How To Boost Your Marketing Strategy: Animation vs. Live Action Videos

Any business owner, large or small, will agree – marketing is the most important aspect of your company strategy. Without making yourself visible in this very crowded, multinational market space, you will struggle to make any sort of impact needed for your company to be successful. 

Going that one step further, when it comes to marketing, it now generally understood that video marketing is the most effective form. Video makes up 82% of the content on the internet, and as many as 91% of businesses use video marketing in their strategies.

Why Choose Visual Marketing?

Why is that? Simply put, visuals resonate. Moving content engages, makes an impact, allows the audience to feel and understand, and, quite crucially in this day and age of limited time and attention span, can be tailored to suit your platform and target segment.

When it comes to video marketing, there are two main formats that businesses turn to – animation and live action video. In this article, we will go through the descriptions, pros and cons of each, before providing some final tips on how to decide which pathway will be the right fit for your business.


Animated videos refer to the creation of still or moving objects on the screen through drawings and designs. With animations, the options are literally limitless, as all you need is your imagination to bring any concept to life. Disney and Pixar come to mind for most of us, although animations often encompass much more than cartoons. The combination of advanced software and animators leads to endless possibilities, with the resulting video ranging anywhere from whimsical and fantastical to surreal and abstract.

Animations are popular with explainer videos, especially when the product being marketed is complex. That’s why this method is particularly popular with healthcare and technological companies, who might need to portray the inner workings of a device, for example, or a very abstract financial concept in a straightforward, imaginative and engaging manner. 

So what costs would be involved in this type of video? Well, you need to consider that extensive material input and guidance is necessary. From a detailed script, complex storyboard, the design of animations, through to the voiceover, music and sound effects – all these factors need to be decided on and put forward to bring your idea to life. Another decision for you to make will be whether you choose individual freelancers for each step, or whether you opt for a studio that offers this option as a package. Freelancers might be the cheaper option, but on the flipside, with more ‘moving parts’, the risk of miscommunication can be higher.

Live action

In comparison, live action videos offer something completely different – a reflection of real life. They use genuine people and real environments, which results in an authentic and relatable marketing piece. By choosing the right actors, props and sets, you can trigger specific emotions with your audience, thereby building an empathetic connection. 

These types of videos are most often used for interviews, documentaries and testimonials, particularly in the areas of hospitality and business, so basically where emotions are known to have an effect on buying behaviour. Indeed, it is often the emotional impact that is the real selling point with live action videos, and as every marketer knows, building a connection with your audience is key to a long-lasting relationship.

So what do you need to pull together a live action video? Similarly to animations, you need a script and a storyboard to get the basic idea started. After that, though, you need a filming crew and a post-production team to assist with editing the footage. You will need to plan the logistics of the filming, scout for locations, cast your actors. The limitations of real life can have an impact on the creativity of what you can produce, and wanting to go that little bit more abstract is bound to cost you more. At the same time, you can utilize already existing resources to keep the costs lower, such as making DIY sets and using friends and known locations for filming.

Pros and cons of animation vs. live action

As you can see, there are lots of factors for us to consider, so let’s lay out a simple set of pros and cons for each method.

Animation Pros

– there are no actors, expensive locations or sets
– works well for abstract concepts
– can have a longer lifespan as are easier to edit/update if required
– suited to lower budgets

– great if you want to splurge on an impactful marketing piece

Animation Cons

– can take long to produce (3-7 weeks is an average timeframe) 

Live Action Pros

– videos are authentic, humanizing and relatable
– they can be quite fast to make, depending on how much you want to film

Live Action Cons

– the costs can be very high
– it is hard to make changes/additions in the future
– creativity can be limited due to real life issues

How can you decide?

When it comes to making your decision about which type of video to go for, you should consider 4 key factors: your goals, the type of product, how much time and resources there are available to you, and your target audience.

Goals: think about what you want to achieve. Is it to provide client testimonials, introduce a physical product or generate a social post? Or, conversely, are you looking to explain a complex matter, give instructions or present your brand personality?

Type of product: The video you choose should be in line with what you want to showcase, i.e. are we looking for a human side, or an abstract one?

Time and resources: Live action videos can be pulled together quite quickly, but the costs tend to be higher. In comparison, animations aren’t as costly, but as all resources are generated from scratch, the process can take longer.

Target audience: Don’t forget who you are aiming the marketing at and the channels you want to use.


Videos are a surefire way of building rapport with your customers and getting your brand known. With video content riding the crest of a wave, you should not miss this out when setting out your business’ marketing strategy. The choice of format is down to you, but if you are guided by the above tips, you can be sure to make an impact.



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