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10 Awe-Inspiring Explainer Videos

Unless you have been living off the grid the last few years, you have certainly heard of explainer videos; at the very least, you have seen one without knowing it.

Explainer videos are those short, often animated videos that, well... explain something. The tone is either fun or simple, the length is short, and the visuals are appealing. It is no wonder why they have gained such popularity.

In fact, video was the fastest growing form of ad format in 2012; by 2016 video ad spending will reach $5.4 Billion. Not surprising, considering stats like these:

  • 75% of Executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least 1x/week
  • After viewing a video ad, 12% purchase the product featured
  • According to Forbes, 59% of executives would rather watch video than read text
  • Animated explainer videos increase conversion rates by 20% according to Unbounce

So companies have scrambled to jump on the explainer video-train, hoping to take advantage of its popularity.

Whether you are considering making an explainer video, or you’re just wondering what all the fuss is about, you are in the right spot.

Let’s start with the different types of explainer videos, and great examples of each.

What is an Explainer Video?

1. Watch the following explainer video that is all about explainer videos!

Now, let’s review the different types of explainer videos, and great examples of each.

Types of Explainer Videos

2. Whiteboard

As one of the cheapest types to make, whiteboard-style have been one of the more popular types of explainer videos. Consisting of an artist drawing on a whiteboard, it is typically descriptive and to the point, and works well for a wide variety of audiences. It may or may not include voiceover or music. While cost effective and easy to understand, it can be difficult to make them as engaging and captivating as the other types.

 

3. Live Action

Live action videos use real people and live scenarios and are best for people-focused or physical products/services. The advantage of live action is that is engaging; real people are able to create a connection with the viewer. However, you can be limited - no animations or special effects in live action videos. This live action video by Instagram takes a straightforward, simple approach to showcasing their new product, including elements of screencast to actually show how the product works.

Content Repurposing Toolkit

 

4. Animation

Animation is a great, fun way to go - but it has to be high quality to represent your brand well and to capture the audience. Animation can be done in a variety of forms, including 2D and 3D, and might include music or voiceovers. This 2D video also combines typography into the mix for a fun, visually sppeaking explainer video about Spotify.

 

5. Typography

Typically cheaper, typography can be a great approach to quickly creating an explainer video, but can be less engaging than the other types. The benefit of this type is that it keeps the focus on the message. It’s great to represent causes or topics with powerful, memorable information.

 

6. Screencast

Screencast explainer videos allow viewers the chance to see the product or service in action. In these videos, the feature is usually a piece of software or a technological product, something intangible.

 

Apart from the style of video, you must also determine the tone of your video. It’s important to keep your target audience in mind, because that is ultimately who you are making it for. You must also consider the product or service you are selling and which approach will work best with it.

The Video Tone

7. The Belly Acher

Funny always works, but make sure it matches your target audience. If you can get away with it and have a genuinely hilarious idea, it’s a great way to go. In this case, the product itself is outrageous, so the humorous tone of this live action explainer is spot on.

 

8. The Tear Jerker

Making a strong emotional connection with your audience is a surefire way to capture and hold their attention, and ensure your message resonates. This 3D animated video takes a  simple approach that leaves you with a lasting impression and a clear understanding of their message. My personal favorite of the list.

 

9. The Sweet & Simple

This screencast video uses a straightforward, simplified approach to highlighting the main features of this product. There is no cheesy voiceover explaining what is happening, or distracting  of music or live action, it is simple and leaves the viewer with an obvious picture of what this product offers. All in all, a great video.

 

10. The Movement

These videos are all about inspiring action. More than purchasing a product or service, they aim to create awareness about a particular issue and encourage the viewer to take part. The short videos are an excellent way to help someone understand why they should care, and the explainer style format clearly defines the problem, and if possible, what the viewer can do to help.

 

In Closing

There is no “perfect” explainer video, and no guarantee that you are going to “go viral!” Some videos contain music or voiceovers. Many videos stay primarily within one type, but may add in animation or typography for effect. Part of the genius of explainer videos is that there are no limits to the creative possibilities. The key is to stay true to your brand identity and to deliver something your audience will truly love.

What’s your favorite explainer video? Have you made one? Share it in the comments and it may be featured in a future blog!
Written by Jason Thomas / June 6, 2014

Jason Thomas has been helping launch and develop start ups for 10 years. Jason's passion is working with motivated entrepreneurs to validate and implement ideas that grow their business.

Jason is a husband, father, and homesteader in training. In his spare time he's generally outside working with his hands and getting dirty.

Articles by Jason Thomas