Choosing an Explainer Video: The 5 Most Popular Styles

27 April, 2017  

Do you need an animated explainer video? The short answer is yes, you probably do.

The long answer is more interesting, anyway: Your brand does some fascinating work, but fascinating, sometimes, is difficult to explain. As its name says, explainer videos help you explain things by translating a complex topic into a message that your audience will understand better.

Basically, explainer videos are the ones that help you explain how your company or your product works. As they are catchy and fun to watch, (and also, short!) it helps your audience retain information, and connect with your brand: when people understand a concept, they connect with it easily.

But there are a lot of different kinds of explainer videos, and you should choose the one that suits your brand (and your message!) best. Take a look at this video so you can get a quick glance of it!

Just let me show you this with a little bit more detail:

ebook: Explainer Videos, the Ultimate marketing tool

The 5 Most Popular Types of Explainer Videos

If you do a quick internet search, you’ll see that there are a lot of styles when it comes to explainer videos. Which one should you use? Well, it depends on the spirit of your brand and product, but here are 5 of the most popular explainer video styles, for you to choose from:

  • Whiteboard Videos

With a whiteboard explainer video you’re using the power of storytelling to create a narrative in front of your viewer’s eyes… using a whiteboard and a marker! Or, at least, that’s what it used to be like, traditionally: An illustrator, a whiteboard, a camera, a marker and an eraser. Right now, though, everything has become fully digital, which is amazing.

The essence of the whiteboard video is to have a white screen, drawings that are being created in front of the camera and a hand that draws (whether it’s digital or real). This upgrade allows you to introduce some interesting special effects, like 2D character animations and some coloring (not so much, but it works perfectly for highlighting important info).

Look at this example we made at Yum Yum Videos, for CarePredict:


  • Motion Graphics Videos

Are you looking to explain a difficult concept, but in a dynamic, easy to understand and elegant way? Then motion graphics videos are the way to go.

Motion graphics videos are never boring. They consist of simple images, shapes and/or patterns paired with smooth motion and strong colors.

This style guarantees strong brand engagement (the shapes, colors and metaphors in its message makes it really attractive), and it’s especially effective when used for B2B marketing. Motion graphics videos are the way to go if your brand is financial or technological, or maybe when you need a direct approach because your message is difficult to communicate.

Here’s the perfect example:

  • Live-Action Videos

In live-action videos, everything is recorded using a camera. No animation here, it’s the time to get real: Live action is a great tool to show the real people behind the products.

It can be your team, so you can show some behind-the-scenes content; or product/service reviews showing the real customers, this is the explainer video that will help you show who’s who. It’s a great option for brands that are looking to build a personal bond with their consumers, a personal relationship.

Take a look at this fun example by Zendesk!

These types of explainer videos are the ones that show real people in real situations.

  • Screencast Videos

A screencast explainer video is a digital recording of a screen capture, paired with an audio narration. You may have seen it before, probably in a YouTube tutorial (almost every tutorial on the web is made with this method!), or an online class. This is because screencast videos are perfect for educational campaigns, and also effective and low cost!

Because of these qualities (good and inexpensive), it’s a tool widely used by startups. It’s also easy to make: A computer screen (or even a smartphone screen!) is enough to produce this kind of video.

Snapchat introduce how to use Bitmojis on their own app, take a look:

Pro Tip: Screencast videos are a good way to start, before trying more complex videos!

  • Character Animated Videos

Cartoon videos, character animated videos… call them as you wish. Those are just different names for the same thing: videos that feature custom-designed animated characters that bring emotions and portray the personality of your brand.

This type of video is, hands down, one of the most popular marketing video styles. This is because character animated videos catch attention really quickly, they’re entertaining for your audience, and memorable.

Using a character means that you can portray your ideal personas, and they will fill quickly identified with the story. This is why storytelling is an amazing resource (in general for explainer videos, but specifically for character animated ones): the character, who’s the one that represents your buyer’s persona, solves their problems (well, your audience’s problems) by using your product or service. This creates a strong, personal bond between you and your audience… the ideal customers.

Look at this example! We made this video for one of our clients, Gigtown:


These are five of the most popular explainer video styles, did you choose yours already? Remember, these are the things you have to consider when choosing an explainer video:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • To make a real impact, you have to make a high-quality explainer video.
  • Consider your budget! There are a lot of options, use the one that will suit you the best.
  • Check your feedback. Knowing what your target audience likes and doesn’t like is key for choosing the best way to deliver your message.
  • Expertise equals quality. If you’re choosing a video production company to make a custom explainer video for you, check their portfolio and analyze if their previous videos meet your needs. Also, if you’re not sure which type of explainer video you should be using, it’s great to have somebody to guide you!

Ok! It’s now time to go work on that great explainer video, using the type that works best for your brand. If you’d like more info about this topic, take a look at our blog to get you inspired!

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