June 13, 2022

The 5 best explainer videos to inspire yours (and how to create one)

Explainer videos are short, digital marketing videos that concisely and compellingly explain your company’s product or service, they take a considerable amount of effort.
June 13, 2022

The 5 best explainer videos to inspire yours (and how to create one)

Explainer videos are short, digital marketing videos that concisely and compellingly explain your company’s product or service, they take a considerable amount of effort.
June 13, 2022
Tiffani Bauer
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What type of content do you primarily create?

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Social media clips
Transcriptions

According to a 2022 survey from Power Reviews, 99% of consumers research a product online before buying. 

That means it’s in a business’s best interest to make their product information easy for customers to find. 

One of the most effective ways of relaying that information is through an explainer video. An explainer video is a strong and versatile marketing tool companies can use to highlight what makes their product stand out.

This guide covers the best explainer video examples and a step-by-step production guide for beginners. 

What is an explainer video?

Explainer videos are short, digital marketing videos that concisely and compellingly explain your company’s product or service. They most often appear on company landing pages, or on a prominently featured product page. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there’s more to this video style than meets the eye.

explainer videos should be professional quality, both in terms of production value and the video content itself. If you don’t have the right talent and equipment in-house, consider paying a professional videographer, scriptwriter, and maybe even an actor or presenter to help produce it. Even if your company is just a one-person operation, a slick explainer video will make you look organized and professional.

Benefits of explainer videos

The main benefit of producing an explainer video for your company is that it serves as a versatile marketing tool that you can customize for many different channels. 

While it might find a permanent home on your website, an explainer video is recyclable—you can post it to your social media profiles, you can project it on the wall at company events and industry conferences, or you can include clips in your newsletters. Other benefits of creating an explainer video include:

  • Audience engagement: According to Forbes, producing an explainer video and posting it to your company’s website or social media pages can result in as much as an 80% boost in conversion rates. Conversion rates as small as 10% can have a significant, positive impact on profitability. Forbes found that file-sharing startup Dropbox, for example, was able to add 10 million additional users by producing and disseminating an explainer video.
  • Digestible content: Explainer videos combine the power of visual and audio communication to tell stories in a bite-sized, easy-to-process format. Think about it—would you rather read text for 10 minutes or get the same information in a two-minute video?
  • Efficient use of company resources: Your marketing and sales team can spend less time pitching products and services in person or over the phone, and instead use one high-quality explainer video to introduce the company to prospective customers or vendors.
  • Appeals to emotion: Video has the ability to draw a real emotional response from the audience. By combining voiceover, music, and carefully chosen visuals in your explainer video, you can build an emotional connection with prospective customers that can lead to long-term brand loyalty.
  • Trackable return on investment: Explainer videos can convert anyone into a potential customer by bringing them to your website or leading them to share your content on their social media feed. You can track that impact by analyzing traffic and time customers spend on your pages before and after you post an explainer video.

Types of explainer videos

Animated explainer videos

Animated explainer videos are common because of their compelling and lighthearted visuals. But even animated videos can range in style and function. Some common styles include:

  • Infographic: Infographic explainer videos use charts, graphs, and icons to explain business functions and key metrics.
  • Product simulation or demonstration: These explainer videos spotlight footage of your product or service in action, usually paired with a voiceover explaining the steps of the process. These are particularly useful for software, as the customers just want to know how easy it is to solve their problem with your tool.
  • Character-driven: This style of explainer video uses cartoons representing the prospective customer. This is especially useful for demonstrating the problem-solving aspect of your product and puts your potential customer in the shoes of this character.

Live-action explainer videos

Live-action explainer videos use footage of real people and objects to explain your company’s product or service. The benefit of this style is that it can show the real people behind your business, such as the CEO or founder, along with actors. The best live-action explainer videos require a lot of creativity and potentially a team of writers to create an engaging script.  

Whiteboard explainer videos

Whiteboard animation or chalkboard videos mimic writing or drawing on a chalkboard or whiteboard. The viewer sees a set of hands that live draws a 2D animation as a voiceover pushes the narrative forward. This type of presentation video is easy and quick to produce—the animator is simply drawing what they hear, though computer-generated versions of this format are available as well.

