Explainer videos are short, often animated, videos that are used to concisely describe and demonstrate a product or service. Explainer videos can have a powerful impact on their audiences. Let's look at examples of the main types of explainer videos and the reasons why they are so effective for businesses.
Why Explainer Videos Are Effective
Explainer Videos are great at quickly establishing credibility for a company.
The sheer amount of information available on the internet is overwhelming. As the human attention span shortens, consumers need to immediately be able to understand what a product or service is and how it makes their life better. And they want to know it now...not after reading 10 pages on your website.
This is the primary reason explainer videos are one of the most effective forms of content a brand can publish. When it comes to educating prospects on your products and services, video is hard to beat.
In a survey conducted by Wyzowl, 94% of people admitted they’d used an explainer video to learn more about a service or product. Explainers are incredibly common and well-watched.
4 in 5 consumers say a video showing how a product or service works is important.
Tell the Story of Your Product or Service with Explainer Videos
Studies demonstrate that our brains are hard-wired to respond to storytelling in marketing. Not only are stories the way we experience the world, but they also help us organize information and label some things as good, and other things as bad.
A good explainer video can have a strong positive impact on your business by communicating the value of your service or product in an emotionally persuasive visual format. Choosing the type of explainer video that is the best fit for your business depends heavily on your product or service.
If you’re considering an explainer video for your business, here is an overview of some of the different types of explainer videos to help you find the right style for your product or service.
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Types of Explainer Videos
Animated Explainer Video: Payrix
1. Explainer Videos that Use Animation
Animated Explainer videos are easily the most widely used type of explainer video. Animation is ideal for explaining services or abstract, intangible products such as software. Some services and software possess very few physical features, which makes live-action video impossible.
Besides allowing for more creativity in the concept of the video, animated explainer videos are more easily updated than live-action video. This allows for flexibility to accommodate anticipated future changes to a product or service.
2. 2D Animated Explainer Videos
Often thought of as traditional animation, 2D animation involves creating characters, storyboards, and backgrounds in a two-dimensional environment. 2D animation is often a less expensive option than 3D animation. However, some explainer videos may need extra detail that can only be accomplished with 3D animation.
Always make sure you’re using animation in a strategic way. Some topics, especially those that call for a human touch, can actually be harmed by using animation.
2D Animated Explainer video Example: CeloPay
CeloPay offers cybersecurity and payment software to other companies with a sophisticated product that’s hard to visualize.
They wanted a bright, clear video to explain the programs…and our animators saw a “window” of opportunity. They used a fresh animation style and a “window frame” motif to bring CeloPay’s powerful products to life.
2D Animated Explainer Video: CeloPay
3. 3D Animated Explainer Videos
3D animation involves animating objects appearing in a three-dimensional space. These 3D objects can be rotated and moved like real objects. This is extremely powerful for showing products that are still in development or difficult to film in live-action as demonstrated in our iBox video for Hansgrohe.
3D Animated Explainer Video Example: Telematics
This beautiful 3D explainer video helps demonstrate the powerful benefits of using telematic tracking software in Doosan Infracore’s heavy construction equipment.
4. Motion Graphics Explainer Video
Motion Graphics explainer videos bring still graphics to life with animation, visual effects and other cinematic techniques. They are not necessarily story-based or character driven and may involve animating abstract shapes, logos or text.
Motion Graphics Explainer Video Example: MiMedx
This motion graphic video, created for biopharmaceutical company MiMedx, explains one of their miraculous wound products meant for medical professionals.
5. Whiteboard Animation Explainer Videos
Whiteboard animation is a style of animated video where a story is shown on a whiteboard using artwork that is typically hand-drawn in appearance. This style of video lends itself to processes which yield cheaply-made whiteboard videos, such as homemade videos or through a company that uses automation to produce them. This uptick in poor quality whiteboard videos is in danger of giving whiteboard explainer videos a bad name as a whole.
With a good script and high quality character animation, a whiteboard video can certainly be a viable option for companies. This is especially true when working within a tight budget.
Tread carefully and weigh the true cost of a poorly made whiteboard video before going with the lowest bidder. With whiteboard videos, it's necessary to go beyond the conventional and think outside the box to avoid a bland, forgettable brand experience.
Whiteboard Animation Video Example
This video by IdeaRocket for PG&E is a good example of combining whiteboard animation style with traditional 2D animation to create a high quality video production.
6. Live Action Explainer Videos
Like animated explainer videos, Live Action Explainer videos accomplish the same goals of explaining your product or service, they just do it with real people. Using flesh and blood people in an explainer video is a good option when you really want to connect with the viewer on an emotional level. This is often a good choice for people-oriented products and services as demonstrated in this explainer video for TeleAck.
You may have heard that animation is less expensive than live action video production. There are many factors that affect the cost of a video production, so this isn't always the case.
Live Action Explainer Video Example: Bucher+Suter
7. Screencast Explainer Video
Screencast explainer videos incorporate imagery from a screen while a website, software or application is in use. The main purpose is to show how the application functions. They are very effective for showing users how to interact with new apps or features without requiring them to read many pages of text.
Screencast videos can often be less expensive to produce than animated or live action videos, however, this doesn't mean you should skimp on quality. Creating a simple low-res screencast video is well within the reach of anyone with a computer and the ability to upload to YouTube. This makes it even more important to invest in quality when creating a video that represents your brand.
Screencast Explainer Video Example: My Kodak Moments App
This stop motion inspired web video ad for the My Kodak Moments app is elevated above a simple screencast video by combining elegant animation with great screencast imagery.
Where to Use Explainer Videos
Your explainer video should be one of your most valuable marketing assets. Get the most return on that investment by using it to reach prospects in multiple places.
Increase click through rates by mentioning your explainer video in the subject line of email marketing campaigns.
Some of the best ways to use your explainer video:
- Homepage: Definitely include your explainer video on the home page of your website. This is the page that receives the highest traffic, so featuring your explainer video prominently will help quickly inform new visitors.
- Email Campaigns: Mentioning the word ‘video’ in your email subject lines has been shown to increase interest and engagement. Put your explainer video to work by mentioning it in the subject line and linking to it from email marketing campaigns.
- Sales Meetings: Arm your sales team with video ready mobile devices. Starting a sales meeting with an explainer video unifies sales messaging, and saves the sales department a lot of time and effort.
- Landing Pages: Video on landing pages can get people’s attention quickly, yielding better results and higher conversions.
- Retargeting Ads: Get your explainer video in front of people who visited your website, but didn't take action, by running retargeting ads. Sometimes, they just need a friendly nudge in the right direction in order to convert.
- Sales Outreach: Warm up cold leads by referencing your explainer video in sales emails. Don't forget to mention it in the subject line.
- Social Media: Share your explainer video regularly on your social media channels to increase engagement. For social platforms that permit it, consider pinning it to the top of your profile so it receives maximum exposure.
Which type of explainer video is right for my company?
Hopefully these examples have shed some light on the different types of explainer videos available. You may still be wondering which type of explainer video is right for you. As with most marketing decisions, the answer depends on these important aspects of your business:
- Brand Personality
- Marketing Goals
- Target Audience
The style of explainer video you choose should be consistent with your brand's personality. If your brand is laid back and playful, then your explainer video should be, too.
Remember, best practices for video always apply, so tell a great story, keep your content short, and remember your audience.
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Also, check our out Explainer Video Archive »