Explaining the Explainer Video

Gesamtkunstwerk is a German word that loosely translates into English as “total work of art”; essentially a medium that uses all or most forms of expression. 

Explainer videos can bring multiple benefits to your business

Gesamtkunstwerk is a German word that loosely translates into English as “total work of art”; essentially a medium that uses all or most forms of expression. 

Video is perhaps the ultimate gesaumtkunstwerk, combining music, narration, photography, animation, acting and more. But what does this have to do with your marketing efforts? In short, a video (or more specifically an explainer video) could be the best way of promoting your service(s) to your target audience.

But what types of explainer videos are there? And, how could an explainer video benefit your business? Read on as we explain the explainer video…



Yes, we know that the words ‘Return on Investment’ can cause marketers to shudder, but we are all here to deliver a return on every pound invested in marketing. So, when it comes to finding forms of marketing that deliver excellent RoI, you can’t go far wrong with explainer videos. Why? Because they work!

Here’s some stats* that demonstrate just how effective explainer videos can be:

  • 95% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
  • Consumers are 64% more likely to make a purchase once they’ve watched an explainer video.
  • 80% of marketers say that explainer videos have helped increase dwell time on their websites.
  • 47% of marketers say explainer videos have helped them reduce support queries.
  • 56% of consumers believe that a company should have video content on its website (Forbes).
  • When it comes to online product reviews, 79% of consumers prefer to watch a video as opposed to reading a text-based review.

Those are just a few of facts and figures which demonstrate why more and more businesses and organisations are developing explainer videos.

If, like many of us here at Kenyons, you’re of a curious disposition, you may now be wondering why explainer videos are so effective. The reason comes down to the fact that 90% of a person’s mental stimulus comes from visual and audio aides. This is what’s called the Dual-Coding Theory. Originally postulated by Allan Paivio in 1971, the theory suggests that audio and visual channels function individually within the brain. Each of these channels can be overwhelmed with too much information. But when combined, visual and audio are easier to digest and understand.

When somebody listens to a piece of information, they are generally able to retain about 10% of what they’ve heard. However, when you combine audio with visual information, an individual’s ability to retain information leaps; they’ll typically be able to retain as much as 68% of the information they’ve been exposed to.

It’s why most of us would prefer to watch a 5 minute video, rather than read a 20 minute document on a subject.

To put this into context, think about how you’re able to remember your favourite movie scenes. You could have watched a film decades ago, yet you’re able to vividly recall that stand-out moment. It’s because audio and visual elements have combined to connect with you in a visceral, emotive way. If you can harness video and animation properly, you can create something that will stick with your audience for a long time to come.

The automated sales/customer rep

Not only are explainer videos effective at turning your audience into customers, they can save you money too.

Think about how much time your sales representatives spend explaining how your product or service works to a prospect, or the time your customer service representatives spend explaining a process or a system. 

It adds up!

Plus, there’s always the risk that your representatives will suffer from ‘explanation fatigue’. You can tell when a salesperson or customer rep is reeling off the same old script they give to every customer they talk to. It doesn’t exactly make the customer feel valued, and it does get tiring for your reps too… 

So, explainer videos can help to solve this dilemma for you. For many organisations and businesses, the core services/products remain similar over time. Commissioning an explainer video can free up the time and knowledge of your reps so that they can be used more effectively in other areas of your business.

Explainer videos also bring consistency to your brand messaging across multiple touchpoints. And that means that you have better control over how your brand is communicated (so you won’t have to worry about Keith telling the inappropriate story about his mother-in-law during sales pitches). 

Explainer videos for things like applications and software also remove frustrating user errors from the equation – meaning the customer gets a slick, smooth impression of the software or app in question.

Search profile

Yes, of course you want your explainer video to be on your website. But having video content also gives you the opportunity to raise your profile on the world’s second largest search engine – YouTube. 