Livestream explainer videos

Unlike the traditional explainer videos above, a livestream explainer video is broadcasted in real time. You can use this format for product demos, announcements, or tutorials. For example, if you’re a software brand launching a new product, you can host a livestream that explains each feature, how it solves specific problems, and answer questions from your audience. 

A mix of live demo, motion graphics, and text overlays gives your explainer video a personal touch that a pre-recorded one lacks. 

5 best explainer video examples to inspire yours

1. TED-Ed

TED produced an excellent explainer video when launching its TED-Ed platform in 2012. It gives an inside look at the mission behind the TED-Ed initiative and the process of becoming an educator through the platform. The video conveys its message clearly and concisely, covering a few different topics, like a description, an overview of the application process, and a call-to-action for animators. 

One key highlight of this explainer video is the mix of animation, live action, and talking heads. The mix of visuals keeps viewers on their toes, making it easy to stay engaged through every second of the video. It also helps break down the information into digestible pieces for anyone interested in learning more.  

2. Dropbox

Dropbox’s launch video broke the record for profitable explainer videos in 2009. During its primetime, it was watched over 25 million times and reportedly earned the cloud storage company over $48 million in revenue. 

The video simplified the concept of cloud storage for customers. At the time, the cloud wasn’t as mainstream as today, so it took a lot of explaining. This product demo made it easier for potential customers to understand and use. 

Dropbox uses an extremely basic animation style. It looks like someone drew it with a digital crayon. Through a relatable story about a trip and sharing pictures, it explains the complicated idea of cloud storage. At under 2 minutes long, the video was designed to capture and hold the viewer’s attention. 

3. DocuSign

Yum Yum Videos created this promotional video for DocuSign in 2017, when digital signature tech became popular. There was a lot of bias to overcome in the financial industry when signing official documents online. For many, there’s still some hesitation. 

The DocuSign animated explainer video follows the story of a fictional character named Danielle, who lives a busy life. One day, her bank called her and asked that she come in to sign some loan documents. Danielle feels physical signatures are outdated and uses DocuSign on her phone to sign the papers. 

The video nails a big pain point for many financial customers. By putting viewers (presumably, financial institutions) in their customers' shoes, DocuSign shows how the app can save the banks time and money and make their customers happy. 

4. Google Search

Chances are, you use Google daily to do everything from finding restaurants to reading the news to answering work-related questions. But do you know how Google's search function actually works? Probably not.

That’s why Google created this 5-minute explainer video that breaks down Search. Its brevity guarantees viewers can quickly grasp the core concepts without feeling overwhelmed by too much information. The explainer uses graphics and visual aids to make concepts like algorithms and web indexing much more understandable. 

The video demonstrates the search process by searching for "lasagna." This makes the content relatable to the average person using Google Search for similar queries. Google also covers challenges like dealing with spam, quality ratings, and ongoing efforts to maintain the search engine.

Overall, the video effectively demystifies the complex processes behind Google Search in a way that’s easy to understand and information for the average person. 

5. Descript

Who says explainer videos can’t be short-form? With platforms like YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok, short video clips can (and should) be part of your video marketing strategy

Notice how Ramdy, Descript’s video creator, explains our AI Eye Contact effect in under one minute using a mix of talking heads and screencast. Viewers who click into the video will see a brief description of the feature, a tutorial on how to use it, and an example of what it will look like.

In this short-form explainer video, Ramdy's delivery is informative and professional while also being funny, and gets the message across quickly. 

How to create a great explainer video

Step 1: Come up with your concept

Explainer videos articulate specific pain points and address how a product or service provides the best solution. Be clear about why your product stands out in the market and how it uniquely solves your customer's problems.

The style and tone of any explainer video should correspond with the aesthetic and feel of your brand, and appeal to the tastes of the brand’s target audience and customer base. This might be a potential customer’s first encounter with your brand, so make sure it conveys your company’s messaging clearly.

Step 2: Write your script

Explainer videos typically get to the point quickly, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on providing an in-depth explanation of the topic at hand. Find ways to properly explain your product in a concise, digestible form that keeps the video length around two to three minutes.

Clearly state what the audience should do after watching, whether that’s purchasing a product, signing up for an email newsletter, or following a social media account. You’re publishing this product video for a reason, so make sure your viewers know what you want them to do.

