What is an Explainer Video?

More and more businesses are using explainer videos to reach and engage with their target audience. It’s become such an effective tactic, in fact, that YouTube is now filled with such videos. But unless you’re familiar with explainer videos, you might be wondering how they differ from traditional videos. In this post, we’re going to explore the growing trend of explainer videos, revealing what makes them unique, why they are beneficial to businesses, and how to create an excellent explainer video.

Explainer Videos: The Basics

An explainer video lives up to its namesake by “explaining” something. Some businesses create explainer videos to reveal how their product or service works, whereas other businesses create them to explain an idea. Regardless, the defining characteristic of an explainer video is that it breaks down a topic into an easy-to-understand video, typically through the use of animations (note: explainer videos can also be live, though most are animated).

Benefits of Explainer Videos

So, why should you create explainer videos? For starters, it can help you achieve a higher search ranking when publishing on your business’s website. According to Google, providing visitors with high-quality content is the single most important thing you can do. While content comes in many forms, an explainer video is arguably one of the most effective for this purpose. It engages visitors, captivating and encouraging them to stay on your website. Google will notice these effects, responding by giving your site a higher search ranking for its target keywords.

Furthermore, many users actually prefer to watch videos instead of reading text. A survey conducted by Forbes, for instance, found that 59% of upper-level business executives prefer online video over text on websites. This makes explainer videos particularly beneficial for business-to-business (B2B) companies.

But even business-to-consumer (B2C) companies can benefit from the use of explainer videos. A separate study conducted by Internet Retailer found that 52% of consumers feel more confident about buying a product after watching an explainer video featuring that product. When you highlight a product in an explainer video, it helps prospective customers understand the product the benefits it offers. Therefore, viewers are typically more likely to buy the product after watching the video.

If you are still hesitant to invest in explainer videos, you should know that they receive more social shares than traditional marketing videos. Assuming the explainer video is professionally produced and edited, it should captivate the viewer and encourage him or her to share it on social media. This can create a chain reaction in which your explainer video continues to get picked up and shared, resulting in a flood of new views, all while requiring little effort on your part.

Explainer Video Example

Here’s an example of an explainer video by Tech Insider. Titled “How Deep is the Ocean?” the three minute, 30 second long animated video breaks down the concept of ocean depth by showing how it relates to people, animals and objects. It reveals some interesting facts about the ocean, one of which being that sunlight can’t reach depths of 3,280 feet. And at 7,500 feet, there are eyeless shrimp that survive around geothermic underwater volcanoes, where temperatures can reach up to 800 degrees. Click the “play” button below to view the video in its entirety.

Tips on Creating an Explainer Video

There’s really no single “right” way to make an explainer video. Different videos have different objectives, and there are multiple ways to achieve these objectives. With that said, the following tips can set you on the right path to creating effective and engaging explainer videos for your business.

  • Add Subtitles: because many viewers watch videos with their sound turned off, it’s a good idea to add subtitles to your explainer videos.
  • Highlight Product Benefits, Not Features: when using explainer videos to promote a product, be sure to focus on the benefits of the product, not the features. You want to explain how the product can benefit the viewer; thus, encouraging him or her to buy it.
  • Invest in Professional Animation: the video shown above is an excellent example of how to create a professionally animated explainer video. It contains colorful graphics, fluid motions and an overall crisp design.
  • Keep it Short: explainer videos aren’t intended to be long and complex. Rather, they should be short and sweet by focusing on the central theme or topic. So, just how long should your explainer videos be? Four minutes is probably the maximum, though some marketing experts recommend even shorter explainer videos at two to three minutes.
  • Make it Easy to Understand: the entire purpose of an explainer video is to explain a subject to viewers. And in order to accomplish this goal, the video needs to be easy to understand. Using technical jargon and industry-specific lingo isn’t going to work. Your explainer video should be simple enough so that anyone can understand it.

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