Whether you’re promoting a complex SaaS solution or a state-of-the-art household appliance, explainer videos are a gamechanger for engaging with audiences and introducing your business’s unique offering.
Long gone are the days when consumers relied solely on print instructions or manuals—nowadays 69% of people prefer watching video content over reading to learn about a product or service.
Explainer videos are also one of the most popular types of content that businesses use for marketing. In fact, video marketers have seen 66% more qualified leads per year than their sans-video counterparts.
So get ready to take notes—we’re sharing 6 insider tips on how to create a stand-out explainer video along with the best examples! This handy guide is useful for those creating their own online video marketing content, as well as those interested in hiring a professional video production company.
What Makes a Good Explainer Video?
An explainer video is a short video aiming to present the products or services of a company. They are often found on landing pages, product pages or home pages. Read out our article on how to make a presentation.
Now, let’s start off with the basics. These are key elements to making any successful explainer video:
Time is money, and every second counts. You need an attention-grabbing intro to hook each viewer in and then convey exactly what problem your product or service targets.
Guide your viewers step-by-step, illustrate a before vs. after scenario, or map out the problem → solution → results, etc...The goal here is to make videos using a pedagogic approach to show how the audience’s issue can be uniquely resolved.
Most explainer videos use voice-over to tell a story. Pair narration with motion graphics, engaging visuals, and text overlays to bring the storytelling experience to life and enhance the clarity of your messaging.
Keep it short and sweet. The longer your video, the more difficult it is for viewers to remember and recall your key messaging. According to Social Media Examiner, 80% of marketers keep their videos at or under the 3 minute mark.
Storytelling makes for powerful communication, especially in video advertising. Create a connection with your audience by identifying and empathizing with their struggles. Use a tone of voice that matches the scene and makes your target viewers actively listen - not just hear - to what you have to say.
Discover right now 7 reasons to invest in video communication !
Nothing is worse than getting viewers interested… only to leave them hanging at the end. Make the most of your marketing efforts and increase conversion rates by adding a clear CTA (call-to-action) in the conclusion of your video.
This ensures your audiences know exactly what their next steps should be, for example: downloading an asset, visiting a website, or contacting your sales team or support channel.
Unleash your creativity with PlayPlay. Now, you can easily create explainer videos that captivate audiences and boost your brand presence. Start showcasing your story in style!
What are the Different Types of Explainer Videos?
- Animated Explainer Videos: Animated videos are trickier to achieve without technical proficiency and skills in motion design. However, they’re also one of the best formats for capturing audiences’ attention with creative illustration, character animation, and storytelling scenes that aren’t possible with live action and screencast videos.
- Whiteboard Explainer Videos: Also known as video scribing, this type of marketing video tells a story with whiteboard-style drawings. For the production process, you can record a video with a real animator illustrating, or you can use an animation software that creates digital whiteboard drawings.
- Screencast: This format works great for technical explanations because you show viewers what using your actual product interface looks like. Instead of simply describing the product and specific features, you can show and walk them through exactly how it works, step-by-step. Need to make a demo video or tutorials for your software? The screencast format works especially well for this type of content.
- Live-Action Explainer Videos: If you want to show your product in action with real people, live-action video production is the way to go. It humanizes your brand and helps audiences visualize what using your product might be like. This format is great for different tones of storytelling, from serious or light-hearted to wildly humorous. If you want to create good branded content, it's important to create a brand book so that everyone is aligned with the guidelines.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip
When shooting a live-action explainer video, film as many rushes (raw unedited footage) as you need, shooting multiple takes of the same sequence if needed. This saves time and money by avoiding the need for reshoots in post-production if you’re missing a scene or need alternative shots.
25 Awesome Explainer Video Examples
In this dynamic explainer, Grammarly savantly mixes live action and motion design, for a watcher experience that is both relatable and really easy to follow.
Here PooPourri chooses to highlight their key differentiator, while focusing on a humorous tone. Adding subtitles directly into the video also helps with accessibility.
A fantastic fully animated explainer mixing storytelling and smart display of Calendly’s value proposition. The choice of a cartoon character allows for global relatability.
This ‘YouTube style’ explainer video marries the very effective visual elements of whiteboarding and the live-action relatability of the presenter. You simply want to stop and watch this until the end to understand all the functionalities available to you.
The ultimate example of the drawing-style whiteboard explainer. The captivating illustrative style keeps you engaged throughout the video and helps highlighting key points in an easy-to-follow way.
In this clever fully-animated tutorial, freighty calls attention to the user problem by illustrating the whole customer journey. The use of character animation also brings a smart layer of storytelling to a topic that could be complicated to understand.
While DollarShaveClub pays close attention to bringing lots of humor to their tone in this explainer, they also make sure to spend the first few seconds focusing on a very clear explainer of their service. With an entertaining tone throughout, the company manages to deliver their product value, while reinforcing their “fun” brand identity.
While a little bit older, this Spotify explainer is still highly effective. Fully-animated, and heavily text-based, this short clip delivers the whole value of Spotify, with a clear CTA at the end of it.
In this B2C explainer, PawHi chooses to highlight customer personas though cartoon characters.
