7 Animated Explainer Video Types to Develop Your Brand

Animated explainer videos dramatically boost engagement, clarify complicated topics, and get key messages out there.

Written by Jack Last

Thanks to their bright colors, bold design, fun-filled characters and intricate illustrations, animated explainer videos are used as the foundations of endless marketing campaigns. Through this dynamic form of video content, marketers can bolster the full range of critical brand metrics, including brand recognition, brand awareness, brand identity, brand engagement and customer loyalty.

So, to help you unlock the full power of animated explainer videos, we’ve shared our experts’ insights into the top 7 explainer video types for developing your brand.

What is an explainer video?

In layman's terms, an explainer video is a video that is designed to convey a complicated message in a simple, engaging and easily-digestible way. They are widely used, across almost every industry, to communicate an extensive variety of messages.

The messages that are commonly communicated through explainer videos include:

● New product launches

● Product use tutorials

● Explain a service

● Promote an offer

● Internal training

● Health and safety guides

● Sharing a company story (which makes an ‘about us’ page far more impactful)

● An explanation of the manufacturing process

● Customer support or technical support

Through explainer videos, brands can inform their audience of a topic that would be tricky to communicate through text alone. Not only does this remove the risk of them misunderstanding the information but, because of the bold and engaging nature of explainer videos, brands can ensure the content is seen by as many people as possible. Win-win.If you would like to find out more about explainer videos and what makes them unique, you can find our full explainer video guide here.

The importance of explainer videos

Long gone are the days when businesses depended on text-based content to build their online presence. Although they represent a larger investment than black and white text on a Word document, explainer videos help businesses in an extraordinary number of ways.

The key benefits of animated explainer include:

● Unparalleled engagement - did you know that, on social media, video content is more engaging than image and text-based content combined? As you can see from this mind- blowing stat, explainer videos offer one of the most effective ways for brands to boost their engagement metrics.

● Communicate with clarity - research has revealed that when a message is delivered by text alone, viewers will remember just 10% of the message. But, when video is used, this figure skyrockets to 95%. When a message is important, explainer videos prove invaluable, by ensuring that it is understood (and critically, remembered) as much as possible.

● Stand out from the crowd - by working with an animation agency, you can tap into a professional standard of creativity and design innovation. Then, through the bold and dynamic outcome, you can blow your competitors’ campaigns out of the water.

● Illustrate the youth and modernity of your brand - building on the above, the energy and creativity of animated explainer videos will speak to these qualities within your brand. Through this medium, you can foster a modern, vibrant and pioneering brand identity.

● Meeting consumer demands
- studies have shown that 96% of people have watched an explainer video so that they can learn more about a product or a service. As you can see, there is a clear demand for this type of content. So, delivering on these new online expectations will ensure that you achieve the best possible CX, across all of your channels.

● Boost brand recognition and brand awareness - although you don’t want to depend on ‘going viral’, the high engagement of explainer videos unlocks a positive cycle of brand benefits. Taking social media as an example, if a video achieves a high engagement level means, it is more likely to be shared and seen by a larger audience. As this continues to grow, your video puts your brand directly in front of people who would, otherwise, have never heard of it.

And, if you’d like to find out more about the key ways in which explainer videos help businesses, you can read our dedicated guide here.

7 types of animated explainer videos that can help develop your brand

1. 2D Animation Explainer Video

As their name suggests, 2D animation explainer videos are a broad term, spanning all the 2D animation types. This covers the full range of illustrated animated explainer videos, and all the design styles within that niche. These can include everything from retro animation to typography animation, and hand-drawn animation to motion graphics. These explainer videos possess a wealth of creative potential, and the colour palette, typography, theme and illustration style can all be tailored to best suit the specific brand. Plus, because these animations don’t use 3D technologies, they are faster and more affordable to create. One of our favourite examples of a highly successful 2D animation explainer video is the Nespresso On Ice advert. It is brimming with colour and personality, and (despite the fact it’s made entirely of illustrations) transports the viewer straight to a picture-perfect Greek island holiday.

2. Motion Graphics Explainer Video

In essence, motion graphics are where graphic design meets animation. They feature all the elements of graphic design (including shapes, crisp colours, typography, and its characteristic clean lines), and then make them move. This style represents an immensely popular genre of explainer videos, particularly amongst corporate businesses. This is because it strikes a great balance between chic formality and engaging creativity. A great example of these design tropes in practice comes from Dropbox’s service update video. This explainer video clearly illustrates the value of Dropbox’s service, and how it easily solves a common business need. It features a great combination of clean lines, playful illustrations and real clips of the tool, from a user’s perspective.

