With so many explainer video formats available, one is sure to get confused when trying to identify the most suitable format for communicating about a particular business entity.
Here is a list of affordable animated explainer video formats and the communication purposes each is fit to solve best, by the virtue of its unique style.
Video Style #1 Character Animated Explainer Video
Character animated explainer videos are the ones that typically have character(s) representing something. That something could be anything – a customer, a brand, an abstract idea- anything. A character animated explainer video, either uses one lead character that takes the viewers through the video, or has multiple characters that together tell a story. Character Animated Explainer Videos are most suitable for solving following two purposes:
Purpose I: When you got to explain a hard-to-visualize concept
(Example: Functioning of a Mobile App or an IT Solution)
Say, you’ve created the most upgraded kind of anti-virus and now you want to explain to your potential customers, how it works on a system. You’d also like to highlight some of its unique features. Now, everyone knows what an anti-virus basically does – it cleans virus from a system. But how it works, is something hard to visualize. This is because ‘anti-virus’ is a software. It is intangible. It is abstract. It cannot be visualized, unless an analogy is used while explaining it. This is where a character animated explainer video could be used effectively, to put across an explanation.
By personifying an abstract idea (in this case, the anti-virus software) into a human-like character and animating it to behave like humans, you could assist your customers in better visualizing your abstract concept. This would help them in building understanding. For instance, the anti-virus software may be represented as a sturdy looking character and perhaps animated to show that it easily ‘cleans’ a system by simply wiping off virus by its hands.
Thus, character animated explainer video could be used when your idea or solution is hard for your customers to visualize on their own. The video could introduce the Solution as a character, which could be animated to show how it solves typical customer problems.
Purpose II: When you got to explain your concept through a story
Storytelling is one effective approach that a lot of explainer videos use. The reason for this is simple. When you present your Concept/Solution in form of a story, you aren’t directly talking about it, and so it isn’t perceived by your viewers as an advertisement. In fact, if a story is told in an interesting manner, the viewers are drawn to watch the video till the very end and are likely to remember the main message for long.
Of Course, stories are built around characters. Therefore, character animated explainer videos are most suitable when you want to follow storytelling approach for communicating to your targeted audience. Typically, an explainer video story is built by first introducing customer problems then telling how the given Solution (i.e. the Solution being promoted/explained) solves those problems, following by a call for action. The characters in your explainer video story, could either represent your customer or your brand. It is also possible to have two characters representing both- the customer and the brand.
When you creatively present a story revolving around your customer problems, the customers not just identify with it, but also look forward to learning about the ‘Solution’ i.e. your offering. Thus, character animated videos could be effectively used when you think, the customers could best appreciate and remember your Solution, if it is told about, through a story.
Here’s an example of a character animated explainer video that uses storytelling approach to talk about ‘Kelly Law Firm’. The video uses multiple characters to build the story.
Video Style #2 Infographic Video
Infographic Videos are the ones that allow you to present facts and figures in a way that they make more sense to and are better remembered by your audience (than when presented in a way that is static). An infographic video may not use a voiceover since it visually represents textual data.
When data is dynamically presented in a motion graphic video format, it is better received by the viewers. This is so, because the figures or facts could be emphasised upon, by dynamically moving them in the video. Although one may argue that the purpose of emphasising upon figures could even be solved when using static visual presentation/infographic (i.e by increasing font size, or by using bright text colors etc), it is the motion that makes all the difference. The motion graphics draws the viewers to read the facts and figures with greater attention than otherwise.
To understand this better, imagine you are watching a particular infographic (or any other animated) video for the first time and then you pause it at a point. Now, when you look at this paused frame, you can’t guess the direction the next piece of (visual) information, would come in from. Nor could you guess how this information would be presented. Would the next frame have text bouncing from top left corner and coming towards the front or would it have an image morphing into some text? It can’t be said. Therefore, when watching an infographic video, the viewer tends to follow the motion of the text and has no choice but to continuously pay attention while watching the video. His rapidly moving eyeballs are constantly directed to look for subsequent piece of dynamic information, as it changes from frame to frame, in an infographic video. Thus, by the virtue of its style, an animated infographic video draws your viewers to watch the video with greater attention.
