Explainer Video Cost Breakdown: Understanding What You're Paying For

Jan 23, 2024 3:00:00 AM

If you’re looking for an explainer video, you probably got stuck at the question of ’cost’.

If you didn’t, you likely will in the future.

And if you’ve already had an explainer video made for you, you could still have questions about why you paid as much as you did or what the rest of the market is up to.

We got you!

Having worked with countless companies over the years, we understand your need to understand what you’re paying for, as you rightly should.

So, we went ahead and analyzed the top 250 animated explainer video production companies from across the globe based on their hourly rates and minimum project value to give you an idea of the average explainer video cost.

  1. What Goes Into Pricing Animated Explainer Videos?
  2. Basic Tier
    1. Fujitsu
    2. Procurement Partners
    3. Swisse
  3. Premium Tier
    1. Ewarenow
    2. Vanderbilt University
    3. Oncor
  4. Advanced Tier
    1. Siemens
    2. SUSE
    3. Thermofisher
  5. AI-assisted Video Packages
    1. HealthTech
    2. Procurement Partners

But before we get to that, let’s discuss what goes into the pricing of making an explainer video.

What Goes Into Pricing Animated Explainer Videos?

It’s important to understand that, like every form of art, there are good videos and ones that aren’t all that great.

Many factors contribute to this, from the ability of a creative team to understand the client’s requirements, the skill set of the creative team, and sometimes also the creative freedom of the clients themselves.

Many films become victims of brand guidelines and company processes… but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

There are five major cost centers for producing an animated video: concept (ranging from the explainer video script to its storyboard), voiceover, graphics, animation, and music.

And you need atleast 100 man hours on average to make a basic custom animated video of 60 seconds.

You can separate 10% for music and voiceover from this estimation.

The rest can be divided equally into concept, graphics, and animation in terms of effort.

All the films you love online had many bumps on the road, but they rode the waves and created something amazing.

It’s important to know what you want and what you can do.

It’ll help you decide what kind of budget suits you.

Now, let’s dive into what we found.

As mentioned, we researched the top explainer video-making companies across the world.

We saw the kind of work they do and the kind of price structure they offer, and here is what we found.

34% of companies offered an hourly cost of about $149.

explainer video cost per hour

Very few agencies went over $200 for an hour, so to come down to a realistic number, if we remove that, the median price we get is $99 rounded off to $100. 

But here's the plot twist: what if the $100 per hour rate sends your budget into a tailspin?

You’ll then need to embark on a global quest, looking for explainer video agencies like Broadcast2World who have production setup in countries like India that can produce fantastic videos at a fraction of the cost.

Let’s go with $30 an hour for this price bracket. 

Now let’s break all the explainer videos into three tiers - Basic, Premium, and Advanced based on the complexity of animation.

As you move from basic to advanced, the number of hours required to do 60 seconds of animated video production increases (average numbers are given below respectively).

  1. Basic: 100 - 150 hours
  2. Premium: 150 - 250 hours
  3. Advanced: 250+ hours
  4. Templates or AI Video Packages: 56 - 80 hours 

Let’s discuss the price range of these three tiers and some examples that fit each.

Three-Tier Pricing Range for Explainer Videos

Basic Tier

  • US Explainer Video Cost: $10000 - $15000 (by $100/hr)
  • Indian Explainer Video Cost: $3000 - $ 4500 (by $30/hr)

As you explore options for creating an explainer video, the basic tier focuses on simpler requirements or a tight budget (or both). 

The animation styles offered are straightforward yet effective.

Including (but not limited to) simple whiteboard animations, infographics, mixed media image animations, etc. 

They align with the need for simpler character designs and limited animation, ensuring the production is cost-effective and quicker, with production times typically lasting only 4-6 weeks.

With a storyline that focuses on the essence of the message, these classic animations promise to deliver an engaging video that gets straight to the point, ensuring a good understanding by your audience.

Let’s have a look at some examples.

1. Fujitsu

 

When Fujitsu started their journey with us, they were on the brink of a global design overhaul. 

Being a partner on that journey and exploring the constraints and capabilities of the new design language meant going all out in explorations. 

They had a vision: they wanted Fujitsu to break the age-old image and emerge as a brand with a new energy and a fresh perspective. 