3. 3D Animation Explainer Video

Or, if you want to create an explainer video that really impresses your audiences, 3D is a great route to go down. These videos feature pioneering video-making skills, and achieve an extremely immersive and engaging end result. One of our favourite examples of 3D animations comes from the YouTube channel of mechanical animation specialist Animagraffs. The video how a mechanical watch works exposes the inner workings of a watch beautifully. And, not only does the video demonstrate an exceptional degree of artistry, but it explains this complicated subject with absolute clarity.

4. Infographic Explainer Video

Infographics are a fusion of data and graphic design, and are designed to make key metrics or data findings easier to comprehend. They are also a brilliant way to emphasise the results of surveys, ensuring the viewer feels their full impact. An infographic explainer video takes these qualities one step further, achieving an even more engaging and impactful way to articulate data results. A fantastic example of an infographic explainer video in practice is Nestlé’s Building a More Sustainable Future campaign. Demonstrating a sustainability commitment is proving critical for all businesses. And, through the medium of an animated explainer video, Nestlé has been able to illustrate its sustainability work in a clear, engaging and highly personable way.

5. Commercial Explainer Video

The main focus of a commercial explainer video is communicating directly to consumers, using engaging content and bold design to hit the brand’s KPIs for its target market. This sales-led approach sees all the hallmarks of advertising, coupled with a clear explanation of what the product offers, and what makes it the best on the market. A great example of a highly successful commercial explainer video (even if we do say so ourselves) is our campaign with Nākd. We used a combination of real-world imagery, hand- drawn illustrations and branded typography to highlight the brand’s all-natural USP, alongside its youthful and modern approach.

6. Whiteboard Explainer Video

Whiteboard explainer videos are making a long-overdue comeback, and we’re thrilled to see it. Over the last few years, this animation style has been relegated to the background, in favour of more complicated and technical animation styles. But now, thanks to its simple design and the clear-cut explanations that it achieves, brands are finally getting back into experimenting with whiteboards. If you want to see the full power of whiteboard animation, be sure to check out the YouTuber Jonny Lawrence. His hand-drawn whiteboard videos are extraordinarily detailed, and put an entirely new spin on genre - demonstrating the full creative potential of these animations.

7. Live Action Explainer Video

As much as we adore animation, in some cases, blending animated or illustrated elements with live action footage is the best approach to take. Depending on the product being advertised, live action footage is the cleanest, most effective way to promote. Take new car releases as a prime example - at OK Social, we recently worked with Ford to create a promotional explainer video that advertised its all-electric Mustang, the Mach-E. For the project, we decided to use ‘augmented typography’ techniques. By adding different hi- res photography of the Mach-E to each frame of lettering, we used live action footage to deploy motion typography at its most modern.

Animation is renowned for its unparalleled degree of creative versatility. It's a medium that can be utilized by brands and marketers to achieve exceptional results. What’s more, with a clear plan and a talented designer, this content can be geared to develop a brand in all the key areas that you require. By harnessing the brand benefits of explainer videos, and then setting them alight with a fresh animation style, this content type offers an invaluable boost to brands.

Why work with an animation agency like OK Social?

To successfully harness all the benefits of animated explainer videos, you need the skills and industry expertise of a professional animation agency. There’s a huge amount to be gained from this content type, but not just anyone can create a game-changing brand video. For your explainer video to stand out amongst the surge of online videos, you need it to have some serious impact. That means a succinct and clear script, bold design, professional- standard illustrations, smooth and realistic animations, crisp audio and measurable success indicators.

At OK Social, we deliver on all of the above. We’ve worked with the likes of Ford, the BBC, Deliveroo and Coca-Cola. And, if that’s not enough of a testament to our team’s skills, take a scroll through our projects board.

To find out more about our specialist animated explainer video services, chat to a member of our team.

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I’m Jack, the Motion Director here at OK Social. I’ve been working in the world of motion design and animation for nearly 10 years. I had the pleasure of working with leading agencies and brands around the world, such as Samsung, Ford, Shell, Deliveroo, and Starbucks, to name a few.

From a young age, I’ve always been interested in animation, from making stop-motion films in my room as a kid to learning animation on my first computer. It started as a passion and still is to this day. Part of what I do now is more than just animation. I help craft the narratives of the stories we tell to ensure they make an impact to the audience and remain worthy of their attention.

So how do I do that? It starts with asking the right questions, leading to solving the right problems. First, diagnose what the problem is. Then, we can start to see if we can help. I believe that communication plays a key role in delivering a smooth and successful project. Looking into the future, I’m excited to expand my knowledge into creating more engaging stories that make a difference.