The statistics regarding the popularity of video marketing don’t lie—and if you’re not on the bandwagon now, you’re missing out on the future of marketing. Some half a billion people watch videos on social media every day and very soon, video traffic will represent 80% of all consumer online traffic. So what better delivery device for your branded message than video?
Explainer videos are bite-sized bits of video content, often around one to two minutes in length, and they come in many forms, from traditional animation, to 3D, to live-action and more. They also come in all genres, utilising comedy or drama depending on the theme. That means there’s a wide variety of design options and emotional tactics to communicate your businesses’ message.
If you need more motivation, consider this: The average person watches more than an hour and a half of online video content per day—that’s a ton of potential exposure! Also, YouTube mobile video views grow 100% every year. The data proves that video marketing is the future—don’t let your brand fall behind the curve!
We’re going to take a look at some of the best recent explainer videos and analyse why they were so successful. The results should yield many teachable lessons to help take your content marketing efforts to the next level in 2020.
Dissolve incorporates cynical humour in a simple, yet hilariously impressive video. They decide to poke fun at the tendency of modern marketing to use the same old, clichéd footage in so many campaigns, but in a bold and funny way. The humour they use was so relatable to their audience of creatives working in advertising and marketing, it’s no surprise the video was shared in huge numbers, attracting media coverage and going viral in a short space of time.
2. Wine Country Gift Baskets
This video does a good job of mixing customer examples and warm animations to deliver a positive message paired with inviting images. The idea of giving a gift just because appeals to the better parts of the human condition. Bottles of wine? Chocolate? Gourmet coffee? Fresh-baked cookies? Those are products that sell themselves, and the animators did a good job of rendering their appeal in just over a minute runtime.
3. Dollar Shave Club
Sometimes it pays dividends to push the envelope with your message. Of course this is often a double-edged sword. If you’re too provocative with swearing or risqué content, you risk alienating large swaths of your audience. But in Dollar Shave Club’s case, they understood their audience and utilised humour to their full advantage by going viral with this video that really boosted their success—the company was later bought by Unilever for $1 billion!
The ad doesn’t hold back—it’s got it all, a bizarre-o pitchman (the real-life founder), swearing, irreverent visual gags, and even references to polio. Ultimately the ad is successful at achieving its ends because it makes something as seemingly boring as razors funny and memorable. Sometimes it’s good not to take yourself too seriously.
Driven in part by the millennial generation, relatability plays a huge role in their decision making process. This video created by Slack does a great job of reinforcing that a busy work life is a common issue by going through a typical work day for the average person.
Slack’s video did a great job of demonstrating how their product fits in to this relatable scenario without being overly promotional. The visuals are bright, creative, and enticing, which hooks the audience in for the duration of the 53 second video. Interestingly, there are absolutely no spoken words! Slack evidently takes the saying “actions speak louder than words” very seriously.
5. Med Mart
This video from Med Mart App does a great job of breaking down how to use their app. Med Mart takes the complicated process of plastic surgery and simplifies it with their app through this video, complemented by unique 3D animation. Although this video is a little on the longer side, the content in it justifies the length, as they dive into all of the benefits the app offers.
This explainer video from personal-finance company Mint.com clocks in at a tight minute and thirty-one seconds—they pack a lot of info in a short time. The video takes viewers on a side-scrolling journey of the features Mint offers to its customers. The CTA at the end informs users that they can sign up and get started with Mint in fewer than five minutes. Because of the brisk and efficient nature of this video, viewers get the sense that the application is user friendly and easy to manage.
Spotify thought outside of the box in this unique and creative explainer video. Instead of taking the traditional route and just explaining how their product works, they chose to take the opportunity to explain how their product is personalised just for you. Between the bright neon colours and the shifts from real people to animation, Spotify made this video incredibly engaging and fun for any generation.
Microsoft is one of the biggest brands in the world, but even with their legacy they still need effective messaging. This is another concise video that B2B players will want to emulate in 2020. It’s highly effective at educating the viewer on Microsoft’s enterprise cloud solution. The smooth animations evoke themes of growth, but, let’s face it, the narrator really sells this message. There’s a mellifluous tinge to the voiceover.
Like the Spotify ad, this advertisement for FiftyThree’s pencil-shaped mobile stylus relies only on music and images to get their message across. The tactic harkens back to that age-old axiom of good storytelling: show, don’t tell. What this spot manages to do without uttering a single word is impressive. The viewer learns all about the functionality of the product without words—until the very end. That’s when a solid, simple tagline appears on screen: “Think with your hands.” Businesses today would do well to follow this example of crafting a great branded message and highlighting it above all else.
The makers of the Unroll.Me app identified a problem that affects almost all of us: junk email. Their explainer video focuses on that problem by showcasing testimonials from six disparate people recounting their frustrating experiences with junk mail. It does what many effective ads have done in the past, by showing the people using the product in question.