This was great because even though the Basic Tier comes at the bottom of the effort ladder, it packs in a lot of possibilities with a purely infographic video like this one. 

As for the efforts, the Fujitsu film sits heavier on the concept and animation than on the graphics.

As you can see, the graphics have been kept flat and minimal but modern and sleek, which takes up less effort overall.

This also gives us more bandwidth to work with interesting transitions and actions in the visualization and animation.

For example, the 3D-like environment at 30sec and 41sec or the 3D-like shapes at 47sec, all of which are actually produced in 2D. 

Due to the concise nature of the video, it helped Fujitsu achieve an average video completion rate of over 70%, with the majority of viewers watching the video till the end.

A video like this is great for technological, telecom, and finance companies where the emphasis is on explaining a product or its benefits.

This video helped Fujitsu see a 40% increase in lead generation over 3-4 years and a boost in audience engagement by almost 30% on their product landing page.

2. Procurement Partners

 

While the Basic Tier doesn’t get heavily into character animation, there is still scope to play around with it in smaller quantities and keep the video engaging. 

Procurement Partners did this perfectly by incorporating a simple character into an otherwise infographic video.

Effort-wise, this project is heavier on the graphics and animation.

Even though it seems like the graphics are flat and basic, illustrating characters takes a lot more time than infographic elements.

And animating characters can be more challenging since getting the proper rigs and human-like actions is important.

Like in this video, the character turns at the 5-second and 46-second mark, head turns at the 43 second mark, which would take up a lot of time to illustrate and animate.

We also have a total of 4 characters who appear in different poses across the film, which would require not just the frontal illustration but also the in-between poses of the turns to get a smooth animation.

A video like this is great for SaaS and finance companies that require the infographic element for explanations and the human element to humanize the usage.

3. Swisse

 

Swisse isn’t a new player in the market.

It has been around for over 50 years and has made a cozy place for itself in the industry as a wellness and lifestyle brand.

But here was a case where the best results of the product could be shown and felt mainly through real videos and images.

But how do we elevate that?

Swisse actually had a very clear goal in mind: they wanted to mix animation with their videos… so we created a mixed-media film!

As you can see, a video like this is heavier on the live footage, and animation is just an ornament that beautifies the footage. 

The process is different from traditional animation; it requires the visualizer to search for the right stock footage that matches the message of the script and also overall weaves a beautiful story while matching in colors, so all the video blends well with each other.

After this, the graphic designer needs to ensure that all images are properly color-corrected and the graphics match the feel of these stocks and the brand guidelines.

This kind of film requires more effort for the visualization and the graphics, plus there is an added cost of the stock footage.

A video like this is great for lifestyle, food, and retail companies.

This simple yet innovative video differentiated Swisse's collagen supplements in the market and significantly boosted their sales, proving that sometimes, less is more.

Premium Tier

  • US Explainer Video Cost: $15000 - $25000 (by $100/hr)
  • Indian Explainer Video Cost: $4500 - $7500 (by $30/hr)

Explainer videos are all about getting the message across effectively. The basic tier does this well with its simplicity. 

But what if you're aiming for a visually captivating video while preserving its informative and educational nature?

This will bring you to the premium tier.

Here, explainer videos take a leap into more detailed animation and complex scenes.

We're talking about a blend of character animation, 2.5D infographic animation, and 2D mixed media animation videos to name a few. 

And yes, we mix in 2D and 3D elements to further expand the visual design.

The ability for customization and personalization gives your message the impactful delivery it deserves in a way that feels cinematic.

Let’s explore some examples:

1. Ewarenow

 

Can a limited budget transform a company's first experience with animated videos into something extraordinary? 

Ewarenow's journey into the realm of animated video marketing proves it can. 

As you can see, we are not in the world of flat graphics here. 

This film immediately feels like a notch higher than the Basic Tier; let me tell you why.

Firstly, the visualization and concept have been intelligently crafted as an illusion to look like 3D animation to keep the viewer engaged. 

That’s right, an illusion. The graphics of the film have actually been created in 2D, but the clever and skillful design makes it look like a 3D environment. 

And finally, the animation takes the illusion to another level, like the shape animation at the 36 second mark or the camera movement at the 45 second mark.

A video like this works great for IT, Game Design, Telecom, and Manufacturing companies.

