30 second explainer videos

So you’re thinking about creating a 30 second explainer video, huh? You want something short and sweet that helps people get the gist of what your product, service, business, app or organization offers.

Great, you’ve come to the right place. At Gisteo, we can certainly help you accomplish your 30 second animated explainer video goals but, first, let’s take a deeper look at the strengths and weaknesses of 30 second explainer videos.

Strengths of 30 second explainer videos

Shakespeare wrote that “brevity is the soul of wit” and never was this more true than when you’re producing a 30 second animated explainer video.  First and foremost, the strength of these types of videos is that they’re very concise. Short and sweet and to the point.

There simply is not enough time to have a lot of fat in videos of this length so you must be extremely succinct with your messaging. You’ll need to very briefly touch upon the pain point or points that your target may be experiencing and then jump right into presenting your value proposition and the end benefits of your brand, product or service.

With attention spans getting shorter and shorter in today’s hyper-connected SnapChat and Twitter-driven world, 30 second explainer videos can be excellent bite-size snacks for your viewers.  Plus, they can also serve as animated TV commercials if you decide to use traditional media.

How many words are in a 30 second explainer video?

Clients who contact us in Gisteo, especially those who have never been part of an animated explainer video production, will often grossly underestimate the length of their scripts.

For example, they mights send us a dense, one page Word document that they consider their script draft and say that they think it should be around 30 seconds.  Not even close. Keep in mind that the typical word count for a 30 second explainer video is around 75-85 words max.

Below is a 30 second script example to give you an idea of what it looks like.  It was for a short promo video we did for TeamSnap and, at close to 500,000 Youtube views, it has been effective!   The script has a total of just 85 words and it actually spills a few seconds over the 30 second mark.  Check out both the script and corresponding TeamSnap video here:

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Weaknesses of 30 second explainer videos

It’s settled then. People have attention spans less than those of goldfish, so that means we should all just always do 30 second videos max, right?

Not so fast. This whole attention span thing is complex, heavily nuanced topic that we’ve discussed before.  Just take a look at some of the viral explainer video hits out there like this one for Dollar Shave Club:

This above video has over 26 million views on Youtube to date and it’s running time is over 90 seconds.   The video was wildly successful and an important factor to establishing the Dollar Shave Club brand, which was eventually purchased by Unilever for $1 Billion. I guess that 8 second attention span thing doesn’t apply in this case.

We’re no Unilever or Dollar Shave Club for that matter but our original launch video at Gisteo was 1:40 and a huge part of our success when starting the company back in 2011:

The fact is that there are “horse for courses” and there’s no simple answer to the length question. 30 second explainer videos have their strengths, as discussed above, but they have their limitations too.

It’s simply impossible to get into much depth with just 75-85  words. While they’re great for quick promos and brief overviews, you’re not going to have a lot of time to delve into the problems that your target may be facing or explain how your offering works in an in-depth way.  Also, while you can certainly include humor in 30 second videos, you won’t be able to explore different situations or do a whole lot of storytelling.

In speaking about landing pages, Internet marketing expert Neil Patel says “the bigger the ask, the longer the page.” While he’s talking about the length of website pages, not videos, there’s some applicability here for videos too.  Imagine you’re selling a complex, multi-million dollar software platform to IT companies. A 30 second explainer video won’t allow you to provide the depth of explanation that CEO’s, CTO’s, CFO’s etc. demand in order to thoroughly evaluate your solution.

In this situation to this specific target, if you’re concerned about them being able to devote a couple minutes to an explainer video about your platform, you may need to re-evaluate your offering!  Of course the explainer video still needs to be engaging and high-quality but these types of contexts call for longer, more specific videos since the “ask” is significant.

30 Second explainer video examples

Below is just a small sample of the 30 second animated explainer videos that we’ve done here at Gisteo. Make sure you check out of Portfolio page for a more comprehensive review our work across different style, sectors, uses and lengths. If you’re curious about pricing, we’ve got you covered there too. Just visit our Transparent Pricing page for our straightforward, all-included fixed fees.

Need a 30 second explainer video?

Let’s talk!  Click the button below to schedule a free consultation or contact us at info@gisteo.com if you’d like to discuss your 30 second explainer video needs.