About a year ago, I started taking my video marketing seriously.
I’ve had a YouTube channel for years, but never did anything meaningful with it. It was simply a placeholder. And I didn’t even know what place it was holding for me.
I had no idea how to make videos. I figured it was best to stick to what I know:
- Web design
But, it slowly became clear that the internet is gravitating towards video. Most people don’t have the desire or attention span to read blog posts, let alone long-form and in-depth content. Which is typically the type of content that does best with Google. (for now ????)
So, I started investing more time and money into getting better with video marketing. Specifically, YouTube.
And that’s when I discovered Powtoon.
Powtoon is an online tool that lets you create amazing animated videos and presentations. No downloads, no software, no confusing and complicated tutorials to follow.
I can safely say it changed everything for me. Let me tell you why…
When creating a new Powtoon, you’ll have the choice to start from a blank slate or from a template.
If you’re a complete newb and are lacking in creative inspiration, Powtoon provides a massive list of templates to help you get started.
Separated into 3 broad categories of Work, Education and Personal, it is then narrowed down to a list of over 20 subcategories.
The list of subcategories includes:
- Training and tutorials
- Video ads
- Explainer videos
- Company guidelines
- and much more…
Still lacking inspiration?
One of the most daunting tasks of video creation and marketing is storytelling. Great storytelling is everything. If you can become a great storyteller, you’re guaranteed to succeed at anything you attempt. (not even exaggerating)
This is especially true when it comes to video production.
Powtoon’s Storyboard feature helps you layout your story in a visual format, breaking it down into actionable steps.
- Call to Action
This outline varies depending on the type of video you’re creating, but you get the picture.
Powtoon offers 5 different styles to center your video around:
- Modern Edge
Audio voiceover and music
Don’t design a single slide until you’ve nailed down your audio first.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but audio always comes before video. You design the imagery to match your words, not the other way around.
- Write the script
- Record the voiceover
- Then start creating the visuals.
Of course, this applies specifically to the types of video that are produced using tools like Powtoon. If you’re going to be talking to your audience directly into the camera, it’s a bit different.
Are you about as creative as a door knob? Good news!
Drag-and-drop editing is all the rage these days.
Powtoon does an awesome job with their drag-and-drop user interface, ensuring there’s no need for coding or complicated editing.
The timeline is where the magic happens. Everything revolves around it.
Your video will consist of a set of slides. (as you can see on the left-hand side of the image above) Each slide can be up to 20 seconds long.
When you add content to your slide, it automatically appears in your timeline at the bottom. That is where you will decide at what timestamp the content will appear and disappear in your slide.
Think of it as a visual outline for your slide.
Graphics and icons
Crappy generic stock photos are so 90’s.
These days, it’s all about vector icons and emojis.
Powtoon gives you 1,000’s of graphics and icons to choose from. From food to tech to people to nature and everything in between.
Photos and images
Powtoon integrates directly with Flickr, offering tons of royalty-free images to choose from.
These aren’t generic stock photos. They’re pictures that real people have taken and posted to Flickr.
Whiiiiich is why many of them suck, frankly. I rarely use photos from here. Instead, I’ve got my own list of websites that have genuinely great stock photos to choose from. All for free!
Depending on the subscription plan you’ve chosen, these are all included for 100% free.
The value of this cannot be understated. When I first started creating animated videos, each slide had to be its own custom animation. Even to convey the simplest ideas. It was extremely time-consuming.
With the new and improved Powtoon HTML5, they added the integration with Storyblocks, and it completely changed how I make videos.
It now takes me about half the time to make one video without sacrificing the production quality, and allows me to pump out more videos for my growing YouTube audience.
Powtoon integrates with a number of different apps and services, including:
These are the plans that most people and businesses subscribe to, and the ones you’ll likely be buying as well. Powtoon uses some heavy trickery with the pricing model, leaning heavily on their annual subscription as opposed to their monthly.
What do I mean by that?
- Free Plan = Always free, duh
- Pro Plan = $19/month annually OR $89/month monthly (difference of 79%!)
- Pro+ Plan $59/month annually OR $197/month monthly (difference of 69%!)
- Agency Plan = $99/month annually (no monthly option)
See what I mean?
It’s pretty clear that Powtoon wants you to go for the annual version right away, thus paying them upfront for the entire year. And they do this by drastically inflating the monthly price. By comparison, the annual option seems like a no-brainer!
This is standard practice among companies who sell subscriptions to online services, but this is certainly the most dramatic difference I’ve ever seen.
Here’s what I recommend:
Subscribe for the monthly package for 1 month. Then, if you love what you see (and I believe you will), go ahead and buy the annual subscription.
Education is reserved for schools and universities. It allows education institutions to buy Powtoon in bulk for their students.
Pay per video
If you’re on a really tight budget, or only plan on making videos occasionally, Powtoon has a specific option just for you.
Instead of paying a monthly or annual subscription, you can pay per video.
You buy videos in packs of 5, 10 or 25. The larger the pack, the cheaper the price per video.
The Enterprise plans are next-level. Like, Fortune 500 company next-level. It prioritizes unique features like:
- Increased security
- Dedicated servers for better performance
- Team management and collaboration
- Dedicated account manager for instant customer service 24/7
In order to get pricing, you have to talk 1-on-1 with a Powtoon representative for a custom quote.
If you’re bothering to read this review in the first place, I guarantee that you’re not a C-level executive at a Fortune 500 company.
Powtoon has a massive library of tutorials and Help Desk content to guide you through pretty much any question you may have.
- Creating Powtoons
- Advanced Editing Tips
- Exporting Powtoons
- Account Management
- and more…
90% of my questions and concerns have been resolved through Powtoon’s Help Desk content.
I’ll be straight with you here. Powtoon falls short in this area.
In a time when people expect near instant responses to their questions, concerns and problems, Powtoon only offers customer support communication through one old-fashioned channel: Email.
No phone support. No chat. No Twitter. Just plain ol’ “submit a ticket then wait for our email“.
Fortunately, when you do submit a ticket, it doesn’t take too long to get a response.
Like I said in my overly drawn out introduction, Powtoon has completely changed how I make videos. In fact, I’m not sure I’d even be making YouTube videos right now if I never discovered them.
Making your own custom animated videos has never been easier. And now, with the addition of Storyblocks, you can create Pewdiepie-level videos for your YouTube and video marketing strategies. (ok that’s definitely an exaggeration)
If you’re a complete newb to video production, and are anxious to get started, give the free version of Powtoon a try. You’ll be convinced to upgrade to the paid version in no time.
Pewdiepie won’t know what hit him.
Is Powtoon free?
Powtoon does have a free version of their product. But the content and features are limited, obviously.
Do you have any Powtoon examples I can see?
Sure thing! Just check out my YouTube channel and start watching the Personal Development playlist. Those were all made with Powtoon. ????
Does Powtoon have a mobile app?
No. It would be too difficult to do advanced editing on your phone.
Do I have to download Powtoon?
Nope! Powtoon is completely hosted online. Just login and start editing.
Does Powtoon have a free trial?
Not exactly. Because they offer a free version, you can just use that until you feel confident enough to purchase a pro subscription and unlock more features.
Are there any alternatives to Powtoon?
Of course. The only one I can think of that is similar enough for a direct comparison is Vyond. (formerly GoAnimate) I don’t know enough about their service to make a judgement on them, though.