Explainer Video Animations: The Swiss Army Knife For Marketers

Stephen Conley
Stephen Conley
Stephen is Gisteo's Founder & Creative Director. After a long career in advertising, Stephen launched Gisteo in 2011 and the rest is history. He has an MBA in International Business from Thunderbird and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he did indeed inhale (in moderation).

In today’s ADHD-esque digital world, capturing and maintaining attention is a challenge. 

Explainer video animations have become vital tools for marketers because they’re kind of like a Swiss Army knife, offering versatile solutions for various marketing needs. 

Sometimes, the same video also serves multiple purposes across diverse applications. 

At Gisteo, we’re not Swiss, but we do specialize in creating high-quality explainer video animations that help businesses stand out and engage their audiences. 

Let’s take a closer look at this multi-faceted marketing juggernaut of a tool:

What Are Explainer Video Animations?

Explainer animations are short, visually engaging videos designed to simplify and explain complex ideas. 

They combine visuals, voiceovers, and music to create compelling narratives that, when well-crafted, can resonate with a target audience.

Why Are They So Popular?

When we launched Gisteo back in 2011, explainer video animations were a novelty still among most marketers. 

This is not the case anymore, however, as explainer animations have become widespread for marketers looking to better spread their message. 

There are three main reasons why they’ve become so popular:

  1. Attention-Grabbing: Explainer video animations quickly capture the audience’s attention, crucial in today’s fast-paced online environment.
  2. Simplification: They break down complex topics into easy-to-understand visuals, making them perfect for explaining intricate ideas and more digestible for viewers..
  3. Versatility: These videos can be used for various purposes, from marketing and education, internal training, product demonstrations, promotions and more. .

The Benefits of Explainer Video Animations

Explainer video animations offer numerous benefits, making them a valuable asset for any business:

  1. Enhanced Engagement: Visual content is more engaging than text, helping to keep viewers interested.
  2. Improved Understanding: By simplifying complex ideas, these videos make it easier for viewers to grasp and retain information.
  3. Increased Conversion Rates: Explainer videos can effectively communicate the value of a product or service, leading to higher conversion rates.
  4. Versatile Applications: They can be used across various platforms, including websites, social media, presentations, and more.

The Creation Process

Creating an effective explainer video animation involves several key steps. We’ll quickly summarize here:

  1. Concept and Script: The foundation of any good explainer video animation is a well-crafted script that clearly communicates the message.
  2. Storyboarding: This step involves creating a visual plan for the video, outlining each scene and its corresponding audio.
  3. Animation Techniques: Choosing between 2D, motion graphics, whiteboard animation, 3D animation or even mixed media, depending on the desired style and budget.
  4. Voiceover and Sound Design: Using a professional voiceover is important and appropriate sound effects enhance the video’s impact.
  5. Post-Production: Editing and refining the video to ensure a polished final product.

Storytelling Techniques in Explainer Video Animations

Like films or other types of visual media, successful explainer video animation relies heavily on effective storytelling techniques. Here are some key techniques to consider:

  1. Hooking the Audience: You have precious few seconds to make an impact. Start with a compelling hook that grabs the viewer’s attention within the first few seconds.
  2. Clear Structure: Use a clear structure with a beginning, middle, and end. This helps to guide the viewer through the narrative seamlessly.
  3. Relatable Characters: Develop characters that your audience can relate to. This builds an emotional connection and makes the message more impactful.
  4. Visual Metaphors: Use visual metaphors to explain complex concepts. This helps in making abstract ideas more concrete and understandable.
  5. Engaging Narration: A professional and engaging voiceover can significantly enhance the storytelling aspect, making the content more relatable and memorable. AI has come a long way but still can’t replace humans (yet)!
  6. Emotional Appeal: Tapping into emotions can make your story more compelling. Use humor, empathy, or inspiration to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Best Practices for Creating Effective Explainer Video Animations

To maximize the impact of your explainer video animation, consider the following best practices:

  1. Keep it Concise: For most explainer animations, you’ll want to aim for a video length of 60 to 90 seconds to maintain viewer interest.
  2. Focus on the Benefits: Highlight the key benefits of your product or service rather than overwhelming viewers with details. Sometimes, less can be more!
  3. Use a Clear Call to Action: Encourage viewers to take the next step, whether it’s visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase.
  4. Maintain Consistent Branding: Ensure the video aligns with your brand’s style, voice and overall messaging.

Challenges and Solutions

While creating explainer video animations offers numerous benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges:

  1. Budget Constraints: High-quality animation can be costly. However, investing in professional production ensures better engagement and returns. Gisteo isn’t cheap but we do offer one of the stronger value-for-money propositions in the industry. 
  2. Target Audience Understanding: Tailoring the video to meet the preferences and expectations of your target audience is crucial for its success. If you’re still figuring out your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), you may want to hold off on your explainer animation. 
  3. Keeping Content Relevant: Regularly updating your videos to reflect current trends and information ensures they remain effective. Try to produce “evergreen” explainer video animations to the extent possible. 

Uses + applications of Explainer Video Animations

Like we said, these videos are like Swiss Army knives and can be used in a variety of ways.

Let’s review some of the main uses!

Company or product explainer videos

Application: Primarily used to break down complex topics or services into an easily understandable format.

Benefits: Reduces customer confusion, shortens sales cycles, and can be shared widely across multiple platforms.

Example: These types of explainer animations are our “bread and butter” here at Gisteo.

Here’s a recent production for OpioConnect:

Product Demo Explainers

Application: Showcase a product or service’s features and demonstrate their direct benefits to the user.

Benefits: Clarifies the offering for potential users, reduces uncertainty or confusion, and strengthens user trust.

Best Practices: Emphasize the primary advantages, illustrate the offering in real-world scenarios, and blend in specific product imagery for added credibility.

Example: This Gisteo 3D explainer animation showcases BEKO’s QuikPure core product functionality.

Training and Educational Explainer Animations

Application: Teach users or employees about specific processes or topics.

Benefits: Facilitates self-paced learning, reduces training costs, and ensures consistency.

Best Practices: Use clear visuals, keep the pace steady, and offer downloadable resources.

Example: Gisteo produced an educational explainer animation for Loyola Marymount University in LA.

The purpose was to give alumni and staff an idea of what an “elevator pitch” is and how to deliver an effective one for the university.

Explainer Animation for Sales

Application: Convince potential customers of the value of a product or service.

Benefits: Helps in decision-making, showcases USPs, and can be used by sales teams as a tool.

Best Practices: Address pain points, demonstrate solutions, and incorporate social proof.

Example: Gisteo created this sales explainer video for In Case of Crisis:

Internal Communication Animations

Application: Share company updates, news, or processes with employees.

Benefits: Fosters company culture, ensures message consistency, and is more engaging than emails.

Best Practices: Maintain a clear and concise message, ensure easy accessibility, and encourage feedback.

Example: Sapient hired Gisteo to create this kinetic typography animated video to inform and motivate employees:

FAQ explainer animation videos

Application: Address and explain commonly asked questions in an engaging manner.

Benefits: Reduces customer support workload, offers on-demand solutions, and improves user experience.

Best Practices: Group related questions, keep answers short, and regularly update based on feedback.

Example: Gisteo teamed up with Broadway SF to create this explainer video to address their customers’ most frequently asked questions:

Announcement explainer video animations

Application: Share company milestones, product launches, or other major news.

Benefits: Generates excitement, keeps audience informed, and offers a platform for feedback.

Best Practices: Pair announcements with visuals, tease upcoming releases, and look to keep it short.

Example: Gisteo produced this quick animation promoting the launch of Gingr’s new, improved portal:

Animated Presentations

Application: Offer information or data in an animated, engaging format.

Benefits: Enhances viewer retention, makes data more digestible, and offers creative freedom.

Best Practices: Use consistent animations, don’t overload with info, and ensure clear transitions.

Example: Gisteo transformed an entire employee orientation deck for CompleatKidz into an informative animated presentation:

Onboarding Explainers

Application: Introduce and guide new customers or employees.

Benefits: Speeds up onboarding process, reduces confusion, and sets clear expectations.

Best Practices: Incorporate a friendly tone, ensure clarity, and provide additional resources.

Example: Gingr hired Gisteo to create this brief onboarding/welcome video for new customers:

Tips & Tricks Explainers

Application: Share industry insights, information, hacks, or advice.

Benefits: Positions brand as an expert, adds value to viewers, and fosters trust.

Best Practices: Address current industry trends, offer actionable advice, and encourage feedback.

Example: Gisteo teamed with Frequence to produce a simple overview/explainer animation of programmatic advertising to use on their Youtube channel:

Employee Recruitment Explainers

Application: Attract potential employees by showcasing company culture, benefits, and roles.

Benefits: Reduces hiring time, attracts better-fit candidates, and offers a platform to share company values.

Best Practices: Highlight employee testimonials, showcase job requirements, and discuss growth opportunities.

Example: Gisteo created this fun recruitment video for Bell Brothers, a plumbing company, voiced by the company founders themselves:

Comparison Explainers

Application: Compare products or services, highlighting your brand’s USPs.

Benefits: Addresses competition head-on, informs viewers, and emphasizes unique value propositions.

Best Practices: Be fair in comparisons, use clear metrics, and remain transparent.

Example: Insurance King hired Gisteo to produce a series of humorous videos comparing their company with the unnamed but recognizable “other guys” in the Chicago-area:


Additional Insights on the Effectiveness of Explainer Video Animations

Let’s summarize some of the findings from research and other learnings on why these explainer animation videos are such a powerful tool for businesses:

  1. Increased Information Retention: Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to only 10% when reading it in text.
  2. Faster Understanding: Humans digest visual information 60,000 times faster than text, making explainer videos highly efficient in conveying complex messages quickly.
  3. Higher Engagement: The combination of visuals, sound, and animation captures and retains viewers’ attention longer than text alone.
  4. Easy to Share: Explainer animations are easily shareable across social media platforms, helping to spread the message to a broader audience.
  5. Boosts Conversion Rates: By providing detailed information in an engaging format, explainer animations help potential customers make informed purchasing decisions, leading to higher conversion rates.
  6. Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional advertising campaigns, explainer videos are relatively inexpensive to produce, offering impressive results without a high investment.
  7. Enhances SEO: Websites with video content are prioritized by search engines, improving search engine rankings and increasing visibility.
  8. Supports Mobile Marketing: Explainer animation can and should be optimized for mobile devices, making them perfect for reaching users on the go.
  9. Showcases Brand Culture: These videos can effectively convey the personality and values of a brand, creating an emotional connection with viewers.
  10. Repurposable Content: Explainer video animations can be used in multiple ways, such as on websites, social platforms, email campaigns, and more, maximizing their value.
  11. Universal Access: Explainer video animations can be watched on any device and in multiple languages, reaching a global audience.


Explainer video animations are the Swiss Army knife for every marketer, offering a versatile and effective solution for enhancing your message. 

By simplifying complex topics and presenting them in an engaging format, these videos have become priceless in the digital age. Investing in high-quality explainer video animations can yield significant returns, making them a wise choice for any businesses looking to up their online game. 

For more information on how Gisteo can help you create compelling explainer video animations, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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