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What Is an Explainer Video and How Do You Make One?

Oct 11, 2023
what is an explainer video

Have you ever found yourself browsing a website and, within minutes, completely grasping a company's mission or product thanks to a brief, engaging video? 

Or have you ever stumbled upon a video on social media that demystified a complex topic in mere moments? 

You might not have realized it then, but you were likely watching an explainer video. 

The unsung heroes of digital communication — distilling intricate ideas into easily digestible visuals — explainer videos take complex, long-winded concepts and transform them into engaging pieces of content that teach, entertain, and captivate.

But before you can even think about doing that, it’s important to understand the basics of explainer videos, where you can use them, and how you can make one.

Let’s dive in.


Woman sitting in front of a camera


What is an Explainer Video?

You've seen them on company websites, peppered throughout social media platforms, and even before watching your favorite YouTube content. 

An explainer video, at its core, is a brief video that simplifies intricate concepts into a more viewer-friendly package. 

These videos are often animated — but they can also be live-action, or a combination of both — and they’re typically the perfect tool to help your audience understand a complicated subject quickly. 

And with technology and our fast-paced lifestyle making more and more people so reluctant to read something… showing them sounds like a better bet.

Where Have You Seen Explainer Videos?

Explainer videos are pervasive in today's digital landscape and they’re seamlessly integrated into various platforms, serving as communication tools for businesses and educators alike. 

Whether you recognize them or not, the fact is that explainer videos have probably influenced your understanding of something or your perceptions on various occasions.

For example, a few places where you might see an explainer video include:

  • Websites: Many businesses, especially tech startups, use explainer videos on their landing pages or home pages. This isn’t just to engage the visitors but also to offer a quick insight into what the company stands for or its primary offerings.
  • Social Media: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become hotbeds for explainer videos. Their ability to convey messages quickly means they're perfect for a medium where users are scrolling quickly and looking for instant gratification.
  • Email Campaigns: Ever received an email that leads with a catchy video thumbnail, urging you to understand a product or concept? Some companies strategically embed explainer videos within their emails, believing that it can amplify their marketing efforts and connect better with the recipients.
  • Presentations: Whether you're sitting through a sales pitch, attending a workshop, or listening to a TED talk, explainer videos often make an appearance. They serve as an engaging break from traditional slide transitions and can effectively underline key points or ideas.

A Few Examples of Explainer Videos

When we think about explainer videos, two top-notch examples come to mind: Uber Eats and Spotify.

First, Uber Eats’ visually engaging how-to guide to getting started as an Uber Eats delivery person hits all the right notes: it’s precise, easy to follow, clear, and extremely helpful for beginners. Along with teaching people how to sign up for the platform and start working, it also throws out some of the benefits that come with taking the first step.

Then, there’s Spotify. The streaming giant is no stranger to explainer videos — they’ve been doing them for a while. However, their videos take things a step further by incorporating storytelling. Instead of just telling you what the app can do, their explainer videos — like the one for the new DJ feature, for example — actually show you how things work while highlighting the benefits.

Why Explainer Videos Matter

In an age where time is of the essence, explainer videos provide businesses with a quick way to convey their value proposition. But why exactly are they so great?

1. Engaging and Memorable

In a visually driven world where platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube dominate, it's evident that visuals have a profound impact on our cognition. 

Not only that but our brains are actually wired to process visuals exponentially faster than textual content — in fact, humans process visuals a whopping 60,000 times faster than text. 

That said, this natural predisposition means that when information is presented in a visual format — especially a dynamic one like video — it's not only absorbed quicker but also remembered longer. Lastly, the concise and captivating nature of explainer videos ensures that viewers stay engaged throughout, making the message more impactful.


Recording camera over a red background


2. Boost Conversion Rates

The efficacy of an explainer video isn't just confined to viewer engagement; it directly influences their decision-making process. Think of your own online shopping experiences, for example. If you come across a product that’s also accompanied by a video detailing its features and benefits, the likelihood of you purchasing it increases. This happens because videos provide a comprehensive understanding of the product and instill confidence in the potential buyer. 

