Types of Explainer Videos You Should Know About

Types of Explainer Videos You Should Know About

December 14, 2018

Explainer videos seem to be all the rage right now, for a variety of reasons. They are memorable, they are fun to watch, they are relatively cheap to produce – but the main reason is that they give marketers an opportunity to engage their viewers better than they can with text or even static images. According to a recent study, marketers who widely use video in their efforts see 49 percent faster growth of revenue. And this isn’t a figure to neglect easily. If you are in the business of attracting people’s attention, you just cannot ignore it. Explainer videos offer an effective, efficient, engaging way of staying ahead of the game. So what are they? What types are out there? 

Explainer videos can be broadly classified based on two principles: their purpose and their method of production.

Explainer Videos by Purpose

1. Benefits and advantages videos

These cover, in short, and concise manner (remember, an explainer video shouldn’t be longer than a couple of minutes, ideally – no longer than a minute and a half), the benefits received by those who deal with your business. These work best on the cover of your website or a landing page if your business sells a product or a service that is fairly well-known to the audience. In this case, you have to explain not how it works, but why this product as provided by you is better than what is offered by your competition.

2. FAQ videos

These perform the same function as the FAQ section of your website but in video form. You should know best what questions asked by your current and potential customers are the most common – gather them and provide answers that are short and to the point. Make sure to use all the advantages of the format and make the answers illustrative – otherwise, the visitor will be better off finding the necessary information in your textual FAQ.

3. How-to’s

These serve as excellent supplementary materials adding extra value you can offer to your clients. For example, you can give advice that isn’t directly related to the product you are selling but deals with the same general area (e.g., hair styling tips for a company selling hair extensions). They will help your business stand out and motivate visitors to bookmark your website to come back to it later.

4. Demos

These explain the way something works and are useful if you sell a product or a service that isn’t obvious to your customers. If they don’t know exactly what it does and why they may need it, they are not going to buy it. Demo videos rectify this situation, covering finer details to make the deal even more attractive.

5. Testimonials

What can be better to build trust and credibility than a live video of a person who tried out your product and endorses it?

Explainer Videos by Production Methods

1. 2D animation

2D animation is by far the most widely applied method when it comes to explainer videos, for a variety of reasons. First, there is a matter of production costs – when compared to most other types, 2D animation is relatively cheap and is available even for small businesses and startups that want a clear-cut, picturesque and memorable way of engaging with their customers. Secondly, it evokes emotion and appeals directly to the audience, thus turning it into a top-notch type of content for future shares. Although some marketers treat it with disdain and believe 2D animation to be too simplistic to be effective, this perception is wrong. Or rather, it is right at its core but makes all the wrong conclusions.

A 2D animation may be simple, but that is precisely what makes it ideal for conveying complex ideas – it doesn’t overwhelm the audience with details and instead allows it to concentrate on what is most important at a particular moment.

2. Whiteboard animation

Whiteboard animation is another video type that is easily available to most businesses, being even cheaper to produce than 2D animation. The idea is to draw simple black illustrations (albeit sometimes with a smattering of color to better drive a point) on a white background. They are, however, not just simple illustrations, since they represent a story that unfolds in front of the audience as new and newer images appear. It is ideal for businesses that want to retain a more serious and down-to-earth tone that is not always possible with colorful 2D animation.

3. Live action

Here everything is recorded using a camera. These videos are best for companies that strive to establish a more personal relationship with their clients. Instead of showing generic animated figures or shapes, they show real people – preferably members of the company staff or management. When used correctly, they can be incredibly effective in driving the creator’s message to viewers because it is easier to relate to real people.

4. Stop Motion

Stop motion videos are produced by photographing an object multiple times, each time moving it just a little, thus creating an impression of movement. This approach can be used to create some unique videos, but it is unexpectedly expensive for something that looks so simple.

As you can see, the variety of explainer videos is quite impressive – what we’ve described here is just the tip of the iceberg, the types that are the most important for small and middle-sized businesses due to their goals and budgetary limitations. Check out some of the great examples of explainer videos here.


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Melissa Burns graduated in journalism from Iowa State University and was working as a marketing manager for 4 years in a large US IT company. Currently, she is a marketing consultant and an independent journalist. Melissa is passionate about covering topics on SEO, marketing, technology, and business innovations.

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