There are a lot of great explainers being made these days. For proof, look no further than some of our most recent PICKS OF THE WEEK. Meanwhile, however, there are also a ton of not-so-great explainer videos being made. For a company relying on an explainer video to serve as an ambassador for your brand, this can be devastating. But luckily, it’s also something that you can help to avoid with a combination of the right talent and early identification of potential problems. So today we’re going to review eight of those potential issues…


1. Lack of Initial Engagement

Unlike books, movies and other forms of media, an explainer video doesn’t have the luxury of starting off slow. At the same time, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean the video must start with a sizzle (i.e. something flashy or dramatic). The point is simply that the viewer must engage the viewer; provide him or her with enough intrigue to capture their attention and demonstrate that with enough quality to earn the viewer’s trust to continue.

For additional tips about opening your explainer video, this post right here can help.

2. The Classic “Oversell”

While it is indeed important to highlight what differentiates your product from others (and how that can benefit the consumer), doing this too much or too soon can make viewers uncomfortable. It might feel to them more like an advertisement than as something beneficial and worth their team.

3. They Don’t Put the Viewer First

This relates to the point above in that it’s important to remember who this explainer is being made for. Even though you have a message that you want to deliver, you should consider everything in terms of the viewer. Will he or she find this interesting? Will this appeal to someone unfamiliar with our business?

Remember: an animated explainer video is very different than an animated PowerPoint presentation. It’s not just about hitting all the right points, but about making sure they connect with your intended audience.

4. Poorly Branded

If your explainer video looks off-brand, visitors might even mistake it for an on-screen advertisement. Which is the last thing you want from what should be your best foot forward.

One easy and important way to ensure that your video feels like your video is by incorporating the visual elements and brand identity of your company. You don’t need to go overboard here, but make sure to at least discuss with your animation provider so that you end up with something that looks triumphantly at home on your homepage.

5. Wrong Tone

The wrong branding can be a deterrent, but the wrong tone can be deadly. To quote an expression we’re all familiar with: it’s not what you say, but how you say it. The tone of your explainer video is that how. It helps determines how the viewer will think and feel as your message is being explained.

6. Inconsistency

Regardless of your explainer’s length, it’s important that it feel like a single, cohesive video. To accomplish this, there must be consistency from start to finish. Consistency in look, message and tone.

This, however, does not mean that the video should be without surprises. It is important to keep the viewer engaged and intrigued about what’s around that next corner. But what this does mean is that in those situations where you are taking bigger chances, it is critical to handle those moments with care and execute them in a way that feels related to the events that came before and will come after.

7. Unclear About What’s Next

Every explainer video should end with a call to action; a behavior that viewers can take if they are interested in acting upon the information they have just seen. It can be hard to craft the perfect balance of a call to action (i.e. you don’t want to ask too much, nor do you want to ask too little), but regardless of what you settle upon, it’s vital that you provide some kind of instruction.

8. A Good Explainer, but Not a Great One

Of all the mistakes on this list, it’s easy to argue this is the most preferable. Even so, it’s still something that ought to be avoided. Because no matter how long your explainer video is (30 seconds, 60 seconds, 6 minutes, etc.) it will only live on for that long in the mind of the viewer if it isn’t great.