Explained: The Marketer’s Guide to Explainer Videos

February 2, 2023

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Lisa Marinelli


The 2023 State of Video Report is here! Uncover data and insights about video strategy, creation, distribution, and audience engagement and conversion that’ll help your business thrive with video.

Your business wants to make an awesome video advertisement to showcase your brand — but not just any old video ad! You need an effective marketing video that explains your product, your company, and grabs an audience all at the same time.

That’s where explainer videos come in!

Now, you might be wondering, “How do I make an explainer video?”

Well, you’re in luck! We’ve partnered with Claude, our friend and B2B video expert, to explain, well, how to make a great explainer video!

In this guide, you’ll learn everything from how to write a great script, to best practices and creative approaches, to how you can lay down a solid foundation for your business’s explainer video. Let’s get to explaining!

Why your business needs a product explainer

When you’re just getting started with video marketing, product explainer videos are one of the best types of videos you can create. It’s one of the first introductions a visitor will have to your brand — whether it be on your homepage, a paid landing page, a product overview page, or even just a paid ad.

Making a great first impression is super important: Explainer videos can help simplify complex details about your product or service and humanize your brand.

If you’re just starting to build a video marketing strategy, here are the benefits of using explainer marketing videos:

Increase engagement on your website

When visitors land on your page and don’t get an understanding of what your website or product is about, they quickly skedaddle. Many businesses face high bounce and exit rates on their website. Explainer videos are a great way to change that!

Capture the attention of visitors with an entertaining overview of what your product is about. They’ll walk away knowing more about your brand and its products or services — and are more likely to become customers.

Make your product pages more shareable

Watching a fun and informative video on your product page increases the chances that your visitors share your site and spread the word about your brand through word of mouth.

An explainer video is an evergreen piece of content that’s a valuable marketing asset to have in the long run.

You can also easily repurpose explainer videos to share on social media. Editing these videos to be under two minutes or less makes them easy for folks to consume, and you can link them to your product page.

Having an explainer video on your site can also positively impact your search engine optimization and help you increase traffic. With video on your site, you can rank in video search, and video snippets can help you rank in universal search.

Generate leads

Don’t forget the opportunity to use your explainer video to generate leads! With Wistia, you can customize your videos with our email collector, which allows you to capture emails from a form embedded into your videos. Easily drive qualified leads to your favorite marketing tools!

Test your messaging

Use your video to test which messages and value propositions resonate the most with your target audience. Try split-testing or see where the most engagement is throughout the video.

How to create a high-quality explainer video

If you have something to sell, an explainer video can help you sell it. Here’s how to make an explainer video for your business.

The timeline

How long should your explainer video be?

It should run anywhere from one to two minutes, depending on how complex your product is.

According to Claude, if your video is any less than sixty seconds, you’re venturing into TV commercial land. If your video is any more than two minutes, your audience will lose interest.

The structure

What about structure?

Here’s a typical explainer video, broken up into four story beats (or structural elements).

1. Open with a problem

First, you should present the problem or pain point. This should be the first twenty-ish seconds of your video. Identify who the core customer is as well as the problem your product can solve.

If your product solves multiple problems, write a few more sentences for each problem, but don’t get too in the weeds. The goal is to paint a picture of the problem your customers face in a way they can relate to.

2. Introduce a solution

Next, introduce the solution, which is your product!

Here, you’ll introduce your product’s name and what it does in just a few words. If your product does a bunch of things, don’t stress too much. Summarize your solution in one succinct sentence, but don’t be afraid to add some brand flair.

3. Show how it works

By this point, you should be about twenty to thirty seconds into the video. Now, it’s time to talk about the benefits of your product or service.

Here’s where you’ll establish your product or service as the answer to potential customers’ problems. Help folks envision how your product or service will help them by focusing on the benefits.

4. Close with a statement

Finally, bring your explainer video home with a clear and simple ending. For example, you could show your customers happily living in a world where they use your product.

If you have a slogan, here’s the time to say it!

When you’re wrapping things up, give viewers a call to action (CTA). Whether the next step is signing up for a free trial, entering their email to get in touch, or whatever else makes sense in your customer journey, be clear and drive people toward it.

And that’s it! These are the four blocks you need to build the perfect explainer video.


Tips for writing scripts for explainer videos.

The shorter, the better. Try to keep things under two minutes or less. For reference, 150 words equal about one minute of video.

Don’t overthink it.  When you sit down to write, try to just get the words on paper, and worry about finetuning things later. Many times, you’ll find you’re 80% of the way there on your first pass.

Write conversationally. If it helps, read your words out loud as you go along. Having too much jargon will do more harm than good, so don’t be afraid to keep it casual.

Avoid a lengthy list of features. Try to stick to the top two or three benefits of using your product or service.

Make sure your script has a natural flow. Smoothly transition from one section to the next. Again, reading it out loud can help you here!

Write with visuals in mind. Try to use words and phrases that lend themselves well to specific visuals.

Keep it organized. It helps to write with at least two columns: one for narration and one for visual ideas . See an example below!

What a great explainer ad looks like

If you’re seeking some creative inspiration, look no further! We have some examples of types of explainer videos to share with you from other brands. Plus, we’ll take a closer look at the elements that make them successful.


MarketScale has a great explainer video using voice-over to showcase how they help B2B companies with marketing.

Right off the bat, the speaker poses the problem of how it’s harder than ever for B2B marketers to reach prospects during the pandemic. Then, the narrator explains how MarketScale can help B2B companies grow their audience.

The voice-over clearly describes how MarketScale helps build media channels for brands, while the video displays this in a visual way.

Take a look:

When your product or service isn’t tangible, using a voice-over can help you articulate the benefits of your product while showcasing the experience on-screen.


Another route to take is using animation for your explainer video.

Zendesk uses animation and a voice-over to explain how simple it is to use their customer service software. The animation style is clean, and the visuals of the user experience showcase how Zendesk will help your team become more efficient and organized.

Viewers walk away at the end of the video understanding how Zendesk is an outstanding customer service solution for their business, with everything they need to help customers, all in one place.

Watch their animated explainer video:

If your business is in the SaaS space, creating animated videos can easily highlight the experience people will have while using your product. You can work with freelance animators to create videos with motion graphics, 3D animation, whiteboard animations, and more that’ll help you get your point across.


A live-action explainer with actors or coworkers makes your video more human.

We love the approach that BambooHR took, where folks from their company give a product overview of the main features of the BambooHR platform and why it stands out in an ocean of HR tech.

They even introduce their project manager, Anna, their graphic designer, Lahvjal, and a handful of others, which humanizes their brand on another level and feels aligned with their core product.

Check it out:

Putting people in your explainer videos can help potential customers feel connected to your brand and see themselves using your product or service.

You’ve got some explaining to do

We hope we’ve helped you unlock the secrets you need to create the perfect explainer video for your business.

Whether you want to use a voice-over, animation, live-action, or mix and match different styles, an explainer video is an invaluable investment that can be used across multiple marketing channels and campaigns.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to go out there and make your own explainer video!

Lisa Marinelli


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