The Science Behind Explainer Videos and Why They’re So Effective

The Science Behind Explainer Videos and Why They’re So Effective
Table of Contents

An explainer video is a short video that explains a concept, service, or product in easily digestible chunks of information. These videos are typically created with animation and/or motion graphics to draw in the viewers and keep them interested.

What is an explainer video?

Explainer videos can be used across multiple digital platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Businesses often use them to demonstrate their unique value proposition within a shorter time frame than other types of more traditional advertising methods.

According to a study by Content Beta, Jotform published around 177 videos in the last three months, followed by Canva (111 videos) on YouTube. Says a lot about the trust these two top companies place on the explainer videos, doesn’t it?

The power of explainer videos and why they are so effective

Explainer videos have become an incredibly powerful tool for businesses and organizations to effectively communicate their message.

So, what makes explainer videos tick, and what benefits do they provide? Explainer videos help:

  • Communicate your message effectively in the shortest time. In fact, you can even create 30 second explainer videos, which are becoming popular with B2B brands.
  • Make complex topics simple and easy to understand.
  • Attract customers by increasing brand awareness, driving conversions, and improving engagement on social media platforms.
  • Organizations and businesses to build trust with potential customers by explaining products and services concisely, but entertainingly.
  • Make viewers understand products and services quickly, build trust with the provider, and engage meaningfully with the content.
  • Generate leads by providing a call-to-action at the end of the video that encourages viewers to take further action such as completing forms on websites.

Watch this animated explainer video example, created by Explainer Video Hero for In-App Chat, an instant messaging app.

The science behind explainer videos and why they are successful in engaging viewers

Explainer videos are an effective and popular form of communication because they can quickly convey complex concepts by utilizing visual elements such as animation, illustrations, imagery, and text.

By utilizing visuals rather than just text, explainer videos can engage viewers in ways that text alone cannot.

1. Discussing perception

The science behind explainer videos is rooted in the Gestalt Theory of Perception, which states that we tend to perceive elements within our environment as a complete entity instead of individual elements.

This means that when viewing an explainer video, viewers don't just focus on individual components such as the images or animations used; they perceive them all together, resulting in a more cohesive understanding of the concept being presented.

Watch this explainer video from HubSpot to learn more about Gestalt Psychology and its importance for good design.

2. The power of storytelling

Explainer videos also tap into our natural human tendency toward storytelling; viewers tend to be more engaged with stories than technical facts or figures.

They use storytelling elements such as plot development and suspense to create interest which keeps viewers watching until the end, which in turn leads to greater engagement and understanding of the concept being presented.

What makes for a good story?

A great story captures the reader’s imagination and leaves them wanting to know more. To achieve it, the story should focus on key elements such as plot, character development, setting, pacing, dialogue, and theme.

  • Plot: The plot serves as the backbone of a story—it’s the sequence of events that drives the narrative forward and reveals character motivations.
  • Character development: This gives readers an understanding of the characters’ personalities and arcs, while the setting provides context for the story.
  • Pacing: The pace dictates how quickly events unfold while the dialogue between characters adds nuance to conversations and helps move the plot forward.
  • Theme: The topic gives readers something to think about; it can be subtle or overt but should go beyond just being entertaining.

By balancing these factors, you can create a story with a lasting impact on readers.

Watch this video example about brand storytelling, and how to incorporate elements that viewers find relatable.

3. Analyzing the most effective components

To create an effective explainer video, you should consider a few key components:

  • First, the script should be concise and articulate the message clearly. You can do this through storytelling elements, such as characters, settings, and plot points.
  • Second, you need compelling visuals to work with the script’s narrative; this means selecting high-quality imagery, animations, and/or motion graphics that engage viewers visually while providing additional context to the message of the explainer video.
  • Third, using music or sound design in the background to entertain viewers while setting up scenes or reinforcing themes from the script.
  • Finally, use a voiceover that resonates with your viewers; this means that it should feel natural but still convey authority upon delivery of topics within the explainer video.

Watch this explainer video example created by Explainer Video Hero for Ibexa, the B2B Digital Experience platform.

4. Importance of visuals and audio

Explainer videos should use visuals such as animations, illustrations, and images to provide further context to the message being communicated.

