Which Voiceover Type Works Best For An Explainer Video?

by Samantha Ferguson on 27 September 2016

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We're often asked this question. New research might bring us closer to answering it!

Here at Wyzowl, we are often asked for advice from our clients when it comes to voiceover artists:

  • Should I use a male or a female?
  • Which accent is more trustworthy?
  • Which voice will be more persuasive?

Unfortunately, we are often reluctant to give such advice because opinions on voiceover artists tend to be subjective. We've written a few general articles here and there, but getting down to the nitty-gritty requires in-depth research.

Enter ConversionXL Institute.

Their team has published some interesting findings that may finally answer the question:

"What type of voice actor should you use for your explainer video?"

Here, we're going to dissect their research to see what it really means for our clients and anyone looking to create an explainer video for their company.

 

The Study

ConversionXL Institute recruited 202 participants from the United States. Each participant watched the same promotional video. The only difference was that they were randomly assigned to one of four voices:

1. A Professional Female Voiceover (50 participants)
2. An Amateur Female Voiceover (51 participants)
3. An Amateur Male Voiceover (50 participants)
4. A Professional Male Voiceover (51 participants)

It is worth nothing that the amateur voiceover artists are people from the ConversionXL office that have never done voiceover work before. The professional artists were top-rated sellers on freelancer site, Fiverr.

Click the image below to view the different versions of the video:

conversionxl-video
After watching the video, respondents were asked 3 questions:

1. "How trustworthy would you rate this video?" (On a scale of one to seven)

2. "How would you rate the visual appeal of this video?" (On a scale of one to seven)

3. "Which voice do you like the most?" (From a 10-second clip of each voiceover)

 

The Results

The findings published by ConversionXL are as follows:

1. People trusted the female voices more. Professionalism didn't seem to matter.

2. The professional male voiceover was rated as the least attractive.

3. People generally preferred the voice that they originally heard when it came to picking a voice they liked most from the 10-second sound clips.

ConversionXL-table

 

Limitations

This is a relatively small study, with only four voices being tested. In reality, there are hundreds of thousands of voiceover artists out there! If the study had been larger, the findings may have offered different, and arguably more accurate, results. 


Another limitation from the study, that ConversionXL discovered in hindsight, is that they did not ask respondents their gender. This is important because a previous voiceover study by Zanbaka et. al. (2006) found that there is a cross-preference for voices between genders: males prefer female voices, and females prefer male voices. So perhaps most of the respondents of this survey were male and this is why results favoured female voiceover artists.


The Harris Poll

It's worth noting another voiceover study here. The Harris Poll conducted research in 2010 that focused specifically on whether consumers are more responsive to male or female voices in advertisements.

Although the data is now quite dated, the results may still be of interest to brands looking to create an explainer video. Rather than focusing on general data, such as "which voice do you prefer?" like ConversionXL, The Harris Poll honed in on more specific traits of male and female voices. Through their research they discovered that 48% of respondents found a male voice more forceful, and when it comes to persuasiveness, 46% believe the gender of the voiceover artist makes no difference. Read the full report, here.


Final Thoughts

When choosing a voiceover artist for your explainer video, you need to think long and hard about exactly what it is you want to achieve. Studies like the ones detailed above can offer insight into the minds of consumers, but they must be taken with a pinch of salt.

The best way to find the perfect voiceover for your video is to listen to as many as possible, which is why we work with a large variety of different voiceover artists. You can listen to all of them, here.

Samantha Ferguson

Written by Samantha Ferguson

Thanks for reading! I'm one of the copywriters here at Wyzowl. When I'm not writing, I enjoy walking my dog, struggling through hot yoga classes, and catchin' all the Pokemon.