Animated Video vs. Live Action: Which To Choose For Your Brand in 2022?

8 min read

Animated Video vs. Live Action

Video marketing is now the norm for many brands and it’s not surprising given recent statistics. 

In 2021, it is estimated that the average person spent 100 minutes watching online videos every day. In addition, viewers tend to remember 95% of a message watched on video (compared to 10% when read in a text.) What’s more, 85% of consumers want to see more video content from brands. 

But with so many different types of video out there, which one should a brand choose? The big debate is, what engages audiences better, animated or live-action videos? 

The short answer is, it depends. But the long answer is more complex: 

Animated Video vs. Live Action: The Pros and Cons

Advantages of animated video

  • Good for complex topics: Animation explains complicated topics or processes well because these can be simplified through kinetic typography or motion graphics. This makes animation an excellent choice for explainer videos.
  • They stand out more: Animated video tends to be more engaging and eye-catching, which, psychologically, means viewers are more likely to recall them. (According to behavioural science and the Von Restorff effect, people remember those things that stand out from the crowd).
  • They are timeless: In contrast to live-action, animated films can easily be adapted for different situations. For example, you can easily translate animated videos into other languages or update them with new products or services that you want to showcase. Animated video content can be evergreen and you don’t have to start from scratch every time a product line is tweaked
  • The animation studio: As animations are created in a studio, there is no need to pay for expensive set locations or even share the same location. Animated video can very easily be created by remote teams. 

Disadvantages of animated video

  • The long production time: High-quality animated video content has a longer production time. This usually starts at 6-8 weeks but can take longer (or shorter, for that matter) depending on the difficulty of customisations required. 
  • More difficult to show a product in action: With animated video, it can be more difficult to provide a tangible look and feel of the product needed to motivate someone to buy it. But not impossible. 

Advantages of live-action video

  • They have a sense of authenticity: live-action videos are good for brands wanting to make a more personal video. It is the closest medium to human experiences because it’s easy to show human emotions, although great character animation can be equally effective.
  • The accessibility: for brands low on budget, live-action videos can be created quickly and easily on a phone these days. While this may result in a rougher, ‘behind the scenes’ cut, homemade videos can work well as a marketing tool on social media.
  • They can be quick to shoot: If you opt for the above video type, this can be shot fairly quickly (usually within a few days.) The good thing is you can also make any required adjustments on the spot as it’s shot in real-time. 

Disadvantages of live-action video

  • The production process: Brands looking for a more high-end live-action video than the home-made types have to take into consideration the number of steps involved. From organising actors to being on-site and booking equipment, the process is not simple. It also relies on a whole team physically being on location in person, which is difficult these days as people tend to be more spread out across different countries.
  • They can be costly: Considering the above-mentioned process, it comes as no surprise that live-action videos can be very expensive. Costs for the set location, camera equipment, actors and insurance, to name a few, can add up very quickly.
  • They’re not a long-term asset: Live-action films can become outdated rather quickly and it’s difficult to update them if any changes occur. For example, if a brand uses employees in their internal live-action videos, they will need to think about what will happen once they move on or change roles.
  • They are difficult to repurpose: It’s not that easy to break up live-action films to repurpose them for different channels once the video has been created. Animated video, on the other hand, makes it much quicker and more cost-effective to repurpose a character animation, for example, for a new video.

The Verdict: Which Video Type Is Better For Business? 

While there are pros and cons to both animated video and live-action content, which one is better suited for your brand depends on the specific goals you have with this video.

If you’re looking to create a brand video to help sell certain consumer products, such as perfume, you may want to opt for live-action. This is because this type of product tends to sell better when it’s associated with a celebrity who portrays a certain lifestyle. 

If you’re a brand looking to sell complex products or services to your prospects or explain processes to your employees, choose animated video. 

This type of video is great at simplifying complicated topics and explaining step-by-step processes in a simple way. And because it’s unique, it will also stand out from the rest of the video content out there, meaning your audience will remember it much more. 

Animations and live-action can work well together

If you can’t choose between the two, you’ll be happy to know that they can be combined in one video as well. 

Combining animation and live-action makes sense when the goal is to establish a human connection with the audience (done by live-action) while simultaneously sharing important details and concepts that are easier explained through animation. 

Switching between the two naturally engages the viewer and is a great way to keep the audience interested. 

Animated Videos To Tell Brand Stories 

Video marketing is one of the best ways to tell your brand story and make sure it will be remembered. And one of the main benefits of animated video is its ability to capture people’s attention, make an impact and be recalled better than any other type of video. 

At Content Creatures, we produce a wide range of highly tailored animated videos for large companies. We’re experts at bringing brands to life and supporting them with long-term digital marketing and communication strategies. 

Find out more about the services we offer