The 21 best explainer videos – a year in review
More or less a year ago I presented you the best explainer videos from 2021. But also this year something has changed in the media industry and I would like to share the best explainers from this year with you. I have refined the best-of recipe a bit and spiced it up a bit. Or in other words: I have revised the article for you with the best explainer videos from 2020 and integrated further important information about the video production.
Are you ready to dive into the world of pros? Then let yourself be enchanted by the magic of the images. By the way, would you like to know who is behind our creative heads? Stay tuned, we present you our Cleverclip Pros in the end of this article.
What’s an explainer video?
Explainer videos summarize the most important information about the products and services of a brand and a brief and concise manner. Visual storytelling packs complex information and dry facts into vivid stories so that viewers are addressed on an emotional level. The following is an overview of the most important advantages:
SEO & Shares
Web pages with video content generally get higher rankings in search engines than text-based content alone. In addition, video content can be used to achieve a 55% increase in the number of visitors while at the same time increasing the dwell time. Videos are also more often shared on social networks and therefore increase the interaction rate and reach.
Simple, short and captivating
Good explainer videos compress product offers in 60-120 seconds and thus enable all relevant information to be conveyed before the viewer has lost interest. The combination of visual elements combined with music and a narrative voice attracts attention from the very first second.
Higher conversion rates
Explainer videos offer countless fields of application: Presenting products or services, explaining new processes, employee training, company presentations or trade fair appearances – completely independent of the industry.
Targeted customer approach
Whether on Webpage, Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook or Newsletter: Explanation videos can be used on different communication channels and can thus be optimally adapted to the respective target group.
Animation: Style and Techniques
- 2D Animation
- 2.5D Animation
- 3D Animation
- Whiteboard and Legetrick- Stil
- Stop Motion
The classic among the explainer videos. The whiteboard animation is characterised by a clear structure, reduced design and a largely colourless design. The individual illustrations are created in front of the viewer.
Laying trick style
A special form of whiteboard animation in which illustrations drawn on paper and cut out are moved on a flat background.
The 2D animation uses flat characters and spaces, versatile and suitable for almost all areas.
Entertaining, breathtaking and probably the most sophisticated form of animation: Three-dimensional images captivate with their realistic presentation and creative freedom.
This is a mixture of the two previously discussed styles. 3D elements are embedded in a 2D environment. But you can also make 2D elements appear as 3D by cleverly using perspective and shadow.
In contrast to animation, the real film films actual movements in front of the camera. Instead of drawn characters, actors perform the script. Real films can also be used as a basic format, in which 2D and 3D elements are added.
Stop Motion is a special type of animation that combines live footage with traditional character animation. The object is photographed, then slightly moved and photographed again. When the individual images are arranged in a row, they create the illusion of movement.
Typography uses animated text to present the information. Moving texts combined with audio illustrate the information and help the audience better understand what is being said.
But what is the point of pure theory? “Show don’t tell” is our motto. Dive in into the world of explainer videos and be astonished yourself. From novelties to long time favorites – we present you the best explainer videos.
- Crossiety – Digital village square
- Kurzgesagt – The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do
- SwiftPass – Corporate Animated Video
- Ted Ed – What is a coronavirus?
- Varpet App – Animated Explainer Video
- Apple I-pad
- Anchor x Spotify – Animation
- Ship & Sharp
- Bike&Boot – Hotel
- Microsoft Whiteboard
- DEZA – Food security
- Wyzowl – Monster Singer
- Obsan – National Health Report
- OpenAdvice – Social Media Monitoring
1. Crossiety – Digital village square
Let’s start the list with a little PR on our own behalf ;). The Crossiety Digital Village Square is an interactive app that provides a local and trustworthy communication solution for the neighborhood, community and region. A colorful digital character animation, combined with special sound effects, takes the viewer on a visual journey of the digital village square. The advantages of the app are illustrated in a short and concise manner – and thus easily accessible.
Client: Crossiety / Agency: Cleverclip
No other topic has left such a mark this year as the pandemic. And that is exactly what the experts at Kurzgesagt took advantage of. Bein over 8 minutes it goes a little beyond the scope of an explainer video with, it is enormously informative and at the same time entertaining. It also impresses with its colorful animation and a lot of emotions.
3. SwiftPass – Corporate Animated Video
Swiftpass brings the purpose of an explainer video pretty much to the point: a complex and dry topic is conveyed clearly and understandably for everyone. Modern icons, successful transitions as well as a color scheme that is completely in line with the corporate image make it possible to convey a software solution in an interesting way even to laymen.
