What the Heck is an ‘Explainer Video’?

Home page video, landing page video or explainer video? Whatever you want to call them, you’ve probably come across the term “explainer video” and wondered “what the heck is that?” One of the most famous one’s you are probably familiar with is the one created for Dropbox by Common Craft which is pretty much the only visual you see on their home page. This simple video on a targeted landing page helped launch Dropbox from a very cool little file sharing startup to the company they are today with over 50 million customers and a roughly 4 billion dollar valuation.

I’m not exactly sure where the term originated, but the gist is that Explainer videos ‘explain’ what you do quickly and easily so anyone can understand it. It’s kind of like CliffsNotes for your business – a short and concise version of exactly what your company does.

So why are explainer videos growing in popularity? Well one reason is because learning through audio/visual methods is more conducive to how the human brain is wired to retain information because you can naturally retain more information when more than one of your senses is engaged. So if the viewer watches a video with both audio and visuals they are far more likely to remember that than just a text description. In fact, in a recent survey by Forbes of C-level business executives indicated that 59% said they would rather watch an online video than read text covering the same information on a website.

Another reason explainer videos are popular is they greatly increase conversions. According to Internet Retailer, 52% of consumers say that watching an explainer product video made them more confident in their online purchase decisions and 66% of consumers will watch the video two or more times. If you can help the consumer understand what you do faster, you can get them to take the next step that much quicker. It’s that snackable content the people are looking for to help them make more informed decisions. One of our own clients experienced a 34% lift in website conversions following the launch of the explainer video we created for them.

The easiest way to think of an explainer video is this is your elevator pitch to simply define your product or service and what makes it great. The idea of the “elevator pitch” is that you should be able to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or less than two minutes. What is great about explainer videos is no human is capable of delivering the perfect pitch so everyone can understand it consistently. It’s impossible. Sometimes you’re tired and lacking energy sometimes you’ve delivered it one hundred times in a row to no avail and it’s that one hundred and first delivery that needs to be perfect. Maybe you aren’t properly caffeinated?  Maybe you are over caffeinated? An explainer video helps you to deliver that elevator pitch in a consistent way every time. Whether the person is watching the video at three o’clock in the morning or in the middle of a busy day, an explainer video makes sure that your message is conveyed clearly and the next step or call to action you want the viewer to take next is built right in.

So if you don’t have an explainer video, we can help you out. If you do, what kind of success are you having with it converting your visitors?


Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts




  1. Nice post, Eric! My personal opinion is that explainer videos work so much better than elevator speeches because your only job as the listener to an elevator speech is to listen and try to figure it out. So your brain has to invent the pictures that help you understand what the heck the person is talking about. The brilliance of explainer videos is that you don’t have to figure out what the words mean – you also watch the pictures that show you. So you’re hearing AND seeing – and learning much, much more effectively.

    • Eric Guerin

      Thanks Catie! I agree with you 100% – explainer videos are today’s elevator pitch. Our brains are wired to absorb more information through audio-visual methods. The traditional ‘elevator pitch’ as we’ve known it will be going the way of the teleprinter and the fax machine. Wait why ARE fax machines still around? :)

  2. Good article Eric. As part of the scripts (and elevator pitch), I think it’s often important to address the problem/pain points your product, service, brand etc. is solving.

    Hey, since my company is Gisteo.com, be careful with using “gist” like that, it’s trademarked. Just kidding :)

    • Eric Guerin

      Glad you enjoyed it Stephen. Completely agree – script is key and if you aren’t addressing the pain points that your product or service solves, you’re not creating an effective explainer video. I wrote a whole separate post just about scripting as it is the most critical part of the process.

      I’ll think of you when I get the gist of things in the future :).


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