Types of Animated Explainer Videos

Types of Animated Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are an excellent way for associations to share information with their audiences. Videos can quickly explain your organization or an idea, product, or service to your audience in a way that is engaging and easy to understand. Explainer videos are widely used across industries because of their impact and versatility. Your association should use explainer videos if it doesn’t already because they:

  • Are fun, engaging, and compelling
  • Can be used multiple times across a variety of platforms — on your website, on social media accounts, or in newsletters
  • Increase conversions, resulting in more conference signups and legislative participation
  • Help new members become better educated in topics relevant to your association
  • Maximize your audience’s understanding of complex topics. This is helpful when sharing information about topics like legislative efforts or new education for members
  • Work well when viewed on a computer, smartphone, or tablet

The most common type of explainer video is an animated video. Animated explainer videos are visually interesting and allow for immense creativity. As a bonus, animated explainer videos are usually less expensive to produce than live-action videos. They’re also easier to update or redo if necessary at a later date. 

There are three main types of animated explainer videos: cartoons, infographics, and whiteboard/chalkboard videos. Each type comes with its own advantages. Different animated explainer video types make more sense to use than others depending on your purpose for making a specific video.

Cartoon Explainer Videos

With cartoon-style explainer videos, one or more characters generally lead your audience through a story or narrative. Cartoon explainer videos work well as substitutes for live-action videos in which people talk directly to the camera or act out scenes. They come with many benefits. Unlike live-action, cartoon explainer videos do not require you to film multiple actors in the same place at the same time. Also, you don’t need to procure props or build set backdrops. Instead, you can transport your audience anywhere in the world for a much lower price.

Cartoon explainer videos excel at educating audiences. Because of the prevalence of cartoon media, most people have had experience with a cartoon-style tutorial before. Cartoons provide an appealing way to simplify complex information and describe processes visually, step-by-step. 

Your association can also easily brand cartoon explainer videos. Since everything in the video is created by your organization, you can inject your brand’s colors, imagery, and voice into the design and script. Even when explainer videos aren’t used as advertising or marketing content, they can still subtly promote your organization’s brand.

Infographic Explainer Videos

An infographic-style explainer video works well when you’re trying to share data rather than tell a story. Infographic videos can support a data-driven, rather than character or plot-driven form of storytelling, however. Infographic videos work well as year-end review videos, for example. Use infographic explainer videos to walk your audience through the information that might feel dense or confusing in other forms.

Many infographic explainer videos begin with a traditional, static infographic. Then, individual pieces of the infographic are animated. For example, words, numbers, and graphics might change color or size or move on or off the screen for emphasis. Static infographics present information in a way that is easier for an audience to understand than looking over raw data. Animated infographics take things a step further and make data even more accessible and compelling.

An infographic explainer operates similarly to a static infographic, but it gives you more power. Through moving graphics, voiceover, and sound effects, you can control what parts of the infographic your audience looks at, and when. 

Infographic videos tend to be more attention-grabbing than static infographic images. Also, the addition of movement and sound add more context, making it easier for your audience to fully grasp what might be highly abstract numerical information. 

Whiteboard/Chalkboard Explainer Videos

In a whiteboard or chalkboard explainer video, a specific type of animation is used in which the audience watches a person’s hand write or draw on a whiteboard or chalkboard. Originally, most whiteboard explainer videos were live-action videos sped up. These videos became very popular because they are low-cost and easy to make. A staff member would write out words and numbers, or even draw, often in stick-figure form, to illustrate a story told via voice-over.

Now, the whiteboard explainer video has evolved. Not all whiteboard/chalkboard videos are live-action. Instead, the hand doing the writing or drawing might be a drawing itself. Or, if a live-action recording is used, the words and images drawn by the hand might be animated. The blending of live-action and animation can give this popular video style a fresh twist.

Whiteboard explainer videos are a good option when you want to tell a narrative-driven story or share data and information. They can feel accessible and welcoming while evoking a business-professional environment. Whiteboard and chalkboard writing is reminiscent of education, learning, and brainstorming. When you use a whiteboard explainer video, your audience can feel like they’re joining you in the boardroom and gaining an important inside perspective.

The whiteboard explainer video style is also useful when you aren’t trying to cram a large amount of content into a short video. Since keywords and phrases are literally written out in a whiteboard explainer video, the animation portion takes up more time without feeling awkward. For that reason, you can stretch your content a bit with this video style.

A Final Word

There are many types of explainer videos for associations to choose from. Animated explainer videos are usually a top choice because of their flexibility, low cost, and high-quality production. 

Carefully consider the purpose of your next animated explainer video before choosing a style. Cartoon explainer videos work well when you want a playful feel, or to tell a story that involves a character. Infographic explainer videos excel at communicating large amounts of information quickly and in an easy-to-understand manner. Finally, whiteboard videos feel both professional and accessible, and are useful when you need your audience to comprehend every word of your message.


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