Client: Swiftpass / Agency: Kasra Design
4. Ted Ed – What is a coronavirus?
And again the Coronavirus! But well, the way it has affected this year, I’m almost surprised that the whole list here doesn’t consist solely of pandemic videos.
Nevertheless, the Ted-Ed version is entertaining, interactive and at the same time extremely informative. It is also a bit more compressed in length than the previous version and therefore more similar for the target group.
Client: Swiftpass / Agency: Kasra Design
5. Varpet App – Animated Explainer Video
The Yans Media team has studied the correct procedure of an explainer video well. Right at the beginning, the customer’s “pain point” is addressed and the solution, namely the product, is presented directly to the viewer. Of course, all this was packed into an appealing story and accompanied by a suitable sound effect. It was probably worth it, because according to Yans Media the downloads increased by 15% within one month after the release.
Client: Varpet App / Agency: Yans Media
We can hardly create a best-of list without integrating the high-tech giant Apple. Besides a top-class animation, consisting of a combination of live-action shots, typography and images, Apple knows exactly how to communicate the advantages of a product without being perceived as advertising. To understand that Apple offers high quality products, you don’t have to be a tech savvy.
Client: Apple / Agency: Eigenproduktion/unbekannt
7. Anchor x Spotify – Animation
A hand-drawn storyboard, appealing icons and an entertaining soundtrack take the viewer through the colorful world of Spotify. Who doesn’t want to “groove” with Anchor from Spotify?
Client: Spotify / Agency: Vidico
8. Ship & Sharp
A dull knife not only robs nerves and tears the bread, but can also be dangerous. The crew of Ship&Sharp probably had these thoughts in mind and offers a solution for this with its service. With its funny characters, the explainer video illustrates this concept as a particularly entertaining story.
Client: Ship&Sharp / Agency: Cleverclip
9. Bike&Boot – Hotel
Bike&Boot is a leisure hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, which wants to offer one thing above all: an exeptional “weekend-getaway”. And this is exactly what the video is supposed to show: Whether pure relaxation or adrenaline junkie, there is something for everyone. The colorful character animation embodies an entertaining and active brand personality and takes the viewer on a vacation trip – at least visually.
Client: Bike&Boot / Agency: Squideo
There is not much to write here. Microsoft gets to the heart of everything within 30 seconds. An animation with likeable characters and soft tones, which shows us how simple and at the same time effective a short explanation for a product presentation can be.
Client: Microsoft / Agency: Eigenproduktion/unbekannt
This explainer video is particularly effective because it has a closed framework for action. The viewer accompanies the main protagonist Abeni in Nairobi in her search for options for more organic food. All in all an appealing character animation that moves the viewer emotionally.
Client: DEZA / Agency: Cleverclip
12. Wyzowl – Monster Singer
“Whoever you are, you are special” – we should all hear this sentence more often. Wyzowl probably thought the same thing and developed an animation video. The whole storyboard is based on the show “The masked singer”. I admit, I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of this show, but this video convinced me.An emotional video with impressive animation and a warm and motivating message.
13. Obsan – National Health Report
Statistics, data and reports usually receive little enthusiasm from the audience. Fortunately, this can be changed with an explainer video. A beautifully designed motion graphics animation to provide an overview of research into the health of children and adolescents in Switzerland.
Client: Obsan / Agency: Cleverclip
14. OpenAdvice – Social Media Monitoring
The content finds resonance with the viewer right from the start. After all, we can all somehow identify with the excess of information on social media. The characters and emojis give the video a playful character. All in all a very successful and dynamic motion graphics animation.
Client: OpenAdvice / Agency: Cleverclip
If you still didn’t watch the best explainer videos from last year, don’t worry! I got you covered and created a list with some “all time favorites”.
The all time best explainer videos
- DollarShaveClub – “Our blades are f***ing great”
- Tinder – “Invention of Together”
- Dectris AG – X-ray spectroscopy
- Envoy – “The future of work”
- Monvia – “Recruitment Video”
- Wine Country Gift Basket – “Occasions”
- TechInsider – “How deep is the Ocean?”
- SEF4KMU – Imagevideo Company Profile
- CrazyEgg – CrazyEgg Animated Video
1. DollarShaveClub – “Our blades are f***ing great”
A pinch of humor and irony can get a lot of attention. The real film combines everything – anti-jokes, lots of nonsense, bears, huge American flags – and a lot of storytelling in just 90 seconds. With success: The target group could be reached effectively and the video went viral.
