Animated explainers are short, captivating, cartoon-style, and character-led visuals that allow businesses to present even the most boring concept in an entertaining and informative way. Animated content not only enables brands to cover the main talking points without putting people to sleep but simplifies messaging and increases understanding. It is a form of creative storytelling to beat the attention span plague, intrigue visitors, and help them feel identified with the narrative.
Creative storytelling is a need to have, especially in the crowded marketplace that we are living in. Brands are spending millions for seconds of attention from customers who are constantly bombarded with information, and oftentimes the messaging is similar. Having a quality product is not enough to sell. Even if you put your heart and soul into creating something so unique that it can’t be ignored, it may fail to succeed if you don’t market it right. Creative storytelling, especially of the visual kind, allows you to present a product in a way that differentiates it from the crowd.
Some products are fairly easy to sell with the right marketing strategy. But what if you have a really great product that just looks boring? Animated storytelling can help turn it into an experience that customers can consume. And even if your business or product looks like a total snooze-fest, the entertainment value that animation provides can be applied to pretty much everything, even things as boring as watching paint dry.
Animated explainer videos do exactly that – they help you to get noticed in the noise of competitors’ messages, show how your offerings can make life better, and highlight distinct and unique characteristics and advantages. Visual content has the power to drive more eyeballs to your business… unless it is crappy. Fortunately, there are designers who know how to create amazing animated explainers so that your audience is captivated from beginning to end. Here are some of our favorites.
Inspired by Generation Y, this video by Slack walks us through a typical working day to convey the feeling of tension and stress that workers are dealing with when handling repetitive and routine tasks. With no voiceover, you see their character juggling multiple tasks on the brink of communication overload. At the end of the video, Slack presents a simple solution – their app which streamlines communication to ease workplace stress. The video features overlapped objects and colors, powerful bright visuals, and interesting color combinations.
What we like about this video is that Nest combines 2D animation with real-life objects – household brands like Whirlpool and Philips – to simplify the idea of using their technology. In this animated explainer, Nest uses voiceover and bright animation to illustrate the benefits of integrating smart appliances with their system so that they can learn about your home and save energy.
3. Project Permit
Featuring 3D design and simple but unique animation, this video discusses the benefits of solar energy for local communities. Their explainer presents a relatable problem, bad permitting practices, unnecessary fees, and paperwork that add to the price of home solar systems. The video also offers a solution in the form of streamlining permitting practices to help improve affordability and availability, minimize pollution, and mitigate climate change.
4. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
Browsing the web to learn about a disease and its symptoms can be a scary experience, especially if you don’t have a medical degree. There are tons of articles out there but accuracy is often variable while the language of medicine can be complicated. This animated explainer has been created to educate newly diagnosed patients in a simple language and make them feel connected to their daily life. The narrative goes over all the frequently asked questions that people might have and is built around dialogue to make patients feel comfortable and less alone in what they are going through.
The browsers of today are broken is what this video by Brave puts the emphasis on. We are bombarded by annoying ads, a problem that most of us can relate to. They are intrusive and pervasive and interrupt the browsing experience. Pop-up online advertisements are the worst as they disrupt what you are doing and slow down your browser. But here enters Brave. Their solution makes it faster and safer to browse the web, blocking trackers and ads that can compromise your privacy.
6. Facebook: Community Standards
Being harassed or laughed at on social media, whether by texting or email, can feel terrible. Examples of bullying are sending threats and harmful messages, posting embarrassing photos, spreading lies, and impersonating others. Bullying takes place in the virtual world and across all social platforms, the most common type being mean comments. According to Statista, to combat this trend, Facebook removed 6.3 million harassment-related items in the last quarter of 2020 and 21.1 million hate-speech-containing items in the third quarter. This animated explainer by Facebook discusses harassing, hate speech, and violence and how the platform is trying to deal with the problem. Symbols are used to depict bullying, highlight its effects, and make people realize that this is a serious problem. Featuring characters of different ethnicity, color, and age, Facebook emphasizes the importance of inclusivity, respect for diversity, and appreciation of cultural differences.
