You’ve probably noticed that most of your competitors are already using animated videos to sell their products. It’s because video marketing is more effective than using written words or static images alone. But what’s the best way to sift through online clutter and spot the posers? In this post, we’ll share a few insider tips, and highlight the characteristics to look for in a successful animated video explainer agency.
That way you can find the right team to work with, and avoid the extra time and expense of choosing the wrong partner.
What to look for in an explainer video agency….
Let’s face the truth: Nobody is an expert with every task. Every person has their own strengths and weaknesses, so you should find the best team to fit your budget.
Don’t believe marketing hype about magical results from talented people working alone. Instead, find a team with the right combination of talent and experience.
….and how to avoid “wannabe animators”
Don’t be overly impressed by anyone’s artistic talent. Keep in mind that raw talent alone isn’t enough to do the job. Instead, look for work that shows both artistic talent and technical production skill, like this video about insurance for TD Bank:
Business owners prefer working with a pro team with experienced production and support staff, instead of a solo “rock star.” That way, your project won’t become hostage to unreliable contractors.
How to assess the portfolio
Does the team’s portfolio include work samples across a wide range of industries? They’ll have the right combination of talent and experience to serve your needs.
We’ll show you a sampling of high-converting videos and explain why they’re so effective. That way you’ll know how to demand the very best results for your own projects.
Here’s another highly successful example showing artistry combined with overall production skill:
As you watch the clips highlighted in this post, keep your eyes open for these subtle nuances that define a high-converting animated video.
- Engaging stories with good scripts
- Seamless transitions between scenes
- Appropriate music and sound effects
- Expert voice-over
- Clear call to action
But before listing the characteristics of a winning team, let’s first take a quick took at what business animation is, and why it’s important.
Why animated videos drive clicks
Any business that provides complex products to other companies – like tech, healthcare, SaaS, and other services – will benefit from using video to simplify those concepts.
Let’s say that your company sells clothing to consumers (B2C). You could use images and words to promote the merchandise – Video marketing is an extra step, but not necessary.
On the other hand, if you’re selling software or services with a “fuzzy” description then a video is the quickest, easiest way to inform buyers.
Look at how this example clarifies a complicated blockchain topic in less than two minutes:
That’s the power of animated video explainers.
Video saves time
You already know that time is the most valuable commodity in business, especially when it’s face-to-face time with buyers. Since time is money, competition eventually drives all marketplace participants to use videos.
Time pressure is the reason why decision-makers use animated explainers for nearly all marketing and educational purposes. The faster you can make confusing topics clearer, the more they’ll buy.
An expert creative team uses animated whiteboard videos and hand drawn videos to instantly demonstrate products and concepts in compelling ways.
Animated videos are trending as a business tool
Video marketing is a powerful business tool. It’s become a real necessity if you want to compete in cutthroat marketplaces. In fact, video content now dominates all B2B and B2C marketing.
- 2017 more than 60% of companies were using video for marketing
- 2018 about 80% used video including animation
- 2019 more than 90% relied on business animation
- 2020 approaching 95% of organizations used animated videos
The advice that a typical animated explainer video agency won’t tell you
Now that we’ve summarized what video explainers are and outlined how to evaluate them, let’s dive into the dirty little secrets that most agencies are afraid to talk about. This is a good checklist for success.
Hire a team instead of solo talent
The first rule is to look for a good mix of strengths. Find a video explainer agency with a combination of creativity and experience.
Don’t be overly impressed by artistic talent – Raw talent alone isn’t enough to get the job done.
Business owners prefer working with a full team of experienced production and support staff, instead of a solo “rock star” who brings too much bullsh!t to the project.
Avoid anyone who shows these warning signs
Here are a few clues to help you avoid choosing the wrong partner for a project:
✘ Poor communications
✘ Failure to understand your vision or goals for the project
✘ Crude animation results
✘ Lack of storytelling ability
Review the portfolio
As mentioned earlier, the easiest way for a savvy outsider to assess an agency’s talent and experience is to look at their portfolio.
Does your team’s portfolio include work samples across a wide range of industries? They’ll have the right combination of talent and experience to serve your needs.
Here’s an example of a fast-paced video that quickly explains a complex topic:
Whiteboard animation versus live-action video
If anyone recommends that you use “live action” instead of animated characters, you should run away as fast as possible.
Why? Because videos featuring top-quality human actors cost much more than animated characters, and they’re less effective for ROI.
The biggest reason to avoid live-action videos is the fact that their results are much worse than animation. Whether you’re selling products or teaching people about a process, whiteboard videos and hand drawn videos are far more effective, according to research.
