How to Increase Viewer Retention with Explainer Videos

In today’s digital landscape, capturing and maintaining viewer attention is paramount for businesses and content creators alike. One of the most effective tools for this purpose is the explainer video. These short, engaging videos can convey complex information quickly and effectively, making them a staple in modern marketing strategies. However, simply having an explainer video is not enough; optimizing it to increase viewer retention is crucial. This article delves into the best practices and strategies for maximizing viewer retention with explainer videos.

Understanding Viewer Retention

Viewer retention refers to the ability of a video to keep its audience engaged from start to finish. High viewer retention rates indicate that viewers find the content valuable and engaging, which can lead to better brand recall, higher conversion rates, and improved overall performance of your marketing efforts.

The Power of Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are designed to simplify complex ideas and present them in an easily digestible format. They are typically short, ranging from 60 to 90 seconds, and use a combination of visuals, animations, and narration to explain a product, service, or concept. The power of explainer videos lies in their ability to:

  1. Clarify Complex Concepts: Break down complicated topics into simple, easy-to-understand messages.
  2. Boost Engagement: Use engaging visuals and storytelling techniques to captivate the audience.
  3. Enhance Retention: Help viewers remember information better through visual and auditory elements.
  4. Increase Conversions: Provide clear calls to action that guide viewers towards desired outcomes.

Strategies to Increase Viewer Retention with Explainer Videos

To maximize the effectiveness of your explainer videos and ensure high viewer retention rates, consider implementing the following strategies:

1. Start with a Strong Hook

The first few seconds of your explainer video are critical. To capture your audience’s attention, start with a compelling hook that piques their curiosity. This could be a surprising fact, a provocative question, or an engaging visual that relates directly to the viewer’s needs or pain points.

2. Keep it Concise

One of the key advantages of explainer videos is their brevity. Aim to convey your message in the shortest time possible without sacrificing clarity. A video that is too long can lead to viewer fatigue and drop-offs. Ideally, your explainer video should be between 60 to 90 seconds.

3. Focus on the Audience

Your explainer video should be centered around your target audience’s needs and interests. Understand their pain points, preferences, and what motivates them. Tailoring your content to address these factors will make your video more relevant and engaging.

4. Use a Clear and Simple Script

The script is the backbone of your explainer video. It should be clear, concise, and easy to follow. Avoid jargon and overly technical language. Instead, use simple and direct language that resonates with your audience. A well-crafted script will ensure that your message is conveyed effectively.

5. Leverage Visual Storytelling

Humans are visual creatures, and visual storytelling can significantly enhance viewer retention. Use high-quality animations, graphics, and imagery to support your narrative. Visual elements should complement the script and help illustrate key points. Consistent branding and a cohesive color scheme can also make your video more visually appealing.

6. Incorporate Engaging Narration

The voiceover in your explainer video should be engaging and professional. Choose a narrator whose tone and style align with your brand. A well-delivered narration can enhance the storytelling experience and keep viewers engaged. Ensure that the voiceover is clear and easy to understand.

7. Add Background Music and Sound Effects

Background music and sound effects can enhance the overall viewing experience. Choose music that fits the tone of your video and complements the message. Sound effects can add emphasis to key points and make the video more dynamic. However, be mindful not to overpower the narration with loud or distracting sounds.

8. Include a Strong Call to Action (CTA)

A clear and compelling call to action is essential for guiding viewers towards the next step. Whether it’s visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase, your CTA should be specific and easy to follow. Place the CTA towards the end of the video to ensure viewers have received all the necessary information before taking action.

9. Optimize for Mobile Viewing

With the increasing consumption of video content on mobile devices, it’s crucial to optimize your explainer videos for mobile viewing. Ensure that your video loads quickly, is easy to view on smaller screens, and has legible text. Mobile optimization can significantly impact viewer retention rates.

10. Test and Iterate

To continuously improve viewer retention, regularly test and analyze the performance of your explainer videos. Use analytics tools to track metrics such as view duration, drop-off rates, and engagement levels. Gather feedback from your audience and make necessary adjustments to your videos. Iterative testing and optimization can lead to significant improvements in retention rates over time.

Case Studies and Examples

Let’s explore a few examples of successful explainer videos that have achieved high viewer retention rates:

Example 1: Dropbox

Dropbox’s explainer video is a classic example of how to simplify a complex concept. The video uses simple animations and a clear script to explain how Dropbox works and why it’s beneficial. The engaging visuals and straightforward narrative kept viewers engaged and contributed to Dropbox’s rapid growth.

Example 2: Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club’s explainer video is a great example of using humor to increase engagement. The video starts with a strong hook, incorporates humor throughout, and clearly explains the benefits of the service. The unique approach resonated with viewers and led to a significant boost in subscriptions.

Example 3: Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg’s explainer video uses visual storytelling to explain how their heatmap tool works. The video effectively breaks down the features and benefits of the tool in a concise and engaging manner. The use of clear visuals and a straightforward script helped maintain viewer interest.


Explainer videos are a powerful tool for increasing viewer retention and conveying complex information in an engaging and easily digestible format. By focusing on a strong hook, concise messaging, audience relevance, clear scripting, visual storytelling, engaging narration, appropriate use of music and sound effects, strong calls to action, mobile optimization, and continuous testing and iteration, you can create explainer videos that captivate your audience and drive better results.

Investing time and resources into creating high-quality explainer videos can yield significant returns in terms of viewer retention, brand awareness, and conversion rates. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, explainer videos will remain a crucial component of effective marketing strategies. Embrace these best practices to ensure your explainer videos not only capture attention but also hold it, leading to lasting engagement and success.

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