The creators of the Unroll.me app discuss a problem that affects most of us – junk mail. Whether it is spam or irrelevant messages, there are plenty of reasons why people hate junk mail. Some marketers keep emailing people who didn’t opt in while others are not honoring unsubscribes or make it difficult to unsubscribe. Bombarding customers with email and providing irrelevant content are also common pet peeves. This video by Unroll.me shows how people feel about junk mail – they are frustrated and bothered by the amount of time it takes to deal with it. Discussing a problem we all can relate to, the creators use it to position their app as a solution. The central theme of this explainer is ease of use as users unsubscribe in just a click.
This short animated explainer by Mint efficiently demonstrates how their personal finance app works. After discussing some ineffective methods to manage finances, the video takes viewers on a journey to show what the software helps them with. Featuring the most important functionalities, it demonstrates the benefits their app offers and why it is the smarter way to manage personal finances.
9. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell – The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do
One of the most visually appealing pieces worth mentioning, this video explainer discusses what the coronavirus is through animation. From the main way of spreading and the virus’s journey through the body to future scenarios for the pandemic and measures to contain further spread, the video approaches an emotionally difficult topic in a way that makes it easier to digest.
This animated explainer by Yum Yum Videos introduces a character named Maria and her problems – she cannot afford to buy health coverage or book private doctor appointments. Then the video offers a solution, an app using the shared economy principle, and explains the benefits of using it. Maria enjoys access to unlimited consultations and affordable care without having to pay to private companies.
11. Med Mart
One of the best animated videos to explain the use of an app, this piece by Med Mart offers customers a new way of finding a local specialist to perform surgery. While it is a bit longer than other explainers, viewers get the sense that their app is easy to manage, user friendly, and enables better connection with healthcare professionals.
Great animated videos like the ones we just covered have several things in common – they are short, have a clear focus, present a relatable problem and a solution, and call viewers to take a specific action. Animated explainers help companies to familiarize viewers with their business and product. The hard part is to get things right. Here is what it takes to create an awesome explainer video that will keep visitors on your website for longer.
In contrast to prose, screenwriting allows for layered conflict through multiple levels of storytelling. To add commentary in literary fiction, the author must shift the focus and take readers out of the action. Voiceover can be used in video to complement action and allow different levels of conflict and characterization to unfold at once. This is what a good script is about, with screenwriters using various techniques to enhance storytelling. From purposeful dialogue and intentional action to dynamic scenes, character arcs, and emotional twists, multiple scripting techniques can be used to add depth as the story unfolds.
It is also important to pick the right voice actor for your business and video production. The voice viewers hear provides information, conveys the tone of your brand, and brings a story to life. The question is what kind of voice fits best with your audience? Is it experienced, young, exciting, authoritative, or trustworthy? Just as actors have various skills and talents, they also differ when it comes to speaking style. There is a choice of styles to consider depending on your video’s narrative and message:
- Slow paced
- Soothing and comforting
Listing the emotions that resonate with your brand and product can help you to choose the right style. If your company is selling household cleaning products, for instance, efficiency, friendliness, and trust can be the emotions you want to convey. If you are an insurance firm, then security, stability, and reliance may help you get your message across. Pick an actor whose voice reflects the range of emotions you want to convey.
Finally, whether it is better to use a female or male voice is a common question that brands ask. Research in this area has brought mixed results. A poll by Adweek Media and Harris that surveyed 2,194 U.S. consumers found that the male voice is more persuasive for 18 percent of participants while 19 percent support the opposite statement. 38 percent of women think the female voice sounds more soothing compared to 54 percent of men who say so. At the same time, 69 percent of U.S. customers think gender makes no difference in influencing their decision to purchase a computer and 66 percent say so about buying a car. As the poll hardly provides conclusive evidence that one gender is better than the other, you may be left thinking that it doesn’t matter whether you choose a female or male voice actor. Marketing experts, however, make it a point that it is better to use a female actor when targeting a female audience and vice versa. Keeping that in mind, you may want to test which gender resonates with your potential customers provided that you have a clear idea who they are. Using market segmentation can help you to identify consumers who respond well to your promotional efforts. Demographic segmentation is commonly used to create sub-categories based on ethnicity, education, age, gender, annual income, and location.