✍️Learn: How to write a video script like a pro

Step 3: Get your equipment and crew

Depending on your project's scale, your team might include a director, scriptwriter, camera operators, sound technicians, and editors. For animation, animators and graphic designers are on your list.

If you lack the necessary skills or equipment, consider hiring a professional video production company. They can offer expertise in both live-action and animated explainer videos.

Then, you’ll want to plan your production.

  1. Live shoot: If your video involves live-action elements, plan your shoot meticulously. This includes scheduling shooting dates, scouting locations, and preparing actors or speakers.
  2. Storyboarding for animation: For animated videos, develop a detailed storyboard. This helps you plan the animation sequence and visual style.

Short on budget? AI video generators can create high-quality animations and visual effects, often at a fraction of the time and cost. Use AI to animate characters or elements based on your storyboard and speed up the production process.

Step 4: Shoot your footage

With the preparation complete, it’s time to make your explainer video. At this point, you begin animating or shooting your explainer video. It’s important to stick to a schedule and adhere to deadlines here, as production can get more expensive with each passing day.

Step 5: Edit your video

Record voiceovers and overlay music or sound effects. If you’re working with a video production company, they will likely have an editor who can complete this step for you. If you’re producing the video in-house, there are plenty of easy-to-use video editing software options, including Descript, of course, which lets you edit video as easily as editing a text document.

Create your own explainer videos with Descript

While it might sound simple on paper, a good explainer video takes a considerable amount of effort, coordination, and organization to effectively produce. 

If you’re a marketing team producing in-house, Descript has everything you need for recording and editing video. Whether you’re a software brand or professional service, use Decript’s explainer video maker to: 

  • Remove filler words and background noise for more professional sounding audio. 
  • Add video overlays and transitions to customize tutorials. 
  • Add subtitles and captions to make videos more engaging. 
  • Fix audio mistakes with an AI clone of your voice. 
  • Access pre-made video templates to speed up your workflow. 
  • Collaborate with team members through time-stamped comments and share links.

Take a free tour today and see why thousands of marketers and creators rely on Descript to create world-class explainer videos.  

Tiffani Bauer
Former Video Producer at Descript. Accomplished editor and videographer. Fan of hibachi and women's basketball and knit hats.
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The 5 best explainer videos to inspire yours (and how to create one)

Woman filming herself for a explainer video

According to a 2022 survey from Power Reviews, 99% of consumers research a product online before buying. 

That means it’s in a business’s best interest to make their product information easy for customers to find. 

One of the most effective ways of relaying that information is through an explainer video. An explainer video is a strong and versatile marketing tool companies can use to highlight what makes their product stand out.

This guide covers the best explainer video examples and a step-by-step production guide for beginners. 

Our full-featured video editing tool is as powerful as it is easy to use.
Look for our all-in-one audio & video production that’s as easy as editing a doc.

What is an explainer video?

Explainer videos are short, digital marketing videos that concisely and compellingly explain your company’s product or service. They most often appear on company landing pages, or on a prominently featured product page. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there’s more to this video style than meets the eye.

explainer videos should be professional quality, both in terms of production value and the video content itself. If you don’t have the right talent and equipment in-house, consider paying a professional videographer, scriptwriter, and maybe even an actor or presenter to help produce it. Even if your company is just a one-person operation, a slick explainer video will make you look organized and professional.

Benefits of explainer videos

The main benefit of producing an explainer video for your company is that it serves as a versatile marketing tool that you can customize for many different channels. 

While it might find a permanent home on your website, an explainer video is recyclable—you can post it to your social media profiles, you can project it on the wall at company events and industry conferences, or you can include clips in your newsletters. Other benefits of creating an explainer video include:

  • Audience engagement: According to Forbes, producing an explainer video and posting it to your company’s website or social media pages can result in as much as an 80% boost in conversion rates. Conversion rates as small as 10% can have a significant, positive impact on profitability. Forbes found that file-sharing startup Dropbox, for example, was able to add 10 million additional users by producing and disseminating an explainer video.
  • Digestible content: Explainer videos combine the power of visual and audio communication to tell stories in a bite-sized, easy-to-process format. Think about it—would you rather read text for 10 minutes or get the same information in a two-minute video?
  • Efficient use of company resources: Your marketing and sales team can spend less time pitching products and services in person or over the phone, and instead use one high-quality explainer video to introduce the company to prospective customers or vendors.
  • Appeals to emotion: Video has the ability to draw a real emotional response from the audience. By combining voiceover, music, and carefully chosen visuals in your explainer video, you can build an emotional connection with prospective customers that can lead to long-term brand loyalty.
  • Trackable return on investment: Explainer videos can convert anyone into a potential customer by bringing them to your website or leading them to share your content on their social media feed. You can track that impact by analyzing traffic and time customers spend on your pages before and after you post an explainer video.

Types of explainer videos

Animated explainer videos

Animated explainer videos are common because of their compelling and lighthearted visuals. But even animated videos can range in style and function. Some common styles include:

  • Infographic: Infographic explainer videos use charts, graphs, and icons to explain business functions and key metrics.
  • Product simulation or demonstration: These explainer videos spotlight footage of your product or service in action, usually paired with a voiceover explaining the steps of the process. These are particularly useful for software, as the customers just want to know how easy it is to solve their problem with your tool.
  • Character-driven: This style of explainer video uses cartoons representing the prospective customer. This is especially useful for demonstrating the problem-solving aspect of your product and puts your potential customer in the shoes of this character.

Live-action explainer videos

Live-action explainer videos use footage of real people and objects to explain your company’s product or service. The benefit of this style is that it can show the real people behind your business, such as the CEO or founder, along with actors. The best live-action explainer videos require a lot of creativity and potentially a team of writers to create an engaging script.  

Whiteboard explainer videos

Whiteboard animation or chalkboard videos mimic writing or drawing on a chalkboard or whiteboard. The viewer sees a set of hands that live draws a 2D animation as a voiceover pushes the narrative forward. This type of presentation video is easy and quick to produce—the animator is simply drawing what they hear, though computer-generated versions of this format are available as well.

Livestream explainer videos

Unlike the traditional explainer videos above, a livestream explainer video is broadcasted in real time. You can use this format for product demos, announcements, or tutorials. For example, if you’re a software brand launching a new product, you can host a livestream that explains each feature, how it solves specific problems, and answer questions from your audience. 

A mix of live demo, motion graphics, and text overlays gives your explainer video a personal touch that a pre-recorded one lacks. 

5 best explainer video examples to inspire yours

1. TED-Ed

TED produced an excellent explainer video when launching its TED-Ed platform in 2012. It gives an inside look at the mission behind the TED-Ed initiative and the process of becoming an educator through the platform. The video conveys its message clearly and concisely, covering a few different topics, like a description, an overview of the application process, and a call-to-action for animators. 

One key highlight of this explainer video is the mix of animation, live action, and talking heads. The mix of visuals keeps viewers on their toes, making it easy to stay engaged through every second of the video. It also helps break down the information into digestible pieces for anyone interested in learning more.  

2. Dropbox

Dropbox’s launch video broke the record for profitable explainer videos in 2009. During its primetime, it was watched over 25 million times and reportedly earned the cloud storage company over $48 million in revenue. 

The video simplified the concept of cloud storage for customers. At the time, the cloud wasn’t as mainstream as today, so it took a lot of explaining. This product demo made it easier for potential customers to understand and use. 

Dropbox uses an extremely basic animation style. It looks like someone drew it with a digital crayon. Through a relatable story about a trip and sharing pictures, it explains the complicated idea of cloud storage. At under 2 minutes long, the video was designed to capture and hold the viewer’s attention. 

3. DocuSign

Yum Yum Videos created this promotional video for DocuSign in 2017, when digital signature tech became popular. There was a lot of bias to overcome in the financial industry when signing official documents online. For many, there’s still some hesitation. 

The DocuSign animated explainer video follows the story of a fictional character named Danielle, who lives a busy life. One day, her bank called her and asked that she come in to sign some loan documents. Danielle feels physical signatures are outdated and uses DocuSign on her phone to sign the papers. 

The video nails a big pain point for many financial customers. By putting viewers (presumably, financial institutions) in their customers' shoes, DocuSign shows how the app can save the banks time and money and make their customers happy. 

4. Google Search

Chances are, you use Google daily to do everything from finding restaurants to reading the news to answering work-related questions. But do you know how Google's search function actually works? Probably not.

That’s why Google created this 5-minute explainer video that breaks down Search. Its brevity guarantees viewers can quickly grasp the core concepts without feeling overwhelmed by too much information. The explainer uses graphics and visual aids to make concepts like algorithms and web indexing much more understandable. 

The video demonstrates the search process by searching for "lasagna." This makes the content relatable to the average person using Google Search for similar queries. Google also covers challenges like dealing with spam, quality ratings, and ongoing efforts to maintain the search engine.

Overall, the video effectively demystifies the complex processes behind Google Search in a way that’s easy to understand and information for the average person. 

5. Descript

Who says explainer videos can’t be short-form? With platforms like YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok, short video clips can (and should) be part of your video marketing strategy

Notice how Ramdy, Descript’s video creator, explains our AI Eye Contact effect in under one minute using a mix of talking heads and screencast. Viewers who click into the video will see a brief description of the feature, a tutorial on how to use it, and an example of what it will look like.

In this short-form explainer video, Ramdy's delivery is informative and professional while also being funny, and gets the message across quickly. 

How to create a great explainer video

Step 1: Come up with your concept

Explainer videos articulate specific pain points and address how a product or service provides the best solution. Be clear about why your product stands out in the market and how it uniquely solves your customer's problems.

The style and tone of any explainer video should correspond with the aesthetic and feel of your brand, and appeal to the tastes of the brand’s target audience and customer base. This might be a potential customer’s first encounter with your brand, so make sure it conveys your company’s messaging clearly.

Step 2: Write your script

Explainer videos typically get to the point quickly, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on providing an in-depth explanation of the topic at hand. Find ways to properly explain your product in a concise, digestible form that keeps the video length around two to three minutes.

Clearly state what the audience should do after watching, whether that’s purchasing a product, signing up for an email newsletter, or following a social media account. You’re publishing this product video for a reason, so make sure your viewers know what you want them to do.

✍️Learn: How to write a video script like a pro

Step 3: Get your equipment and crew

Depending on your project's scale, your team might include a director, scriptwriter, camera operators, sound technicians, and editors. For animation, animators and graphic designers are on your list.

If you lack the necessary skills or equipment, consider hiring a professional video production company. They can offer expertise in both live-action and animated explainer videos.

Then, you’ll want to plan your production.

  1. Live shoot: If your video involves live-action elements, plan your shoot meticulously. This includes scheduling shooting dates, scouting locations, and preparing actors or speakers.
  2. Storyboarding for animation: For animated videos, develop a detailed storyboard. This helps you plan the animation sequence and visual style.

Short on budget? AI video generators can create high-quality animations and visual effects, often at a fraction of the time and cost. Use AI to animate characters or elements based on your storyboard and speed up the production process.

Step 4: Shoot your footage

With the preparation complete, it’s time to make your explainer video. At this point, you begin animating or shooting your explainer video. It’s important to stick to a schedule and adhere to deadlines here, as production can get more expensive with each passing day.

Step 5: Edit your video

Record voiceovers and overlay music or sound effects. If you’re working with a video production company, they will likely have an editor who can complete this step for you. If you’re producing the video in-house, there are plenty of easy-to-use video editing software options, including Descript, of course, which lets you edit video as easily as editing a text document.

Create your own explainer videos with Descript

While it might sound simple on paper, a good explainer video takes a considerable amount of effort, coordination, and organization to effectively produce. 

If you’re a marketing team producing in-house, Descript has everything you need for recording and editing video. Whether you’re a software brand or professional service, use Decript’s explainer video maker to: 

  • Remove filler words and background noise for more professional sounding audio. 
  • Add video overlays and transitions to customize tutorials. 
  • Add subtitles and captions to make videos more engaging. 
  • Fix audio mistakes with an AI clone of your voice. 
  • Access pre-made video templates to speed up your workflow. 
  • Collaborate with team members through time-stamped comments and share links.

Take a free tour today and see why thousands of marketers and creators rely on Descript to create world-class explainer videos.  

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