Here, Certainly chooses a clever use of shape-based animation to enhance the clarity of their messaging. Easy-to-follow and with a clear CTA, this example highlights one of the best use of an animated explainer
Amazon Web Services
While cloud-based server management can be a tricky concept to understand, AWS’ inventive use of animation helps the viewer really understand the company’s value proposition.
In this very dynamic and highly effective explainer video, Slack manages to cover the challenges of their customers and prospects without using a single word.
This PayPal video allies live-action and illustration to smartly deliver the value of “people” and “product” working together.
In this very creative explainer, the viewer is sent on a journey (quite literally!) to understand all the aspects of using the product. A clever look ‘Behind the scenes’ at the end of the video also reinforces the creativity angle of the company.
While the understanding of financial services can require lengthy research for some, Mint, in this explainer, focuses on text animation to put clarity at the heart of the video.
Similarly to AWS above, Microsoft chooses the fully-animated route to present their cloud-based storage services.
Here Purina chooses to illustrate the quality of their pet food with an high-end illustrated explainer. The quality of animation makes sure the viewer stays engaged while the company doubles down on their messaging around the standard they expect for the pet food they produce.
In this great live-action explainer, Fiverr cleverly chooses to present the viewer with multiple of their personas to cover all of their prospect challenges in one video. In addition, they showcase their user interface directly within the clip to familiarize the viewer to their brand and website.
While this explainer is mostly live action, the use of small pop animation really helps the viewer to understand each of the steps followed when ordering food online, so future delivery drivers apply with a clear idea of the job scope.
Engaging and dynamic, this text and animated explainer highlights some of the bigger customer challenges and showcases how Ahref can help solve them in a few clicks.
This very dynamic explainer goes the fully animated-route in order to showcase some really effective marketing elements such as customer logos and key features. The use of brand colors throughout also helps reinforce Monday.com’s identity in the mind of the user.
Unilever + NCAA
Here is another example of a whiteboard-style drawing explainer. The pedagogic approach helps deliver the clear CTA of buying this shower gel range.
Great (and funny!) storytelling is at the heart of this explainer campaign, having two cartoon characters explain the benefits of the insurance while showcasing the benefits through illustrations.
Another great example of shape-based illustrations to demonstrate the ease of use of this software to customers. Quite important when marketing a project management tool!
Just like Asana above, Zendesk chooses an illustrative style here, focusing on shapes and text to deliver their message. This is once again a great way to also integrate some brand identity elements to the viewers.
For all of explainer video types, you can also consider professional video production services who guarantee quality video on-demand. However, keep in mind that this option will usually incur higher expenses than creating videos on your own.
We recommend applying the following best practices and using a simple-to-use video creation tool like PlayPlay to create your own professional explainer videos in no time!
6 tips to creating great explainer videos for your brand
1. Write a good script and storyboard
Starting the content creation process with a strong script and storyboard saves time and improves results. Prioritizing these two elements will help you structure your entire outline from the beginning and reduce the time it takes to make edits in the video later on - you won’t have to start from scratch.
The script documents what will be said in your video, which can be performed by actors, employees, or narrated with a voiceover. Check out our step-by-step guide to writing a captivating video script.
Storyboards lay out scene-by-scene what will be shown in your video. They map out the structure and order of scenarios to film, including text overlays, images, and screen captures. Try using a PowerPoint or slideshow format to create and present your storyboard!
2. Add clear branding to promotional videos
This applies to not only explainer videos, but to marketing videos in general. Make sure your logo is in high-resolution and clearly visible in your video to maximize ad recall.
If your logo is consistently shown throughout the video, place it in one of the top or bottom corners of the screen. If you decide to show your logo only at the beginning or end of the promotional video, place the logo front and center.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
Have you also thought about promoting your videos by email? Find out how to embed a video in an email.
3. Add dynamic transitions to your explainer videos
To create videos that flow naturally, use motion graphics to visually guide audiences between each scene. Storyboarding during pre-production is a crucial step to define where to place transitions within your animation video.
4. Add text overlays to your key explanations
Great explainer videos should be highly informative, but also easy to understand. Strengthen your messaging and help your audiences focus by adding text overlays to key points in your video.
5. Use engaging music (but make sure voice-overs are still clearly audible!)
Choosing music is subjective to the type of explainer video you’re creating, your brand voice, and the target audience of your marketing campaign.
For example, B2B corporate videos might use tracks that are more-or-less neutral, compared to B2C explainer videos that aim to captivate viewers with upbeat or even popular trending music.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip
Don’t forget to check whether the music you want to use has a royalty fee.
6. Add captions to your explainer video
A 2019 survey by Verizon Media & Publicis Media found that 92% of U.S. consumers watch videos with the sound muted on mobile devices and 80% are more likely to watch the entire video when captions are available
Whether it’s due to being in a quiet space in public, multitasking, or simply forgetting headphones -numbers show that consumers increasingly prefer to view video content without sound on.
It’s crucial to adapt your video content to evolving consumer habits, to communicate effectively and connect with the most audiences possible.
Ready to get started?
Truth is, you don’t need a full animation studio to make your own explainer video.
Our easy-to-use video maker PlayPlay has so many possibilities and you can try it free for 7 days. It’s never been easier to create videos for business, using our diverse selection of versatile templates and creative customizations.
Want to look into more options? Check out our latest recommendations for the 7 best types of explainer video software. We hope this guide gave you the tools and confidence to get started on your explainer video today.