A simple example of using demographic segmentation in choosing a voice actor is a brand selling wedding gowns in North Carolina. Here a female artist from the American South with an honest sounding and loving voice would be more appropriate, especially if you rely on soft-sell advertising to induce emotions or feelings.
While companies may have a lot to say about their business (and they do indeed), an explainer video is meant to be an overview as opposed to a detailed presentation packed with facts and figures. Viewers prefer short content, especially younger generations that are drowning in information, as streams of data are being produced in previously unimaginable volumes. Indeed, The State of Marketing 2020 report by Wyzowl shows that when asked how they prefer to learn about a service or product, 66 percent of customers say they will watch a short video. Only 2 percent of respondents will watch a demo or sales call, 3 percent will join a seminar, 3 percent will download a manual or e-book, and 18 percent will read a post, website, or article. The overwhelming majority of participants (86 percent) would like to see more branded video, including product demos (14 percent) and explainer and educational videos (36 percent).
The fact that viewers prefer short videos is one reason to pay attention to length. But there is more. To begin with, short visuals are highly shareable. According to a study by Animoto, close to 50 percent of all viewers who watched a company video shared it on social media. The majority of respondents (84 percent) said they liked branded content showing in their newsfeed.
Accessibility is another reason why consumers prefer short videos. Data by Statista shows that for 74 percent of Millennials and Gen Z users, accessibility is the most important factor, together with storytelling (79 percent), and quality (88 percent).
In the world of digital advertising, different tools can be used to inform, persuade, and change people’s ideas. The goal is to highlight your unique selling points to initiate the decision-making process of customers. Video content is a popular choice as it can explain virtually everything and allows marketers to demonstrate the results or outcomes that customers will experience by using their product or service. Animated explainer videos are commonly used to present or explain something about a business in an entertaining way. Good explainers like the ones we covered answer three questions: Who are you? What you offer? Why should people choose your product or service? A good example is a video showcasing software for personal finance management (Who), being an easy to use app to manage household spending (What), with user-friendly interface and cross-platform support (Why). A good explainer video answers the three W’s through simple but interesting animations, a relatable scenario, and effective messaging that evokes emotions. As we humans are emotional creatures, video content that arouses responses enables brands to gain new business. Content built around feelings like shame, pride, envy, altruism, fear, and greed is more likely to hit an emotional high note. A video which makes customers believe that buying a specific product will make them look smart is an example of evoking a feeling of pride.
Once you’ve chosen which emotional level to pull, which depends on your target audience and buyer persona, it is time to create a script that your audience will never forget. If you decide to use a voiceover artist to deliver your lines, consider factors such as tone of voice, accent, speaking style, and gender. When it comes to length, this depends on your video’s key theme, style, industry, channel, and where it fits in the sales funnel. Having the right mix of ingredients – emotions, script, voiceover, and appropriate length – you are all set for marketing success.
- Slack – https://vimeo.com/channels/explainervideosunited/174253411
- Nest – https://vimeo.com/141931019
- Project Permit – https://vimeo.com/62957143
- Crohn’s – https://vimeo.com/201883950
- Brave – https://vimeo.com/182733199
- Facebook – https://vimeo.com/227242248
- Unroll.me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL26FS5daGY
- Mint – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK6WLHNYjwM
- Coronavirus – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtN-goy9VOY
- Dandelin – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0KQn5N6Ows
- Med Mart – https://vimeo.com/210348311