Client: Dollar Shave Club / Agency: Self-production
2. Tinder – “Invention of Together”
Tinder takes us on a journey through time that presents the centuries-old hurdles in the search for the right partnership. The Tinder app finally makes it easier to date. A breathtaking and colorful diorama set with computer-generated 3D characters, in which every detail – from the right light positioning and shading to the materials – is perfectly staged.
Client: Tinder / Agency: Bucktv
3. Dectris AG – X-ray spectroscopy
X-ray spectroscopy made easily accessible for everyone. Despite a limited colour palette and very simple geometric shapes, the combination of all elements creates a very complex and impressive composition. The voiceover in combination with hashtags makes, helps us to understand technical vocabulary very easily.
Client: Dectris AG/ Agency: Cleverclip
4. Envoy – “The future of work”
Envoy presents a vision of a better workplace and proves how you can take the viewer on a visual journey completely without a narrative voice. An enormously powerful explainer video based on keyframe animation and 3D elements in a 2D environment.
The cohesive storyline and powerful illustration with original characters and pleasant colors make this video to a memorable experience.
Client: Envoy / Agency: Oddfellows.tv
5. Monvia – “Recruitment Video”
A successful example of how an impressive animation can be created purely through shapes, colors and text. This recruitment video uses abstract and colorful forms, which do not cross out the emotional theme and yet do not forget the seriousness. In a nutshell, with no characters at all, the viewer is informed about what Monvia as an employer has to offer.
Client: Monvia / Agency: Cleverclip
6. Wine Country Gift Baskets – “Occasions”
Appreciation doesn’t need an occasion. In just over a minute, the video conveys a warm message and shows how to give a little joy to the loved ones. Particularly interesting is the use of different viewing angles through the split screen. The faces of the characters are only revealed at the end when the split screen disappears. The impressive staging of light and shadow allows a very real representation of the story, despite 2D visualizations.
Client: Wine Country Gift Basket / Agency: VeracityColab
7. TechInsider – “How deep does the Ocean go?”
In the form of an animated info graphic, this video shows us how captivating a lesson can be. From a technical point of view, it consists mainly of flat 2D-graphics without too elaborate effects. But thanks to the dynamic storytelling into the depths of the ocean, the attention is held throughout the video.
Client: TechInsider / Agency: Unknown
8. SEF4KMU – Imagevideo Company Profile
This video is the best example of how effective an explainer video can be. A complex financial service provider is explained playfully with the help of Pixel-Art animation. In the style of a computer game, the viewer is guided through the individual steps and gets to know the most important advantages of the company. Entertaining, original and memorable.
Client: SEF4KMU / Agency: Cleverclip
9. CrazyEgg – CrazyEgg Animated Video
The video impresses above all with a pinch of humor and an expressive narrative voice. The product is shown in action, integrates a “Call to Action” and uses a likeable main protagonist who guides us through all applications. You don’t have to be technically gifted to understand the main message in this video. The sense and purpose of an explainer video is thus fulfilled: To explain the message clearly.
Client: CrazyEgg / Agency: Demo Duck
How to become an amazing pro
Would you like to create breathtaking and captivating explainer videos? Then some important ingredients should not be missing in your formula. Here is the ultimate secret recipe for an explainer video à la chef.
The basic ingredients
Depending on the type of animation, certain characters must be created. Characters are the heroes of the story with which the target group can identify. They create an emotional bond between the narrator and the audience.
Especially with complex products, a narrative voice can be very helpful to support the images and make them easy to understand. The tone of the voice should match the brand image as well as the video content.
Music and Sound
Similar to Voice Over, the music should be carefully matched to the brand image and the content in order to create the necessary emotions.
The right blend of spices
Brevity is the soul of wit
The video should be max. 2 min to hold the attention of the audience. Therefore, focus only on the most relevant information.
Storytelling instead of classic ads
Instead of pure facts you should move the audience emotionally through visual storytelling. Even if you present a product or a service, always make sure that you emphasize the advantages that the customer can gain by using the product instead of pure product features.
The explanation video can improve the results in the search engine. However, the SEO should also be perfectly optimized for this. Relevant keywords, alt-text, title, description and tags – all this should not be missing.
The right quality
In order to stand out from the competition and reach the target group, an explainer video should be produced really first-class and be well planned down to the last detail. Bad explainer videos can even damage the brand image.
A call to action
Invite the audience to take action and describe how the target group should proceed.
However, your explainer video can only generate success if it is visible, i.e. you must place it wherever your target group is and also integrate it in your content strategy. This article explains why this is so important.
