How Much Does an Explainer Video Cost?Shawn 03.20.2017
You’re thinking about making an explainer video, so naturally your initial concern is about explainer video price. “How much does an explainer video cost?” you ask. Good question. We won’t beat around the bush:
The price for a high quality explainer video is between $5,000–$35,000 per minute.
And that number can increase depending on a lot of factors, like the studio and the animation style you choose. LESS Films (one of the few animated video companies with a transparent pricing model) starts quotes at $5k, but rates quickly soar as high as $100,000 per minute!
Explainer Video Price: The Cost of Budget Production
Before the hate mail flows in–yes, there are cheaper options in the $2k-5k range, including budget studios, freelancers, and even DIY software (if you’re brave!). However, the results of budget studios and Fivr just aren’t comparable to commercial animation.
Amateur video doesn’t speak well of your brand, and your potential customers will agree. In an age when great explainer videos are everywhere, no video is better than a bad one. The price of commercial caliber animated explainer videos is steep.
But it’s worth it.
Explainer Video Price: Increased Conversion Rates
The real cost of an explainer video isn’t the price of production—it’s all the business you missed out on before you had it on your website. Explainer videos are in 70% of the top search results on Google (you have to pay to click through to the study results, sorry). And while these studies are a little old, the prevalence of video in SERPs just keeps climbing. Customers expect to have their questions and concerns answered in a quick video. Maybe that’s why the presence of a video accounts for a 41% jump in click-through rate versus plain text.
Dollar Shave Club became famous for the success of their explainer video, and DropBox became the biggest name in “The Cloud” with their simple explainer video almost 10 years ago. But enough useless marketing stats and tired success stories. Here’s some cold hard marketing ROI info to get your attention.
Explainer Video Price: Longevity
In 2014, Crazy Egg created an animated explainer video, and boosted their monthly income by $21,000/month. But what’s more interesting than the massive (measurable!) boost to their bottomline, is that Crazy Egg is still using that same video (from three years ago!) to keep churning out new revenue. Talk about ROI!
Great explainer videos—like the examples above–convert viewers into customers, plain and simple. However, the best explainer videos convert viewers into customers for years to come. A high quality video is an investment in your company and your future success, and like any good investment, you get what you pay for.
Explainer Video Price: High ROI
We believe that ROI should drive purchasing decisions when it comes to your first or your fiftieth animated explainer video. In fact, we believe that ROI is such a huge part of explainer video price that we even created this ROI calculator for lead generating videos. We use it to help potential customers find out if our production is right for them. We want to make sure that your video creates real value. If it’s a success for you, it’s a win for us!
Seriously, click here and give it a try. Just plug in your profit margin, sales contracts, etc. and find out which explainer video price works best for you.
Explainer Video Price: Production Costs
Now that you have a sense of the ROI for your explainer video, and why they’re so important to sales and marketing in an increasingly video hungry market, let’s dissect the video production process to show you where a lot of the costs are coming from. Hopefully, this will alleviate some of the sticker shock of the explainer video price, while giving you some best practices for choosing the right production studio to make your next video.
Every (good) explainer video goes through at least six phases:
- Research – The part where we learn what the heck your product is and what it does
- Scripting – The part where we work together to help you hone your message, and identify your target and goals
- Storyboard/Animatic – The part where we develop the bones of what the final video will look like
- Voiceover – The part where we capture the right mood and feeling of your story
- Design and Animation – The part where we, you know…actually make the explainer video
- Sound Design – The often overlooked part where we add and balance sound effects and music
A lot of time and work goes into these six steps. Drafting scripts, making changes to animatics, casting voice actors, licensing music, and of course actually designing the characters and animating the explainer video. Even boutique studios (like us!) throw a lot of people at each stage of the production. Understanding the process should help explain the explainer video price tag. That being said…
The two biggest indicators of explainer video price are:
- Video Length
- Video Style
Explainer Video Price: Time is Money
You pay for animation by the second. Every animated video studio usually starts the pricing conversation with a discussion of video length. This helps the studio budget the amount of animators and designers they’ll need from the outset, and also effects turnaround time, production schedules, and the storyboard process. Often times, you’ll get a discounted rate for each minute beyond 60 seconds, since production costs scale, but there might be some sacrifices to the revision process as the product grows in length. Plan accordingly.
Explainer Video Price: Style Effects Cost
This is the cheapest explainer video option, but buyer beware. Tons of low-quality studios produce cookie-cutter videos that garner lukewarm results.
Whiteboard animated videos (also called “scribing” or “RSA-style”) are considered the original explainer video. Studios still use them today because they’re clean, simple, and infinitely recognizable. RSA whiteboards are an institution and UPS’s Whiteboard campaign made broadcast waves in 2007, and even our production team can’t believe the remarkable staying power of whiteboard animated explainer videos over the past decade!
Whiteboard animation is a clear, simple explainer video style that fits most budgets. Just make sure this style suits your marketing goals and your brand.
Motion graphics refers to computer animation of primarily graphical elements (shapes) rather than characters. These videos range from simple shapes to elaborate productions involving hundreds of visual elements rendered in 3D. This is arguably the most flexible genre since animators can literally do just about anything, but be careful if budget is an issue as these productions come at a premium.
Character animation takes many forms. The two most common styles that incorporate animated characters is traditional 2D animation, and 3D CGI rendering. Character design is crucial in these types of explainer videos, so don’t be fooled by their simplicity–even the simplest videos work because of hours of iteration and character design. A strong narrative, with a relatable character can do what technical specs and flashy graphics often can’t.
Few people narrate better than Ira Glass, so if you can book him – go for it.
These videos have aged somewhat poorly, but when combined with the right voiceover and laser-focused content, as explainer videos they can be potent. Typeset videos are often best used to motivate or inspire rather than explain technical concepts, because of their lack of visual elements.
Stop-motion is my favorite style, and when done well–like the talented Rachel Ryle–it’s tough to beat for pure engagement. The main problems are simply time and the cost of production.
Talented stop-motion animators are expensive and difficult to book. Add glacial production times to that already steep price tag and you have a potential marketing budget disaster. Communication between the animator and the client, and managed expectations are key when using stop-motion animation.
Even 30-second spots can take weeks so allow for at least 50% more time for stop-motion explainer videos. Also, be mindful that revisions are extremely costly once production begins.
Explainer Video Price: Worth Every Penny
Quality explainer videos are an investment that grows your business. A cool look and feel are nice, but the end result of a great explainer is a measurable ROI through increased video SEO results, in-bound leads, customer satisfaction, awareness, engagement, sales, or conversions.
If you’re interested in producing an explainer video, be sure visit our portfolio to see more samples.