Video Marketing

What is an explainer video? (Plus Ideas, Tips, & Templates)

Megan O'Neill


If you’re looking to get started with video marketing for your business, odds are you’ve heard you need an explainer video. But what is an explainer video? And where and how should you even start with getting one created for your business?

What is an explainer video?

In this article, we’ll explain. Get it? We’ll explain explainer videos? Heheheh… Ok! Before we dive in, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The definition of “explainer video”
  • Where you and and should post your explainer video
  • Explainer video ideas
  • Explainer video tips

What is an explainer video?

First things first, we’ll define explainer video. An explainer video is basically what it sounds like: a video that explains a concept, your business, or an aspect of your business, in a way that’s easy to understand. These types of videos really focus on the viewer and explain how a business, product, or service can solve a problem the viewer relates to.

Historically, the term “explainer video” has referred to short animated videos or whiteboard animations. The first of these videos was created by Common Craft back in 2007. It explained what an RSS feed is.

This type of video set the standard for the animated explainer videos today. Fast forward a decade and Common Craft is still using video to explain difficult concepts today.

In 2019, many businesses are still creating these animated explainers, using explainer video software or hiring professionals. But the explainer video umbrella has broadened to include not just animation, but live action and text-based videos as well. But however the video is made, the concept is the same: an explainer video is a short video that explains a concept in a way that’s easy to understand.

Where to post explainer videos

Now that you understand what an explainer video is, it’s important to understand where a video of this type would live. There are a few different ideal homes for explainer videos.

Explainer videos for your website

An explainer video is a great addition to your website to help visitors understand who you are, what you do, and, most importantly, what the benefit is to them.

Here at Animoto, we do our best to include a video on each of our landing pages, clearly explaining who we are, what we offer, and how offers potential customers a solution to their unique need.

Explainer Video

You could also include an explainer video on your About page that gives customers a glimpse into what you do as a business in order to answer the needs of your customers.

Explainer videos for social media

An explainer video about your business can be a nice touch for your business social media profiles as well. On Facebook, you can add it as a featured video in your Videos tab. On Twitter or Instagram, try linking to it from your bio. You can also add it as a pinned post on Facebook or a pinned Tweet.

Explainer videos for YouTube

YouTube is also a prime location for explainer videos. Why? Well, YouTube is the second largest search engine, after Google, and every day your potential customers are visiting the video giant, searching for the answer to questions related to your business. You could be there to answer their questions with an explainer video.

Here’s a simple example for an explainer video answering the question of how to price a home. This video could be customized to answer questions related to any industry.

Explainer video ideas

We’ve already shared a couple ideas in the previous section, but here are 4 approaches you can take to explainer videos, complete with a handful examples that you can customize to make your own.

Remember, when creating explainer videos you should always approach them with the viewer in mind. Rather than trying to sell, you’re trying to educate, entertain, or engage through explaining something that is going to help the viewer.

Explain a concept or trend

What’s a trend or difficult-to-understand concept related to your business? Explaining it—in layman’s terms—is a good exercise and can make for a great first explainer video! Here’s an example, featuring an explanation of the trendy Monstera Deliciosa plant.

As you can see, explaining a concept or trend is a good way to provide benefit to the viewer. They want to know the answer to a question and you are giving it to them. And this example also throws in a hint at the fact that the plant is also a product the florist offers, without being overly salesy about it.

Here’s another example, answering the question about a trend that’s currently taking the world of health and wellness by storm: why is everybody so obsessed with turmeric?

Explain your business or offering

In the last section we talked about how an explainer video can be a nice addition to your website or social media profiles to explain the benefit of your product or service to potential buyers.

In this type of video, it’s always nice to begin with the why. What is the problem that you sove for your customers? Lead with it and then explain what your product or service in a way that emphasizes how it solves this problem.

Note: This example is square because it was designed for performance in social feeds like Facebook or LinkedIn. But you can also make it landscape to share on your website or YouTube by changing the aspect ratio of your Animoto project.

Explain how to do something

Another fun type of explainer video is a how to or tutorial. This is a great one for YouTube, were people are searching for tutorials regularly. You can teach people how to do something related to your business and, by doing so, get your expertise and brand name out there.

This DIY beauty tutorial not only explains how to make a nourishing hair mask but also explains the why behind each of the ingredients.

Explain the answer to an FAQ

Are there questions that your customers as all the time? Answer them in an explainer video! This has a few benefits:

  • It’ll make your life easier. The next time someone asks you the question, you can just share the link!
  • It’ll help engage your customers. Consumers enjoy seeing video content from brands and when they receive an answer to their question it’ll be a delight for them.
  • It’ll help you reach new customers. You can post the answer to your question on YouTube too, to reach new potential customers searching for answers.

The real estate explainer video we shared earlier is a good example of this type of video.

Explainer video tips

Now that you’ve got an understanding of what an explainer video is and are armed with some ideas, it’s time to jump in and create your first video. But first, we’ve put together a few tips to make sure your first video is a success!

Tip #1: Focus on the viewer, not your business or product

If you just take one thing away from this article let it be this: an explainer video is designed to help the viewer rather than sell to the viewer. For this reason, the focus should be on what the benefits are to the viewer of using your product, rather than your product features.

Tip #2: Script it out

To achieve the mission set out in our first tip, scripting things out can be helpful. Your script should be simple and easy to understand and address the following:

  • The problem the viewer is facing or question they’re looking for answers to
  • The answer to their question or solution to their problem
  • A call to action (CTA) to let the viewer know what you’d like them to do next

Tip #3: Keep is short and simple

An explainer video should be super straightforward and easy to understand. Use simple language and explain your concept in as few words as possible.

Tip #4: Use a test audience

Not sure if your video is simple enough to understand? Or maybe it’s too simple and doesn’t include enough information to really answer the question at hand? The best way to know if your video has hit the mark is by sharing it with a test audience. The best test audience is one that isn’t familiar with your product or the concept you’re explaining. That way you can be certain you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of our explanation of explainer videos. You’re ready to dive in and create your first explainer. If you’re interested in a little feedback or more inspiration, join the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community on Facebook. Happy explainer video making!