  • Audio elements like voice-overs and music can also help engage an audience, providing clarity and emotional depth to the overall message.
  • When you use visuals and audio, think about what kind of mood or feeling the company would like to evoke from its viewers.
  • Colors, shapes, and font choices all have a psychological effect on how people perceive a brand or product, so making sure that these aspects are carefully chosen will go a long way toward creating a successful explainer video.
  • Selecting the right type of music or sound effects for the video can add emotion and attention-grabbing qualities—an important factor that could determine whether or not viewers stick around until the end.

Watch this explainer video example from Twixor, an AI-powered CX Automation platform that makes good use of pictures and sound.

5. Using humor to help engage viewers

Humor is a great tool to engage viewers. People love to laugh and be entertained, so it's important to find ways to make your explainer video enjoyable and entertaining.

  • Humor can be used in many different ways such as setting up a joke at the beginning of the video or creating funny characters that act out certain experiences.
  • It can also be helpful to have some jokes throughout the video to break monotony and keep people interested.
  • Humor can make difficult topics easier to explain and help create a more engaging experience for your audience. This makes it more likely that they will remember the information being presented.

Watch this product explainer video example for Vervoe, the AI-powered skills assessment platform.

6. Using persuasive techniques to influence viewers

When using persuasive techniques to influence viewers, it is important to remember that you are attempting to create a compelling argument for your chosen subject.

  • Be clear about the message you are attempting to communicate, and what points you want the viewer to take away.
  • Construct an argument using storytelling elements like vivid imagery and anecdotes to evoke pathos to better engage the viewer and make an emotional connection.
  • Prepare facts and research and present them logically to ease the skepticism of the audience.
  • Finally, use rhetorical devices such as repetition or powerful language to ensure that your message is firmly implanted in their minds.

7. Using color and contrast to attract viewers’ attention

The use of color and contrast in graphic design can be a powerful way to catch viewers' attention and ensure that the final product conveys the desired message in a visually pleasing way.

  • Color: This sets the emotional tone for a piece of art. By selecting complementary or clashing colors, designers can create the desired visual impact on their audiences.
  • Contrast: This helps draw the eye towards certain elements and set them apart from others. The contrast could refer to different colors, shapes, textures, and more.

Watch this explainer video example about color theory.

How to hire an external explainer video service to create animated explainer videos for your business?

Explainer videos can take on many forms such as 3d animated explainer videos, explainer video animation, animation explainer videos, SaaS explainer videos, and more.

If you do not have the resources or do not know how to make an explainer video in-house, you can hire a top animated explainer video company to do the job for you.

Explainer Video Hero is a top animated explainer video company that offers explainer video services for animated explainer videos. You can avail their animated explainer video production services via remote video production.

A company's explainer video pricing policy determines the explainer video cost. Explainer Video Hero’s charges are as follows:

  • $2,000 per minute for Animated Explainer Videos
  • $1,000 per minute for Live-action Explainer Videos


Explainer videos are ideal tools for businesses but there's more to explainer videos than meets the eye as we saw in our discussion, where we dug a little deeper to understand the psychological factors that help create the best animated explainer videos.

At its core, an explainer video is a narrative story told in a visual format. But what makes it so engaging is the way it's structured and presented.

Finally, the takeaway from the discussion is that visuals, music, and narration work together to create an emotional impact, drawing viewers in and making them more receptive to the message.


1. What makes explainer videos effective tools for marketing?

The psychology behind explainer videos is complex, but understanding it can help you create more effective videos that can communicate your message better. Using the right visuals, music, and narration, you can create an entertaining and engaging experience that will make viewers more receptive to your message.

2. How can choosing the right colors, characters, and settings help create impactful explainer videos?

In terms of psychology, subtle cues such as color and body language can subconsciously influence viewers. Color has been studied extensively in marketing, with many studies finding that certain colors can have an emotional effect on people by stimulating different feelings such as trust or excitement. Characters and settings create an atmosphere of familiarity and trust.

3. How can body language be used to create impactful explainer videos?

For example, a person looking directly at the camera rather than away from it can create a feeling of trustworthiness in viewers because research suggests that humans tend to lose focus after 10-20 seconds of content. So, maintaining eye contact with viewers can make them watch the video in its entirety.

4. How do music and narration help create engaging explainer videos?

The right music used helps create a certain mood and atmosphere. It can also be used to control the pace of the video and hold the viewer's attention longer. The narration in an explainer video is also carefully crafted to ensure viewers understand the message. The voiceover is usually done in a clear, concise, and friendly tone to ensure the message is easy to understand.