The impact of this video was immediate and measurable, with a significant increase in EQQ free-trial requests on Ewarenow’s LinkedIn profile each time the video was showcased.

2. Vanderbilt University

 

Now let’s look at another example of mixed media animation from, the good folks at Vanderbilt University, which is vastly different from the previous one. 

This film is a fantastic mix of character animation and live images that create a motion collage.

Films like these require immense planning at every stage.

The visualizer must craft a concept that works well with fragments of live photos combined with illustrations to convey the message accurately. 

The task of creatively gluing together these deconstructed fragments falls in the lap of the graphic designer.

To add to it, the GD also needs to work on the multiple illustrated characters and ensure everything looks harmonious.

And did you notice the seamless transitions? That’s the fruit of brilliant collaboration between the visualizer and the animator, who must also animate the character walk cycles and bring the photos to life!

Apart from these factors, the explainer video pricing of such a film would also depend on the number and quality of the included stock footage.

A film like this works great for education, technology, IT, healthcare, and even lifestyle companies.

The dynamic animations of this video made Vanderbilt's message resonate with students, encouraging them to dive deeper and even follow the university's social media for more political insights. 

3. Oncor

 

Oncor, an electric fleet company, wanted an animated video to enlighten customers about fleet electrification and its significance in business transport.

The best solution here was a motion graphics explainer video.

Many factors make this a Premium Tier film.

The first thing to hit you would be the illustration style, which looks like watercolour in 3D.  

The concept here is visualized in a way that seamlessly blends 3D depth with 2D graphics and keeps the viewers engaged throughout.

This requires more effort to design scenes, especially those that rotate 180 degrees, like at the 15 second mark.

Designing and animating the 3D scene at the 36 second mark would be another task altogether.

Yes, that’s actual 3D. 

Every project has its own requirements, and to deliver the best product, the team often decides to push the envelope wherever possible.

Here, since the concept was designed in 2D+3D, we decided to go ahead and actually create the scene completely in 3D to allow us the camera movement required to get the best results.

A film like this would work great for Transport Services, SaaS, IT, Healthcare, and Lifestyle companies.

This video helped Oncor grab the attention of its diverse target audience with its detailed animations that deliver key insights into the energy sector.

Advanced Tier

  • US Explainer Video Cost: $25000+ (by $100/hr)
  • Indian Explainer Video Cost: $7500+ (by $30/hr)

The Advanced Tier combines the best of both Basic and Premium Tiers and then takes it slightly higher.

This tier is all about using intricate character designs and advanced infographics to make your audience feel like they are part of your message.

Advanced Tier is where complex meets dynamic, where your explainer videos leverage advanced frame-by-frame 2D animations and eye-catching 3D animations.

Due to the advanced animations, the production times are usually higher, around 8-12 weeks, but the end result is absolutely worth the wait.

The Advanced Tier promises the highest quality of animation, dynamic character actions, and a storytelling experience tailored just for you.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

1. Siemens

 

When you think of a brand name like Siemens, you think of the next best thing in technology. But how do you resonate the same feeling in a video?

The best way to bring the message of their tech explainer video to life was to go ahead with a mixed-media video with illustrations that felt futuristic.

This film contains illustrations, live footage as well as 3D, the whole package.

The concept of this film was planned as a journey into ‘the space’, which meant that with each scene, either through the portals or 3D illustration, the audience was pulled into a world that embodied Siemens. 

Getting into the details—the first scene of the film involves a rotoscope where the illustrations move with the footage, making them look like a part of the live recording rather than an overlay which can also be seen at 8 sec, 46 sec, etc.

Then we have the 3D environment, which starts at the 23 second mark and goes all the way across till the 40 second mark.

The cost of such a film depends on the complexity of the animation, the level of 3D involved (which takes extra effort in planning design and animation), and the added cost of stock footage. 

This kind of video works great for the Technology, IT, Telecom, and manufacturing industries.

Through this video, Siemens successfully stood out on digital platforms and elevated their brand perception.

2. SUSE

 

When SUSE aimed to stand out from its competitors, it wanted a medium that looked modern, dynamic, and fast-paced.

Since their solution affected business owners, this character animation was the best way to portray the challenges faced while also pushing the boundaries of Suse’s digital presence.

Now, don’t let the flat graphics of this film fool you; this film sits in the Advanced Tier because it contains traditional frame-by-frame animation, which adds a certain energy and smoothness to the movements of the characters, as well as 3D environments that give the film some depth.