The tangible result? A surge in conversion rates and sales. Additionally, the engaging nature of videos also means visitors spend more time on the site — a factor that search engines interpret as valuable content — which can then potentially boost the website's search ranking.

3. Builds Trust with Customers

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful business-customer relationship. Explainer videos play a pivotal role in fostering this trust. When a company goes the extra mile to visually present its product or service, it conveys transparency — and this is often reciprocated with trust by potential customers. 

Beyond just transparency, videos also have the ability to establish an emotional connection with the viewer. The combination of visuals, sound, and narrative can evoke feelings — and when viewers connect emotionally, their trust in the brand deepens.

4. Simplifies Complex Topics

Let’s face it: some topics are more complicated than others. Whether it's a new feature of a new tech gadget, the philosophy behind a new service, or an abstract concept like “blockchain technology”, explaining them via text can be incredibly difficult. Enter explainer videos. 

These have the unique capability to distill complicated topics into straightforward, easily comprehensible content. By eliminating jargon and presenting information visually, they ultimately ensure that the content is accessible to a broad audience, regardless of their familiarity with the subject.

How to Make an Explainer Video

The journey to creating an impactful explainer video is pretty straightforward. However, there’s a lot of planning and attention to detail involved if you truly want your video to stand out and succeed.

Check out our quick step-by-step guide to creating your first explainer video from beginning to end:

1. Define Your Goal

First things first, you need to decide on what you want your video to achieve. Are you aiming to introduce a new product, boost sign-ups, or spread awareness on a topic? Knowing your goal will give direction to your entire project — and ensure that you’re staying focused on what matters most.

2. Write a Script

The script is the backbone of your video. That’s why you need to ensure that everything you write (and will ultimately say) is clear, concise, and directly addresses your target audience's pain points. Remember, you're not just narrating — you're connecting.

3. Storyboarding

Before you can go into full production, you’re going to need to sketch out a storyboard. Think of this as your video's blueprint. The goal here is to outline the flow of your video scene by scene, so you have a clear picture of how it'll all come together in the end.

4. Design

Whether you're going for animation or live-action, make sure you’re “designing” your characters, scenes, and layouts so that they match your brand's aesthetic. This consistency will also make your video recognizable and professional, which means that people will start associating these visual cues directly with your brand.

5. Hire a Voice Actor

A voice can make or break your video. This means it’s incredibly important that you consider hiring a professional voice actor in order to bring authority, clarity, and the desired tone to your content. 

Online marketplaces like Academy Voices can be an excellent place to start. With a growing talent roster that spans various accents and tonalities, our team is here to help you find the perfect voice for your projects.

6. Animation/Production

This is where your storyboard comes to life, transitioning from sketches and doodles to motion. Depending on your design choice and complexity, consider collaborating with experienced animators or producers. Their expertise will help ensure that your video flows seamlessly and holds the viewer's attention from start to finish.

7. Sound Design

The right background music or a subtle sound effect can magnify the impact of a scene. This layer of detail not only adds depth to your video but also helps guide the emotional response of your audience.

8. Feedback and Revision

Once your video is pieced together, it's time for one last review. Gather feedback — both internally and from a select external group if possible — and adjust where needed. Making these necessary tweaks can ensure that your finished product actually aligns with your initial goal.

From there, all that’s left to do is hit the PUBLISH button.

Elevate Your Message with Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are more than just a trend — they're a powerful tool for conveying complex information in a concise and engaging manner. 

Whether you're a startup trying to introduce your groundbreaking product or an educator trying to break down a challenging concept, an explainer video can be your ally.


Recording studio with a microphone and laptop


At Academy Voices, we understand the importance of an impactful narration. With a diverse roster of talented professionals who can bring that desired edge to your explainer video, we’re all about adding depth to your content and enhancing your message.

Ready to take your explainer video to the next level? Get in touch with our team today and get ready to connect with the voice you’re looking for.

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