In just 30 seconds Unroll.Me hammers home the overarching theme of the video, which is ease of use. The viewer sees first hand how easy it is to unsubscribe from junk email lists simply by swiping the app.
11. Crazy Egg
If you’re a marketer, SEO, CTO, or part of a big tech firm, you probably knew all about Crazy Egg shortly after it launched. But not every business owner is a techie with a fetish for analytics. Crazy Egg appealed to those not in the know in an explainer video that does exactly what it’s supposed to do: explain.
Not only does it summarise Crazy Egg’s unique heat map tool for the viewer, it shows the product in action. So you don’t have to be tech savvy to understand what it does. Add a couple subtle CTAs throughout the ad’s two-minute runtime and you have a solid explainer video.
Some of the best explainer videos take otherwise humdrum topics and deliver them in a compelling package. And let’s be honest—there isn’t much that’s flashy about an IT monitoring and administration solution.
However, IT-Man solves this problem by communicating Panorama9’s pitch with the help of unique animations. Rather than opt for the slick, professional animations you see in most vids, IT-Man goes full ‘80s 8-bit on the audience. The result is a fun little video that transports you back to the lazy days playing Nintendo on your living room floor.
13. Stitch Fix
This could be the subject of a marketing master class on how to create the most effectively efficient explainer video. The company in question, Stitch Fix, offers a personal styling service, which is a big hit in the millennial generation, and their video does everything right. It features a stylish young woman (Stitch Fix knows their audience), selecting clothing preferences online, then receiving a personalised wardrobe via courier. The brand establishes their message and shows the appeal of their service—all in 30 seconds flat.
This is another 30-second bit of snackable content. The reason it’s noteworthy is not because of the animation, even though it’s solid, but because it clearly communicates what PrescribeWellness is.
In 30 seconds PrescribeWellness managed to explain exactly what they do without leaving out any details. The authoritative narrator is also incredibly handy in demanding viewers attention immediately from beginning to end.
The Mexican fast food chain Chipotle has had a rough year or two, what with reports of rats in their stores and norovirus breaking out. But the famous brand wasn’t always on the ropes. Just a few years ago they were the belle of the fast food ball, due in part to forward-thinking marketing like this explainer video that excels in many areas:
- First, it breaks the animation mould by going claymation style (who doesn’t love Wallace and Gromit?).
- Second, it enlists the talent of bona fide legend Willie Nelson to cover “The Scientist,” a hearts-strings-tugging tune by global powerhouse Coldplay.
- Lastly, the end result is an inspiring mini-movie heavy with a theme of ethical farming.
Kano hit the nail on the head with this explainer video by demonstrating how their technology helps kids interact on another level with some of the things they love to do everyday, like listen to music. They also brought in trending activities, such as Minecraft to pique the interest of their young audience. They paint the act of coding and creating a computer in a fun and energetic light leading kids to want to use their product.
Nest took the novel approach of using real life objects in a 2D animated world. The simple animation style, upbeat music and friendly voiceover artist work together to explain the benefits of not only using smart products around the house, but connecting them with Nest so they can automatically learn things about your home. The result? You save money, get comfortable and stay safe. It’s a simple message, explained with beautifully simple visuals.
18. Project Permit
Not only is this video well made with fantastic animation and 3D design, it tells a story – something every good explainer video should do. It explains how the organisation works to make solar more affordable and accessible to more Americans, visualising the benefits to your community towards the end. This video not only demonstrates the solar permitting processes in an easy-to-digest manner, it binds its messages together through a well thought out storyline.
The online payment giant PayPal released a series of TV spots called “people rule” along with this explainer video to go along with the spots. It’s a striking piece in that it mixes animations with live action fluidly, whisking the audience off to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” land. The addition of a humorous country tune to buttress PayPal’s core message—payment efficiency—is a nice touch as well.
20. Tech Insider
It’s fitting to end this list with an explainer video that does little more than answer a “geek” question by telling a cool story. Sure, the animations are fun while managing to convey interesting info, and there’s some good use of the “Twilight Zone” font, but really this is just an all-around interesting presentation.
Viewers are hooked from start to finish, and they might even find themselves stopping halfway through to google “dumbo octopus.” So this Tech Insider video adheres wonderfully to the number one principal in creating explainer videos—be interesting above all else.
The above examples are diverse enough that they should offer takeaway lessons to brands big and small, niche or mainstream. If your company is struggling to strike the right tone with its message, or appeal to a broader audience, take a look at the success some of the above brands have enjoyed through solid video production. Some of these lessons include:
- Be interesting
- Be funny
- Be concise
- Be socially conscious
- Push the boundaries (when appropriate)
- Be simple
Like what you see and want more inspiration? Check out more great examples just like these.