Explainer videos come in different types, styles, and forms. Some are basic screencasts that showcase product or service benefits while others are action-heavy and feature 3D-rendered objects and animated characters.
When thinking of the production of your own explainer video, the number of options regarding the explainer video types indeed may seem overwhelming. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common types of explainer videos, show their differences, as well as their uses.
In one of our previous posts, we touched on the different types of animated videos. In general, we recommend approaching the concept of a “video type” in the context of different stages of the sales funnel (will talk about that later on too). In this post, however, we’ll focus solely on the explainer videos and what they are 🧐
- Are All Types of Explainer Videos Effective for Business?
- 8 Key Types of Explainer Videos and Examples to Check
- How Blue Carrot Can Help in Making Any Type of Explainer Videos
There is no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this question since each video type can perform well or even…bad! Why so? Because the effectiveness of video performance depends not on the specific type but rather if 1) the type and style of a video match project goals, 2) the video comes with a powerful narrative, and 3) it is relevant to the current expectations of the target audience. So depending on how well your video aligns with these main criteria, it can be a hit or a miss.
With that in mind let’s discuss how you can actually choose a video type. We recommend starting with identifying what you want to get from it. Do you want your video to educate your audience? Or to briefly take viewers through the functionality of your product? Or maybe you’re looking to create a short ad to run on your social media?
Once you have done this, determine which stage of the sales funnel your expectations — in terms of a video — correspond to. There’s a direct connection between particular video types and the sales funnel stages that they perform most effectively on.
At the early stage of the funnel, our main goal is to grab the user’s attention, so — as can be seen from the image above — it’s better to go with promo videos there that are always short, catchy, and to the point. Meanwhile, as we move our ‘customer’ down the funnel, we can engage them via explainer videos, tutorials, testimonials, etc.
👉 Explainer videos in particular are kind of a ‘universal’ solution that can be built to perform differently, based on the project requirements. They can evoke customer interest, raise brand awareness, increase loyalty, etc., etc. So, basically, it is a go-to option for those who aren’t sure which type of animated video they need to go with for their product. As to the different types of explainer videos, we have the following:
2D animated explainer videos:
- Traditional animation
- Motion graphics
3D animated explainer videos:
- CG 3D
- Motion capture
- Stop motion
So what are the types of explainer videos? Let’s review each one of them in greater detail.
This type follows the approach commonly used for the creation of TV cartoons where all frames get drawn by hand and then arranged in a moving sequence to create an illusion of motion. The traditional animation is no different here, except all illustrations get drawn in a dedicated software by an artist.
The simplest analogy to cut-out animation would be puppet shows where a puppeteer manipulates a doll via strings attached to the different parts of its body. Another example is when artists move paper puppets*, slightly changing their positions and scene arrangement frame by frame. One of the benefits of this animation type is that it can get you a good-looking video on a budget.
* This is basically where this type gets its name from. ‘Cut out’ — cut out from paper.
Whiteboard explainer videos create an impression of artists drawing illustrations on the whiteboard in real-time. Such videos are normally accompanied by a voiceover whose goal is to support visuals through verbal narration.
This is also one of the most popular types of explainer video due to its relatively affordable and fast production process. In 2014, we at Blue Carrot started as a whiteboard agency and thus have great expertise in this area.
For the creation of whiteboard explainer videos, we use our own bank of assets that encompasses 1500 photos of hands writing on whiteboards. Not only does this allow us to speed up the production process but also helps videos to stand out.
As the name implies, the motion graphic explainer video — a.k.a “graphics with movement” — is the type of animation where different objects and graphical elements are set in motion on-screen. Text also plays a major role in the motion graphics explainer videos, helping to visually support the voiceover narrative.
One of the simplest explainer video styles comes as a prerecorded demonstration of an app or software interface. The screencast explainer video can also come with a voiceover.
Computer Graphics 3D is basically the type of video that comes to mind for most people when thinking of 3D animation — voluminous models and other visual objects produced and animated in three-dimensional space. The CG 3D is one of the most expensive explainer video types due to its complex production and the number of resources that need to be allocated.
However, if you still want to go with this type of animation, you can opt for a low-poly 3D video that will provide you with the needed video type on a budget. The low-poly might not be the best for demonstrating accurate product models in 3D to the audience, but this technique can definitely get you a unique-looking video.
A method often used in character animation where actors get sensors attached to their suits to capture movements of their bodies and then use the data for animation of explainer video characters in a 3D environment.
In the same way as it is with the traditional 2D or cut-out animation, the artist slightly changes the position of 3D models frame by frame, and then merges all the frames in one sequence to create the illusion of movement.
👉 It’s worth noting that even though these are the most commonly used types of online explainer videos, there are also other types that can be a blend of several others. For example, screencasts can be enhanced with motion graphic elements. Aside from that, there are also live action explainer videos recorded in a studio with real people. These can also be enhanced with different visual overlays, whiteboard animation elements (e-learning videos in particular), etc.
Our team has been delivering explainer video production services since 2014 and through the years we’ve worked on dozens of projects of different kinds and styles including different explainer video types. We regularly update our portfolio with new videos produced for our clients, so be sure to check out some examples. Here’s a quick rundown of our most recent explainer videos.
Bookingkit is a German SaaS startup that offers booking services for attraction providers in Europe. They approached us with the request for an explainer video that would boost their brand awareness and allow them to acquire more requests for free demo tours of their software.
After studying Bookingkit’s offering and their target audience (TA), we came up with a 60-second cutout animation video that reflects on the main pain points that TA (directors of the tourist attraction) have and ways Bookingkit’s software can help mitigate those.
Epilepsiforbundet, the Epilepsy Association of Norway wanted a video that would 1) increase public awareness about this disease, 2) show that people with epilepsy can live a fulfilling life, and 3) remove any social bias or stereotypes regarding those who live with epilepsy.
The 65-second cutout video that our team produced is built around the facts about real Epilepsiforbundet community members. Through several micro episodes, we showed people with epilepsy performing various activities and going through normal daily routines in the same way as any other healthy person does.
Explainer videos are a great way to highlight a company’s product or service, grow the customer base, and even attract investments. They also work great for promoting digital and other intangible products.
If you’ve decided to produce one for your business, it’s important to remember that the level of effectiveness of video marketing depends not on some particular explainer video types that are “better or worse than others” but rather on how well you’ll manage to utilize this instrument in your business.
If you need additional information regarding different explainer video types or are on the lookout for a professional video production agency, we at Blue Carrot are at your disposal. to discuss your future video! 😎