Biznology
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Is there any reason to prefer a male or female explainer video narrator for tech-oriented videos? My answer has always been “not really.” However, Ben Lebay, a researcher at ConversionXL.com, has published a nice study of the perceived “trustworthiness” of male and female narrators, professional and non-professional. It’s called Which Type of Voice Actor Should You Use for Your Explainer Video?

Women narrators more “trustworthy”

In this survey of explainer video narrator preference, women's voices were preferred.

Women’s voices were preferred in this recent test of an explainer video video narrators. (Sample size: 200). Source: ConversionXL

In the study,  women’s voices were found to be more trustworthy, with the professional having a slight edge. It should be noted, that the “professionals” were from Fiverr, so the level of professionalism can be debated (real professional voiceover talent gets upwards of $300 for a two-minute video).  We also don’t know how much direction was given to the narrators—that’s important. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to get the multiple readings needed to assemble a two-minute audio narration.

Opposites attract

A 2006 UNC study of “speaker persuasiveness” (Zanbaka, et. al.) found that “male participants were more persuaded when the speaker was female than when the speaker was male, whereas female participants were more persuaded when the speaker was male than when the speaker was female.”

This makes sense, and is worth considering if your customers are mostly men or mostly women. It may also be true that a particular product or solution might seem more appropriate for a male or female voice.

One video, two narrations

Here is an excerpt from the same 2-Minute Explainer  video recorded by two first-rate professional narrators, one male, one female. Which do think makes the better argument for the technology solution being explained?

Link to example of 2-Minute Explainer video with female explainer video narrator

There’s some evidence that you should choose a female explainer video narrator because she’ll be more persuasive. But the professionalism of the narrator, the product, and the audience are important variables.

Link to example of 2-Minute Explainer video with male explainer video narrator

Some clients feel that highly technical subjects are best narrated by male voices because the tech industry is male-dominated.


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Bruce McKenzie

About Bruce McKenzie

Since 2004, Bruce McKenzie, founding partner of Business Information Graphics, New York, and inventor of the 2-Minute Explainer(R), has been developing videos to increase sales engagement for companies such as IBM, Cisco, Brocade, Quantum, Compuware, and many B2B technology startups.

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