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What is an explainer video?

What is an explainer and why is it essential in a marketing strategy? In this article we will answer all your questions.

what is an explainer video
Marketing Team
Video Marketing What is an explainer video?


What is an explainer video? This is the question we want to answer in this article in which we are going to explain:

  • What are explainer videos for?
  • The essential qualities an explainer video must have
  • 4 styles of explainer videos
  • The benefits of explainer videos

Explainer videos: what are they for? 

What is an explainer video? An explainer video is a short video, usually animated, that focuses on explaining complex problems, business concepts, and products and/or services in a simple and usable way for viewers. Their purpose is to explain concepts that tend to be complicated by breaking them down into simpler, easier to understand ideas.  

Often, when faced with complex topics, the viewer tends to get lost or abandon the path to understanding because it is too difficult. Therefore, this kind of video allows companies and organizations to convey a message and facilitate the use of their product or service in a clear and fluent way.  

Not surprisingly, a 2020 Wyzowl State of Video Marketing Report found that 96% of people have found an explainer video useful to learn more about a product or service. It’s clear that explainer videos can be a high-value piece of content to use as part of a marketing strategy, allowing a company to provide important information in a very short amount of time and deliver effective results.  

Typically, these types of videos can be found on the company’s home page. It’s a way to provide an overview of a product or service offered, listing its benefits and communicating its brand message. In fact, they are also increasingly found on social media where, thanks to a larger audience pool, you have the opportunity to increase your retention rate.  

After a look at what explainer videos are and what they are for, let’s move on to what you can do to make this kind of video functional and high quality.  

The essential qualities of an explainer video 

As we will see, there are different types of explainer videos. But to create a quality video, each element must be consistent and aligned. So what are the qualities that a good explainer video must have? 

  • Length: the average attention span of online users is about 12 seconds, so it’s crucial to not to avoid creating videos that are too long. Most explainer videos last less than 3 minutes, but the attention span already starts to drop between the first and second minute. So the more you can condense the information into a short span of time, the better.  
  • Problem resolution: Before creating a video, it’s always good to ask yourself why you’re creating it. If you want to talk about a product or service or provide a “manual” on how to use it, the purpose of the video is to offer a resolution to a problem that potential customers face.  
  • Ensure quality: to achieve the goal, you need the final version of the video to be one of high quality, both in terms of content and production. This is the only way to effectively communicate the value of your brand. 

Videos must be able to maintain a high quality despite their brevity. So before embarking on the creation of an explainer video it is always good to ask yourself three questions:  

  • What: What is the audience’s problem? 
  • How: How will your product or service solve it? 
  • Why: Why should the audience choose you? 

These three questions are essential so you don’t risk focusing only on the “what” or the “how” and forgetting the “why” of what you’re doing. Purpose is closely related to awareness about the audience you’re dealing with. So the better you know your audience, the easier it is to answer these three questions.  

And, having a clear answer to these questions helps in creating a video that fits into your marketing strategy. 

4 types of explainer video

There are several categories of explainer videos.    

2D and 3D animated videos  

Animated videos are probably the most successful ones, because they are simpler, more usable, and also more fun to watch. 

The video is usually built around an animated character who is faced with a certain problem or need and promptly solved by the product or service that the brand aims to sell.  

A first-person narrative allows the potential customer to empathize with the character and his or her problem. The goal is to show how the product or service solves that problem, displaying a happy ending with the protagonist who is happy and satisfied.  

Animated videos can be of two types: 

  • 2D format: easy to make and with the ability to focus on multiple characters as well. 
  • 3D format: they are more complex and especially more expensive, but definitely more appealing. This kind of video attracts the attention of viewers more quickly, also because the format offers more room for creativity.  

Animated videos are a great format if you want to tell a story to your audience as they stimulate viewers on an emotional level.  

Motion graphics 

Unlike animated videos, motion graphics do not require you to build a structured story, but it is important to be direct, to get straight to the point. In fact, it’s the ideal format for breaking down a complex concept or process into smaller, easier-to-understand parts. 

Motion graphics usually include animated objects, dynamic text, and transitions. The purpose is to use images to express what is being explained by a voice-over. The synergy between voice, images, and animation allows viewers to retain more information at once, and viewers find dynamic visual elements more engaging. 

Animated infographics can also be included in this category, with moving data, graphs, and figures, and the whole thing can also be personalized with a music track.  

Live-action video 

Another explainer video format that you can choose is the live-action video, which looks more or less like an advertisement, with the difference that its function is not to promote but to educate.  

One of the disadvantages of live-action videos is definitely the inability to indulge as with animated videos, but at the same time, it is also the most effective format to connect with the audience on an emotional level. Characters represented by human beings more easily activates the mechanism of identification, creating an immediacy that is often absent in animated videos.  

Whiteboard animation 

This is a type of explainer video where the idea is explained or a story is told by drawing and writing on a whiteboard.   

This simple concept includes a voiceover that explains the content being created on the whiteboard.  

To create an effective video, again you need a character that represents your target audience. Clear graphics and interconnected illustrations help create a coherent and effective story.  

The benefits of explainer videos 

According to Wyzowl, 84% of people said they were convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand video. Video is and probably will remain the most powerful communication medium we have. Let’s look at the benefits of explainer videos and why it’s good to use them.  

Explainers can win the attention of the audience 

If a video is already an attractive medium in itself compared to other media, an explainer video can be even more so.  

We’re inclined to be drawn to educational entertainment videos, more so than classic web content, because they tend to awaken the audience’s curiosity and offer an engaging means of understanding new concepts.  

Incorporating an explainer video into your blog won’t slow down your page load speed and can increase your readers’ engagement.  

Explainer videos simplify complex topics 

Explaining a product or concept in a simple and usable way is not always easy. Products such as software or specialized equipment require detailed and laborious explanations. And remember that users will only buy the product if they understand its use and value.  

A great advantage of explainer videos is that they are effective tools. Bringing a character into a real life situation, with problems and solutions, in a short clip that is based on simplicity is certainly more appealing to the audience.  

Increase retention rate 

Publishing content that doesn’t have a clear objective can only be detrimental. But if done with the right criteria, the results are great. The retention rate of explainer videos that last less than a minute is 77% (Source: breadnbeyond).  

The better designed the message you want to convey, the greater the chances that your audience will continue to watch the video. In addition to understanding and watching, your audience will also tend to share what they’ve learned with their network, helping to increase retention rates. 

Video explainers are the perfect format for mobile 

By now, it’s common knowledge that any content produced should be mobile responsive. In 2022, the number of people who own a full-featured smartphone is 7.26 billion, or 91.54% of the world’s population (Source: bankmycell).  

People are accustomed to watching videos on their smartphones: while walking, when on public transportation, while waiting in line. Explainer videos fit perfectly on the mobile screen and therefore are adaptable to users’ habits, especially when they are designed to be short.  

Social friendly 

Don’t limit the distribution of your videos. An explainer video can adapt to any platform: from YouTube to various social media platforms where users can easily re-share the content. Being present on these platforms increases the chance of your videos going viral. 

Creating an explainer video, however, means more than just increasing sales and conversions. An explainer video can educate and walk your audience through their path to purchase, doing so in a fun and engaging way.  

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