Admittedly, we don't use animated video much at Wistia. In part, this is because our resources and expertise are focused on shooting live-action, and we're eager to reap the benefits of putting ourselves on camera to build a personal connection with our audience.
However, I've been fielding a ton of questions lately about whether animation or live action videos perform better in various contexts. After chatting with a lot of video enthusiasts to get feedback and browsing a recent community thread about how agencies make video, I've learned a lot about when animated videos work!
Here are some ideas on when it might be best to opt for animation:
You're short on equipment or on-camera talent
Animated video can help you overcome a lack of video equipment or on-screen talent. We often hear that people want to make videos, but they're not comfortable jumping on screen.
"Getting loose" on camera and acting natural are critical to creating a personal connection. If you're ill-at-ease, your audience will be, too. With animated characters, there's less pressure to perform.
You need complete control over the environment
Animated videos enable you to go beyond abstract, artistic limitations. You have total control over the environment and physics in an animated world. Want to fly? Want to show a plane's route across the country from above? No problem. There are very few limits to what you can show with an animated video.
Animated video can make the viewing experience cleaner. If you want to be in the middle of New York City with no people around, that's suddenly possible. You don't have to worry about background distractions. You can eliminate all visual elements aside from the one you want your audience to notice.
This can be particularly important if you're trying to communicate a complex idea. Simplicity allows you to be more direct with your audience.
You might need to make changes later
It can be tough to re-shoot and swap a single scene in a live action video. It looks weird if the footage doesn't match up; you risk distracting your audience with small changes, like a new hairstyle or change of clothing.
Animated video can make you more nimble with updates down the road. If your pricing or messaging changes, you can swap them in a matter of minutes. It's relatively easy to make small changes by editing a single clip and following the existing look of the video.
You're discussing a statistics-heavy topic
According to research from the University of Minnesota, people are 43% more likely to be persuaded by a speaker's presentation when the audience sees visuals. If you're sharing lots of numbers, visuals are your friend, and animation can make these numbers even more engaging.
I was pretty excited to get my hands dirty with this infographic video that I made using GoAnimate's simple video tools. Though I reference these numbers all the time, it felt much easier to get my point across with the help of some visual aids and templates.
Animation helps bring data to life. This can be a useful tactic for sharing data in any kind of video, even if you're using live action elsewhere, and it doesn't have to be totally polished to be effective!
You're explaining abstract ideas
Most people are familiar with the adage that it's better to show than tell. This is particularly true when trying to convey something abstract or complex.
Animation can bring an idea to life in a way no other medium can. For example, Moz's video explaining how Moz Local works does a perfect job of explaining someone might find it useful:
You're describing a process that's not people-driven
One of the strengths of video is its ability to foster emotion, but this can have its challenges. What's the best way to cultivate a warm, fuzzy feeling about industrial tanks or the inner workings of the food industry?
If you can't focus on the people behind a product, animated video allows you to anthropomorphize otherwise non-warm-and-fuzzy things. For example, Chipotle's short film, "Scarecrow", generates an emotional reaction to food production. Animation humanizes the scarecrow and uses him to represent a small-scale, "mom and pop" approach to food production. This would have been far more challenging without the use of animation.
Getting started with animated video
If you're curious about animated video and want some advice on getting started, it's worth checking out GoAnimate. I've been using it to make my own animated videos and telling my fellow Wistians about it nonstop. It's intuitive and user friendly, plus a lot of fun!
We just finished working on an integration with GoAnimate so that you can export animated videos directly to your Wistia account. Wistia customers can get started with a discount of 20%, using the code WISTIA20PM.
We'll be co-hosting a video marketing webinar with the fine folks at GoAnimate on August 13 at 2 pm EST. Come pick their brains and ask any questions you have about getting started with animated video.
Go put your animation pants on and try it out!