8 Powerful Types of Explainer Videos (+How to Choose the Right One)

Karina Kasparova
Updated:
January 10, 2023

There are many types of explainer videos out there, but they all have one thing in common…

they want the viewer to walk away with knowledge. 

The knowledge needed before they sign up for a new program, confidently buy a new product, or even just share an idea with others. 

Knowledge leads to growth. 🌱

So if you’re trying to get your point across using a good explainer video, this post has your back. Each type has explainer video examples and explains why it works, when it works and how you can create your own. 

Let’s dive in!

Why explainer videos work so well for businesses

One of the main reasons explainer videos work so well for businesses and startups is that you can communicate a complex message quickly

And science backs this up. People can understand images 60,000 times faster than text. 

Here’s why businesses big and small invest in creating videos: 

  • Quickly and easily help people understand your business, what you do, and how you can help them. 
  • Build brand awareness and create a strong connection with your target audience.
  • Generate hype and drive traffic to your website or landing page.

8 popular types of explainer videos (+ explainer video examples) 

There are many ways to frame knowledge in a memorable, easy-to-understand way. The type of explainer video you choose to make all comes down to what you want to explain, and why you want to explain it. 

1.“Hook, line and sinker” product promotion explainer videos

This type of explainer video is an extremely popular way to launch a startup or a service. And it’s pretty easy to write a script if you understand the basic elements. 

First, start with a hook🪝.

The hook should be a juicy piece of information that draws people in. Depending on your target audience, a hook can be: 

  • The primary pain they’ve been feeling.
  • What’s been pushing or pulling them towards a new solution (their motivation to find a solution). 
  • How their life could look if they just had a solution to a particular problem. 

Next, use the line 🎣to start connecting your hook with your solution.

In this section you can start talking about the purpose of your solution and how it systematically gets users to their “dream state”. 

In the Allbirds explainer video below, you’ll see the “line” is clearly established when the presenter says “I know what you’re thinking… why wool” and follows up by convincingly answering the question.

Meet the Wool Runners

Finally, it’s time for the big sinker🐳.

The sinker is your core offer or deal that customers can take. Keeping with the Allbirds example, their offer to viewers was to “take 30 days” to try the product. A surprisingly generous offer that shows just how confident the company is in its product’s quality.

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Perform well on social media
  • Turn your explainer into a video ad
  • Launch a new company, feature or service

2. “Pain, agitation, solution” company introduction explainer videos

The acronym for pain agitation and solution framework is “PAS,” and it’s so effective that it’s been around for decades. Maybe even centuries. PAS is a marketer’s secret sauce to selling.

PAS is so popular, there are over 58 million search results on the subject!

Check out this educational video that follows the PAS framework.

How to Get Things Done!

It starts by explaining the problem, then reminds the viewer just how big that problem is, before introducing the ultimate solution and/or pain killer.

It’s a super effective option for businesses — especially if you know that your audience frequently experiences a clear pain.

In this case, animated explainer videos can be particularly effective in making the tone of your video feel upbeat and optimistic despite the focus on your target audience’s pain or problem.

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Teach a new idea or a new way of doing things
  • Perform well on social media
  • Turn your explainer into a video ad
  • Launch a new company, feature or service

3. “Meet Jane/John” explainer videos

This type of explainer video has a simple but effective way of describing a use case in terms that a target audience can quickly understand. Instead of talking about the features of your product or service, you’re diving into the benefits of use in a practical sense. 

The script usually follows this simple formula: 

  • How someone (e.g. Jane) took an action that turned them into a customer of your company
  • Describe Jane’s key desires or motivations to use your product
  • Explain how your company is the perfect choice for Jane
  • List further benefits that Jane will gain
  • Illustrate how Jane became a customer of yours 
  • Address any frequently asked questions or anxieties about signing up
  • Explain how this makes Jane’s quality of life better
  • Provide a CTA

The video below illustrates this formula perfectly. 

How To Choose The Right Insurance Plan — Animated Explainer Video | Epipheo

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Connect with a specific target audience 
  • Explain your product function to those less technically inclined 
  • Promote a particular use case of your product or service

4. “Timeline” explainer videos

A timeline explainer walks viewers through the history of your company’s development, goals and KPIs over time, or even product development. 

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Pitch to investors 
  • Build trust with your audience, customers, and investors
  • Show employees how your company has improved over time
Template: Create a timeline explainer video

Sometimes you need a timeline to remind learners that everything takes time to create. Use this template to show key moments of your company.

