What is an Explainer Video?

Animated explainer videos are brief videos that simplify a complex message to describe your brands’ products or services to a target audience.

Written by Jack Last

Looking to understand the ins and outs of what a explainer video is? This is our ultimate guide to explainer videos. We'll explain what a explainer video is, how to create a great one and the wide range of uses for them. So let's get suck in.

So, what is an Explainer Video?

An explainer video is a great way to hold your viewer’s attention while simultaneously pitching for your company’s product or service. This creates an engaging environment for your audience that puts your brand at the forefront of their minds. So whether you’re looking to sell a product or demonstrate the workings of your company, an explainer video is the way to go. 

A successful explainer video is focused, concise, and has a specific purpose: to communicate the importance of your product or service in the shortest amount of time. Let’s not forget the style of video used in your explainer video is designed to grab your audience's attention. So be sure to make it striking and sensational. 

Regardless of how complicated the content of your explainer video may be, keeping to a well scripted and beautifully designed animation will be sure to get your ideas across distinctly and successfully. With a combination of motion graphics, animation, captions and voice-overs, your message can be crafted to showcase your service(s) or product(s). This can influence, inform and inspire your audience on your website or social media simply through an explainer video. 

How do you create a good explainer video?

1. First need to decide what the main message you want your viewers to take away from.

2. You’ll need to write a well crafted and brilliantly worded script based on the key information.

3. Once the script is finalised, you’ll need to figure out what the look and style of your animated video will look like. This will usually reference your brands’ guidelines (font, colour, logo, etc.) or your website’s design elements. 

4. The last step is to create a storyboard that allows you to visualise the key scenes before animating. 

Therefore an appealing explainer video will be one that is designed to encapsulate your intended audience’s attention. This kind of explainer video will be successful if it is kept brief, gets straight to the point and, most importantly, has a clear call-to-action at the end. 

What can Explainer videos be used for?

Explainer videos can be used in many different ways, all of which benefit your brand. Here are a few examples of how explainer videos are used:

  1. They are used for marketing and sales purposes to highlight your company’s product, service or business idea engagingly and compellingly.
  2. They are used to grab the attention of your intended audience. The average person on the internet has an attention span of about 8 seconds, so keeping the video short and to the point may be beneficial.
  3. Explainer videos can increase conversions. The longer you’re able to keep your audience on your site, the more likely you are to make a conversion. This can increase by 15-50 per cent.
  4. Animations and characters allow the viewers to develop a deeper connection with your brand and, therefore, are more likely to engage with your business. 
  5. They are used compelling elevator pitches for your brands’ new product or idea while promoting your missions and values at the same time.
  6. Using explainer videos in your email marketing campaign can boost your click-through rates and reduce unsubscribe rates.

It’s proven that video is usually the preferred means to learn about a product or service by most people. Audiences love them, as content within them is easy to digest, and they appeal to short human attention spans. Unfortunately, the human attention span is short. In fact, it’s less than 10 seconds! Therefore, businesses must use content that quickly engages users. Succinct videos which feature vital ideas and messages are a great way to communicate with an audience. They’re more effective than using text or audio as well.

Different types of explainer videos

1. Animation Explainer Videos

Animated explainer videos are brief videos that simplify a complex message through illustrations to describe your brands’ products or services to a target audience. They are usually kept short and to the point using creative graphics to grab your audience’s attention. 

With the use of animated explainer videos, your brand could see a rise in traffic to your website, more leads being generated and possibly increased conversion rates. All this from one well-structured video?

2. Live Action Explainer Videos

Live-action explainer videos are made using actual shot video footage. They are not animated or created using graphics. They are most often used to prove testimonials from some of your happy customers. Try to keep your live-action explainer video simple by addressing the problem, finding or offering a solution and possibly including an action your viewers could take.

3. Whiteboard Explainer Videos

Whiteboard explainer videos can be simple, yet very fun to watch at the same time. They are made up of hand-drawn illustrations on a whiteboard-like background paired with a voice over to aid with conveying the main ideas of the video all while hooking the viewers to offer a higher engagement rate. 

Whiteboard explainer videos are an excellent means of breaking down complex information and making it more engaging for the audience. They are best used for educational and marketing purposes for the very reason mentioned above. Just be sure not to confuse it with chalkboard animation videos that have a green background with chalk-like drawings. 

What is needed to make an Explainer Video?

An Explainer videos main function is to educate or ‘explain’. Whether it be a service, product or brand message, the most important thing is that it clearly explains what the client is talking about. The key steps to producing amazing explainer videos are as follows. The process for creating an explainer animation video, whether it be using 2D or 3D, follows a very similar process.


1. Outline & Brief.

A quick overview, with the background and objectives of the campaign, a short brand statement, key challenges the campaign aims to resolve, the target audience for the explainer animation. It will also be a chance for your brand’s values and marketing positioning to be portrait through animation.

2. Script & Style.

This is where the outline and events in the animation are created, including dialogue, narrative and structure.  It’s a crucial element in creating a killer explainer animation. Along with the script, a visual style is made based on the brand guidelines. This will include character design, ‘eye candy’, illustrations, text, background colours and icons. So we are basically creating a high-level framework for the animation.

3. Design & Storyboarding.

This is the part where a visual representation of the script is presented. It’s a document that shows the look and feel, and narrative flow of the animation, scene by scene. The storyboard is like a map, guiding you through to the finish line of the explainer animation.

4. Animation & Production.

After the approval of the script and storyboard, we move on to putting words into action, and we can then begin to bring the animation to life. This phase involves building the necessary images and elements which go with the message. It requires great attention to detail, and each step ensures the visuals created in the production stage reflect the original concept.

5. Audio Mix & Delivery.

Often with an explainer video, the audio plays a really crucial role in the narrative and does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to explaining the given subject. Once the explainer animation is approved, this stage provides the video with its final polish. The complete process of creating and editing the sound mix, background music, and sound effects are done during this production phase. After completing the synchronised animation, we send it to you for feedback, and any final tweaks are made.

How Do I Create an Explainer Video?

Are you looking to create your own explainer video? There are many things to consider when creating your explainer animation.

The first point, the video's objective, will explain how to use a product like a piece of equipment or service you are offering.

With a wide range of styles, you have endless options for how your explainer video could look. So what is going to work best for you?

Why work with OK Social to produce your explainer video?

We help bring your ideas to life using engaging animations created by our enthusiastic team at OK Social. We offer a wide range of services within the wonderful world of animation. Then we collaborate with your team to help illuminate your story, enhance your brief, and amplify your message. 

At OK Social we're a professional animation agency, we are invested in the success of every project that comes through our doors. Your goal is our priority, and we take the utmost care to ensure we understand your needs and deliverables for every animated explainer video project. 

We work within a wide range of channels and deliver creative content for social media, apps, games and broadcast. So if you have a project that you think we could help with, get in touch to discuss it further, we always love a good chat. 

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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.