How Long Is The Best Animated Marketing Video For Business?

Animated explainer videos (sometimes called animated marketing videos) are one of the most effective messaging tools available to businesses of all sizes. But how long the ideal explainer video should be?

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Have a little goosey gander at our portfolio and it should be clear to you just how good brands are getting at telling their story in animation. 

Animated explainer videos (sometimes called animated marketing videos) are one of the most effective messaging tools available to businesses of all sizes now that everyone and their Nan spends more time looking at a screen than not. So how can you get involved? What do we stick in it? And how long does it have to be?

Obviously, this will depend on the variety of videos you’re planning and your brand's own marketing goals. Our clients usually have a hit list that resembles the following:

Business goals for animated video

  • Introduce people to us
  • Tell our compelling story
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Gain investment or partnership
  • Explain a challenge people didn't know could be solved with us
  • Drive more traffic to our website
  • Win more contracts
  • Sell more of our stuff
  • Go viral! Yeah that's probably not going to happen, let's be reasonable and say: Get shared more on social media

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume that you’re looking to introduce yourself, tell a bit of your story and increase brand awareness, leading to more customers. No sweat, animated explainer videos live for stuff like this.

In our experience, anywhere between 90-120 seconds is a decent target to shoot for.

“But it's too hard to fit everything into that short a time!” I hear you plaintively cry. 

Well sure, you might be happy to sit through 5 minutes of a video about your product and brand story, but most of us get bored pretty quick, even if the animation is top-notch. If you can't fit everything you have to say into this, maybe you have to rethink the way you tell your story.

A breakdown of the typical animated explainer video

  1. Pitch a situation with a challenge that’s recognisable to the viewer. “We’ve all been there…” or “Isn’t it frustrating when…”
  2. Introduce your solution, what it does functionally to overcome your proposed challenge
  3. Then go into a little more detail about what it is literally
  4. Sometimes a few seconds on who you are and why you do your thing
  5. A bit more time on why it's great, why other options don't stand a chance and some more familiar situations which will resonate with your audience
  6. Round it out with a glimpse of the better, easier life that's possible now that you're on the scene

Let's take a look at an example. We’re always banging on about the famous Dropbox animated explainer video. It’s one of the earliest and most successful examples of the style after all. So for a decent, modern look at where explainers are nowadays, why not take a peek at their updated version?

0:00 - 0:12

First comes a simple introduction to Dropbox from a situational perspective. What it does - the function they're selling as their solution.

There's even some of humour in there already, bringing out a bit of Dropbox’s personality and using eating competitions as a humorous reference and something that people may relate to.

0:12 - 0:21

Here’s where they explain literally what Dropbox is: “a website and an app…” and how you can access it to use the functions it exists for.

0:21 - 0:31

Next, they give you a really tempting selling point: it's so easy, anyone can use it. At the same time, more familiar and emotive examples are used.

0:31 - 0:50

To follow are more usage examples plus a contrasting, negative mention of how things used to be done: gathered round a project to take turns working on it.

It’s no accident that the watch face and irate finger tapping is drawing your eye. This method of group project work used to be annoying and a big use of everyone's time! Things are so much better now that we're on the scene! “Without sending emails back and forth.”

0:50 - 0:58

Here's the main bit where they introduce the challenges they're trying to show you that you can live without. The inconvenience of being without the files you need when they used to be attached to a device rather than in a cloud storage solution.

In the original Dropbox explainer (and a slew of other successful explainer videos) this is often the opening gambit of the video, to set the scene and then set themselves up for the big reveal. “You've been there…”

0:58 - 1:07

Here's a final few endearing seconds that show you the new, superior life possible with your product available. It rounds the video out with a logo and a cutesy, audio conclusion that draws you into a feeling that everything's sorted and harmonious.

They make it look easy right? Just remember to inspire emotion in your audience. Don't get too carried away, we don't necessarily want hankies out, just something to relate to that will hopefully resonate with the viewer. Expressive characters in relatable situations are a great way to do this.

If you can do this then not only will your brand be more memorable, but people are way more likely to trust you, giving animated video the power to warm up the chilliest of leads.

Shorter, 30 - 60 second explainers are fine sometimes too. Remember what we said about brand objectives? Come on, it was like 2 minutes ago. If your goals are simple like introducing yourself, increasing brand awareness and getting social shares, you can afford to be a bit snappier. The momentum created by the best explainers often provokes motivation and inspiration in the viewer.

On the other end of the spectrum - don’t take away from this post that anything over 90 seconds is trash. Sometimes you know your audience will be interested (or captive like at an event) and they'll watch the whole damn thing.If you're a bit more complex than the average, then you can afford a little more time just to ensure complete clarity. Lots of technology or solutions providers feel that because the brand they're promoting is so cutting edge and no-one has really experienced anything similar, they need to do a little hand holding just to make sure everyone's on the same page by the time the video ends.

We've helped loads of brands tell their story in a fun, engaging and concise way so go on: shoot us some ideas, let's get cracking.

Give us a holler at on Twitter @fudgeanimation or or even on LinkedIn. Yeah, we’re all over the place now.