Explainer Video: The Definitive Guide

Koushik Marka
February 12, 2019

This is a detailed guide on explainer videos and its applications.

And not a marketing gimmick to make you use our services.

We will cover everything from creating to distributing an impressive explainer video for your business.

Working with 200+ happy clients and creating 400+ explainer videos has encouraged us to come up with this guide.

If you’re wondering why, it’s because we help companies grow with video.

So, if you’re looking to reach out to your audience with an explainer video, this is the apt guide for you.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Intro & Characteristics of a killer explainer video
  • Types of explainer videos
  • How to create an explainer video
  • Best explainer video creation tools & companies
  • Top 10 explainer videos
  • Promoting an explainer video
  • How Studiotale can help you

Intro & Characteristics of a killer explainer video

So, what is an explainer video?

An explainer video is designed to describe your product, service or idea in a way that your audience can understand in two minutes or less.Here are the four key points covered in an explainer video:

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Features and Benefits
  • And, Call to action

Where can you use these videos?

  • Homepage/Product pages
  • Sales demos
  • Events
  • Newsletters

Characteristics of a good Explainer video

It’s short

How short, you’re wondering. Typically, it’s less than 2 minutes which is enough to describe any product or service.

Conversational Tone

Use a conversational tone because this helps you connect with your audience.

Focus on the benefits of product/service

Ensure that you focus on the benefits of your product/service rather than its features.

Strong call-to-action

Mention what you want your audience to do with a strong call-to-action. For instance, “Subscribe now,” “Register Now” or “Sign up.”

Customized Music

For better performance, you can make use of custom music and sound effects to complement the mood.

Types of explainer videos

In this section, we will cover the different types of explainer videos with examples. This should help you decide the right video style for your business.

2D Character Animation Videos

2D character animated videos use fun, animated characters and scenes to unveil your brand story. They add emotions to the scenes, creating curiosity. If you’re looking to add a personal touch or create a relaxed brand image, then this video style is perfect for you!

  • Suitable for: All B2C & B2B Companies
  • Timeline: 6 weeks

2D Motion Graphics Animation Videos

2D motion graphics animated videos use simple icons, illustrations or text to describe your story. This style is ideal for companies that have a complicated product or service to explain.

  • Suitable for: B2B, Complex Tech
  • Timeline: 6 weeks

2.5D Animated Videos

2.5D animated videos also known as isometric videos use 2D objects which are designed to look like 3D objects. If you’re looking to add a sophisticated touch while showcasing your product/service, then this style is the best for you.

  • Suitable for: B2B companies
  • Timeline: 5 to 8 weeks

Screencast Videos

Screencast explainer videos are popular videos that use screenshots/recordings to demonstrate the real-time usage of your product/service. If you’re looking to onboard new users, train your employees or provide a tutorial, this video style is very convenient. Low budget and ease of creation make this video style accessible to everyone.

  • Suitable for: B2B sales demo & tutorials
  • Timeline: 1 - 2 weeks

Live Action Explainer Videos

Live action explainer videos have actors who demonstrate the ease of using your product/service in real-time. If you’re looking to build personal relationships with potential customers, a live action explainer video is a great option! You can expect the budget to be high to create this style of video.

  • Suitable for: B2B, B2C & Hardware IOTs
  • Timeline: 6 - 8 weeks

3D Animated Explainer Videos

Another video style which you’re probably familiar with is the 3D animated video. These videos use 3D moving elements in a digital environment. The objects and characters are more realistic because of their textures, lighting and live elements. If you’re not on a tight budget and have a hardware product, then a 3D animated video is a great option for you!

  • Suitable for: Industrial products & Hardware IoTs
  • Timeline: 6 - 8 weeks

Whiteboard Animated Explainer Videos

A great example of digital simplicity. This whiteboard animated video is the recording of the illustration drawn on a whiteboard or similar surface with a marker, to explain the concept. Fun characters, phrases, and scenes come to life in front of the viewer’s eye, therefore making it quite accessible.

