Which explainer video animation style is right for your business?
There has been a boom in the use of animated video in digital marketing. When executed well-animated videos can engage audiences through high quality content, SEO benefits and give an excellent way to communicate a large amount of information to your audience in a small amount of time.
Explainer videos are an increasingly popular form of content marketing which tell a story explaining visually how a product or brand helps different personas. In this post I start by giving some tips to help create 'explainers' and then give examples of effective explainers.
9 tips for animated video planning
You can hire freelancers, a small creative agency or an animation production studio or even use some online DIY animation tools. All of them have different budget's, time scales and outcomes so when you are considering your animated video, here's some things to consider.
- 1. Do you want the video style to match your businesses branding and values?
- 2. What is your budget?
- 3. What is your time frame?
- 4. What is the purpose of the animation?
- 5. Where do you want to use it?
- 6. Who do you want to see it?
- 7. What do you want them to think when they watch it?
- 8. Consider return on investment and value. How you will use your video as part of your marketing strategy?
- 9. Consider future proofing your video. How easy and affordable is it for later updates and changes to your animation?.
Examples of animated videos
Here are some examples of different animated videos and why the style is suitable for their purpose and budget.
Animated Whiteboard, Video Scribing Template
If you have a small budget (under £500) and need something quickly, a template animation or DIY software is ideal. The down side is it is not very customizable and there are a lot of other businesses out there with something similar.
The DIY animation tools are similar to Power Point presentations and clip art. You can assemble a video with text and drag and dropping stock images to create your own video.
These are great for start-up businesses; training and anyone who wants a quick, simple video that doesn’t justify a big spend.
You can find low cost template animations made by freelancers on People Per Hour or use DIY software like VideoScribe
It is worth noting that the whiteboard style in these low cost videos, is based on the RSA animate educational videos. It’s rumoured the RSA animate video production costs run into 5 figure sums. This is because they are drawn out, live by an illustrator whilst being filmed. So requires a lot more planning, skilled execution, people and equipment than the whiteboard templates.
What is AnimatID? - explainer animation
If you have a modest budget (£1000 - £2000) and can spare 4 - 8 weeks for production, you can have something like this explainer video. All the characters and animation graphics are designed from scratch to fit the organisation's branding. Even the music is composed and produced especially for the video.
The animation is used in sales presentations and displayed on the business’s site so prospective customers can quickly understand what the business does.
Because the video is short, simple and made by a small team of freelancers it’s an affordable custom animation option.
Philips introduces world's most energy-efficient warm white LED lamp
If you have a larger budget and need to something that explains, educates and while entertaining, then something like this would be suitable. They have successfully taken a complex and dry subject matter (energy saving statistics) and turned it into a visually pleasing and entertaining video that people want to watch and share.
This kind of animation would involve careful planning and designing. Each of the graphics and the transitions are cleverly thought out and work in time with the voice over. The agency that worked with Phillips on this would have advised and consulted at every stage of production and offered many revision opportunities.
This animation explains how cloud computing works and communicates the benefits. It does all this by entertaining and engaging viewers with impressive 3D motion graphics, dynamic camera movements and imaginative transitions and graphical representations.
A lot of planning, design time and production time has gone into creating this so would have required a large budget (between £5000 and 12000).
The results are worth it though as rather than having a sales person explain cloud computing or asking potential customers to read pages of text about it, this animation explains it to them. The contracts won because of this animation, mean it is a valuable return on investment.
Custom styles and storytelling
The following animations don’t just use motion graphics to illustrate a series of statistics. They build a narrative around the message and use interesting visuals and metaphors to communicate.
The message is delivered within an entertaining short story. Viewers are more likely to remember information and want to share a video if it contains a story. Each of them has a visual style, backgrounds and character design to aid the storytelling.
This video uses dark humour, a catchy tune, characters and bold visuals to deliver an important message about safety around trains at pedestrian level crossings. The video is part of a campaign and the animation style and character has been carried across to their website and mobile apps.
The campaign has been a success as the video has gone viral and raised awareness of this issue. The budget would have been large as it required an integrated marketing strategy and brand.
TSU Professionals offer apprenticeship programmes to young people. They needed a video to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career path. The brief was open to creativity so we made something fantastical and inspired by video game adventures to illustrate the freedom and power that Entrepreneurship offers. TSU professionals have reported that the video has been a great success in drawing attention to their programme and received positive feedback from their target audience.
The music was composed and produced especially for TSU Professionals and they also use this in conferences and other videos they produce so the sound has become part of their brand.
An animation similar to this one would cost around £2500 as it is short and has no voice over.
Vodafone ‘s Better Ways of Working
CommsXchange is a partner of Vodafone and needed an animation to succinctly explain how all the Vodafone products and services can work together to improve the efficiency and productivity of a business. Rather than using a traditional case study, they wanted something creative and unusual. So we told the story of two bee hive honey businesses - one uses Vodafone’s services, while the other does not.
CommsXchange use this to email to prospective clients and presents it as part of sales meetings. They have reported is as an excellent return on investment and helped win them several huge communication contracts.
As this is quite a long and complex animation the production cost was around £4500.