5. “Hero’s origin story” explainer videos

The hero’s story positions your company or your customer as the “hero” of the story. This means you’ll need to lean heavily into a narrative that shows the subject overcoming obstacles and completing admirable challenges to ultimately improve their situation.

In the whiteboard explainer video below, you’ll see how startup founders are positioned as the “hero” of their own stories. 

Bring in early adopter users to your startup or product

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Build trust with investors and potential customers 
  • Lean into a down-to-earth brand persona
  • Launch a new product or service 
  • Develop more emotional connections 

6. Straight “how-to” or “demo” explainer videos

How-to videos are one of the most popular types of videos on the internet. If you frequently sign up for new online software, you’ve likely watched hundreds of how-to videos already. T

hey are typically motion graphics explainer videos or screencast videos that walk users through a product’s interface. 

In the below example from Monday.com, it’s easy to see why a good how-to video is so effective in explaining a product’s functions, features, and benefits.

Most how-to videos will combine other types of explainer videos (such as hook, line and sinker videos) to create a compelling and engaging video. 

monday.com - Making teamwork click

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Teach a specific skill or task
  • Explain a complex concept (frequently used by tech companies) 
  • Show users what a product or service actually looks like post-purchase

7. “Why us” explainer videos

This video works best when promoted on your website's “about” page. It’s a short professional video that focuses on your company values, why you’re better than the competition, and how you’ve helped customers in the past. 

A “why us” explainer can include use cases and customer testimonials to help boost trust among potential customers. It’s best for introducing yourself as a trustworthy business that can follow through on its promises. 

The two videos below show vastly different approaches. Dropbox uses animation and humor to build connections, whereas Founders Brewing Co’s live-action explainer video uses inspirational storytelling to drive the message home. 

Working at Dropbox
Founders Brewing Co.: The Story

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Build trust with potential and new customers
  • Increase website conversions, specifically if you’re a B2B company

8. “Look at the numbers” explainer videos

Numbers and statistics are powerful tools that unite teams, concentrate results, and prioritize logic over emotions.

Use this video type when you want to: 

  • Perform well on social media
  • Communicate important milestones & KPIs to employees, investors, and customers
Template: Create a KPI Presentation

A key performance indicator (KPI) presentation doesn't have to be mundane. Use this presentation template to show your KPIs in a structured, yet interesting way, using striking visuals and an AI text-to-speech video presenter.

5 styles of explainer videos that you can make

You can make many types of explainer videos in one of these video styles. Many companies choose to also combine more than one style to better explain complex subjects and tasks. 

1. Animated explainer videos

Animated explainer videos are a great option if you want to convey a lot of information in a short amount of time. They are also a good choice if you want to create a light-hearted and fun video.

Because animated videos can be expensive to produce, they are best suited for businesses with larger budgets. You can make different types of animated videos such as: 

  • 2D animated explainer video: Usually done in a flat vector style. 
  • 3D animated explainer video: Great if you really want to draw attention
  • Motion graphics explainer video: Useful to visualize your product’s GUI or functionality.
  • Typography animation explainer video: Simple text dynamically animating on screen in time with your voice over 

2. Live-action explainer videos

A live-action explainer video is a good choice if you want your video to feel more personal and relatable. They are also a good option if you want to show your products or services in action. In the case of more educational videos, people often include screencast explainer videos to better illustrate a task. 

3. AI explainer videos

Explainer videos don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming to make. Synthesia uses AI to help you make live action videos from just a script. From text, it will generate a realistic human presenter and voiceover for your video. You can choose from 70+ actors and hundreds of voices. 

Check out their explainer video to see how it works.

Welcome to Synthesia

4. Whiteboard animation explainer video

A whiteboard animation video can be an effective way to communicate complex information. With lots of small agencies producing them and less animation involved, they can be cheaper to create while still keeping the explanatory power of animation. 

5. Screencast explainer videos

A screencast explainer video is a good choice to show how your product or service works in detail. A screencast video is also a good option if you want to keep your video production costs down. Screencast videos are typically added to live-action videos when creating how-to or tutorial explainer content. 

How to Create a Screen Recording Video

So what explainer video style will you choose? 

So now that you know what video styles and explainer video types are out there, are you ready to create your own? 

Synthesia is a text-to-video tool that can help you create a live-action video from a simple script. To see how it works, enter the first few lines of your script into this free online generator.

Frequently Asked Questions