There are two kinds of whiteboard animation videos.
Those that get customers excited and committed to take action – and those that leave people thinking, “Huh? What was that about?”
What gives? Which qualities make the difference between a forgettable fluff piece and a memorable masterpiece of persuasion?
We’re glad you asked – because that’s what today’s article is about.
In the post, we’ll examine five important elements you can find in all the best whiteboard explainer videos.
Interested? Read on!
1. Best whiteboard animation is… SIMPLE
There’s a famous quote attributed to Einstein. It says, “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
We wouldn’t put it quite so strongly, but this much is true: when making a marketing video, you always want to communicate with your viewers in plain English, and express one core idea.
That’s exactly what the “stickiest” whiteboard animation videos do. They might be marketing a complex, cutting-edge product or service, like machine learning, or Google’s workplace culture, or the psychology of sales… but they always explain it in the simplest terms possible.
And here’s something else you should notice:
Best whiteboard animation zeroes in on a simple, memorable concept – and spends most of its runtime building on it. That way, the big idea remains with the viewers long after they’ve stopped watching your explainer video.
Earlier, we referenced three whiteboard explainer videos that cover complicated topics using simple ideas. Here’s our interpretation of what those foundational ideas are:
- Machine learning – “Artificial Intelligence can be made more useful if you can ‘teach’ it to think situationally, similar to how people make decisions.”
- “How Google works” – “To succeed in the Internet century, your business needs to create a culture where smart creatives can thrive.”
- “Is selling evil?” – “Selling is about getting someone intellectually engaged in the bigger future that’s good for them, and emotionally committed to take action.”
Each video takes one core concept and builds on it. All persuasive argument you hear grow out of those ideas like plant from a seed. As a result, the viewer gets a clear, crisp explanation of what the video is about – so they remember it for longer.
2. Best animated whiteboard video is… EMOTIONAL
You know your product or service inside and out. If somebody woke you up in the middle of the night and asked why people should buy from you, you would come up with a dozen rational arguments on the spot. Easily!
The problem is, your customers don’t make rational buying decisions. Science says that they decide on emotion… and use rational arguments to justify it after the fact.
A truly compelling whiteboard explainer video needs to be emotional. Otherwise your best arguments will simply fall flat.
You want to zero in on how your customers feel right now: frustrated, afraid, uncertain, sad, you name it. Then, get them in touch with the emotions they want to feel once their problem has been solved: happiness, giddy anticipation, confidence, peace of mind.
Once you accomplish that, your video production will have a much better chance to convert!
Brands like Twitter, Uber, Hubspot, and others are already using whiteboard video animation to attract more customers. Discover exactly how they do it, along with 9 more business-boosting tips – like how to increase your conversion rates by 20%!
Real-life animated video example:
Here’s a video that gets the emotional component right.
It deals with a hard-hitting subject – cancer. When your subject matter is so heavy, it’s all too easy to either gloss over emotions entirely… or go overboard in the other direction, and make the video depressing to the point where it will get zero response from viewers.
This clip, however, avoids both of these pitfalls. In just two minutes, it communicates a wide range of feelings:
- the shock of getting terrible news
- close friendship
- desire to help
- tears of joy and gratitude
Notice how the video never beats you over the head with its emotional content. Instead, it gently emphasizes each character’s journey through all these emotions, and trusts the viewer to empathize.
And speaking of character journeys…
3. Best whiteboard animation is… STORY-DRIVEN
When you’re in doubt about how to structure your whiteboard animation video, remember this: just tell a good story. If you “get” the story, you win.
Here are the ingredients you need:
- A character, or characters. Your video narration may be written in the second person (with the characters as a purely visual presence), or you can make up fictional people your customers can relate to. It’s up to you.
- A problem. Something your characters (customers) want to achieve but can’t – or something that causes them pain and inconvenience right now. You can’t have a story without conflict, and a problem is what drives it.
- A solution. If your problem is the “before” state, your solution should be the “after” state. When your target audience get there with the help of your product or service, their problems will be solved – and it’s your job to reflect that in the story.
Telling a compelling story is as simple as taking your characters who have a problem all the way to the solution. Let’s examine how that works in practice…
Check out this whiteboard animation. What do you notice about it?
We could have easily used this video as an example in #2 as well – it does so many things right! But it’s the story aspect of it that really takes the cake.
It talks about the main character’s struggle with distractions, and how his life goes wasted on insignificant stuff that doesn’t matter. How his lack of focus is alienating him from his family, and makes him feel like his life doesn’t belong to him. Even if you’re not a parent, we bet you can relate to the conflict in the story, and feel for the poor guy!
Ari Meisel – whose brand this video is promoting – could have made the whole thing about himself and his new book. But he chose to lead with the character’s story and let it take center stage.
All we can say is, Ari chose wisely!
4. Best whiteboard animation is… VISUAL
You’re probably thinking, “Duh! Tell me something I don’t know.”
Of course whiteboard animation is visual, by definition. But there’s a little more to it than that. Bear with us for a second.
Anyone can take a script and create vaguely appropriate illustrations that add nothing to the message. Best whiteboard animation goes far beyond that!
The most persuasive whiteboard videos don’t just illustrate the narrative word-for-word – they create memorable visual metaphors for the message being told. That way, the visuals and the voiceover enhance one another and create a exceptionally “sticky” content.
But you know what they say – a picture is worth a thousand words! So let’s look at our favorite example of a truly visual video.
Behold: identity theft explained… with dogs.
Here’s why we love this video (it’s not just because we made it)…
It illustrates why visuals are so important in whiteboard animation. It’s hard to make a subject like identity theft interesting. But this clip gets the point across using entertaining, memorable imagery:
- a bulldog police officer
- a dog in handcuffs
- a dog wearing a cone of shame in dog prison
- a villainous chihuahua
And just like that, in one minute, those visuals are firmly lodged in the viewer’s brain – along with the core message!
5. Finally, best whiteboard animation is… ACTIONABLE
The goal of your whiteboard animation video isn’t just to make people excited about your message. Getting them to commit to take action is just as important.
Your video could be magnificent in every way that matters – but without an urgent, compelling call to action it will whiff.
Even if you’re making a video purely for engagement, without an immediate objective to generate sales, you still want to give the viewer some actionable step to complete.
It could be:
- Subscribing to your email list
- Following you on social media
- Watching another video on a related topic
- Downloading a lead magnet
- Leaving a comment
And more. These tiny conversions won’t make you any money right away, but they are important for nurturing leads and building relationships with your customer base.
So what makes a video actionable? Let’s find out!
Here’s a video that delivers an immediate, enticing, and relevant call to action.
This explainer talks about a healthy eating app – but not just any old app. This one comes with a personal coach! Unsurprisingly, the clip doubles down on this unique selling proposition, and uses it to reinforce the call to action at the end.
By connecting the dots between taking action and receiving a specific benefit, this video makes it easy for people to follow through. If you want to make your own whiteboard animation videos more actionable, this is one key insight you want to remember.
Your benefit doesn’t have to be life-changing, either! As long as it’s:
- Relevant to the viewer…
- Super-easy to complete…
- Promising something they want…
…then you have all the ingredients necessary for a great call to action!
Discover 5 more qualities of high-converting whiteboard videos
We hope that today’s article will help you fail-proof your marketing videos and get the ROI you’re looking for.
That said, if you want to give your whiteboard videos an even better chance to convert viewers into high-paying customers, there’s more to learn beyond those 5 qualities we just discussed!
That’s why we put together a free checklist that gives you all the essential elements for a high-converting whiteboard animation video. Use it whenever you create a new one, and your content will always be top-notch!
You can grab it for free right here: