Get your users animated: What makes a great explainer video?

We all love a good story. Whether you’re into snap-resistant superheroes or lightning-scarred boy wonders, there are few things that engage us as much as a tantalising tale. So, it follows that you should introduce this element to your informative video assets too. After all, the best-retained lessons are those that don’t feel like lessons at all. Enter the explainer video.

Admittedly, animated explainer videos don’t sound quite as thrilling on paper as an epic saga split across multiple dimensions. They probably won’t break a billion at the box office either. But what these handy clips can do is showcase your goods and services and teach your audience how to engage with them for the best possible experience. And you can’t put a price on that.


So, what exactly is an animated explainer video? And what are the dos and don’ts? Let’s take a closer look at this informational style of content production showing the TikTok generation just how things work.

What is an explainer video?

An animated explainer video is a short, engaging animation that uses visuals to succinctly explain a concept for marketing or educational purposes. They might use music, narration, characters, colour, and imagery to get their point across — with animation providing the punchy, memorable format to communicate the story you want to tell.

Animated videos are especially useful for distilling complex ideas into simpler, more concise messaging when words just aren’t doing the job. They’re a magnet for user attention, and so are most widely disseminated across the tech space to relay complicated information in a more accessible way.

This adds up, after all — with the rise of AI, SaaS and web3, the new internet age has brought about plenty of complex, novel concepts that are tricky to get your head around. And that’s when video shines the most.

At Shoreditch Design, our designers have oodles of animated expertise. We produce explainers fit for any channel and or business need, with services including:

  • Storyboarding
  • Animation
  • Graphics and illustrations
  • 3D modelling
  • Videography
  • Character design

Why are explainer videos important?

As for why we do it, it’s not just for the art. Sure, creating memorable, visually appealing assets is our bread and butter — but it also serves a functional purpose, capturing the attention of your prospective customers and product users.

Still, you might be questioning the credentials of animated explainers compared to other types of visual assets, like infographics or product photography.

So, what are the benefits of using animated explainer videos?

1. They inform

Animated videos serve as effective tools for marketing and communication purposes. Whether you’re introducing a new product, explaining a service, or conveying a brand message, short-form content has proven itself as a more than viable strategy to make consumers aware of a new product or service. In fact, 90% of marketers worldwide claimed to be increasing or maintaining their short-form video investments in 2023.

2. They engage

Animated explainer videos are designed to capture and maintain audience attention. The combination of visuals, narration, and sometimes even a spot of music creates an engaging and entertaining experience. They are a welcome tool in the age of the shrunken attention span, increasing the likelihood that viewers will retain information in comparison to other formats.

3. They clarify

One key purpose of an animated explainer video is to simplify complex ideas, concepts, or products, making them easily understandable for the audience. By using visual storytelling, these videos break down information into digestible segments, enhancing clarity and comprehension.

What makes a great explainer video?

Clearly, animated explainer videos can be a massively helpful tool in your marketing arsenal, allowing your business to cut through the noise and sustain its audience’s attention. But you’ll only reap the benefits of a dynamic explainer if it’s high-quality enough to stand out from the crowd.

All too often, we stumble across techy, mambo-jumbo-filled explainers that appeal to nobody but those already working in the business. If your explainer’s too filled with jargon or fails to actually teach the lay consumer anything about your product, you might have missed the mark.

So, what you should be looking out for in your animated explainer videos? Here’s what we recommend.

1. A human voice

Even before the dawn of generative AI, we noticed a tendency for explainer videos to adopt a not-so-human tone of voice. When scripting your explainer, replacing your market sector jargon with simple, concise messaging is crucial. This allows viewers to quickly grasp and retain the core information that you’re presenting rather than become overloaded with information and lose interest. If you’re stuck for inspiration, try to follow a format like this: 

  • Identify user pain point > present the solution > include a call to action to the next step

This way, your users will keep on task and understand the takeaway message of your video.

2. Attention-grabbing aesthetics

You’re creating a visual piece of work, so it needs to be visually appealing. That might just seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many animated explainer videos stick blocks of text over Microsoft Paint illustrations and call it a day’s hard work. Instead, try to combine high-quality images, illustrations, motion graphics and more for your video to sustain viewer interest throughout.

Striking, professional-looking visuals will complement your message and keep your audience focused on the video’s content, bettering your chances that they’ll remember your explainer and follow any call to action.

3. Impactful storytelling

Beyond just the visual appeal of your animated explainer, you need to be providing compelling content, too. Your video should simplify any complex concepts to put across your message and maintain viewer engagement throughout. One way to do this is to use relatable examples, analogies, or metaphors (that aren’t too abstract) to convey your ideas.

You might also support the storytelling aspect with a voiceover. Much like any supplementary copy, this should be clear and concise, using human language to assist the visual storytelling taking place.

4. A strong call to action

Your animated explainer video exists to provide information — which can also be supplemented with a call to action (CTA) in most scenarios. For example, if you’ve created an explainer to break down a workout routine, you might finish the video with a message inviting users to download the app or start a particular workout schedule.

Whether you’re encouraging your audience to visit a website, sign up for a trial, or make a purchase, the CTA should be prominently featured and strike a happy medium between gentle and instructional.

5. Targeting your customer group

Your video should address any points of friction your audience might experience when using your product. So, it needs to be aimed at a specific kind of user with a specific kind of problem. If your service or product helps a broad scope of people, it’s wise to segment them accordingly. This way, you can create a full library of animated explainer videos fit for different purposes and different demographics, helping to provide maximum value to your viewers.

By combining these elements, a great animated explainer video is a two-pronged success — it communicates your message effectively and provides a great experience for the user, helping them to develop a more positive perception of your brand.

Our animated explainer video project for Brewdog

The fundamentals of first-class animated video production carried over into our collaboration with Brewdog The Brewdog team entrusted us with plenty of creative freedom on the brief, and we worked alongside the marketing team to produce a collection of product explainer videos that would resonate with their core consumers of craft ale connoisseurs.

We combined high-definition video footage and animations of four different Brewdog beers to create a dynamic set of explainers inspired by old-school superhero comics. Each video focused on a different beer, breaking down the tasting notes and experience that drinkers can enjoy after cracking open one of the iconic cans.

Put the wheels in motion with Shoreditch Design

If you’re ready to dial up your digital campaigns, we can help. Our team is made up of video specialists across every discipline from 2D animation to 3D rendering and motion graphics — and each one of us plays a role in producing the show-stopping final product for our clients.

Whether you had a brief in mind or, like Brewdog, trust our creative process completely, we’re keen to chat. Take a look at some more examples of our video production work or get in touch with a member of the team to discuss your design needs today.

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