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3 Tips for Choosing the Best Explainer Voice Over

Al Black

Al Black

5 September 2018

3 Tips for Choosing the Best Explainer Voice Over - Voquent

The purpose of an explainer video is to communicate an idea or concept with your audience, in a way that’s both memorable and engaging.

What you say (the script) and how you say it (the voice) will determine the appeal and success of the Explainer. So, choosing the right narrator voice is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the creative process.

Here we provide you with 3 important tips to consider when choosing the best voice over artist for your Explainer video. All with the aim of bringing the audience closer to the message you want to convey.  


1. Who is the audience?

Knowing your audience is critical, but many Explainer videos fail to identify who they’re talking to specifically. This is because they make the mistake of trying to catch everyone – please remember this statement of truth: The moment you speak to the world, you speak to no one – Jonathan Fields.

So get specific. Points to bear in mind:

  • Gender – does the audience ratio lean toward male or female?
  • Age – what is the general age range of the audience?
  • Income – what disposable income do they have?
  • Education – what kind of education or equivalent skills and jobs do they have?
  • Location – is your audience local, national, multi-national, continental or global?

For example, a London based therapist commissioning an explainer about her anxiety treatments may answer as follows:

  • Female
  • 40s+
  • Mid-level income
  • Degree level in a professional services job
  • Local audience in London

Whatever your audience demographic, you ought to know the age, ethnicity, education level, and any other key factors. This prep work allows you to be much more prescriptive when choosing a voice actor to ensure you build an emotional bond with your audience – as they watch. 


2. What question are you answering?

Great work, so you’ve got your audience demographic sorted. Now you need to think about the question your Explainer video answers.

If you’ve already written the script, this should be easy, but if you’re still undecided about the approach, we recommend using Google’s keyword planner. It will help you to identify the top searches in your categories.

Once you have a few ideas, do searches using the keywords and review the results. Are they any good? If they are – great! It’s fine to use your competitor's ideas as a benchmark but you should really seek to improve them in a BIG way.

Using the anxiety treatment example above, if you searched for ‘anxiety treatment ideas’ and you find a competitor Explainer with the title 3 ways to treat anxiety, why not go further and offer ten more ways, or consider adding a few more but with a greater conviction, such as 5 reliable ways to treat anxiety.

This will blow your audience away and get the attention you need!

But we digress, this post isn’t intended to talk about how to create a good Explainer. We're not trying to teach you video production but we can say with certainty that the question should always be the critical driver when you're casting the right voice artist.

After all, the voice artist is verbalizing the answer! Ok assuming you’ve got your question pinpointed, this should make it much easier for you to decide who should give the answer. Generally, you want to choose a voice that will sound affluent in the topic and perceived by the audience as being an authority on the subject.

Still using the anxiety Explainer example, if your demographic is a woman age 40s+ seeking treatment. You may decide a professional and mature female voice is the best approach. Especially if you’re discussing traditional treatments – a voice that sounds highly educated and experienced will provide the reassurance needed for the audience to trust the message.

However, if you’ve got a new and trendy treatment, a more youthful voice will likely create a stronger link with the audience. People like fresh and new too. And this leads on to our final tip.  


3. How do you want to be perceived?

It's not what you say, but how you say it.

This common saying goes x10 for any web explainer voice-over.

How you say something triggers an emotional connection with the listener. People can even hear if you're smiling. It’s true. A well-founded study proved that a smile in speech is perceivable. The pattern has yet to be identified but whilst smiling, vowels are produced with the mouth a little bit less opened and with the lips a little bit more stretched to the sides.

Smiling alters the acoustic properties of the vowels and rhythm of the speech. It’s subtle, but people can hear it. And the same applies to other emotions. Mind blown!

When you’re selecting the voice-over artist, choose the tone that evokes the appropriate emotion in the listener.


The best tones for explainers 

Authoritative A knowledgeable teacher Authoritative Voices
Comedic A comedian or character Comedic Voices
Conversational A friend giving advice Conversational Voices
Enticing A sensual stranger Enticing Voices
Inspiring A coach or motivator Inspiring Voices
Nurturing A mother, father or older relative Nurturing Voices
Playful A young happy friend Playful Voices
Sad A distressed relative Sad Voices


And let’s not forget native accents. People associate specific regional accents with different levels of knowledge and friendliness. For example, in the UK, an Irish, Northern English or Scottish accent are renowned for their friendly and approachable qualities whilst a London accent will appeal more to a trendy and fashionable audience.


Conclusion: AUTHENTICITY everyone wants it

Choose a voice that sounds like the real deal and increases the value of your material. Above all else – ensure the voice-over is recorded in a professional studio environment and edited to a high standard. Your beautifully animated Explainer video will be quickly relegated to irrelevance if the voice over sounds like it’s been recorded in a church or the speech is inaudible.

Without question, hiring an experienced and professional voice actor will pay for itself many times over. Your Explainer video will keep the audience engaged for longer and they’ll be more likely to share high-quality content with friends or colleagues.

A quick plug:

Unlike many voice-over agencies, Voquent has a fully dedicated team to support your casting and recording of voiceovers for Explainer videos. Our service is offered with no hidden charges and we’ll consult with you every step of the way to ensure you end up with the highest quality voice over for your project.

Our aim is to exceed your expectations and help you to blow the socks off your audience, wherever they are!


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Al Black

By Al Black

Al has over twenty years of experience in audiovisual translations. A Voquent co-founder, he has produced tens of thousands of voice-overs and translations for education, advertising and entertainment projects.

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