The Power of Animated Explainer Videos: Why They Are So Effective

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 digital age of instant gratification, capturing the attention of your audience and conveying your message effectively has never been more challenging.  

The Internet was set ablaze back in 2015 with reports of a study claiming that the average human attention span is just 8 seconds, shorter than that of a goldfish!  

While this turned out to be a bit of “fake news,” there’s no doubt that people can be lazy and your messaging needs to connect with them more quickly nowadays vs. a decade or two ago. 

With an endless amount of content competing for the same eyeballs, businesses need to find creative and impactful ways to stand out.  

That’s where explainer animation comes in.  The animated explainer video is a powerful tool that combines visual storytelling with concise messaging to distill complex ideas into easily digestible nuggets. 

But why is explainer animation so effective?

 Let’s delve into the 10 reasons behind their success (along with a bonus reason) and explore how they can benefit your business.

Why Are Explainer Videos So Effective?

1. Engagement and Retention

One of the main reasons animated explainer videos are so effective is their ability to engage viewers. Humans are naturally drawn to motion and visuals, making video a very compelling medium. 

We love our Youtube and Netflix, don’t we?! According to one research study, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to just 10% when reading it in text. This higher retention rate is critical for businesses looking to leave a lasting impression on their audience.

Animated explainer videos tap into our attraction to visual storytelling by combining visuals, dynamic movements and compelling narratives. 

This powerful combination not only grabs attention but also increases the chances your audience will stay with you until the end. By retaining viewers’ attention, businesses can help ensure that their message is fully absorbed, increasing the likelihood of a positive response. 

According to the dual-coding theory, both sensory imagery and verbal information is used to represent information. Imagery and verbal information are processed differently and along distinct channels in the human mind, creating separate representations for information processed in each channel.  

Translation: both are important and auditory and visual elements combined can be powerful!  The use of voice overs, sound effects, and background music can create a more immersive experience, further enhancing engagement and retention. 

This multi-sensory approach appeals to different learning styles, which makes it easier for viewers to process and remember the information presented.

Gisteo example:

The idea of combating unconscious bias and creating a more equitable environment in the optics and photonics field is a pretty dry topic. 

This educational production for SPIE makes the overall message much more interesting and digestible!

2. Simplifying Complex Ideas

Let’s face it; complex concepts can be challenging to explain, especially when dealing with technical products or services. Text-based content often fails to convey these ideas effectively, especially for visual learners.  

This leads to confusion or disinterest, which is obviously not ideal when you’re selling something! Explainer animation excels in this area by breaking down complex information into simple, easy-to-understand “packages” of information.

Through animation, abstract concepts can be visualized, making them more tangible and relatable. 

For instance, an animated explainer video for a software company can show how their product works step-by-step, highlighting key features and benefits in a clear, concise manner. 

By simplifying things,  viewers can grasp the core message quickly, reducing the overall cognitive load and enhancing understanding.

Explainer animations can also leverage metaphors and analogies to explain complex ideas in a way that is relatable and easy to comprehend. For example, a financial service company might use the analogy of planting a tree to explain the growth of investments over time. 

Gisteo example: 

Speaking of financial services, Gisteo is currently producing a series of animated explainer videos for Janney. 

Their financial advisors want to educate prospective customers on key investment strategies and concepts.  Here’s the first in our “Whitepapers are Boring” series: 

3. Versatility 

Animated explainer videos are highly versatile and flexible, making them suitable for a wide variety of use cases and industries. 

Whether you’re promoting an innovative new product, explaining a service, pitching an idea or sharing your brand’s story, explainer animation can be tailored to meet your specific needs. The versatility that animation provides enables businesses to create content that resonates with their target audience, regardless of specific topic or industry.

Moreover, animated explainer videos can be easily adapted to different platforms and formats. They can be shared on websites, product pages, social media, email campaigns.  

They can even be used in pitch presentations or at conferences and events. This adaptability ensures your message reaches a broader audience, increasing the overall impact of your marketing efforts.

For example, an e-commerce business can create short animated videos to showcase their products on social media, while a tech company can develop more in-depth explainer videos for their website to guide potential users through their software’s features. 

This flexibility means that businesses can leverage explainer animations in various stages of their marketing funnel, from awareness to conversion.

Gisteo example:

ZSuite Technologies has commissioned Gisteo to create a number of animated explainer videos for its different product lines.  

This recent production is for ZEscrow, their digital platform for escrow and subaccount.  In this video, we deliver a concise overview of ZEscrow’s value proposition in just a little over 60 seconds. 

4. Emotional Connection and Storytelling

Humans are wired to respond to stories. This goes back to drawings that Neanderthal’s would scrawl on the walls of their caves.  

Fortunately, most of us no longer live in caves but the fact remains that we remember and connect with narratives more deeply than with dry facts or statistics. 

Well-crafted animated explainer videos can leverage the power of visual storytelling to create an emotional connection with the audience. 

