Explainer Videos...Explained
November 21, 2014
By craig bass • Creative Director

Remember your favorite teacher—the one who always had cool ways to demonstrate complicated topics? Maybe you remember the teach that took normally boring subjects and presented them in a way that made things more interesting.

When it comes to video marketing the equivalent of “that special teacher” is an explainer video; it breaks complicated topics into simple components, using entertaining and eye-catching animation to keep the process enjoyable.


Explainer videos are similar to product videos in that they both introduce and promote a specific product or concept, but they do it with their own unique style. Explainer videos use animation, whether alone or in combination with live action shots, to create memorable images. A captivating background music track helps to support the message as well. And instead of breaking right into a sales pitch, explainer videos tend to tell a bigger story, discussing the general issues the product they promote address and how those issues affect the viewer. Explainer videos come in handy with complex topics, these topics can include but are not limited to government legislation issues, new technology, a new business concept or service offering, a software or website that has not yet been developed for demo and so many more topics.

Idea in Action: Credit card processing is a tough thing to show in video form. After all, it's a mostly electronic process with hardly any physical component to show. For credit card processor Payline Data, Motion Source made a 2:33 animation that puts the process into the context of things that matter to business owners—both the health of their business and the health of the local and global community. Payline is unique because it donates a part of its processing fees to a nonprofit of each customer's choice. The video dramatizes how something as invisible as credit card processing can make a big difference with an adorable puppy helped by an animal rescue organization that Payline customers could donate to. See more of our explainer videos  here.    

Explainer videos can provide some impressive improvements in conversion rates. Pegasus Lighting used video to improve the conversion rate on its Closet Lights page by 27%, while novelty toy retailer Archie McPhee saw a 30% improvement for products with explainer videos. While there are no industry-wide figures, individual retailer reports range from a 9% to 400% improvement.

Explainer videos are not like profile videos or welcome videos, in that they do need a tightly written script. Here, the visuals and an energetic voiceover provide the warmth and personality that videos that feature you or your staff can better obtain by letting you speak passionately off the cuff about your business. It's the alchemy of message, artwork, and action that makes explainer videos so memorable, and you need a solid, precise script for all of these elements to be able to work together effectively.