Explainer videos – effectiveness and success factors

Right before the US presidential election, simpleshow published the first representative study on the effectiveness of explainer videos in the United States

Luxembourg, October 2016: Videos are ubiquitous. On YouTube alone more than 400 hours of video are uploaded per minute (source: Statista 2015). The steady growth of video usage is not only based on video usage for entertainment and information, but also for learning and education as rising popularity of the format continues.

Increasingly, so-called explainer videos, which explain complex topics in an easy-to-understand and appealing way, become the focus of attention. simpleshow, the world market leader for explainer video production, looked into their effectiveness and presented the first representative study for the US market. The scientific paper on the study results has been published in the “Journal of Education and Training Studies”.

The following questions were examined in the study:

How do explainer videos work? What is important? Are there differences in learning results? How will the format develop in the future? The subject of the investigation: the upcoming presidential election in the USA.

A surprising result was that less than half of United States respondents are familiar with the explainer video format. The satisfaction rate of just below 40% is rather low.

What are the reasons for that? Dr. Sandra Boehrs, CMO of simpleshow and author of the study knows the answer: “In the US and Germany, explainer videos have been around for almost 10 years. In contrast to Germany, in the US less emphasis was placed on fixed formats and scientific validation so far. There are countless different animated clips that are rather entertaining than focused on knowledge transfer. With simpleshow, quality always comes first. It is important that our simpleshow videos work. This means that the person who viewed the explainer video goes through a significant learning progress, and also changes personal attitudes and motivation with regard to what is seen.”

Its success proves the company right. simpleshow set up local operations in the United States about 2 years ago and so far has tripled revenues each business year. “This shows that the US market has a great potential for high-quality explainer videos,” says Sandra Boehrs, “which is why we established a local office in the US. Being close to our customers is key to increase awareness for our brand and guarantee a high level of customer satisfaction.”

So what distinguishes a simpleshow from other explainer videos and why is a simpleshow video more effective? simpleshow’s classic format works with 2 hands that position cut-out paper illustrations on a canvas, thus emphasizing the spoken message. The use of storytelling, complexity reduction techniques, and illustrations that stay in mind create a 3-minute explainer video. The result is a successful and lasting knowledge transfer.

The recent study provides proof that this style format is effective. Five different explainer video formats were tested; and simpleshow’s classic format was the test winner in the knowledge transfer test. Also in comparison with the paper cut-out explainer formats of competitors, simpleshow’s classic explainer video prevailed. Respondents that were shown the simpleshow classic explainer video format improved their knowledge by 57% (1.7 points), while a knowledge increase of only 37% (1.3 points) was achieved by the competitor’s explainer video format. The very popular fully animated videos achieved even lower scores in regards to knowledge transfer. The learning progress was at only 1.2 points in the before and after comparison. Especially noteworthy is that the classic format achieved this result with the shortest video duration of all samples. This underlines the efficiency advantage of simpleshow classic.

For companies another finding is especially interesting: Those who had previously indicated that they are less interested in the subject or have less knowledge about the topic, experienced the greatest learning progress. This is highly relevant in a corporate context as a range of topics, some potentially sensitive, need to be communicated towards employees. Often the target group lacks previous knowledge or interest, making it even harder to successfully implement compliance guidelines, new operational processes, or even restructuring.

An explainer video is suitable for any topic. It is the perfect tool not only for internal, but also for external communication, such as explaining the company’s product or service to potential customers. Explanatory videos are superior to other forms of information transfer.

The study also examined the factors that are ultimately crucial for the use of explainer videos from the user’s point of view. Comprehensibly, the main criterion is knowledge transfer and learning (which 22% of respondents rated as most important). Length of the video is the second most important factor. True to the simpleshow motto “nobody has 30 minutes – but everyone has 3”, especially today’s non-users of explainer videos want the videos to be short (27% of non-user respondents rates this factor as the most important, which made it the top answer in this segment). The quality of the speaker was ranked third (13%). The remaining answers were divided into didactic quality, color, high entertainment value, and sound effects.

Please find the study results here.


Press Contact:

simpleshow corporate headquarters Luxembourg

Susanne Schmidt, International Marketing & PR

T: +352 20 21 00 12 24

F: +352 20 21 00 12 25