Traditional “dinosaur” marketing agencies often push live action videos with bloated budgets to charge higher fees. Live video production can bring gut-wrenching expenses for actors, equipment, site fees, and other costs.
It’s like making a Hollywood movie – Everyone hopes it will be completed on-time, on-budget, and become a hit.
However, most “live” videos are unsuccessful because they don’t grab viewers’ attention, or they have a low conversion rate.
Live actors have expensive tastes, but animated characters don’t
On the other hand, animated videos are faster and more economical to produce. Most importantly, studies have shown that animation sells better than live video.
Simplicity – Animation makes it easy to show complex processes
Look for an agency that makes the process simple instead of complicated. The goal for any type of explainer video is to simplify the process of giving information to viewers.
A team of animation experts makes complex topics easy to understand. For example, here’s a video for a company that sells software services:
You’ll notice that using animated characters makes it easy to keep the topic focused on the company’s product. Through the magic of animated video production, you can show characters and images together with texts and infographics.
In contrast, it’s more difficult for live actors to show abstract benefits. That’s because live-action videos are cluttered with visual elements that don’t help spread the message.
Creativity & technical ability
When choosing a team, creativity and technical ability are important qualities to look for. It’s best to choose experts who can blend animation together with text, graphics, and audio into a powerful marketing combination.
The right agency can create compelling stories that convince viewers to click through your web pages and buy products.
Here’s a good example of a video made for Diageo. It shows how to leverage all visual and audio elements together.
While watching this video, you may have noticed some of the nuances that indicate the work of an expert team – There’s a catchy story with interesting characters, and the goal of the video is crystal-clear.
The team uses on-screen text to flesh out the storyline, and there’s a compelling call to action at the end.
Has the agency earned its chops?
As mentioned earlier, artistic talent alone isn’t enough of a reason to hire an agency. Before choosing any partner, you should sniff around the internet to learn about their reputation and track record.
It’s OK if the agency has few if any reviews online – Satisfied customers usually don’t take time to write positive reviews unless someone directly asks them. Instead, you’re checking to make sure there are few if any negative comments.
As mentioned earlier, you can also get a sense of an agency’s credibility by reviewing their portfolio. If a team has the “chops” that come from skill and experience in creating high-converting videos for a wide range of client groups, that’s a sign of good reputation.
✔ Businesses and professionals
✔ Universities and colleges
✔ Foundations and non-profit organizations
✔ Government agencies
A portfolio that shows experience in explaining complex topics is also important because it means your team has the stones to work on challenging projects – like yours.
Video marketing services are available at a full range of prices. Some studios want to sell expensive “live action” video production services…… Avoid those losers for all the reasons mentioned earlier.
Instead, you should work with an agency that discloses their pricing once they’ve estimated the project’s requirements. Animation gives better results at lower prices.
Great storytelling ability is the most important characteristic to look for. The fundamental advantage of using animated videos for marketing and education is their capacity for storytelling and entertainment.
Everyone enjoys a good story, especially when it brings plenty of value for entertainment and education. A skilled team can take any boring business idea and turn it into an interesting story to engage and motivate viewers.
When you’re evaluating an agency’s portfolio of sample videos, look beyond the on-screen animation. Look for a storyline that serves the client’s goals.
How did they craft the story? How did they set up the problem and introduce the solution?
Look for a smooth storyline that flows logically. Here’s an example of a high-converting video with a winning storyline……………….
As you watch, notice how the team first sets up the problem to be solved by illustrating the customer’s pain points. Then they introduce the product to solve that problem and show its benefits.
The call-to-action at the end of the video is strong and clear. A good story makes any sales pitch more productive.
Drive clicks with a crystal-clear CTA
A strong, effective call to action is the final ingredient in any winning video. Stated differently, a CTA is the only reason for making that particular video.
Decision-makers believe in value-for-value business relationships. Once you’ve entertained an audience and given them valuable information, they’ll owe you something in return, right?!?
If your animated explainer video has informed and entertained your audience using the best practices outlined in this post, then they’ll appreciate its value.
Viewers respond to valuable information by clicking through to buy products, participate in events, or take any other action you recommend.
Here’s a superior example of a hardworking call-to-action:
Notice how the CTA is clear and specific, and the video closes with a big button for viewers to push.
Animated videos are so popular because they pack the most information into the shortest amount of time. Business animation is far better than “live-action” video marketing.
Instead of working with a solo artist, you should look for a complete team, including both creative and support staff. Trust your gut. If an agency fits the characteristics outlined in this post, then it’s probably a winner. Most importantly, choose an explainer video agency with storytelling ability that stands out far above the crowd.
Ready to learn more about explainer videos? Contact us now!