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Unveiling the Secrets of WebM, MP4, GIF, and Lottie Video Formats

Animated explainer videos are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to communicate information. Whether you're looking to explain a complex topic, introduce a new product, or promote a brand, animated explainer videos can be a highly effective tool for reaching your audience. Let's explore some of the most common animated explainer video formats, including WebM, MP4, GIF, and Lottie, and discuss the pros and cons of each format, as well as their best use cases.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Format

One of the benefits of animated explainer videos is their versatility. They can be used in various settings, from trade shows and conferences to social media and email marketing campaigns. They can also be tailored to specific audiences, with different versions created for different demographics or target markets.

When creating a video, choosing the correct format is critical. Different formats offer different advantages and disadvantages regarding quality, file size, compatibility, and more. Choosing the right format for your specific needs ensures that your video is effective, user-friendly, and easily accessible to your target audience.

Knowing where the videos will be used is essential in determining the proper format. If you plan to share your video on social media, choose a format compatible with popular social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram. If the video is going on your website, you’ll want something with a smaller file size or a transparent background.

WebM Format

Alpine IQ website animation in webm format.
WebM is an excellent format for websites.

One popular video format is WebM. First introduced by Google in 2010, WebM is a free, open-source video format offering excellent quality and small file sizes. Its main advantage is its compatibility with a wide range of browsers and devices, making it an ideal choice for web-based content.

WebM is a highly compressed video format that uses the VP8 or VP9 codec, making them easier to share and load quickly on the web. Plus, since WebM is an open-source format, it's free to use and available to all users, whether you're a professional video producer or simply creating content for your blog or website.

Pros and Cons of Using WebM

One of the main advantages is its high quality, which allows for crisp and clear visuals, and it also allows for transparent backgrounds on the web. Additionally, WebM files are generally smaller than other video formats, which makes them easier to share and load quickly on the web.

However, there are also some downsides to using WebM. For example, there may be better choices for high-end, cinematic videos. Additionally, some older devices and browsers may not support WebM, so testing your content across different platforms is essential to ensure compatibility.

Best Use Cases for WebM

WebM is an excellent choice for web-based animated demos, like the ones we created for Alpine IQ and simple motion graphics. Additionally, WebM is an excellent option for videos that will be viewed on mobile devices since its small file size and broad compatibility ensure that your content will load quickly.

MP4 Format

Another popular video format for animated explainer videos is MP4. MP4 is a well-established, highly sharable format with good quality and small file sizes, making it an ideal choice for various purposes.

Overview of MP4

MP4 is a compressed video format that uses the H.264 codec. Like WebM, it can be used for audio and video files and is compatible with a wide range of browsers and devices. It is a good choice for videos that require more detail or complexity, such as an animated explainer video. MP4 videos can be posted on social media or sent in a text.

Pros and Cons of Using MP4

Some key benefits of using MP4 for animated explainer videos include its good quality, small file size, and compatibility with a wide range of devices and social platforms. Additionally, many video editing programs and production tools support MP4, making it a convenient choice for creating and editing content.

Best Use Cases for MP4

MP4 is an excellent choice for a wide range of purposes, including digital marketing and advertising, product demos and tutorials, and educational content. Its small file size and good quality ensure your videos load quickly and smoothly, even on slower connections or older devices.

GIF Format

GIF is often the format of choice when creating short, simple animations. While unsuitable for longer or more complex videos, it can be a highly effective tool for creating quick, engaging clips that capture the viewer's attention.

Overview of GIF

Bearon Aquatics animated diagram of the ice eater and power house aeration
GIFs are great for animated diagrams, like the ones we made for Bearon Aquatics' website.

GIF is a simple, compressed video format that uses a single image file to create an animated loop. While its resolution and color depth is limited, it's also highly compatible with a wide range of browsers and devices.

Pros and Cons of Using GIF

The main advantage of using GIFs is their simplicity and compatibility. Since it's a simple image file format, it can be easily embedded into web pages and other content types and doesn't require any special software or plugins to view. On the downside, it's not well-suited for longer or more complex videos, and its limited resolution and color depth may restrict the visual quality of the content.

Best Use Cases for GIF

GIF is an excellent choice for short, simple animations that require a small file size and quick load times. It can be used for product demos or other types of short-form content that need a visual element to accompany written or spoken explanations. Additionally, since it's highly compatible with a wide range of platforms and devices, it's an accessible and user-friendly choice for web-based content.

Lottie Format

The Lottie Files format logo
The Lottie format was initially released in 2015.

Finally, we come to Lottie, a relatively new video format gaining popularity among designers and animators. Lottie is a vector-based animation format that allows for high-quality, scalable animations with a small file size. Various popular design and animation tools support it, including Adobe After Effects, Sketch, Figma, and more.

Overview of Lottie

Lottie is a JSON-based animation format that uses vector graphics to create high-quality, scalable animations. It's compatible with a wide range of platforms and devices and can be easily embedded into websites and other content types.

Pros and Cons of Using Lottie

The main advantage of using Lottie is its high visual quality, small file size, and compatibility with a wide range of design and animation tools. Additionally, its vector-based nature makes it ideal for animations that need to display at different sizes and resolutions. On the downside, Lottie is still a relatively new format and may not be as widely supported as other formats.

Best Use Cases for Lottie

Lottie is particularly well-suited for web-based content, including websites, mobile apps, and other digital platforms. Additionally, since it's supported by a wide range of design and animation tools, it's a convenient and user-friendly choice for designers and animators.


When it comes to creating effective animated explainer videos, choosing the proper format is vital. Each format discussed in this article has its advantages and disadvantages and is well-suited to different types of content and purposes. By carefully considering your needs and goals and selecting the best format, you can create highly effective animated explainer videos that engage and inform your audience.

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