In previous posts I demonstrated the power of live action and animated video, using examples from some of the masters of the industry. In general, live action video excels at generating emotional response from an audience, while animated video is well suited towards educating an audience in an entertaining way. (click the links above for more info on both – don’t worry, I’ll wait).

But building the right video for your campaign requires more than simply choosing between an emotional or educational approach. A myriad of factors can play into the decision, but generally there are three main questions you should be looking to answer before making your choice:

  • What am I trying to achieve with my video?
  • What is my budget?
  • What is my timeline?

What am I trying to achieve with my video?

Again, there are a variety of factors that can inform this answer, but one clear method is identifying where along the sales path your target audience is (see graphic below).

If your potential customer is in the early (blue) phase of the sales path, much of your work will be to help them identify and understand the problem they have, towards reinforcing the need for a solution. As I’ve written previously, animated video is a very reliable tool at this stage to help you achieve this educational goal. If your customer is in a later stage of the sales path (they’ve identified their problem, and have an awareness of the available options), live action video can be an effective tool to create an emotional push towards your solution.

What is my budget? What is my timeline?

Logistical considerations can matter just as much as the strategic objectives when choosing the right type of video for your campaign. Here are two good rules of thumb when considering live action or animated video:

  • Live action video is generally more expensive, there are more risks and mistakes are more costly. Shoot delays, a sick actor, or reshoots can quickly eat through your tightly controlled budget. If you are choosing live action video, planning is key and expect setbacks.  That said, the general schedule for completion is shorter than animated.
  • Animated video, despite being less expensive, takes longer, but is easier to change and modify based upon revised needs. Because all the production is post-production, animated video can be an iterative process, ensuring that your final product is perfectly honed to achieve your goals. It’s best not to use this flexibility as a crutch however: the best projects are those that are well-planned.

Answering these three questions will put you in good position to decide what type of video will deliver on your business requirements, and if you have the time and resources to achieve it. Sometimes it is simply not practical to choose the superior fit due to time or budget constraints, or maybe your customer isn’t in the right part of the sales path to enjoy your brilliant Apple-quality live action video. In these cases, it may be better to wait until the time is right rather than producing something that won’t deliver for your campaign.

Alex Dorward