Due to a lack of video content, many companies/organisations have no presence on YouTube (and other growing video platforms). If that’s true of you, just think of all the opportunities and leads you’re missing out on – plenty of possibilities await… 

Seeing as we’re going all out on stats in this article, we’ll use this one to convince you of our above point on YouTube:

“90% of brand videos on YouTube drive a lift in brand recall. YouTube videos also drive a 53% increase in purchase intent” (Sprout Social)

What types of explainer videos are there?

In theory, there could be an infinite variety of explainer videos, but in our experience here at Kenyons, most explainer videos fall into one of the following categories.


Explainer videos offer the perfect way of explaining how a process associated with your product or service works. The combination of visuals and audio offer the perfect way of explaining a process clearly and in a way which will stick. Complex processes can often be very difficult to put down in words, and given that the average reading comprehension level in the UK is 9 years old, it makes sense to use video as a way of explaining processes.

So, with that said, explainer videos are also the ideal way of introducing new processes to large groups or people and/or the general public. Last year we made an explainer video for Transport for Greater Manchester to help them roll out the new contactless payment system on their tram network. As you can see below, an explainer video helped turn what could be quite a dry and mundane topic, into a form of educational entertainment:

You can read more about our explainer video for TfGM here.

Intros and Overviews

Explainer videos are possibly the ultimate way of introducing a company, and the way they operate, to large audiences. And, they’re especially useful if your company is particularly complex or operates in a highly regulated industry. Explainer videos offer an easy point of entry to people who may not have previous knowledge of the topic or organisation at hand (which is one of the reasons why explainer videos have become de-rigueur for any self-respecting start-up).

We recently made an explainer video for USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme). As one of the UK’s largest principal private pension schemes for universities and other higher education institutions, they needed an explainer video which they could use to introduce new members to USS, and explain how the organisation worked and how members pensions are managed and accessed.

You can read more about our explainer video for USS here.

Tutorials & Instructions

When was the last time you opened an instructional manual with a sense of glee? Yeah, like, never, right? Explainer videos as a replacement for instructional manuals have exploded in popularity in recent years. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of video content and are creating videos to replace old fashioned paper instruction sheets (Ikea being one of the most prominent and prolific makers of assembly instruction videos).

Behaviour change

Policymakers, politicians and public organisations across the world are often tasked with the job of changing people’s behaviour in positive ways. For example, discouraging smoking or excessive alcohol intake so that people live healthier, happier lives and put less stress on socialised medical systems. These behaviour change campaigns utilise many advertising formats, from OOH (out-of-home eg. billboard, radio, television advertising) to engagement activity. But one of the most effective forms (yep, you guessed it) is explainer videos. As discussed above, the Dual-Coding Theory makes explainer videos the perfect format to initiate behaviour change amongst large audience of people.

At Kenyons we’ve produced many explainer videos as part of broader behaviour change campaigns. The example you’ll find below was produced for South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), otherwise known as Travel South Yorkshire. The combination of stop-motion animation, quirky voice-over and powerful messages proved an effective format, delivering increased patronage for Travel South Yorkshire and clearly promoting the benefits of public transport use.

You can read more about our work with SYPTE here.

Social impact

For charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations, describing and promoting their life changing work can be a challenge. Even the most worthy of supporters will sometimes struggle to read a long social impact report (no matter how powerful its contents). Instead, explainer videos offer a distinct way of demonstrating the work of a not-for-profit organisation, conveying the emotional impact of their work in a way that other mediums cannot.

Working with British Council IELTS, Kenyons has created a series of explainer videos which illustrate the powerful stories associated with achieving IELTS (the international standard English language proficiency test). For many people, achieving IELTS is a passport to a new life – with all of the life changing connotations that entails. But, describing the impact of that achievement was nigh-on impossible; until we created explainer videos which did just that.

You can read more about our series of explainer videos for British Council IELTS here.

Explain yourself

Every organisation and business has a story to tell. An explainer video will tell that story in the most engaging, powerful and moving way, when thoughtfully executed. If you’d like to have a chat about an explainer video for your organisation, we’d love to hear from you: 


*source: Wyzowl