The Psychology of Video Advertisements: Animation vs Live Action

Our previous blogs have thoroughly discussed why video advertising is so crucial in today’s world. They reach millions, if not billions, of individuals who use mobile devices. They play into the brain’s natural attraction to movement and make the most of its short attention span. They can create a strong emotional connection that boosts brand recall. It’s no secret that they are vital to any good marketing campaign.

When you consider your vision for an advertisement, you’ll find that you have two options. You can choose to go for live action videos or animated videos. We’ve already divulged the differences between them and their pros and cons in terms of production in a prior blog, but what about from a psychological and emotional view? Which of these two options are able to better reach and connect with an audience? Let’s discuss.

Animated Video Advertisement Psychology

Brand recollection is all about being unique, interesting, and standing out from the crowd. Animated videos are excellent at filling this need. With animation, the only limit is your own imagination and you can come up with virtually anything, set in any location, with any sort of characters doing anything at all.

Animation naturally grabs the attention of consumers. It breaks through lines of text or live action pictures and videos with something the brain registers as fun and colorful, immediately standing out from the rest of the page. They also have a better tendency to look completely different from other company’s ads due to the creative liberties you can take. In fact, in general, animated videos have a higher click rate than live action ones in most cases.

Animation also allows you to create a new and interesting character or “mascot” for your brand which can become easily memorable. Mascots are known for being fantastic storytellers and for allowing brands to be easily recognizable for generations. Take, for example, Geico’s Gecko, or even just the mascot of the cereal you eat or used to eat.

Animated videos are also excellent for explaining complex ideas and processes or presenting complicated information in a way that is easy to digest and understand. When someone watches a video, when they find something difficult to understand, there are much larger chances of them deciding to click off. A great example of this is seen throughout the TED-Ed YouTube page.

Live Action Video Advertisement Psychology

The most obvious psychological benefit to live action video is that it involves an easily recognizable and relatable subject - human faces. In fact, humans as a species are intrinsically more drawn to other human faces. It’s certainly not that animated videos can’t accurately capture and portray human emotion - they just can’t do that with a real human face that makes the exact movements we recognize and relate to.

However, live action videos also have a tendency to blend in with the rest. It’s easy to make animation in a unique and new style, but live action videos rarely differ in overall appearance from one brand to another. It takes extra effort to convince a viewer to stick around and entertain their brain with something that seems fresh, new, and original. This isn’t to say it’s impossible - it’s just more difficult. A live action video attempting to explain a complex idea is also more difficult to keep interesting, and a video that doesn’t cater to the 8.25-second attention span of most people by keeping it occupied and entertained will fail to generate leads.

For businesses that require focus on customer service or personal interaction between individuals, then you’d likely want to opt for live action video advertisements. You will also likely want live action if you’re showcasing real world locations. An example of this would be for hotel chains, travel agencies, or restaurants. In these cases, live action videos will better showcase what you have to offer and humanize your brand and company.

In a nutshell…

Different sorts of companies and brands will require the use of varying media for their advertisements. Whether you use live action video or animated video depends on what your brand has to offer. Both, when paired with good music and execution, are capable of forging an emotional connection with viewers. Live action video advertisements are great for customer service-based businesses while animation is a fantastic option for those who need to explain concepts or show inner workings that a camera can aim at. Learning to use and apply the correct type of video ad to your unique brand voice is a crucial part of growing your business.