By weaving a compelling narrative around your product or service, you can evoke emotions such as curiosity, excitement, empathy or understanding. 

By creating an emotional connection, you can not only make your message more memorable but you can also foster a sense of trust and loyalty among viewers. 

When people feel emotionally invested in your story, they are more likely to take action, whether it’s making a purchase, subscribing to a service, or sharing your content with others.

For instance, an animated explainer video for a non-profit organization might evoke empathy and inspire viewers to donate. 

Similarly, a startup can utilize storytelling methods to highlight the problem they solve as well as the solution they developed to address their targets’ pain points, creating a sense of trust with their audience. 

Gisteo example:

This poignant, beautiful Gisteo production leverages emotional storytelling to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and its devastating impact on non just those who suffer from it, but their loved ones too: 

5. Brand Consistency 

Consistency is key to building a strong brand identity across all of a company’s various touchpoints.  

Animated explainer videos can play a strong role in this and businesses should also maintain a consistent look and feel across all their marketing materials. 

By using explainer animations, characters, and color schemes that align with your brand guidelines, you can create a cohesive visual identity that reinforces brand recognition.

Importantly, this consistency extends to the tone and style of your videos as well. Whether you want a playful, lighthearted approach or a more serious, professional tone, animation can be customized to reflect your brand’s personality.  

If your brand is fun and playful, your animated explainer video should reflect this. If you normally use a serious, corporate tone, stick with this in your explainer animation production.  

Over time, this consistent branding helps establish a strong presence in the minds of your audience, making your business more recognizable and trustworthy.

Gisteo example: 

We’re currently producing a series of explainer videos for Rhodium Law, a firm focused on estate planning.  

With each production, we’re maintaining a look and consistency to help Rhodium Law build its visual identity online and stand out from other law firms with similar offerings. 

6. Affordability 

Without a doubt, live-action productions can be compelling and highly effective. Producing high-quality live-action videos, however, is an expensive and time-consuming process that requires professional equipment, actors, and locations. 

Animated explainer videos, on the other hand, offer a cost-effective alternative to organizations that don’t have a budget of $10,000+, which is what even a simple live-action production would cost. 

While explainer animation still requires a level of expertise and creativity, the production process is generally more streamlined, less resource-intensive and significantly more affordable

In addition, animated videos can be easily updated or modified if needed. If you want to change a small detail or slightly update your message, you can do so without reshooting entire scenes or making complex edits. 

This flexibility saves a lot of time and money, making animated explainer videos a wise investment for businesses of all sizes.

Gisteo example:

Each year since the start of the Congo Wars in 1996, countless women and children have been raped and brutally assaulted. Without healthcare and supportive intervention, the consequences for each woman and child can be devastating. 

They’re often left with nothing—no home, no community, and no help. In 2022, we produced an animated explainer video for the Panzi Foundation to help raise awareness for their important cause.  

Since producing the original video below, the foundation has treated and helped more and more women. As such, we’ve quickly and easily made periodic updates to reflect the most current number of survivors at 1:22 as well as other key statistics. 

7. Boosting Conversion Rates

The ultimate goal of any marketing effort is to drive conversions, whether that’s making a sale, gaining a subscriber, scheduling a demo or encouraging an action. 

Animated explainer videos have been proven to boost conversion rates significantly. According to a study by Wyzowl, 84% of people who watched an explainer video were convinced to buy a product or service.

As we discussed earlier, the engaging and informative style of well-produced animated videos helps build trust and credibility with the audience. 

For example, an e-commerce business can use an animated explainer video on their product page to demonstrate how a product works and highlight its benefits. 

This visual and engaging approach can help alleviate any doubts or concerns potential customers might have, leading to higher conversion rates. 

When viewers truly understand how your product or service solves their problem, they are more likely to take action. 

Furthermore, the emotional connection and storytelling elements that can be leveraged in explainer videos helps create a sense of urgency and motivation, encouraging viewers to act quickly. 

Gisteo example:

Founded in 2009, TeamSnap has changed the way people manage sports and group activities. 

Over 24 million coaches, administrators, players, and parents rely on TeamSnap’s powerful but easy-to-use solutions for communication, scheduling, payment collection, registration, real-time game sharing and more. 

Gisteo has produced a number of short animated videos to help boost conversions for the app, including this video that is still the featured video on the company’s Youtube channel, four years later!

8. SEO Benefits

Incorporating animated explainer videos into your website can also help your search engine optimization efforts.  

Search engines tend to prioritize websites with rich multimedia content, considering them more valuable and engaging for users. 

By embedding an explainer video on your homepage or landing pages, you can increase the time visitors spend on your site, which signals to search engines that your content is relevant and useful.

Videos can help improve your website’s bounce rate by keeping visitors engaged on your website for longer periods of time. 

Lower bounce rates and higher engagement metrics contribute to better search rankings, which in turn, can drive more organic traffic to your site. 

