5 Most Effective Explainer Videos

Most businesspeople are familiar with slideshow presentations at work. Often, the purpose of these slideshows is to educate the target audience about some aspect of the business’s products or services. The premise for explainer videos is really similar. Essentially, you’re making video content that includes pictures, animations, and sometimes live-action video to explain some aspect of your business. (The difference is you don’t have to do it in front of a live audience as you would the slideshow.) These video marketing tools count among the most powerful you can use.

A Brief Explanation

These video spots usually have a script that runs from about a minute to a minute and a half. In terms of using them as animated marketing videos, businesses will often use them as the first portion of a sales funnel, but that’s not always the case. They’re not meant to be complicated. Basically, if you make an explainer video, you’re trying to show your potential customers how your product or service can solve their problem. That’s really it.

That said, putting together this type of video marketing campaign is sometimes easier in the explanation than it is the execution. That being the case, we’ve compiled a list of our five favorite explainer/ marketing videos. We’ve also explained what we liked about them and why we think they’re so effective.

1. What is Pinterest?

Each social media platform has its specific function. For Twitter, it’s all about microblogging. Instagram provides you with pictures and graphics to capture a moment. And Pinterest? Well, Pinterest is basically an online scrapbook or photo album to share. That’s really the takeaway that you get from watching the explainer video about it.

It starts out with an animation about scrapbooks and how people used to save pictures of the items they wanted in their books. It moves on to explain how people went on to store their photos on floppy discs: However, this wasn’t without its problems. Mostly, these discs got lost or destroyed and the pictures along with them.

Pinterest changes all of that, according to its explainer video. What’s cool about the video content in this marketing tool is that it builds upon two ideas, the scrapbook and the floppy disc, and then explains why Pinterest solves the problem of photo storage in a better way than the old options did.

It really highlights the pain point. That is to say that trying to keep track of your photos and clippings is a hassle at best and heartbreaking at worst. In other words, it really touches on the pain point of using the wrong methods of picture storage.

When you’re making animated marketing videos, the pain point is one of the most important elements to keep in mind.

2. Head Space

The Head Space explainer video takes a topic – mindfulness and meditation – that some people find a bit confusing and breaks it down into easily digestible chunks. More specifically, this service teaches people various mindfulness and brain-training techniques.

Using simple animation, viewers learn that they can get started by committing to just 10 minutes a day on a free trial membership. If they want to learn more at that point, they can pay to join the site to gain access to hundreds of hours of content.

For subjects such as this one, it’s best to keep animated marketing videos simple and short. Video creators shouldn’t try to go into depth and tell the viewer everything there is to know about a product or service in the initial introductory explainer video. It really is meant to tell viewers in a nutshell what the product/ service does and how it can help solve the viewers’ problems. All these videos need to do is to create the initial spark.


3. Spotify

No matter what the topic, the message of your explainer videos needs to connect with their intended audience, and they need to do so quickly. The Spotify explainer video does this amazingly well. Media theorist John Berger said that “seeing comes before words.” We see the world first in pictures and then use words to describe the pictures that we see.

It is estimated that people perceive pictures in one second. However, to perceive meaning from text, it takes five seconds. In the world where most people have an I-want-everything-right-now kind of attention span, Spotify’s video succeeds in getting the viewers’ attention right away. Spotify uses music and image shortcuts – everyone understands what a drummer is – to signify a more abstract concept, a music site that’s a bit more than radio. The video is catchy and effective.

4. SatPhoneCity

If you’re going to make explainer videos, make them visually interesting. Studies in Multimedia Learning Theory show that the brain has limited capacity to take in information. That information needs to get to the viewer via sound and pictures.

However, due to the possibility of information overload, it’s better to use strong visuals with limited text in them. The actual text should be spoken in the script. Therefore, in this context, the visuals in an explainer video need to capture the viewer’s attention AND educate the viewer at the same time. This is about more than just looking pretty, however.

The graphics need to be instructional: That is to say they need to show the process, a sequence of events, or a context that helps the viewer understand what the product/ service is about. The animated marketing video for SatPhoneCity does this well.

Using a series of established visual icons (the cross for medical, the handshake for diplomacy, and the soldier for military), the viewer is shown who uses this satellite phone service and why it’s helpful. It also explains how the consumer selects the product, how it gets shipped to the consumer, and how to contact the organization.

Although the graphics are simple, they’re effective. Marketing managers should keep this principle in mind as they create their marketing videos.

5. Amazon Go

An explainer video probably isn’t necessary for products or services that are simple. Very often, these types of products and services fall under the categories of tech or design, but the principle holds true for anything that isn’t easily understood upon first glance.

Amazon go is one such service. Basically, the service allows people to pay for groceries and other purchases ahead of time on their phone via their Amazon account. Once the person loads money onto the account, he/ she can go into the store, pick up their items, have them charged hassle-free to their phones, and leave the store without seeing a cashier.

In this respect, it’s okay to make an explainer video that gets a little detailed. However, it’s detail that must be done right. This video strongly relies on breaking down each concept into smaller bits in a logical sequence until the whole product story gets told.

Final Comments

When you’re writing the script for a video marketing piece like an explainer video, you want to keep it simple and relevant. The video tool should show how and why the product/ service will help the consumer. However, the content should not overload the viewer, especially if the product or service tends to be a bit more complicated. These five videos show some of the best examples of this type of marketing tool. Use them as a springboard of inspiration when you’re creating your own.