Before You Make a Whiteboard Explainer Animation, Read This!

Are animated whiteboard videos are still relevant in the age of the metaverse? Absolutely. There's always going to be real, genuine people on the other end of the screen, and whiteboard videos will always be a cost-effective of communicating your brand to your audience - wherever they may be.

Whiteboard Video Production is NOT dead. In fact, it's extremely engaging.

Read on.

Dr. Richard Wiseman is a pretty wise man.

He is an award winning professor of psychology with a positive opinion on whiteboard explainer videos.

That’s because he’s done his homework.

Back in 2012, Wiseman conducted a study involving different visualizations of a piece of text.

One visualization featured him, on screen, reading a piece of text out loud. He called this the “talking head” format.

The other visualization was something he referred to as “scribe” where the information Wiseman read was displayed in an interactive written style.

Which visualization enabled a better learning experience for viewers?

The scribe video created a 15% increase in the recall rates of viewers.

But why?

Wiseman had a few ideas, but before we delve into them, let’s take a quick look at the “scribe” style, AKA, whiteboard animation.

What Is a Whiteboard Animation?

white board video of two people being drawn
Whiteboard animation often features a hand on screen guiding viewers through each drawing.

Here's one of our favorites (made in-house):

If you’ve been browsing YouTube over the past few years, you might’ve noticed the increasing popularity of Whiteboard videos.

You know those videos where there’s a hand on screen drawing in unison with a narrator. Here’s an example:

These whiteboard videos explain everything from the history of marriage, to living vegan, to Dan Ariely’s views on dating and relationships.

Whiteboard explainer videos are able to entertain while explaining complex concepts. This makes them ideal for marketing material.

In essence they are simple illustrations, vectorized, and animated afterwards. The process can involve some form of time-lapse to bring hand drawn illustrations to life.

The fluid form of whiteboard videos is the most popular, at least for YouTube and TedTalks (always fun to get lost in), this is where the viewer can see a hand physically drawing out the animations in real time.

Whiteboard videos command the attention of viewers from start to finish because of their hypnotic style paired with the tone of a professional narrator. Dr. Wiseman can not only attest to this power but other strengths of whiteboard videos.

What Makes Whiteboard Videos Effective?

whiteboard video split screen: "the washabe hypo-allergenic material is safe to wear all night"

If you have an audience's attention, then you have access to their memory.

Holding a viewer’s attention throughout a video will ensure information is received.

The reason for engagement?


Why are they fun?

Whiteboard videos have a child-like, unserious quality to them. Even though the information they convey is often high-level thoughts from leading scientists and philosophers, when conveyed in a whiteboard format, these thoughts are easily digestible.

Video itself is a naturally engaging format.

A study by Wistia, a company that follows the demographic trends of video marketing, reports that users spend an average of 2.6 times more time on sites that have a video than ones that have no video.

The Real Secret? Dopamine!

Whiteboard videos hit viewers on the unconscious level.

TruScribe, a company specializing in creating hand drawn content for businesses, did some research into the psychology of whiteboard videos.

Whiteboard videos stimulate “viewer anticipation”

You know when you rewatch a film for the 20th time and you’re able to guess the next line the actor says? And when they deliver the line you get some kind of joy out of it? That’s the same response whiteboard videos deliver!

When you see a hand moving across the screen, drawing something, you are attempting to guess the results?

Is it a bird? A plane? Or Superman?

It doesn’t matter whether you guessed right or wrong, when the final drawing is revealed your brain receives a dopamine kick from the surprise alone.

So not only are whiteboard videos engaging, but subconsciously, they feel good.

How Are Whiteboard Explainer Videos Different From Other Types of Animation?

split screen white board image of a confused woman and a image of a computer screen being drawn
man climbing a ladder from CoordinateHQ video

While it may seem like whiteboard explainer videos are the omega of explainer video styles, 2-D, 3-D, and live-action explainers can be just as engaging and more suitable depending on the content of an explainer video.

Here’s an overview of how whiteboard explainer videos differentiate from other explainer video styles:

  1. Takes less time to complete because of the motion
  2. Relies more on illustrations/visual story-telling with scene design and characters
  3. Can feel a bit more slower, or educational, due to the pacing of the animation

In most cases, the process for whiteboard videos is similar to any animated explainer video process. This is a great visual breakdown with key point of OUR process.

If you want a more detailed breakdown of how to make an explainer video - click the link here for a massive post breaking down a lot of the 'behind the scenes'. This is great for anyone trying to learn how to make explainers.

Using Software VS Hiring Professionals

Software is totally fine, if you are OK with the limitations of it.

For example, a service such as Videoscribe will do a lot of the leg work for you.

Most software solutions are open to anyone, whether you’re an artist or not. Videoscribe offers a library of images to help you visualize your ideas. They also have a musical library to help you add sounds to your video and keep it looking professional.

If you are testing the waters of explainer videos or need quick effective content, a software solution might be right for you.

Hiring a professional or team of professionals allows you to choose from custom options catered to your business.

These professionals have artistic talent and can draw exclusive images for your brand, which in the long run, is better than software or stock images.

Using Fiverr or Some Other “Cheaper” site

Fiverr will give you access to a whole group of professionals who can design a whiteboard explainer video for you.

This is totally fine, just know that the creatives are using scripts/software and often templates to speed up the process.

This means you won’t be getting full creativity or quality but the price savings can often justify the difference.

It’s also important to note that many low-end sellers have terms/conditions which are very restrictive, so your per minute price can raise significantly depending on how many ‘add ons’ you need.

Get The Most Out Of Your Whiteboard Video: Make a Script

Whether you decide to use software or team up with a professional video productions company, your whiteboard explainer video won’t be very successful without a script.

At the core of every great explainer video script is a concept that resonates with a target audience. This concept will tell a story.

Think about it in characters, scenes, try to visualize as much as possible to make it more believable.

You are creating an audiovisual experience, so think about how you can convey information not only through on screen whiteboard animation, but through the tone and style of the narrator.

This requires you to remove any expectations of the animation doing the heavy lifting.

Focus on creating the visual narrative + supporting assets which will “show” the story.

This is where the visualizing power of napkins come in handy!

And if you need help getting started on your script, we have a free to use template

Always do an Animatic (Voiceover + Storyboard)

Animatics help you visualize and plan out the timing of your whiteboard explainer video based on your script.

NOTE: struggling to come up with a script? Don't worry about it. Use our B2B script template here and you can hit the ground running - it's a free, no email required :-)

When paired with a soundtrack or voiceover they are a quick way to get a feel for your finished product.

You can create an animatic on your own using graphic design software such as Photoshop or Illustrator, but we recommended using an online service like Boords to simplify the process.

So there you have the power of whiteboard explainer videos and how you can use them to effectively communicate the story of your business and engage your target audience.

Remember whiteboard videos are not the only explainer video style to choose from, but they are extremely effective for simplifying complex ideas while educating viewers. Until next time,