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The 10 Best Explainer Videos of 2013

2013 was a breakout year for explainer videos. With over 6 million new companies started each year and nearly 90% of marketers taking advantage of online video, the number of new explainer videos out there is staggering.

And while there is no way to see them all, we selected 10 videos from the thousands we watched in 2013 that stood out above the rest.

Without further ado, I give you the 10 best explainer videos of 2013 (and don’t miss the 4 lessons for 2014 at the end!).

#10 Google Now

Google has quickly become an explainer video juggernaut. For every new product Google releases (and it’s a lot) they put out a fun, beautiful, and cleverly crafted explainer video.

This video for Google Now by the geniuses at Buck uses clean, flat, colorful design, fun environments, and delivers an all around solid video.

  • Producer: Buck
  • Style: Animation
  • Length: 1:02

#9 Knock

When a product is as simple (or seemingly simple) as Knock, why make it complicated? This clever video introduces a new way to unlock your Mac using your phone and a secure Bluetooth connection.

Everything takes place in a single space, with a single guy, and a single computer. No voiceover, no fancy effects, just a simple, effective product demo.


This video for uses creative, vibrant animations and a familiar, homey feel to introduce an online store for art.

Like so many great explainer videos these days, the video does more than just introduce yet another new app, it tells a story and helps the viewer imagine how their life might be improved with a house full of unique, personal artwork.

  • Producer: Odd Fellows
  • Style: Live Action + Animation
  • Length: 0:30

#7 SharkWrap

With design and animation reminiscent of Ren & Stimpy, Ross Bollinger brings his trademark style and humor to SharkWrap – fiercely strong tape.

While using humor in an explainer video runs the risk of falling flat, when executed well it can be one of the most effective ways to engage an audience and create a share-worthy video.

#6 NamoMedia

Most companies, especially in the B2B space, are selling something more complicated than tape, and NamoMedia is no exception. Their native mobile advertising solution is the perfect candidate for an animated explainer, because let’s face it, no one wants to spend 15 minutes reading a sell sheet.

The NamoMedia video uses clean illustration, a simple color palette, and sleek animations to bring their service to life.

  • Producer: Demo Duck
  • Style: Animation
  • Length: 1:07

#5 Pencil

Much like Knock, the Pencil video uses no voiceover, limited effects (some tracked camera movements provide a nice effect), and interesting scenery to demo this iPad accessory. A pencil has never looked this cool.

  • Producer: FiftyThree
  • Director: Andrew S Allen
  • Style: Live Action
  • Length: 1:11

#4 is a simple way to protect your online privacy. Using a creative mix of puppetry and animation, this video is a good reminder that there are no set rules when it comes to explainer videos. Try something new, think outside the box, do something different.

  • Producer: BLACKMATH
  • Style: Puppets & Animation
  • Length: 1:27

#3 Squarespace

2013 may just be the year of voiceover-free videos. But in this case, it’s working. Squarespace’s Create Your Own Space campaign uses the increasingly popular overhead view to show how people of all stripes can use their website creation and hosting tools.

Every scene looks beautiful and interesting, and it just makes you want to build something!

  • Producer: JaegerSloan
  • Style: Live Action
  • Length: 1:00

#2 BaseCase

BaseCase is your classic explainer video candidate. They sell a potentially confusing medical service that requires visuals to properly educate potential customers.

The BaseCase video uses a combination of traditional cel animation and 3D to turn a potentially eye-glazing topic into something fresh and engaging.

  • Producer: Demo Duck
  • Style: Animation
  • Length: 1:46

#1 Hive

Hive is a UK-based home automation product by British Gas. As you’ll soon learn, it’s for “controlling your heating at home”.

In addition to drool-worthy animation and a simple message, Hive uses music and childlike fantasy worlds to create a memorable and heartwarming product demo video. Bravo!

  • Producer: Buck
  • Style: Animation
  • Length: 0:40

Lessons for 2014

Based on our 10 favorite explainer videos from 2013, here are a few takeaways you can use should you decide to produce a new video this year.

  1. Shorter is better. As suspected, and like we’ve said before, the shorter your video the better. We suggest 60 seconds. The average length of the 10 videos on our list is 64.9 seconds.
  2. Try something new. Whether it’s a singing elephant rollerskating on taxis, puppets, or slapstick humor, do something different that will get your video noticed. Sure it’s scary to take a risk, but it’s almost always worth the reward.
  3. Think like an ad man. Just because you’re making an explainer video doesn’t mean you can’t think of it strategically like a million dollar TV campaign. Smart brands like Squarespace are turning online videos into campaigns and selling their service in fresh, creative ways.
  4. Tell a story. Whenever possible (and it’s almost always possible) don’t just plop your product or service front and center and read a spec sheet, tell a story! How do your customers use your product? What benefits do they get out of it? Help the viewer experience what it would be like to use your product or service in their daily life.

With only 10 on the list, we undoubtedly missed some amazing explainer videos or product demos for business. If you think there is something we should have included please let us know in the comments!

Written by Andrew Follett
Andrew is the Founder of Demo Duck, a video production agency. He lives in Chicago, loves startups, and enjoys traveling. You can follow him on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.