On platforms like Youtube, videos can be optimized with relevant keywords, titles, and descriptions, further enhancing your SEO efforts. 

Keep in mind that Youtube itself is the world’s number two search engine, right after Google (its owner) so spending time to optimize your videos on Youtube is highly recommended!

Gisteo example: 

We indeed “eat our own dogfood” at Gisteo. Since launching in 2011, we’ve prominently displayed a video presenting our services at the top of our homepage. It started with the original “Gisteo Guy” video, which you can see below here:


This video helped boost our SEO significantly and early customers often cited the video as one of the main reasons they contacted us.  

More than a decade later, sure, this video seems very basic. We’ve indeed ventured into the live-action space and now feature a new “Gisteo Guy” on our homepage…but it all started here with that animated video.  

The rudimentary animation, hideous outfit, square head and stark environment didn’t scream “high production value,” but it was exactly what we needed to stand out. 

Incidentally, this original launch video reinforced an invaluable lesson: done is better than perfect. 

The Gisteo Guy was our Minimal Valuable Product in terms of a presentation video, proving that taking action often trumps waiting for perfection. A reminder to all entrepreneurs: start where you are, use what you have, and refine as you go.

9. Social Media Reach and Shareability

Social media platforms are designed for visual content, and videos often perform better than other types of posts. 

Animated explainer videos are highly shareable, making them ideal for social media marketing

When viewers find your video informative, entertaining, or inspiring, they are more likely to share it with their networks, amplifying your reach and visibility.

Platforms like Facebook, X, Instagram and LinkedIn are believed to prioritize video content in their algorithms, increasing the likelihood that your animated explainer video will be seen by a larger audience. 

Additionally, videos can spark conversations and engagement, encouraging comments, likes, and shares that further boost your social media presence.

Gisteo example:

Videos designed for social media don’t need to be highly sophisticated. This fairly simple production for the University of Michigan was used across various social media platforms to drive involvement and donations among their alumni network.  

Since it doesn’t rely on a voice over, it’s also a perfect example of leveraging “silent” videos on platforms like LinkedIn where video content is muted by default. 


10. Educational Value

Beyond just pure marketing and promotion, animated explainer videos are great for their educational value

The marriage of visual and auditory elements caters to different learning styles, making it easier for viewers to absorb and retain information.

A company can use animated videos to train employees on safety protocols, operational procedures, a new internal platform, company policies and much more. 

Customers can benefit from step-by-step tutorials, demos or even troubleshooting guides that help them get the most out of a product. By providing valuable educational content, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and improve internal processes.

Educational institutions can also use animated explainer videos to simplify complex subjects and make learning more engaging and enjoyable. 

By presenting information in a digestible format, animated videos can enhance the learning experience and improve knowledge retention.

Gisteo example:

Loyola Marymount University commissioned Gisteo to produce this video below.  Similar to the aforementioned University of Michigan video, LMU wanted to reach out to its alumni network. 

In this case, the idea was to educate alumni (as well as current students and employees) on what an elevator pitch is and how they might incorporate it when speaking to others about LMU.


Bonus Reason: Accessibility

As promised, let’s add one more reason behind why explainer animation is such a powerful tool!  

Animated explainer videos transcend language and cultural barriers, making them an excellent choice for businesses with a global audience. 

Visual storytelling is a universal language that can communicate ideas effectively, regardless of the viewer’s background. Additionally, animated videos can be easily translated or subtitled to cater to different languages, ensuring your message reaches a diverse audience.

This accessibility extends to individuals with disabilities as well. Animated videos can include features such as closed captions, audio descriptions, and visual cues that make the content more accessible to people with hearing or visual impairments. 

By prioritizing inclusivity, businesses can reach a wider audience and demonstrate their commitment to accessibility.

Gisteo example: 

We’ve produced numerous clinical trial explainers for pharmaceutical companies like Roche and Pfizer. 

Normally, we’ll create numerous versions of each video for use in local markets across the world. 

We customize each video with a voice over from the target country and we also close caption each of our videos to enhance accessibility. Here’s just one example below. 

The first one is the English-language version for North America and then you’ll see the Korean version along with the French version of the same video. And we did plenty more localized versions for other countries, but you’ll get the gist 🙂



Undoubtedly, animated explainer videos have emerged as a powerful tool in the digital marketing arsenal. As we’ve discussed in this post, explainer animation offers numerous benefits that contribute to their effectiveness. 

From engaging viewers and simplifying complex ideas to boosting conversion rates and enhancing SEO efforts, the many advantages of animated explainer videos are obvious.  

If you factor in their versatility, cost-effectiveness, and ability to create an emotional connection, you’ve got an invaluable asset for businesses looking to stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, animated explainer videos will remain a critical component of successful marketing strategies in 2024 and beyond.  

If you have an explainer animation project that you’d like to discuss, don’t hesitate to contact us at Gisteo.

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