So, here are some stats. According to a HubSpot report, a whopping 96% of marketers are convinced that using videos to explain their products or services is the secret sauce to success. And they’re not wrong.

But when it comes to choosing between a live-action or an animated explainer for your next video, it gets a little trickier. It’s like trying to choose between pizza or pasta. Both are pretty good, but it depends on where your mood’s at. Or in this case – what works better for your brief. Let’s give animation the spotlight for now.

Animation has some serious perks that can level up your marketing game. We’re talking increased message retention, maximum memorability, and serious power to captivate your audience. It’s also a sure-fire way to make your brand stick in people’s minds.

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Why would you even need an animation?

But why in the world would you bother with animation, you ask? Well, animation lets you unleash your imagination and take things to a whole new level. In the world of animation, if you can think it, you can make it. Want to soar through the sky like a majestic bird? No problemo. Craving an intergalactic adventure? Buckle up, space cadet. The possibilities are endless. And it won’t drain your marketing budget.

Animation lets you to go beyond the literal and dive headfirst into the realms of fantasy and metaphor. See, when your product isn’t the sexiest thing on the shelf, you need to stand out! Animation is like a ninja storyteller – stealthily presenting your product’s features and benefits in a way that’ll have your viewers saying, “Wow, that’s cool!” And let’s not forget those poor new hires struggling to stay awake during training – animation swoops in like a superhero tutor, giving them an education they’ll never forget.

Trust us, there’s a tonne of uses for animated content. From marketing to training, education to entertainment, animation has got you covered.

Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of animation you can play with for your next video project:

Types of animation

Motion graphics

We’ve got the ever-iconic motion graphics (a.k.a graphical images that move). Think slick logo stings, moving infographics, and typography animations that add some pizzazz to any video. And hey, if you want to unleash the ultimate power, you can even blend motion graphics with live-action footage for a splash of fun.

2D character animation

Next up, we’ve got 2D character animations – IMO the rockstars of the animation world. Gone are the days of cartoony, cheesy characters. It’s all about using fabulous illustrations and exploring your favourite style to tell a story. They can be the epitome of coolness when done right and really give your brand the standout factor.


Then there’s 3D. Super slick, adding lots of extra dimensions. Showcase your products in mesmerising detail, create abstract shapes that defy gravity, or bring captivating characters to life. It can be pretty awesome.

Choosing the right animation style isn’t always that simple. But there are some things that’ll steer the decision: your target audience, brand personality, tone of voice and (dare we say it) budget. Selling enterprise accounting software? Skip the bright and bouncy vibes. Running a children’s toy company? Leave the dry, diagrammatic animations behind. Embrace your brand identity and pick an animation style that’s a match made in heaven.

Briefing an agency

Your objective

OK, so you’re ready to commission an animated explainer video. It’s time to create the perfect brief. Picture it like a secret mission dossier that outlines your objectives and expectations. Your agency will love you for it (trust us).

First up, define your objective. Why the hell are you making the video in the first place? Are you looking to attract top talent, explain a new product, demo a new feature, create leads and boost your revenue, or reduce the number of support calls flooding your inbox? Get crystal clear on what you want to achieve. And if you’ve got a solid video strategy in place to go with it, you might just be winning the best new client award.

Your target audience

Next, let’s talk target audience. Who are you trying to reach? Who are the videos for? And more importantly, who are they NOT for? You don’t want to waste your budget on a video that misses the mark with your most important viewers. So, let your agency in on your audience secrets and keep things laser focused.

Your key messages

Now, it’s all about your key messages. Great animations don’t need to be longer than a couple of minutes. So be ruthless and choose three or four key takeaways.

Ask yourself the golden question: What absolutely has to be in the video? Leave the rest on the cutting room floor. And if you still have more to say, you could make even more videos. More animation = more awesomeness.

Your budget

The tough one. Budget. We all wish we had a pocket full of cash to spend but knowing your budget means the agency can make realistic recommendations for your next project. Talk openly about the money, and they’ll guide you toward animation options that won’t break the bank.

Your deadline

Last but not least, set your deadline. When do you need your magical animation to hit the shelves? A longer lead time can work wonders, but if you’re timing it with a big event or promotional launch, tell your agency. That being said, if there’s no hard and fast deadline it could drag the project on and on. And nobody wants that.

How do you find your perfect video agency?

Coming from a team who’ve done this quite a bit – we reckon the things you’ll most likely appreciate are honesty, good communication, and a team that will consult for you using their expertise to give you the best product possible. They’ll guide you through the entire process. Make sure you take a peek at their previous work too. Beware of animations that lack fluid movement, mismatched fonts, and attention to detail.

The animation process

Once you’ve chosen your animation partner, the rest should be simple.

You’ll be paired with a dedicated producer who will be your go-to person from kick off to delivery. Have a complaint or need to make changes? They’ve got your back. Together with scriptwriters, they’ll whip up a concept for your animation. Once you’re happy with the script (and this step may take a couple of tries) the animation team will create style frames and storyboards to start bringing your vision to life.

Once the message and visuals have been agreed, you need to think about your voiceover. You can even start incorporating AI voices if you fancy mixing things up. A music track, and sound effects will join the party to truly bring things to life.

Your producer will handle it all, keeping you in the loop the entire time.

Now, here comes the fun part – you’ll get a sneak preview of your animation.

Your vision has (hopefully) come to life. You’ll check out the previews and give the green light or give some feedback so your agency can make some tweaks before finalising your video.

When things are complete, you’ll receive the finished master files in your favourite format(s). Including versions for social.

Don’t make these classic mistakes

It’s worth mentioning some classic mistakes people make during the animation process so you can avoid them. We’ve seen it all, so let us also guide you through the pitfalls:

Don’t even think about writing the script yourself unless you’re a copywriting genius. Leave it to the experts who know how to write scripts – especially for video.

Don’t go asking for proposals without having a budget in mind. No one wants to play a guessing game when it comes budget. Give the agency an idea of what you’re looking to spend and they’ll work their magic.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Keep it simple, my friend. Focus on delivering the essential information that’ll captivate your audience and keep their wands at attention. Less is more, remember?

Teamwork makes the dream work. But too many opinions can turn into chaos.
Organise your stakeholders and have a single lead to help keep the ship steered.

No late feedback please. If you’ve agreed a clear schedule, please stick to it. Agencies will be as flexible as possible but get your ducks in a row and share feedback on time to keep the magic flowing.

Park your personal preferences at the door. Projecting your personal loves onto your project won’t always work. Focus on what your animation needs, not what you think is hip and happening.

We get this a lot – suggesting your CEO does the voiceover on your new project. Unless they’ve got some serious voice talent, it’s not as simple as reciting lines on a page. It takes real talent!

Don’t invest in an animation without a clear plan and objective. Make sure it aligns with your business goals whether it’s boosting growth, increasing sales, or meeting any other important objectives. Your perfect agency will make sure you spend your business wisely, getting as much bang for your buck as possible.

And breathe. That’s it. Time to go ahead and create something special for your next project. Looking for an agency? You just might have come to the right place.

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Sian Evans Screen 3

Written by Sian Evans, Head of Video at Definition.