What is a Motion Graphics Explainer Video, and Do You Need One?


Written by Aram Movsisyan

Senior Producer, Yans Media

Motion Graphics Explainer Video 1

Motion graphics is the most popular type of explainer videos. Lots of big companies such as Dropbox and CrazyEgg have built their business simply by using an explainer video on their homepage.

And, of course, many entrepreneurs want to repeat their success. However, there is a basic knowledge you should have to achieve the best results.

By the time you read this article, you will know when and how to use motion graphics explainer videos.

What’s The Difference Between Motion Graphics And Animation?

To be fair, motion graphics is a style of animation. However, it has become so popular that it now has its own definition.

The main difference is the means of creation. Traditional animation is made by drawing frame by frame. Motion graphics is created digitally with still images from a source (usually either stock photography or original art), and then computer software is used to animate it and add effects.

Here is an example of both so you can see each in action.

Motion Graphics Explainer Video 2
Motion Graphics Explainer Video 3

Why Are Motion Graphics Explainer Videos So Popular?

The main reason is the cost of production. Back before they became so popular, everybody even then knows that video was the best marketing tool. However, many businesses did not have the budget to create one. It was something only large corporations could afford to do. But with the advancement of computer hardware and software, all of a sudden you could get a high-quality 1 minute marketing video for $3000 – $5000!

These new kinds of videos could make first contact with potential customers, explain a product, and also be fun and engaging. There was a really big boom for motion graphics explainer videos back in the early 2010s.

Also, it was a big boom for the internet as well; the rise of YouTube, Vimeo, and other free video hosting sites were a big contribution.

With all that going on, many companies started spending money on video marketing. And then motion graphics became a hugely successful result of that boom.

What Are The Main Advantages Of Motion Graphics Explainer Videos?


Motion graphics are far cheaper to produce than live action, 3D explainer video, and traditional animation.

Industry Standard.

Motion graphics work incredibly well with existing assets. Most of your design and branding assets are already created in the same format and programs that are used to create explainer videos! This saves a lot of time, and you avoid many inconveniences in the production stage.

Aspect Ratio Flexibility.

Nowadays, on different platforms, different video dimensions give different results. In other words, you may learn after testing that your explainer video works much better on Instagram than it does on YouTube. So you should definitely take this into consideration and plan to have your videos in vertical, horizontal, and square aspect ratios. This will allow you to offer the best viewing result no matter your media channel. And for this reason, motion graphics is best because of its flexibility for revision and change.

Motion Graphics Explainer Video 4

 There are a number of other reasons why motion graphics are the best style for explainer videos, so read on as we break it down even further.

Useful Resource

9 Reasons Why 2d Motion Graphics Is The Best Animation Style For Corporate Video Production

What Types Of Motion Graphics Explainer Videos Are There?

Basic motion graphics

This is also simply known as motion graphics. It’s basically the animation of objects, icons, and other elements. This is a great choice for explaining how an application works or other concepts that require visual explanation.

Motion graphics explainer video with characters

This is possibly the most popular style. With characters, you can tell a story or drive a narrative, showcase experiences of real people, and a lot more. This works perfectly for every type of explainer video and can have a stunning look and feel.


This is a visually impressive style. It gives the feel of 3D while at the same time keeping the production cost very reasonable. Another great argument using for this type is that you can get a futuristic tech look. Many blockchain and tech companies prefer this style.

Combined with other styles

Motion graphics blend well with live action, 3D, and other animation styles. And you can get the same effect as fancier styles for about a third of the cost!

When Should You Use Motion Graphics Explainer Videos, And When Shouldn’t You?

You can essentially use motion graphics explainer videos to create almost any kind of marketing message. Of course, there can be exceptions.

For example, if you need to demonstrate an actual product, you should probably go with live action. Other than that, when creating any other kind of video about the benefits of your product or if you’re telling your brand story, you can use motion graphics and the results will be great. 

Useful Recourse

Animation Vs. Live Action: Which is Better for Your Business Video

You can essentially use motion graphics explainer videos to create almost any kind of marketing message. Of course, there can be exceptions.

Here’s an example.

We all know Airbnb is a company that rents private homes for vacations. So normally it would best be suited for live action to show examples of the types of places you can find on their app. However, when they wanted to create several powerful brand videos, they decided to go with animation and the results were stunning. 5 million views plus a whole lot of positive feedback for a video series that is enjoyable and worth watching again and again.

Can I Make A Motion Graphics Explainer Video Myself By Using Online Or Offline Software?

This is something we don’t recommend. There are many ads out there talking about how you can create your own amazing explainer video in 5 minutes starting with nothing but your idea. And oftentimes, people believe that. The truth is, people often forget, no matter what kind of video is being made, the marketing message is the most important aspect.

What I mean by that is, before you get excited about making your logo fly, bend, or assemble in a cool way, you should remember that your main goal is creating a message that sells. That is something software can’t do, no matter how cheap or expensive it is.

Before you ever begin working on visuals, you need a real strategy behind the type of message you want to create:

And depending on which channels you’re going to put it on, that concept may change. Trust me, there are a lot of nuances and we want you to invest your money wisely!

So take advantage of our free consultation with a video strategist and get the knowledge that will help you make the best decisions for your explainer video.


Does cheaper mean low quality?

Absolutely not. The quality of results will be the same, perhaps even better. Animation type has nothing to do with quality level. But your video “quality” may be low if your message isn’t crafted properly. That said, cheap online video creators, templates, and platforms don’t work. It isn’t necessarily because they look “bad”, but because they aren’t customizable. You’re getting a copied look that every other video that’s made on that platform will look almost identical to. You won’t have any individual brand identity or original artwork or design.

How long does it take to make a motion graphics explainer video?

This is another big advantage with motion graphics. It really saves a lot of production time. Once your marketing message is ready, it takes about 4 weeks for production. Plus, if you missed anything or need to make some changes to your branding (such as a logo change), many of those revisions take a small amount of time.

What is the best duration for a motion graphics explainer video?

This answer really depends on your marketing goals, marketing message, and even the size and recognizability of your brand. You can learn more from our detailed research here, or just book your free consultation with a video strategist to get all the answers you’re looking for.

Final words

By now, you should see why motion graphics explainer videos are so popular for businesses big and small! Although there are many style options out there for explainer videos, motion graphics have become the industry standard. And there’s no sign of that changing any time soon. When you combine low cost with flexibility and the potential for big results, you just can’t go wrong with this type of content.

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