  • Suitable for: B2B product overviews
  • Timeline: 3 - 4 weeks

Typographic Explainer Videos

Typographic videos are straightforward to create. They appealingly use text animation to convey a message. With the primary focus on type, they are ideal for communicating information with large amounts of data and statistics.

  • Suitable for: B2B Statistics presentations
  • Timeline: 3 - 4 weeks

How to create an explainer video

Whether you are using an online video creator or agency, you need to be aware of the various steps to create an awesome video. So, this guide will help you in the animation process.What are the different 2D animation steps?

Step1: Gathering Information

Before you start, here is something you need to be aware of. The foundation for a great explainer video is to understand the requirements. This is where you determine, the user pain points, product features/benefits, and user demographics etc.

At this stage, the video production company and you communicate to set the right expectation for the explainer video. Usually, the video production company provides you with a creative brief for this purpose.

In short, the creative brief is a video production client questionnaire. It encompasses details like the video’s purpose, target audience, and their quick elevator pitch.

Later, through an online call or a personal meeting, the product can be better known. Also, queries between you and the video production company can be cleared if any.

It is in this stage of the animation process, the participation from creative directors and scriptwriters are encouraged.Want to see the creative brief template used at Studiotale? Here you go.

Step 2: Concept & Script

Like blueprints are to buildings; the same way concept & script are to an animated explainer video.It all starts with an idea, be it conceptual, character-driven, emotionally evoking or conversational. It is your call to choose the right framework for your animated explainer video.

Sidenote: Looking for detailed information on script writing?  Here's an actionable guide on "How to write an explainer video script". When writing an explainer video script, here is the list of things to be taken note of:

What is the ideal length for an explainer video?

60 to 90 seconds is perfect for creating an animated explainer video. Hence, 150 words per minute are the ideal words for the script. That is to say, 210 to 225 words for an animation duration of 90 seconds video.

Ideal-Length (1)

Script Format

The two categories to which your story can belong:

  • Problem-Solution Approach: This approach is employed, when you are addressing a well-known problem with your product or service. A problem statement that your target audience will connect with immediately. Which is followed by the launch of the product, its features, and benefits as a solution. This is a highly preferred approach.
  • Stand-alone Story Approach: If you are dealing with an innovative concept, i.e. Launching a product or service that's new to people. So, you directly start the video with the product or service and its benefits.

Example: Here is the sample script which we made for Atoka animated video project.


Step 3. Voiceover Recording

It is about time to choose the right voice over artist. There’s no denying; a voice over can make or break your video!How to choose the voice over artist?Whether male or female, British or American, find the right voice to match your brand’s tone. If you wish to hit the right chord with the user, the tone and pace should be just right.Sidenote: Looking for detailed information on voiceover recording?  Here's an actionable guide on "How to select the right voiceover for your video".


It's important to give the viewers enough time to digest what you say while also assuring that they do not get too bored.


If your brand is easy going and simple, your voice over artist can have a little fun while recording. Whereas, if your product or service is serious, an authoritative and neutral tone is what you need.

A good voiceover should

  • Stress the right words,
  • Follow the correct pitch
  • And, pause at the right place.

There are some great platforms where you can find the best voice over artists for your video. The premium options which you can go for are Voices and Voicebunny. Meanwhile, you can reach out to Fiverr if you're on a tight budget. As always, the agencies take care of the voice over department if you choose them.

Example Voiceover: Without further ado, check out this voiceover recorded for Atoka explainer video project.

Step 4: Storyboard

The next step is to create a detailed storyboard with the scene-by-scene visuals.So what is a storyboard?It is nothing but hand-drawn sketches of how your script will play out, describing the actions and the visual.Hence, the storyboard directs the designer and animator to create scenes, transitions, and progression in their animation.

Example: Take a look at how we created the storyboard for Atoka, along with another example right away!


Step 5: Visual Style

In this stage of the animation process, a visual style is created based on your brand guidelines. You can call it a colored storyboard. These are custom, full-color images that show you how the final video will look.They include character design, eye candy illustrations, text, background color, and icons.This part of the animation process is time-consuming and requires creativity. So, it is best to leave the designer undisturbed to get the best results.

Example: Take a walk through the visual style we have defined for Atoka animation project.


Step 6: Animation

Much awaited stage, this is where your animated explainer video starts to take shape! Here the animators provide the illusion of life to the created visual style. In addition, it is perfectly timed with a good voiceover to make an engaging animated explainer video.Animation involves a lot of time. So, a little patience is expected.

Example: Peek-a-boo into Atoka’s style frames that have been animated creatively.


Step 7: Music

Have you experienced a sudden mood switch with a nice song? Well, music in explainer videos too can do just that. The next stage of the animation process is to add a great soundtrack and sound effects to your explainer video.How to choose the right music track for your explainer video?A music composer can compose an original piece. Contrarily, you can also use sources such as Audiojungle, Pond5 and Melodyloops to find the right music track.Additional custom sound effects such as a mouse click, scrolls, pop-ups will add an extra flair to your video.This phase of the animation process is hence most noteworthy to liven up your video and give that little something more.

Example: Listen to the final output of the music that we have used for Atoka.

8. Delivery

Bingo! The explainer video is all set to charm the audience.For instance, take a look at the final output of the explainer video we made for Atoka using this animation process.

Best explainer video creation tools & companies

Once you’ve figured out the type of explainer video you’re looking for, there are two ways to go about creating it.

  • Approaching an explainer video company
  • Using explainer video software

Explainer video companies

An explainer video agency is a great option when you’re looking for professional output. Undoubtedly, the high quality comes with a high budget. Depending on the style of video you’re looking for, an explainer video can cost between $5000 to $50,000.

Here’s a list of the top 10 explainer video production companies to look out for.

Explainer video maker

On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget of say, less than $500, an explainer video maker is the best option for you.These tools have pre-defined explainer video templates that you can edit with your own images and text. So, the best part is that you don’t need any prior design or animation experience to share your ideas.

Here are the top 10 explainer video makers you can start experimenting with!

Top 10 explainer videos

We are sure; you would have come across many explainer videos. However, we aren’t sure if you have witnessed the best.Hence, we have customized the list of top 10 explainer videos.

Note: As the list is too long to cover in one go, We have created a separate blog with the collection of awesome explainer videos in the field of finance, mobile apps, technology, products, SaaS and healthcare.

1. Headspace

This explainer video directs its attention on guided meditation using unique characters. Here the humor is used just right to capture the topic such as meditation. The video flows like a fluid guiding you to use their app.

Type: Character Animation Explainer Video

2. Slack

This video is a great example of 2D Motion Graphics Animation Video. The straightforward storyline is the highlight of this animated explainer video. If you look closely, they have smartly incorporated colors from the Slack logo.

Type: Motion Graphics Animation Video

3. Atoka

An animated explainer video with a creative storyboard, minimalist character design, and engaging animation. Atoka uses the problem-solution approach to hit the right chord with the audience. Also, you can see the subtle colors used in this video simplifying the message.

Type: Animated Explainer Video

4. Zendesk

The video starts out with a support executive using Zendesk to address the queries. Further, it shows the manager using Zendesk to check on the quality of the support. Finally, the customers with the feedback option to rate their interaction with the support executive. All this in real time within 90 seconds.

Type: Live Action Explainer Video

5. Mesosphere

This isometric animated explainer video uses simple object animation over character animation. The best part is the illusion of 3 dimensions in this 2D explainer video. Hence, it is a perfect adaptation for web-based products/services such as Cloud Computing, and Blockchain networks.

Type: Isometric Animation Explainer Video

6. WebEngage

WebEngage's explainer video uses an engaging mix of live action and 2D animation to describe how their marketing automation suite works. Unique graphics and pleasant background music effectively convey the message, thus making it stand out on this list.

Type: Live Action + Animated Explainer Video

7. Slack

This screencast explainer video efficiently describes the working of Slack. The smooth flowing narrative and screen transitions make this video soothing. Hence, it is the best demo video example to date.

Type: Screencast Animation Explainer Video

8. Coin

The video stands out by using real products, people and real-time use cases. With a simple and short yet effective script, the video points out the key features of the product. This style is best to describe IOTs or hardware products.

Type: Live Action Explainer Video

9. Nextdoor

This video uses a line style to describe the working of Nextdoor. The minimal concept makes this video look like a moving storyboard with colors. The simplicity of this video makes it a popular template for homepage and app explainer videos.

Type: Character Animation Explainer Video

10. Adobe CMO

This is a concept video describing the benefits of using CMO. The video plays out as a game grasping you to the screen. When you want to be creative with your approach to explain your product/service you can use this style.

Type: Motion Graphics Animation Explainer Video

Promoting an explainer video

So, you have finally made a great explainer video for your business. Bravo!If you are wondering, is that all? Not yet! Creating a video is not equal to marketing it. You have only done half the job; the rest half depends on the way you promote it.Listed below are a few must-use marketing tactics.

1. Add Explainer Video On Your Company’s Landing Page with Wistia


When you have YouTube, why should you choose Wistia to host explainer video on your landing page? There is a reason why we recommend Wistia.Wistia stands out with automatic video SEO, customization feature and in-depth analytics.What are the highlighted features of using Wistia?

Automatic video SEO

The best part of hosting your video on the landing page using Wistia is the increased traffic to your webpage. How does it increase traffic? Here is the functioning behind it.When a user searches on Google, the videos hosted on Wistia usually show up on the top of the Google search results due to the automatic video SEO feature.And when the user clicks on the video hosted on Wistia, they will be directed to your company webpage instead of other hosting platforms like Youtube. Further, increasing your website traffic.

Customize the video player

Unlike YouTube, Wistia lets you customize the video appearance by using your brand colors and logo in the player. Hence you can use your own brand identity in the player with Wistia.

Refer to the below example for a better understanding of where we have used our custom brand colors in the video player.

Include an interactive CTA in the video

You can add interactive call-to-actions and annotations to urge the users to take necessary actions. You can play around with the positioning of the CTA.

In the below example, you will find a call-to-action after the first 30 seconds, where the user is directed to our contact us page.


Place contact forms in the video

Wistia lets you include interactive contact forms in the video. Hence, you can collect the details such as the name, email address and company from your visitors. No more redirecting your visitor to a new contact page.

Check out the screenshot below where we have collected details from our visitors between the video.


Provides in-depth analytics

Wistia analytics is inclusive of viewer-based tracking, video heatmaps, and engagement graphs, etc. Hence the overall analysis lets you stay on track.With these many positives, there is no reason to go with other video hosting platform, when including the business explainer video on your landing page.


Place your video correctly

Place the video so that when a visitor reaches your landing page, the video is the first thing to grab their attention. Hence, make sure the videos are above the fold and not at the bottom.

Zendesk Product Homepage with "Watch The Video" button in the first section

Mesosphere homepage with "See How it works" button in the top section.

An actionable CTA button

Make sure that you have a CTA button close to the video. So that the audience takes the desired action once they are done watching the explainer video.

Mesosphere CTA button just beside the video button

Autoplay VS Non-autoplay

To play or not to play your video content automatically? You can experiment with the following feature. To clarify, try to develop two different website interfaces; one with autoplay and one without autoplay. The results may vary depending upon your video content and your target audience. Finally, choose the option that suits you the best.

2. Optimizing Your Video for YouTube


Millions of people visiting YouTube is a good enough reason to use this platform to promote your explainer video.Of course, a video of great quality will top the search results, but that’s not all. You can take the help of this guide to top the YouTube search results.So, how do you optimize your explainer video on YouTube?

Keyword research

It’s important to do detailed keyword research, use the right keywords and let the search engine analyze it. The reason being, most of your views come from the search engine suggesting videos to users.Hence, using the right keywords in your Title, Description, URL etc. will be of benefit.Below are a few ways in which you can identify the right keywords for your video:

  • You can use the word suggestion feature available on YouTube or Google for the right keywords. Type a keyword into the search field and you will get a number of suggestions corresponding to the typed word. These suggested keywords are what people are looking for.
  • TubeBuddy is a great keyword research tool for YouTube. It’s an online extension which directly integrates into YouTube. Using the ‘suggested tags’ feature in TubeBuddy, you can get the tags used by competitors. It will also show the tags used by the popular videos relevant to the keyword you entered.
  • YT cockpit is a YouTube keyword research tool that helps you in finding competitor keywords. It also suggests keywords related to your business. Start by simply typing the keyword that your video is about. The top 20 ranking videos for the keyword you typed will pop up on the 1st page of Youtube itself. You can also refer the keywords used by these videos.
  • Another way to find keywords is by using YouTube Analytics. This will show you the keywords that you have been ranked high for. Go to your Youtube Dashboard > Analytics > Traffic Sources > Youtube search. This will give you an entire list of all the keywords that you rank high for. By doing so, you can optimize your existing video for those keywords or use them while uploading a new one.

Usage of keywords

Make sure that using the keywords does not mean stuffing them for SEO. It’s essential to use them wisely. Here’s how you can do it.

  • Title: The title of your video should not exceed 70 characters. It should include your targeted keywords.
  • Description: Video descriptions must be at least 250 characters. Try to use these keywords within the first 25 words of your description in order to give it more emphasis while search engines analyze them.
  • Tags: Also, try using as many tags as possible related to your video. Google does analyze tags while bringing your video on the top of their search engine results. These tags should be your targeted keywords since they have great value in Youtube search results.
  • File name: While uploading a video file, use a relevant video file name with identified keywords, instead of “video 123”. This will help you in optimizing your video for SEO.

Insert a video transcript

A video transcript is a written version of your video. With the usage of the right keywords, it is helpful for search engines to learn more about your content. The video transcript can be included in the description part of your video.

Let your thumbnail image smile

The users prefer thumbnail images with a person smiling in it. To clarify, the basic rule of the first impression being the best impression. Thus, use a pretty smile in the thumbnail image of your video.


Include a CTA

Tell your audience what you expect from them. If you don’t tell them, how would they know? A CTA is always a boon to your video.


Add links

Keep a link to your company’s social media platforms and website below the explainer video on YouTube. This will encourage them to visit your website and other platforms as well.


Paid advertising

You can target the audience on YouTube who searched for videos related to your business. YouTube advertisements let you reach the target audience. They can be true view ads (pay if they view your video), pre-roll ads (non-skippable before a video) and bumpers (short and less than 6 seconds).

3. Using explainer video in an email marketing campaign

If you have maintained the email list of the people, who have reached out at any point. Here is your chance to excite them with your explainer video in email.How to use explainer video in your email campaign?Due to security reasons, embedded videos are not supported by significant email clients such as Gmail and Outlook. As a result, here are the alternatives.

Images with a play button presenting your video

A thumbnail image with a play button is a universal sign for any video. A person who clicks on the play button is taken to the third party website, either YouTube, Wistia, or Vimeo. This happens to be the most used approach.


Showcase your video with an animated GIF

Grabbing people’s attention is made easy with animated GIFs. In other words, you can mimic the look of a typical video player by including an animated GIF thumbnail within your email. So, when the reader clicks on the play button, they will be redirected to the landing page with your video in it.


Use the word ‘video’ in your email subject line

Keep your prospects excited by including the term ‘video’ in your email subject line. If you go by the study, using the text “video” in an email subject line boosted open rates by 19 percent and click-through rate by 65 percent.


4. Marketing Your Explainer Video on Social Media

You don’t need an introduction to social media promotion. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn has become a hangout place for a majority of the audience. Hence, let us look at how you can effectively promote your explainer video on these platforms.

Promote Explainer Videos on Facebook


Statistics say that around 500 million people are watching videos on Facebook every day. As per the study, native Facebook videos have an 86% higher reach. So, what’re you waiting for?Here are a few actionable tips to take note of while promoting your explainer video on Facebook.

Upload directly on Facebook

It’s always advisable to upload your explainer video directly on Facebook over pasting a link to some other platform. Native videos are known to generate 470% more shares and 530% more comments.


Optimize your title and description

Facebook recommends a descriptive title that makes the video easily searchable. Besides, using the right keywords in your video title and description will improve the visibility of your video in search results.


Include a strong call-to-action

Facebook has an inbuilt feature where you can add a direct call-to-action (CTA) button to your video while uploading it. The CTA is equally important in encouraging your video viewers to take positive action.