A high quality infographic video presents facts and figures in a way that they create moments of sudden and great revelation (epiphany) to the viewers. One way of creating an epiphany is by presenting startling comparisons, in terms of numbers, in order to put across a point. For instance, suppose (through your infographic video) you have to tell your audience that there are ‘n’ number of people across the world, who die each day due to cause ‘x’. There are two ways of saying this through your video.
Way I: Say it straight
“n number of people across the world die due to cause x, each day.”
Way II: Compare it with some other relevant fact
“n number of people across the world die due to cause x, each day. That’s equivalent to the entire population of (country) C!”
Do you feel the difference? By adding that comparative statement, the original statement became all the more impactful. This is so, because numbers make sense and are better realised when used in comparison. This technique of comparatively putting across big numbers often creates moments of great revelation and lasting memory of the message that was intended to be communicated.
Thus, Infographic Videos could be most purposefully used when you want to put across a message by powerfully using facts and figures.
Video Style #3 Whiteboard Animated Video
The way I see it, animated whiteboard video format, simulates a classroom set up. The voiceover acts as a moderator and the visual appears as series of diagrams that are quickly drawn in front of the viewer. It lets you visually illustrate your idea. Therefore, it could be most appropriately used when you require to give a detailed explanation of your solution to your targeted audience. A whiteboard video may or may not use storytelling approach in explaining an idea, but indeed it is one of the best available communication tools for explaining a complex concept.
This is so, because whiteboard video format lets you ‘draw and explain’ your idea to your targeted audience. It (virtually) uses classroom tools (pen and whiteboard) and technique (draw and explain) to ‘teach’ a concept. This familiarity causes the viewers to attend to the video with great involvement. Another point worth noting is that each element in the video is scribed in front of the viewer’s eyes. This creates a sense of anticipation in the viewer and induces curiosity to ‘guess’ what’s going to be scribed next, in the video. This keeps the viewer closely involved while watching the video and increases the chances of him retaining your message. A Whiteboard Video may stretch longer than a typical (60-90 Secs) explainer video. If you notice carefully, most whiteboard videos focus more on the script and less on the graphics (as compared to character animated videos).
It is important to mention here that a whiteboard video that uses character(s) and is scripted to tell a story through it could also be categorized as a character animated video. A lot of whiteboard videos use storytelling technique to put across a message. Thus, there is no hard and fast rule for using this video format.
Here is an example of a Whiteboard Animated Video for ‘Top Form Fitness’
Video Style #4 Motion Graphic Videos
When you want to represent your idea in a fairly simple (in terms of concept) animated video format, Motion-graphic video is a suitable choice. These kinds of videos are more oriented towards having powerful graphics & sound effects and focus little on the script (concept). They neither intend to tell a story, nor show any specific characters.
Here are two examples of Motion Graphic Video:
Example #1: ‘Humans to Translate’
Example #2: ‘Why You Need An Explainer Video’
Thus, when you require to put across your marketing message in a straightforward manner- without weaving it into a story or a concept, motion graphics video is a suitable choice.
Please note that Motion Graphic Videos and Infographic Videos are often considered to be the same, since a motion graphic video could also use numbers or facts in it.
Video Style #5 Kinetic Typography Videos
Kinetic Typography is all about three things- text, text and text. Using this video format you could make your text dance, bounce, jump, split, slip, slide, or do whatever action you want it to do for you. In essence, it is a beautiful motion graphic format through which words and only words could be moved around in a video. It showcases literal play of words. Background music/song as a video element, plays an important role in making a kinetic typography video powerful. This format is often used to present songs through a video. Lyrics of the song serve as the text that is played around with, in the video.
Video Style #6 Stop Motion (in animation)
This is yet another way of creatively presenting a video. Stop motion technique is used to put across a concept through an animated video. Characters are hand drawn (on paper), colored, and cut by the boundaries. Then they are animated frame by frame, using stop motion technique.
To understand this better, checkout the video given below.
Creativity can’t be leashed and so there are no hard and fast rules to using any of the video formats. This analysis was presented with the purpose of helping you learn about differentiating characteristics of various explainer video formats. Hope, the post served its purpose and helped you in enhancing your understanding about explainer videos.