Measuring the performance
In order to recognize whether the video is really a “création à la chef” or does not need one or two adjustments in the recipe, the performance of the video should always be measured and analyzed. Define important parameters for this in advance, such as the “click-through rate” and the drop-out rate. Depending on the objective and distribution channel, the engagement rate, cost-per engagement, reach, clicks, shares and brand mentions may also be appropriate. If you are working with an agency, they should also be able to explain exactly how campaign success is being measured.
Options for creating an explainer video
Finally, there is of course the question of whether you should prove your own cooking skills or whether you would prefer to turn to one of the star chefs. Basically, you have three different options when creating an explainer video: You can hire freelancers, create your own explainer video or hire a specialized agency. We will take a closer look at all three options:
1. Freelancers are generally suitable if you want to work with specialized personnel but do not have the budget for a professional agency. However, it should also be noted that working with freelancers on such a complex project is also very time-consuming and requires excellent coordination. Experts must be hired for each individual stage of the explanatory video, including, for example, draftsmen, copywriters and sound designers. If you in search of some suitable animators, check out Twine.fm. It’s a freelancing platform with over 400,000 registered freelancers.
2. If you find enough know-how in your own company, you can dare to tackle the matter yourself! All in all, it will probably be the cheapest option and allows you to have detailed control over all steps. Since you know your team exactly, communication between the departments is usually more fluent and with fewer misunderstandings. However, plan enough time and get external feedback after the video has been created.
3. Last but not least, there is the option of the extra class – the cooperation with a professional agency.If you have the necessary budget, value the highest quality and want to get the most out of your explainer, then this is the right option for you! An experienced explainer video agency knows exactly how the video message should be staged in order to convince the audience in the long term. In addition, a good agency will always strive to achieve your desired goals within the available budget and will always be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Which of these options you choose is, of course, entirely up to you or depends on certain resources such as budget, internal know-how, available time, etc.
How much do explainer videos cost?
How much you have to invest in the video depends on many factors. The industry standard purely for production starts at around €4500 and can be as high as €10.000 or even higher. The individual needs and animation style must also be taken into account. For example, the classic whiteboard animation is much cheaper than a colorful 3D animation. If you create an explanatory video yourself, it will also be considerably cheaper than working with a professional agency. However, here you should also keep an eye on the added value. Despite higher costs in the beginning, a video agency knows exactly how to achieve your goals in the best possible way and thus increase the ROI
Who’s behind the Cleverclip pros?
What would be a “best-of list” if it were designed completely without expert advice? At this point a big shout-out to some of our talented creatives who were involved in this article and “were allowed” to support me with my work ;). But who exactly is behind the creative minds?
Motion Designer at Cleverclip with many years of experience in various industries. Passionate traveler and photographer, oh and videogames are his favorite sport 😉
Also known as Champu Chinito with many years of experience as an Art Director. Today, storyboards, style frames and visual design are his specialties at Cleverclip.
“Telling stories in moving images is what I love the most”. As a motion designer, Jakub has already produced a short film that has been shown at various festivals around the globe.
Motion designer at Cleverclip with a great passion for old and forgotten cartoons. Why? Because they are based on completely different types of animation that have been forgotten over time, but have never lost their unique magic. “This encourages my creativity in a very special way”.
Cleverclip’s Visual Artist. Drawing is her true passion and always looking for new ways to tell stories through illustrations. “They have this incomparable power to depict abstract concepts, risky perspectives or proportions as they would never be found in real life!”
Motion designer who focuses on pre-production at Cleverclip. The creation of storyboards, animatics and designs are his main tasks, so that other motion designers have everything they need to get started with their animation work. “Projects where the client is really open to suggestions and makes spontaneous decisions are what I love most”.
Graphic artist and visual artist with a wide range of tasks: from photo retouching, print design, scribble animation to storyboard creation, basically everything connected with creativity. “Creativity is also reflected in my hairstyle: I have dreadlocks that allow me to experiment with the hairstyle”.
Graphic designer at Cleverclip and responsible for the spectacular illustration of this article. Bringing things to life with the help of animations in an emotional video is his great passion. Travel and photography follow in second place.
Would you like to get to know our entire Cleverclip team? Then take a quick look at our complete gang of rascals here.
Ready for the perfect explainer video? Well, the implementation may be a bit more complex, because an explainer video requires good planning and elaborate production. In order to get the hoped added value, a cooperation with an experienced and professional video agency is highly recommended. What does the future hold for explainer videos? Click here for the article “Explainer video Trends 2021”.
For convenience purposes this post has been translated automatically.