Unlocking the Potential of Explainer Videos for Your Business

Matthew Magain Chief Doodler
Read Time: 5 mins

The humble explainer video is an incredibly versatile tool for breaking down complex information and reaching a wide audience. While the format was initially famous for visualising TED Talks, an effective hand-drawn explainer video can distil any message into an engaging story, and combine it with a collection of snappy visuals.

That includes stories from organisations. An explainer video can help to boost understanding, improve retention, and increase conversion rates—all things that businesses of any size can benefit from.

Essential Elements of a Compelling Explainer Video

Not all explainer videos are created equal! A good explainer video will exhibit a number of traits in order to resonate with the audience, including:

  • Core Message: A clear and concise message forms the foundation of any explainer video. Getting this message right—that is, finding the language that will persuade your target audience to take action—is the biggest mistake that we see in videos that don’t deliver results.
  • Compelling Visuals: The right imagery enhances a story and brings it to life. However, the wrong imagery can be distracting, reinforce the wrong parts of a message, and undo all the hard work that was put into crafting your script.
  • Storytelling: Often overlooked when creating explainer videos is the importance of visual storytelling, which requires the creation of a cast of characters who reappear throughout the video. Taking the viewer on a journey with these characters is what differentiates a great video from an average one.

The Impact of Style and Voice in Explainer Videos

  • Animation Styles: When it comes to explainer videos, there are only really two basic styles of animation: hand-drawn, and motion graphics. Of course, there is incredible diversity within each of these two styles, as every artist has their own way of drawing faces, figures, and objects, or of using line and colour to create their desired effect. But fundamentally, these are the two approaches.
    • Hand Drawn: The main benefit of a hand-drawn animation style is that it conjures up a sense of nostalgia for the viewer. If it is filmed in a studio, the authentic nature of seeing a physical pen being used to make marks on a page evokes a dynamic much like a “mad professor” enthusiastically explaining something about which he or she is passionate. There is suspense baked into the medium as well—watching each frame build from a blank page to a complete illustration creates a sense of intrigue, where the viewer begins to wonder: “What’s next?” Finally, the hand on screen often feels like a friend who is guiding the viewer on their journey, making the viewer more receptive to the message being conveyed.
    • Motion Graphics: There are a few advantages of a video created in a motion graphics style. For one, the style of illustration can often be more easily matched to any branding requirements. If there is a strong need to follow corporate brand guidelines or a ver strict colour palette, for instance, then motion graphics imagery can often be constructed to fit in with those guidelines. Additionally, there is more freedom to move items around on the screen. This is a double-edged sword as it can get expensive—especially when the motion is complex, as it starts heading into traditional animation territory (think Saturday morning cartoons).
  • Voiceovers: Using a professional voiceover artist is key to ensuring that your message is communicated in a way that matches the tone of the content. The right voice talent will deliver your message in a way that is authentic and speaks to the viewer.

Maximising the Reach of Your Explainer Video

A common oversight is to focus on the quality of the explainer video, and forget that an effective promotion strategy is essential for it to achieve its intended reach. Whether it’s for an internal or external audience, crafting a strategic rollout for your video, and complementing it with supporting marketing collateral will ensure that you maximise your video’s reach potential. In addition to cross-posting on various platforms and channels that support video assets, there are creative ways to leverage the imagery that you have invested in, including making use of cut-down (short form) video, still images, captioning, print, and organising in-person and virtual events.

Success Stories

At Sketch Group we have a long track record of successful explainer video projects, delivering results for our customers. Many of these are captured in our case studies, but some that stand out include:

Gaetano Greco: Our campaign video for the independent candidate in 2022’s Victorian state election helped transform a previously safe Labor seat into one that is now marginal, and shone a spotlight on the plight of the Preston Market.

The Big Issue: our visualisation of the micro-business ecosystem that the popular street magazine uses to help the marginalised and disadvantaged get back on their feet was so popular, it was played in cinemas across Australia!

Federal Budget: our visualisation of the Federal Government’s 2013 budget attracted over 20,000 views in its first 24 hours.

UX Mastery: our video back in 2012 explained what “UX design” is, and has since been viewed over 1 million times. The video is often played at the start of General Assembly “introduction to user experience design” course and others.


As we’ve seen in this article, there are a ton of advantages that come from using explainer videos for business communication. From increasing engagement, boosting recall, and improving retention to creating a connection with your viewer that builds trust and facilitates better understanding, there are numerous benefits.

If you’d like to discover more about creating an effective explainer video or learn more about our approach to creating an explainer video that gets results, contact the Sketch Group team.

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