The science of animated whiteboard videos

How animated whiteboard videos engage audiences and improve the transfer of knowledge – making them great for your business…

Today we watch more video than ever before, on average there’s around six billion hours of video watched per month on YouTube alone. Super-fast wifi and high definition smartphones, tablets and iPads enable us to conveniently watch online from wherever and whenever we like.

For businesses both large and small, from startups to multi nationals, online video provides a fantastic opportunity to reach and engage their targeted audiences like never before.

One of the most popular and widely used formats are whiteboard explainer or scribe videos. These have become popularised by organisations such as the RSA charity and have proven to be a huge hit among audiences. In fact this relatively simple yet effective technique has been proven to be more effective at knowledge transfer than other types of online video.

Award winning professor of psychology Dr Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire carried out several tests where he observed that whiteboard animations outperformed ordinary ‘talking head’ videos in memory tests, problem solving, shareability and their overall impact on audiences.

Having recorded a normal ‘live video’ of himself talking he then created a whiteboard version using exactly the same transcript in a bid to observe how viewers would react and respond having watched each video.

The results by any standards were astonishing, on average there was a 15% improvement in how the viewers recalled information they absorbed from watching the whiteboard animation compared to the standard video format.

Dr Wiseman himself said of the results… “Anyone involved in education or research will know that is absolutely massive. Normally you have to work incredibly hard to get 5, maybe 10% increase in any kind of behavioural measure like that. Simply by animation you’re seeing a 15% increase.”

On one particular question put to those that viewed the whiteboard video 92% recalled a correct answer compared to only 22% of those who watched the ordinary video.


So what reasons are there to explain such a marked difference in the way that one video format successfully transfers knowledge to your audience over the other?

Figuring out how to engage an audience can be a real challenge, however it turns out the process itself of a whiteboard animation stimulates what’s called ‘viewer anticipation’ – a reaction that we’ve all experienced whether as excitable kids watching our parents draw us a picture of a Woofle bird or as part of a crowd gathered around a street artist waiting to see what’s being created.

The creation of art has always captivated audiences and as we watch a whiteboard video our brains are constantly trying to anticipate what’s coming next, when the final form or message is revealed to us the brain experiences a sense of surprise and satisfaction and releases dopamine, the pleasure chemical which in turn increases our engagement.

As a result of their success in engaging an audience, whiteboards go on to be three times more likely to be shared, a vital component to the impact of video marketing activities for businesses and organisations.



One of the key reasons that Dr Wiseman cites for whiteboards being so effective is quite simply fun!… Animations are fun, in fact it’s fair to say that video itself is a lot more fun for your website visitors at least, than having to wade through all that text.

Dr Wiseman noted that “We do anything better when we’re in a good mood … creativity, productivity, learning. … One thing whiteboard animations do is make me laugh, and it puts me in a good mood … Suddenly, it’s not so much work. It not only makes the viewer have a better time, but more importantly it means the information is going in.”

Naturally for those looking at making use of video in a commercial setting, be it promotional and marketing videos, explainer videos or perhaps internal training videos fun cannot be the only reason to choose a whiteboard animation – but add the huge improvements in information retention and memory with the way they can engage your audience and you have a winning combination.

By |2015-07-22T17:03:31+00:00February 12th, 2015|Animated Explainer Video Blog|0 Comments

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