Since the explainer video (or demo video) is often at the top of many of our clients’ lists of marketing needs, we’ve put together a brief guide covering common explainer video price points, and what you can expect to get at each level.
If you’re looking for a video and only have a very small budget, there are plenty of freelancers on discount “gig economy” sites like Fiverr who will quote prices of $500 or less to create what they call an “explainer video.” There are also some production companies located in very low-cost-of-living countries who offer similarly appealing prices.
If you’re shopping in this price range, be sure to take a close look at what is included. At the lowest end of the price spectrum, many offerings are simply a series of screenshots or short screen recordings pieced together into an off-the-shelf template with some text thrown in to attempt to explain your product. In many cases, you’ll actually be asked to provide all of the screenshots/recordings and text yourself – you’re basically paying for someone to add them to the template and click “export.”
Not all offerings in the under $500 range are this simple, though. There are even companies who will include a voice over and some custom recording. In this situation, it’s important to take a close look at who writes the scripts (and the resulting script quality). The “story” of a video is arguably the most important part, so you want to make sure that the script writers are fluent in English and have a very strong command of writing for spoken delivery – and that the speaking is being done by a professional voice over artist with decent equipment.
The main thing to understand about videos of this price range is that they probably won’t be very customizable, meaning your app or product may only be briefly shown at a very superficial level. More importantly, your video will probably look very much like dozens (and potentially hundreds or thousands) of other videos – maybe even videos for some of your competitors. There will definitely be at least some DIY involved (even if it just taking your own screenshots), and in general, the overall quality of the video is likely to be inferior to anything you’d achieve at a higher price point.
$1,000 – $3,000
This range is where high-quality, custom production starts, but you still need to be careful to make sure you’re getting a good value for your money – many providers in this price range are simply offering the “$500” level of service on a slicker website and at a higher cost.
One red flag in this price range is the script. If you’re asked to write the script (or worse, provide the finished voice over) yourself, think carefully about whether that’s something you’re comfortable with. Unless you’ve written successful scripts before, you’ll most likely get a much better product from a professional writer. After all, you’re hiring a professional to make the video, so make sure that it’s based on a professional script.
Ask any company you are thinking of working with for examples from their portfolio. If they will be providing the script, pay close attention to grammar and word choices in their samples, and listen for errors or confusing sections. An explainer video company should take the time to understand your app, and they should either write the script for you, or give you thorough editorial feedback your script.
A quality $1,000-$3,000 explainer video will almost definitely heavily feature visuals from your app, rather than custom animation or actors in a location. Motion graphics, character animation, and on-location shoots are very hard to do well in this price range, so be wary of anyone offering an animated explainer video or a video featuring actors for just a few thousand dollars.
Many of the app demo videos we produce fall into this price range, and we think is a good “sweet spot” for many of our clients: they get a high-quality, custom production without breaking the bank. However, our animated and real-world video styles generally start a bit higher than this, as we haven’t found a way to deliver excellent results in those styles for less than $3,000.
$5,000 – $10,000
This price range is where on-location videos with actors start, and where most fully animated explainer videos fall, though many companies offering videos focusing on your app’s UI also quote in this range for a simpler production. Again, there are still some companies offering videos that are based on simple templates in this range, so review portfolios with a critical eye, even at the higher price points.
If you work with a reputable app video production company, you should be able to get a high-quality explainer video in this price range, though particularly complex animation or “cartoon-style” videos with many different characters can go beyond this range. Videos with substantial 3D animation also tend to cost more, though simpler 3D videos are doable for under $10,000.
Explainer videos can be very expensive if you want to pull out all the stops. Big brands regularly spend $50,000 or more on TV-commercial-style videos, and some even hire celebrity spokespeople to endorse their product.
Expect to pay tens of thousands (or more) if you want to feature multiple actors in a variety of locations, include aerial footage, or create complex 3D-animated productions.
The most important question to ask is whether your app or product really needs a $50,000 video. Often, the answer is no. While you can spend the money, it’s likely to be overkill, and those extra dollars could be better spent on other marketing and advertising efforts – including making multiple less expensive videos to address a variety of needs, instead of putting all of your effort into a single product.
You are the only one who knows your budget. We would suggest keeping in mind that while there is a certain amount of “you get what you paid for” in terms of expertise and overall quality, you should thoroughly evaluate any company you plan to work with, and review their work with a critical eye before making your decision.
If you’re unsure of what your budget should be, please get in touch with us to talk about the options. If you’re shopping for an explainer video production company, we’d be happy to talk you through our options, and help you compare our work with other providers. Whatever you’re looking for, we encourage you to shop around to find the right fit for your company and your budget.