The first shot where the camera moves through buildings might look like flat 2D animation, but the camera moving through a cityscape works best in 3D, which is repeated again at the 6 second mark.

Here, we also see the character run in Frame by Frame (F/F) animation, where the F/F animator is required to illustrate every pose of the character for every frame of the action’s duration.

Animated films are produced at 24fps (frames per second), so you can see why that takes time and skill.

This film also contains multiple character turnarounds, which require the same effort.

In addition, the royalty free music for this film is customized to the concept, which adds to the explainer video price.

The video helped SUSE assist businesses in navigating the complicated world of open-source and presented their solution as a compelling call to action at the end of the video.

A film like this works well for SaaS, IT, and Lifestyle companies.

The versatility of this explainer video helped Suse reach a wider audience through their website landing page, social media channels, and online ad campaigns.

3. Thermofisher

 

If you have the budget and the time, this video we made for ThermoFisher is the best example of what you can achieve. 

It consists of characters as well as complex 3D animation

A video like this perfectly blends the two worlds to explain a product and show its usage in the real world.

The 3D animation used here is unlike any other videos since the 3D work goes into a lot of detail in design and animation.

A film at this level requires a bigger team apart from the usual set of concept artists, visualizers, graphic designers, and animators.

This film also requires a person individually for each of the 3D stages — modeling, texturing, rigging, actual animation, and lighting. 

In the end, even the render time for such a video is longer than the others, which can lie anywhere between a few hours to a few days, depending on the complexity of the design and motion.

A film like this works brilliantly for any product explainer who needs to get into the intricate details of a product’s design or functionality.

Our clients took full advantage of this explainer and the myriad ways it enhanced their value proposition in multiple marketing channels.

AI-assisted Video Packages

  • US Explainer Video Cost: $5600 - $8000 (by $100/hr)
  • Indian Explainer Video Cost: $1680 - $2400 (by $30/hr)

As the name suggests, this tier isn’t entirely customized.

This works best for those with extreme budget/time constraints or those who need bulk explainer videos produced quickly.

These videos can be achieved in a number of ways, depending on your preference.

They can include character animation, infographics, or even mixed media, which would include very minimal animation.

The production time of these videos is also reduced by leveraging the external aid of computer-generated assets.

On the flip side, this means reduced animation and customization.

Let's take a look at a few examples:

1. HealthTech

 

Originally:

 

Using AI we recreated a customized explainer that was originally created for our client Corridor.

As you can see, the original film has stylized graphics, the animation is dynamic, with engaging transitions and smooth character movements. 

Whereas the AI-assisted recreation of the film requires a slightly different approach.

Here the initial stages like scripting, visualization, and graphics creation all happen in AI. 

Then we move this onto the graphic designer who streamlines the shots and prepares them for the animator.

And finally, the animation is done completely in-house by the animator, but the graphical restraints mean that we don’t have a lot of freedom of movement. 

Each though each shot has been altered a bit to match the overall color palette, you’ll still see a few discrepancies in design when it comes to this tier.

Overall, the film does a good job of engaging viewers, conveying the message, and reaching completion in under 80 hours.

2. Procurement Partners

 

Originally:

 

A recreation of the Procurement Partners film from the Premium Tier, this video follows a similar creation process as HealthTech.

The film is partly designed in AI and partly brought to completion by the in-house team.

Again, the graphics cannot be uniquely designed as it was done for Procurement Partners because we’re limited to the availability of graphical assets. 

The animation is kept to a minimum compared to the previous film, which consisted of character turn arounds, and dynamic angles/movements.

That being said, the film succeeds in conveying the message.

The movement is consistent and seamless, which makes for a great viewing experience!

In the coming years, we’ll see a lot more progress when it comes to AI where we might be able to produce a whole animated film completely using AI.

Will we miss the handcrafted feel? Only time will tell.

For now, this works really well for brands that need a quick turnaround and are looking more to have a consistent online presence.

Conclusion

Whatever your budget or your aspirations for your marketing strategy, one thing is certain.

Video investment isn’t just a viable option–it’s the best option! 

Animated videos help you create an impact on your audience on a reasonable budget.

The sheer flexibility and robustness of animation make it worth investing in.

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