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10 Most Popular Types of Voice Overs and What They Sound Like

Photo by Dmitry Demidov from

Contrary to popular belief, the art of voice acting and voice-over applicability goes beyond cartoons,  animations or animes. This multi-billion dollar industry spans various categories and niches. The likes of Vin Diesel raked in a total of $54 million for simply saying “I am Groot” in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

In a bid to create more awareness around voice-overs and voice acting, as a voice actor myself, I have compiled the different types and styles of voice-overs so aspiring artists can explore and find the type that best suits their passion and enterprise. 

Please note that the types listed below are still relevant in whatever languages you speak. For instance, I do voice-overs in English, Hausa, Pidgin, and Yoruba because I speak them at a native speaker level, but I have also had to learn bits of other languages like Arabic, Lingala, Igbo, French, etc., for projects that needed them.

That being said, are you ready to become enlightened? Let us begin!

Photo by Dmitry Demidov from
Photo by Dmitry Demidov from

1. Commercial and Promo Voice Overs

Due to how lucrative commercial voice-overs are, the majority of voice actors specialize in this niche. Commercials boast a limitless array of styles, tones, and formats, translating to a diverse showcasing ground for voice-over artists to display their talent and attract a bevvy of marketers and advertisers.

If you are brimming with unharnessed talent and think TV and Radio commercials are your cup of tea, by all means, give it a shot. Promos are closely related to commercials but differ slightly.

If you’ve ever heard that voice in the middle of a television show saying the words ” Coming up Next at 8 pm,” that’s promo VO.

Promos are, well… Promos — they advertise shows or segments that pop out of the blue. While they are a popular feature of television, they are fast gaining ground on YouTube and other networks, leading to more opportunities for voice-over actors to thrive and make a living. Here’s an example of what a commercial or promo might sound like.

2. Podcasts Voice Overs

Podcasts have gained tremendous traction in the past few years and are closely related to radio broadcasts. From hosting podcast shows to lending voices to characters in narrative storytelling, podcasts are a goldmine of opportunities. However, this type of voice-over demands a good deal of consistency, conviction, clarity, and, of course, hard work.  When voicing characters or stories, you need to make your voice the star of the show by injecting it with enough disposition to aptly convey the story and character without losing the distinct tone of the script. 

3. Narration Voice Overs

Voice-over narration, as the name implies, is when a voice talent voices scripts, characters and stories in tune with images, videos, or motion pictures to enlighten, educate or entertain a target audience. You will find stellar examples of narrative voice-overs on most production networks, such as Discovery, National Geographic, and History channels. It is typically employed in documentaries and can be portrayed from a character’s POV (point of view) or a third-party perspective. 

Narrations range from the documentary, advocacy, cooperate, social media/ online media, you name it. Watch examples of narrations I have done for AstraZeneca and the #EndSars protests in Nigeria to see the vast range voiceover narrations can take.

4. Audio Book Voice Overs

Despite being in existence for aeons, audiobooks just recently garnered momentum and popularity — thanks in part to mainstream companies like Audible and Apple, who introduced the concept of “self-publishing authors”. They are a favoured medium of entertainment and education and give room for many voice actors to flourish in their careers. Though some authors choose to voice their books or enlist celebrities to add their voice in a marketing effort, a chunk of published audiobooks is narrated by professional voice-over artists.  So if you love to read and do not mind talking for hours on end, this is definitely something that may interest you.

5. E-learning Voice Overs

E-learning is a lesser-known but highly remunerative type of voice-over acting that has given many actors a level playing field. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in remote learning has boosted the demand for this type of voice-over. In this niche, voice artists work with various academic and scholastic subject matters to educate students of all ages and abilities. The content recorded in this niche is typically employed in mobile apps and websites. 

Here is an example of an e-learning training video for the WHO Immunization Academy, voiced in the Hausa language.

6. Video Games and Interactive Voice Overs

The Video game industry has witnessed meteoric growth in recent years, so much that it supersedes the Hollywood industry. Narrations and voiceovers are an integral part of video games, which translates to a booming opportunity for voice-over actors to share their art in return for robust financial compensation if you are able to land the big-name gaming deals. Video game voices take on various dramatic forms like shouting, falling, screeching, or even exaggerated excitement to express the adventure and adrenaline-filled actions of the game. This means it requires some level of training and expertise. In some cases, you might also be required to model the characters in addition to voicing. 

7. Trailers Voice Overs

We have all seen or heard those cinematic awe-inspiring trailers that compel you to want to see a new movie release. It is easy to forget that these popular teasers are supported by voice over acting!. Trailers provide a sneak peek into the plot and happenings of an anticipated or soon-to-be-released movie, show, or the like. In the past, trailers were subject to baritone male voices, but in the present, they have become more inclusive and depict a diverse range of voices, styles, and tones. 

8. Corporate Voice Overs


Corporate voice-over is a turf dominated by corporate companies to accomplish various office and work-related education and awareness. It is often utilized to train new employees or record tutorials and instructions for certain job descriptions. Corporate offices and companies also adopt VO to make internal and external announcements and presentations on their websites and at conferences.

9. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Voice Overs

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated phone system technology that allows incoming callers to access information via a voice response system of pre-recorded messages without having to speak to an agent, as well as to utilize menu options via touch-tone keypad selection or speech recognition to have their call routed to specific departments or specialist.

Whether it’s calling an airline, your network provider, or the grocery store around the corner, chances are you have heard the “Thank you for calling XYZ. Please hold, and our customer service agent will attend to you shortly”, and then some relaxing music to make the wait less unpleasant.

Each sentence or message that is presented in an automated system is referred to as a “prompt.” These prompts are fully interactive and automated. They can range from brief to lengthy. In general, the larger and more complex the business, the more extensive and complicated the IVR menu will be. The voice prompts are designed to sound entirely natural when produced professionally.

10. Animation Voice Overs

And here comes the most popular of them all! At the mention of voice-over, most people automatically think of “animations” (but I guess I’ve done a pretty good job deconstructing this perception). Animations refer to digital or hand-drawn images that are featured on computers to tell a story.

Again, animations aren’t just cartoons; they are also highlighted in movies and web series. YouTube is now home to millions of animations, which is good news for voice-over actors looking to carve a niche for themselves while earning some cash on the side.

Animation has so many sub-niches, from children’s programmes to anime, fantasy, comics, etc.

A personal favourite of mine is voicing action-based characters or terrestrial characters that let me flex my vocal cords and get my creative juices flowing.

Interested in starting your voice-over career? I got you! This playlist has what you need to know before becoming a voice actor or voice-over artist.

That will be all for this week’s blog post; I hope reading, watching and listening to all the above has provided you with more insight into the major types of voiceovers there are in 2024.

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