With the explosion of video content for businesses in the last 10 years, more and more companies are using whiteboard videos, explainers and other animation to tell their stories. In fact, 97% of businesses say that explainer videos help users understand their businesses better, 81% of businesses say that they have helped them increase sales and 76% of businesses have seen an increase in their website traffic from using them. As a voiceover artist on hundreds of explainers, I’ve happily often been a contributing element to their effectiveness.
Why Explainer Videos Are So Effective
Longer than a commercial (and more cost-effective to create), but shorter than a full eLearning project, explainer videos are so effective because they connect with customers, clearly and concisely convey your business’s value proposition and capture attention. They are the perfect vehicle for brand storytelling in conjunction with product demonstrations or service explanations.
In Andrew Angus’ book 60 Seconds: How to tell your company’s story and the brain science to make it stick, he says that the 3 things to do to make an explainer memorable are:
- Keep the story simple
- Connect with people’s prior knowledge
- Stimulate both the auditory and visual senses
Though we mere humans are rumored to have reduced attention spans to rival that of goldfish, the truth is that we still do give our time and attention to content that can capture it. Effective explainers and whiteboard videos increase conversion by 10-20% by engaging eyes and ears (and minds).
Effective Styles of Explainer Videos
Borrowing a list from Yans, a successful explainer video creation company with a long list of prestigious clients including Deloitte, VISA, Solana, AdQuick, etc. here is a list of the top 10 most effective styles of explainer videos:
- 2D Character Animation – This is the most cost effective choice (and therefore most popular) for explainers. Often they are used to replicate a customer experience.
- Motion Graphics Explainer Video – These videos are made by manipulating images – either stock or custom designed. Most commonly used for app demos, tech animations, financial graphics, and corporate explainer videos.
- Live-Action Explainer Video – Depending on the elements, this style can get expensive, fast. It’s very effective to directly address the audience, give a demonstration, etc. but once you add location, actors, crew, etc. costs climb quickly.
- Screencast – Especially popular for demonstrating apps in action.
- 2.5 Animation – Closer to 3D than 2D, but not quite the full 3D experience.
- Explainer Video With Stock Footage – While custom footage for a live-action explainer gets expensive, stock footage (generic, not shot for your specific needs, but demonstrating an action that fits your message) is still quite inexpensive and more companies are opting for this type of explainer.
- Whiteboard – Storytelling backed up with a hand drawing and writing on a whiteboard background to illustrate the story.
- Stop Motion – Ever seen the old Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on television? Well, this style of animation is created by filming one frame of a model (often made of clay) at a time and then moving or manipulating the subject a tiny bit and repeating.
- Traditional Animation – This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
- 2D Animation With 3D Elements – 3D animation is fairly expensive to create, so often it is sprinkled into predominantly 2D animation to highlight or showcase elements.
Voiceover for Explainers
On rare occasions you’ll find one without narration, but much more typically the voiceover for explainers and other audio elements are what draw the listener in and tell the story. While the video content drives the overall feel of the delivery – from matter of fact to sassy/sardonic/witty, anthemic or quirky and fun, the kind of voice (deep, husky, higher pitched etc) is secondary to the performance of the voice artist.
Think of explainers as slightly extended elevator pitches and therefore extremely important points of connection for the brand employing them to deliver their narrative. They are opportunities to wrap messages in story – and stories resonate with people.
Voice Actor Makes the Emotional Connections
A great script and impactful animation set the stage, but the voice actor is the human element in an explainer, who makes the emotional connections and breathes life into the storytelling, acting as a conduit between the brand and customer. Whether it is a brand message that inspires us to be better and do great things, a product that makes us feel confident, or people who lift us up when we’re around them, we are drawn to emotion and stories. We make decisions spurred by that emotion and a good voice actor will lead us through those emotions from the introduction of pain points, despair and frustration, wishing and hoping for help through identifying a solution, surprise and interest, into the exposition of why and how the solution works, the growing confidence and happiness in finding a way out of pain to the plan to move forward with relief, joy and gratitude. Acting as guide, the voice actor will take a good explainer video to great.