Guest Contributor

Animation or Live Video? How to Choose for Your Next Video Marketing Strategy

By | Anthony Lam | Founder of Punchy Digital Media

Great- you’ve heard about video is now central to any marketing strategy. You know that high-quality content and compelling storytelling will build your brand. You’re aware that video is a must for engaging your target market and successfully converting web visitors to sales.

This means you’re almost ready to commit to commissioning a great explainer video that’ll introduce your business and wow your online visitors.

But, you’re not sure about one thing: live video or animation? Chances are you will have seen some great examples of both. It’s fair to say that both have significant advantages.

So, how do you choose what’s right for your business?

Here’s what each brings to the table and how to pick the right one for you.

Getting Started

First of all, you need these 3 things really clear in your mind:

  • What you want and need to showcase through your online video.
  • What the goal of this marketing exercise is.
  • Who your audience is.

Knowing these 3 things will help you focus as we begin to look at the advantages of both.

Animated Video

Animation has lots to offer. Here are a few reasons why it may have the edge over live video for you.

Lots of options

With animation, you have a range of options to choose from: 2D, 3D, stop-motion, hand-drawn or hyper-realistic to name a few. This means there are different options for different budgets.

Hopefully you see this choice as a positive, although some people find the choices overwhelming.

Great for clarity

This is the beauty of animation. It has the power to simplify everything and anything. If you have a complex message then animation can help you get it across quickly and simply.

For a brilliant example of how animation can simplify a vastly complex subject and present it in an easily understood way, check out NewYork-Presbyterian’s ‘Unmasking A Killer’ video. The 2D video is simple, beautiful and sensitive, and first took its message to millions of American’s during the Superbowl in 2015.

Awesome for branding

Animated video can adopt pretty much any style so it’s straightforward to create a video that stays visually on-brand. It’s a hugely expressive medium.

Anything can be imagined

Unlike live video, there are no locations off-limit because of budget, time or health and safety considerations. You can set your video anywhere in the world or even further away. You can have unicorns, fairies, or sea monsters. Your imagination is the only limitation.

Generally less expensive

Purely because fewer people tend to be involved in professional animated video production and less equipment is needed, they tend to be less costly.

Easily edited

It’s generally straightforward to make changes at any time during animated video production. The same can’t be said for live video. Once a live video is shot, refilming could prove costly and cause significant delays.

Live Video

So animation is great. But live video can offer great opportunities too. Here’s how.

Offers the human touch

Unlike animation, only live video offers the option of a real human face. There are many businesses for whom this might be a sensible option. If you are seeking to build rapport or trust with potential customers and that’s crucial to your business, live video may work better for you. Live video can come across as more genuine in these situations.

May demonstrate your product better

It may also be desirable to show your product directly, rather than an animated version. Showing the step-by-step process of how to use a product may be a goal of your video. Using live video for this can be clearer and more relatable for the audience.

There’s a DIY option

Very few of us have the knowledge, skills and software to produce our own animated videos. However, nearly all of us have the tech to produce a live video in our pocket. It is so quick, inexpensive and easy to film video using a smartphone. If you have a very limited budget, this DIY option may be your only choice.

On the other hand, the power of a professionally created video that draws on years of experience and lots of expertise will almost certainly be a great investment.

Exploring your options

By now, you have the tools to make a more informed decision about whether live video or animation is the wisest option.

If you are still interested in animated video, then it’s worth understanding more about the different options that will be available to you.

Whiteboard Animation

This is the simplest style of animated video and the kind you’re most likely to have seen in training and education videos. They’re incredibly popular. This is because they are quicker to produce and are cost-effective but still have the potential to have a big impact.

A whiteboard animations have simple graphics and this can also be their advantage if you’re looking to put a complex message across in a simple manner.

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics are similar to whiteboard animation, but a little more attention is paid to the visual appeal of the video. You have a far greater choice when it comes to style. They’ll also convey more personality through more complex graphics.

Like whiteboard animations, there’s no need for a script but you may choose to add audio to help convey your message.

Motion graphics videos with scripted audio give you a greater range of options and are likely to be a better option if you have lots of information to convey. You may wish to voice the audio yourself or use the services of a professional voiceover artist.

A good motion graphics studio knows how to create a compelling, engaging video which has your brand story at heart. They’ll listen to what you want to achieve, put their expertise into practice and work with you throughout the process to make sure your goals for this campaign are achieved.


Anthony Lam is the founder of Punchy Digital Media, a creative agency that helps organisations grow using animated videos and creative visual content. Punchy has a team across Australia and Asia and has worked with clients such as Apple, Westpac and the Australian Government, running campaigns and reaching millions of people.

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