versatile, with the right voiceover, a whiteboard explainer video can become a powerful sales and/or information tool.
Motion graphics: Concentrating on shapes rather than characters, motion graphics can be arranged and moved into an infinite variety of different configurations. The sky is the limit when it comes to creative options, so it’s important to be clear on a budget before you start. Motion graphics give exceptional results but can be pricey as the work becomes more sophisticated.
2D and 3D animation: If a character is going to add value to your story, 2D or 3D is the genre to make it come to life. 2D is far cheaper than 3D, at the same time as creating some great effects. As indicated earlier, if cost is a consideration, small elements of 3D can be incorporated into a 2D video in order to provide an enhanced effect.
Kinetic typeset: Literally the script on the screen, kinetic typeset is an intriguing medium that can deliver stunning results. One of the advantages is that your script is delivered in two different forms simultaneously. This adds considerable reinforcement to your message. The right voiceover is of particular importance in this type of video: using a professional artist may make this an expensive option, but usually worth it if you need a top-grade result.
Stop motion video: Infinitely versatile, detailed, intricate and visually compelling, stop motion video is a premium option that can deliver spectacular results. Unfortunately, it’s also challenging to create, time-consuming and labour heavy. These characteristics also mean that stop motion video doesn’t come cheap! There are also issues around timescales – stop motion videos usually take significantly longer than other options, so if time is a consideration, it’s probably not the most suitable option.
There is no right or wrong option when it comes to the type or style that’s going to be right for your project. The main thing is that what’s decided on is going to encapsulate what makes you, your brand and your messages special, relevant and engaging to your audience. A custom approach, facilitated by a skilled professional, usually ensures you end up with a style (or mix of styles) that give you a suitable outcome. Done properly, simpler videos can be as effective and captivating as something more sophisticated – ask your explainer video expert for further information and assistance.
In a word, yes! More intricate work is going to require more labour, which inevitably causes an increase in costs. Similarly, work which needs editing repeatedly is going to cost more, as it will take longer to complete. For some customers, where time is an issue, there may be an added cost if the video is required faster than the recommended time-scale. Timescales range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the type of video, the artists required and other factors – part of the project scoping will include identification of an individualised timescale that works for both parties.
For many businesses, there isn’t a need to create the best explainer video in the world; there’s simply a need for one that’s more effective than those which competitors have. Before commencing a video project, we will look at what your competitors have, then suggest ways that your video could out-perform theirs, at the same time as keeping costs competitive. With a good awareness of not only the current state of the video market, as well as knowledge of what works, we are able to come up with an explainer video that’s specifically designed to deliver a strong ROI. We understand the importance of a video that makes a quantifiable difference to your bottom line. We create videos that incorporate a wealth of tips and tricks to ensure effective outcomes, as well as creating polished, creative pieces of work that are strong on artistry and visual appeal.
Seven top tips to optimise results without spending more than you need to.
To ensure you get the best value from your video explainer budget, we recommend the following:
- Research explainer video providers to find one that has a strong track record of success, expertise in your sector and excellent testimonials from previous customers.
- Be as clear as you can be on what you want to achieve from your video.
- Ensure you’re clear on who your target audience is: do you want your video to have a wider reach, or is it for a niche group?
- Consider being flexible on how you want your video to look. Your explainer video professional will be able to come up with a format that suits your budget as well as ticks your goals: it’s important to find a professional you trust to deliver something that’s going to work for your company.
- If possible, allow as much time as possible. Videos which are individually crafted to your specific requirements take time to do properly: a rush job can result in time-wasting additional edits.
- Be aware that some companies can get away with a cheaper video option, as long as it’s going to have a greater impact than the ones the competition are using.
- You really do get what you pay for! A premium video may cost more, but will often generate years of enhanced sales, delivering a stunning ROI. What’s not to like?
Get in touch to find out more about the explainer video price packages we offer and discover how social bites could transform your social media presence.