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What is an explainer animation? (and why you should use them)

Well, the name gives it away really. It's an animation that does some explaining.

But if you insist on having a bit more detail, fine. I'll give it to you in the form of two frequently asked questions. If not and you're visiting this page and are looking for a voiceover artist for your explainer animation then please click on the button below to contact me.

One. What is an explainer animation? You already asked that one, but whatever. An explainer animation is an animated piece of video (funny that) that explains a concept, product or service in a more concise and palatable way. Using visuals, motion and audio, it serves to simplify (often complex) information and display it in a way that the audience can understand easily. I think I said the same thing twice there.

Explainer Animation

Two. How is an explainer animation structured? They start by identifying a problem, with the animation introducing an issue that the target audience might be faced with. This could be a lack of know-how on a topic, or a pain point that the service resolves. Next, and perhaps quite obviously, we have the solution. The video shows how to solve the problem using the product or service to do that. For example, perhaps a company's helpdesk takes the same types of call over and over. "HOW DO I RESTART MY COMPUTER?" If they had an explainer showing people how to restart their computer, the number of calls should go down, saving money long term. Companies like Google use animated explainer videos in the training programs for their Google Analytics and Google Search Console tools. Again, they break complex ideas down into more engaging and digestible content. Finally we have a call to action. This can come anywhere in the video but usually it's at the end. When a viewer clicks the links (or makes the call), they can be directed on a purchasing path or somewhere to find out more.

Illustrate the problem > describe the solution > direct the audience what to do next As a bitesize piece of marketing material, explainers are typically in the range of 60-90 seconds long. Some are shorter, some are longer, depending on the concept it's explaining, but it's always looking to minimize a larger, complexer (not a real word) amount of information.

What are the different styles of explainer video?

2D animation explainer videos These use 2 dimensional (2D) graphics to tell a story or explain a concept.

The National HIV Testing clip uses the 2D style and has the clear structure we outlined above... Issue: HIV can affect anyone. Solution: Free HIV testing. Call to action: Order a free test on the website.

3D animation videos There was a time when 3D was expected to be the next best thing and somehow it didn’t become the norm we thought it would be. But 3D is still very prevalent and can create a more realistic and immersive experience for the viewer.

Whiteboard Explainer Videos We've all seen these and they can work really well to explain a complex concept. There's a whiteboard and usually a hand holding a pen that writes stuff. A carefully crafted whiteboard video can have an enormous effect on the viewer and save time for those wanting to teach something.

Live Action Animated Explainer Videos This a great partnership, a bit like the 'surf and turf' of the explainer video industry. There's two elements that are altogether different but when placed alongside each other can have a remarkable marketing effect. This is where live-action footage is mixed with animation creating a unique and engaging experience for the visitor.

Kinetic Typography Explainer – This is where the animation is purely words moving around the screen. See below. We go into deeper detail about Kinetic Typography on our website.

Add a professional voice over (mine OBV), some music and sound effects to any of these methods and you can deliver a very powerful visual communication message.

What are the benefits of animated explainer videos?

They increase levels of engagement. Explainers capture and hold viewers' attention so much better than static content or text based explanations (apart from this blog which is amazing, right?). Visuals + Motion + Audio = An immersive experience that engages an audience. Higher levels of engagement means the audience is more likely to understand what you're saying about the product or service, and also they're more likely to retain the information. Adding a voice gives them even less work to do. Their brain doesn't need to read words on the screen, it doesn't need to figure out what's going on, it doesn't need to fill in the blanks. The voiceover guides them through. The viewer can just sit back and absorb the message into their ears and eyes.

They increase brand awareness. An explainer animation is an excellent way of showing your brand's personality and values to the world. By tying everything together with colours, fonts, graphics and all that other identity type stuff, people will know it's you when they see it. Consistency is key!

If you go down the voiceover route, you can make your brand feel human, which will connect with your audience on a whole other (not nother) level. By embodying your brands ideas and values, a voice actor will add a new dimension to the personality of your brand. Over time, when you use the voice for other applications like telephone messages, radio ads etc, awareness, recognition and recall shoot upwards.

They enhance communication. It can be tricky to explain a concept to everybody. But that is the aim of explainer videos. By breaking something down into simple terms, showing it in a visually appealing way and definitely 100% without a doubt using a voiceover, more people will understand what you're trying to get across. Without being salesy, your message is shown in a clear, concise manner.

They tell stories. No, I don't mean lies. I mean stories. And it's a fact that humans love stories. When you create a narrative, people are sucked in. When that narrative includes pain points and challenges the audience recognises, you build a sense of relatability. They're connected to you through an emotional experience. The story can make people feel. It can create anticipation for the resolution. It can make people act on the need. Once you have the emotional bond with the viewer and you're making them feel something, you've got them.

They are versatile and shareable. Explainer animations can be used on your website. They can be posted across all your social media accounts. You can put them in emails. And what about presentations? Maybe even use them as an ad. Due to their informative, helpful and often entertaining nature, explainers are highly shareable pieces of content. I'd say it's more likely someone will share one of these to their network than a very straight, traditional style corporate video. Ooh look at this fun animation I saw! No thanks, do you have anything more boring? Exactly.

They save you money. I know I mentioned it above, but this is something people often get confused with - cost vs investment. Flip that switch in your brain. Paying to have an explainer made isn't a cost. You're investing in your business. By providing an audience with a solution, you're going to get what you want from them faster. By teaching them how to do something, you're going to free up your time and perhaps even staff (FIRE THEM! (Joke. (Maybe.)))

What are the benefits of using a professional voiceover artist for your animated explainer video?

Of course it had to come to this. I can't give you all the good stuff without pitching at the end!

It adds a touch of professionalism and quality. (You have to imagine me doing a smug face for this bit). We voiceovers bring a different skillset and expertise to the project. Through our training and experience we know how to deliver engaging performances. We control everything from tone to pacing and intonation to emotion, which all comes together to sync in with the message and visuals of the animation. This elevates it to new heights. (That sounds awful but it's staying). It's like a cherry on top of an already great production. It takes it from great to, well, more great.

It delivers the message clearly and effectively. Without clear and effective communication, an explainer animation simply does not work. As well as an excellent understanding of pronunciation and enunciation, we know how to interpret those words. This will prevent misunderstandings or confusion, which means what you're trying to say... gets said.

It brings emotional impact. Injecting emotion into a script and performance enhances the storytelling aspect of the animation. Which emotions are tapped into depends on the brand, the message, the animation style, the etc. The point is, and I'm really trying not to labour it here, an emotionally engaging voiceover creates stronger connections with the audience. Stronger connections means impactful and memorable content.

It continues brand consistency. A voice is a versatile thing. It can be adapted to align with your brand, to marry up with it's identity and values. It can embody the personality and character of your brand, or create one. As before, consistency is key. If you use a voiceover once and are happy, use it for future productions. It strengthens brand recognition and builds that cohesive brand experience for your audience.

It increases reach. Going global? There are voiceover artists in every country of the world. Expand your horizons! Make a French version of the animation! Actually, don't think of it as changing the language. You're changing the audience. If you're a company that wants to start targetting REAL AUSTRALIAN BLOKES, use the appropriate voice and accent. Make sure you're communicating effectively to your target audience, whoever and wherever it is. Oooh what's that sound? That... is a new market opening!

...and just to reinforce those points again

When you hire a professional voiceover artist for your project, you'll get high-quality, clear, engaging audio. The overall impact and effectiveness of the piece strengthens your brand and helps to effectively convey your message to your target audience.


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Martin Whiskin voiceover artist talking into a Rode NT1-a microphone
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