Tag other pages

You can improve the reach of your explainer video by tagging other pages that helped you in making the video. Simply add ‘@’ before the name you want to tag and pick the right Page or person.

Give a preview of the video in your copy

Take a key quote or moment from your video as a preview for your audience. This will help them decide if watching the video would be worth their time.


Target right and schedule right

You can target your audience on Facebook by considering factors such as demographics, geography, age etc. You can schedule the time of the video to be presented in front of your target audience on Facebook. This is very important in marketing since different countries have different time schedules.

Use Facebook Insights to analyze results

Assess your audience engagement on Facebook Insights, and make necessary changes to your marketing strategy for a better outcome.

Facebook paid to advertise

Give a boost to your video by converting it into an ad. These paid video ads will reach more people and appear on your target audience’s newsfeed.

Tips for marketing explainer videos on Twitter


Did you know that Tweets with video generate 10 times as much engagement? So, don’t shy away from using Twitter to promote your explainer video. Here are a few useful tips to consider.

Twitter SEO

Hashtags play the role of keywords for Twitter. Hence, they improve your searchability and help people find your content.

Tweet during peak hours

Identify that time of the week when most of your target audience is online on Twitter. Use this timeline judiciously to post tweets with your video.

Minimize the use of hashtags

Too many hashtags for your video results in a drop of engagement. Whereas, the usage of 2 hashtags is likely to increase your engagement by 2 times.

Tips for marketing explainer videos on Instagram


The new addiction in the social media market is Instagram. According to Instagram’s internal data, the time spent watching Instagram videos has increased by 80%. It’s definitely a great platform to advertise your explainer videos. To clarify,

Use Instagram stories

Since stories have only a 24-hour lifespan, it creates a sense of urgency. Instagram users review stories more than posts. Choose the most interesting part of your video and upload it as an Instagram story.

Keep your hashtags focused

Hashtags are helpful in finding your videos easily and therefore will get you more views. Using the right and limited hashtags will get you more followers and thereby more potential customers.

Use analytics

Tools like Sprout Social will help you track the performance of your videos. They measure engagement, identify influencers and track your comments.

Paid advertising

You can use paid advertising for your video in the form of stories, carousels or videos that will have a CTA at the end driving your target audience to your website. You can advertise within the app, with Ads Manager or Instagram partners.

Tips for marketing explainer videos on LinkedIn


It’s been found that 51% of video marketers have used LinkedIn video. And, of those people, 84% found it to be an effective strategy. These stats should give you an idea of the importance of video marketing on LinkedIn. So, here are a few actionable tips to follow:

Create a sponsored video ad

Engage your target audience with sponsored content. You can select your ad campaign objectives some of which are- collect leads, drive traffic to your website or get video views. They are in particular helpful for B2B customers on LinkedIn.

Use native videos

LinkedIn has become highly video-oriented, and it has been found that videos directly uploaded on LinkedIn are 5 times more likely to generate engagement compared to other content. Therefore, including native videos over any embedded videos or links.

Post videos in LinkedIn groups

There are a million groups on LinkedIn. Figure out which one is specific to your industry and add your video to these groups. This marketing step will increase your visibility. You can join a suitable group by raising a request. Once you join, you can share your explainer video for better reach.

So, go ahead and use the above social media platforms to promote your explainer video and gain the required traction.

How Studiotale can help you?

At Studiotale, we strive to help businesses and brands achieve their objectives with explainer videos. Our approach combines passion and expertise in what we do, coupled with a deep understanding of your business and your audience.

Then, we set forth to make videos for your business that are rest assured to engage the audience, inspire them and make people act towards your business.

If you want to look at the work we have done so far, click here.

Have an exciting project in mind? Do reach out to us by clicking here.

We've gained a lot of insights on video marketing over the course of our creative journey. Check out our blog in which we've shared our experiences to help you with your video marketing strategy!

Koushik Marka

Founder @ Studiotale. He is passionate about helping brands grow with video and has expertise in video marketing & 2D animation. When he is not working, he loves playing video games and traveling.


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