Explainer Videos

An Explanation of the Explainer Video (FAQ)

Claude Harrington 10.26.2015

Since IdeaRocket is in the business of creating explainer videos and here on the blog, naturally, explainers are often discussed, we thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and answer some frequently asked questions. So, without further ado, here we go…

What is an Explainer Video?

A short, informative and engaging video that conveys a message (or messages) in an entertaining and compelling way.

When you say “short,” how short do you mean?

Most explainer videos are usually about 1-5 minutes long. But just like a “short film,” there are no hard and fast rules with regards to length.

If there’s no set amount of time, then how do you decide?

Ultimately, it’s about identifying your audience. Who will be you targeting and how will you be distributing the video to reach that target? Once you have the answer to that—and you’ve identified the audience for your explainer video—then it’s all about striking a balance between the amount of content you’d like to share versus the amount of time you can reasonably request from potential viewers.

Okay, that makes sense. But here’s something that doesn’t quite make sense to me: why have explainer videos become so popular over the past few years?

There rising popularity of explainer videos can be attributed to several changes in technology, culture and how business is done. With faster computer processors, quicker internet connections and social media platforms that make uploading (and embedding) easier than ever, digital videos are having a bigger impact on our every day?

How big of an impact?

In July, we wrote a piece about The Power of Video (By the Numbers) that highlighted some amazing figures about the growth of this medium. Here are just a few:

  • Videos are shared 1200% more times than links and text combined (Orion 21)
  • Having video on the landing page of your site makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of Google (Mist Media)
  • 70% of marketing professionals believe that video converts better than any other medium (MarketingProfs)

Those numbers are staggering!

They are, and will only become more staggering as the influx of videos increases. But as impressive as those figures may be, they don’t even capture the full impact.

While quantifiable data (like SEO rankings and conversation rates) is incredibly important—and we really cannot stress enough how important it is to have measurable analytics—there are additional benefits to video. Benefits that don’t immediately show up in statistics, but can help your brand, products and company in the long run.

There’s an article on Tech Crunch called The Rise of The Explainer Video that does a great job of detailing the power of video from the perspective of a journalist. Here are a couple of the hidden benefits:

  • Help your fans evangelize your product. Video is an extra standalone tool that can be easily shared on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Increase press coverage…Not only does it make it more likely you’ll get covered, but also that the coverage won’t simply be the author’s interpretation of your site, but will actually include your video—your own words—to supplement the story.
  • Repurpose elsewhere. Videos can be included in email signatures, start off VC pitches, shared by sales team, etc…well beyond your home page.

Last Question: What is whiteboard animation and how does that factor into this whole explainer video thing?  

Whiteboard animation (or RSA-style animation) is a popular technique used for creating explainer videos. That’s because its style inherently plays into the primary criteria of explainer videos that we mentioned at the top: short, informative, engaging video, entertaining and compelling. It also lends itself a variety of formats–be it internal or external, broadcast or internet–that makes whiteboard animation a  good fit for businesses in a variety of different sectors.

We’ve used it for a variety of different mediums. From promoting food products:

…to an in-arena spot for the New York Knicks:

…to the opening credits for Showtime’s Weeds:

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