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Why seeing equals spending: the power of animated explainer videos


When it comes to information processing, seeing really is believing. Consider your own behaviour: how do you read, learn or consume information? For most of us, it’s visual. Approximately one-third of all online activity is spent watching video, and 65 per cent of the population are visual learners. We joke via memes, react using emoticons and make decisions on what to buy or watch by short previews of videos, reviews or star ratings.

But for small businesses, it’s not just about how we learn, it’s also about how we spend. Studies show that including video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%, and after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online. If you haven’t already capitalised on the power of visual content, the time to start is now. And the best place to start? Animated explainer videos.

What is an animated explainer video?

For the uninitiated, an animated explainer video is a short animated video that focuses on explaining a business idea in a simple, engaging and compelling way. They blend professional quality audio with real-time illustrations that come to life before the viewer’s eyes, make even the most complex or bland material interesting and accessible, giving your brand the opportunity to quickly and accurately get a message across…and they are cost effective to boot.

Key benefits of animation include:

  • The ability to explain complex, difficult or instruction-laden topics.
  • A fast turnaround and instant impact.
  • The ability to utilise your video asset in multiple formats and platforms such as GIFs, social media, email, websites.
  • The ability to connect digital content by showing people exactly where to click, how to download, what to visit and how to act.

Simple and effective

Animated videos capture our attention and help us process complex material, bringing concepts to life that text or live videos can’t. With the help of animation, you can use your characters to do any number of impossible things to show how mechanisms and processes work. A great example of using animation for explanation is TED-Ed. With more than 3 million subscribers, Ted-Ed is one of the most popular educational channels on YouTube, and most videos created by the team use animation.

Viral power

Not only do they capture attention, animated explainer videos also have mass appeal—they are accessible to any age, gender, to the informed industry expert or the uninitiated. This makes them perfect material for sharing. Animation’s cartoon-style also appeals to our emotions by evoking a sense of nostalgia that resonates with viewers, which leads to increased engagement.

One study compared 1000 animated video viewers and 1000 ‘talking head’ viewers (from age 22 to 65+) and found that viewers of animated content were three times more likely to share the video on social media and were twice as likely to both recommend and buy the service, as well as to recall the facts and message being delivered.

How do I get started?

You can choose to work with a digital agency to create your perfect animated explainer vid, which generally takes just a few weeks from initial briefing session to final product launch, or you can choose to dabble on your own.

If you are going it alone, start with your script. Explainer videos should generally be 30 to 90 seconds in length, which translates into a written script of around 200 words or less in most cases. Once you have your script worked up and decisions made around your visual outline, have a look at some of the animation tools out there. Here are two options:

  • Animoto: a nice tool for creating videos from photos, with a number of templates. Packages start at US$8/month and there is a free 14-day trial available.
  • Animatron: a great free online animation maker which allows you to create your own animations from scratch, or use pre-animated objects available in their market.

Our key tips?

Keep your script and visuals simple, and use colour to your advantage: researchers have found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on colour alone. By making smart choices with colour in your animated video, you can not only influence buyer behaviour, but also strengthen your brand awareness with your audience.

Additionally, if you customise the characters of the video to reflect your target audience’s style, look, age, etc. you’ll generate a strong emotional bond and build trust with your customer base.

Who is doing is right?

There are a ton of great examples of animated explainer videos out there. Here are a few of our favourites. They are all simple, informative, effective, and light-hearted —a winning combination.

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About Laura Qureshi

Laura Qureshi is director and co-founder of digital design and ecommerce agency DO Commerce, a Melbourne-based digital agency helping its clients sell millions of products each month. Laura holds a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) and brings more than ten years of strategic marketing experience to her role.

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