The Popularity of Whiteboard Videos

The following chart shows the popularity of whiteboard videos as tracked by Google trends. Why are whiteboard videos so popular?

whiteboard videos popularity

You can look at Google Trends – Whitebaord Videos for yourself for the latest statistics.

Effective Audience Engagement

Everybody, at some point, has been sitting at a conference table or a restaurant, trying to explain an idea when they grab a piece of paper or a napkin to advance the discussion. Grabbing the napkin means the explainer human is thinking the listening human will understand the idea better if a visual aid is integrated into the story. In addition, the person listening to the idea appreciates the extra mile that the explainer is going and that can help with influence and motivation.

Part Entertainment, Part Information

Customers are bored these days. Web and mobile visitors are assaulted by a sea of static text-based marketing and advertising media that does not spark their interest. Because most whiteboard videos start with a blank slate and magically create content as the video progresses, it really ends up being a form of entertainment — even a form of perceived magical entertainment.

Flexibility and Cost Effectiveness

There are many types and flavors of whiteboard videos. Whiteboard explainers can be a stop motion capture of an actual dry erase marker on a whiteboard or they can be pure animation based on software platforms like After Effects or Flash. Just like a ball of clay can be molded into a useful tool or a work of art, whiteboard videos can become very engaging stories that influence and motivate their audience. In addition, because the media is often primitive and simple, whiteboard videos are often very economical to produce.

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Whiteboard Video Animation is an Effective Sales Tool

I have run marketing for small and large technology companies for quite a few years. Some of the best salespeople in a typical organization are unfortunately not in the sales department. Quite often your CTO or your CEO might be the best qualified humans in your organization to explain the value of your products to your prospective customers. They often have the strong interpersonal communication skills as well as deep product understanding to convert interest to sales.

I can remember many sales meetings where a prospective customer asked a question and my CTO jumped up to sketch the response on a whiteboard. It was often the combination of the CTO’s enthusiasm and the facilitated learning provided by the evolving sketched illustration that often lead to a sale at the end of the encounter.

Typically the CTO would  draw a picture of the prospective customer’s technology environment – some kind of reference diagram representing their technical environment. This put the prospect that ease because they then understood that the CTO was familiar with their situation and challenges.


Next, the CTO would overlay our product or services on top of the prospect’s environmental diagram and explain how problems were solved or opportunities were created. This essentially made it easy for the customer to understand how they were going to make or save money with what we were selling.


We didn’t always make the sale, but I knew that having the CTO or CEO deliver part of the presentation — especially if there was a whiteboard encounter as part of the meeting — would always increase our chances. The fact that the customer could hear the story from the executive team helped, but the whiteboard illustrations always seemed to catalyze the sales process.

Prospective customers appreciate a customized, hand-drawn assessment of their environment and a potential solution. The fact that another human being is crafting a picture of their business is almost like having someone paint your portrait — it’s flattering and it’s also entertaining.

And because there is only one evolving surface to focus your attention on, it can’t help but simplify the discussion. Instead of a PowerPoint presentation with 20 separate slides, there is normally a single diagram that changes slowly over time. This allows the typical human brain to keep up with the discussion.

The problem is, when a company gets larger and larger, you can’t always have your CTO or your CEO in a sales meeting. That is where whiteboard videos come in. You can put whiteboard videos on your website to help explain almost anything in a way that is both informative and entertaining. Whiteboard videos are cheap to produce and can effectively proxy for having your most talented sales people in the room. They are a good way to be understood, make an impression and get the viewer to take action.