Videos today run the gamut from screen recordings to animation and live action. It can get a bit overwhelming when you’re faced with so many choices, but there are pros and cons to each that can guide your decision. Knowing the purpose of your video, as well as the signature strengths of each type of video, can help you choose the most effective medium for your message.

An animated video can be anything from cartoon-style graphics, motion graphics, whiteboard drawings, or kinetic text to hand-drawn illustrations. Both children and adults find animated videos to be very appealing and attractive, which can help you reach a wide audience. These types of videos are especially effective at communicating and explaining new or complicated concepts.

One prime example is an explainer video for the premier cloud storage service, Dropbox. In 2007, the idea of cloud storage was so new that they launched with an animated video to explain the concept and how the service works. For Dropbox, animation made complete sense because they were introducing viewers to something new and unfamiliar.

Today, a cloud storage service similar to Dropbox doesn’t need to explain the concept behind it. With Dropbox’s success, the concept of storing your files in the cloud is well-established and almost universally understood. It would be more effective to show your target audience how your particular app works (so viewers can compare it with competing options). This is where a video showing off your actual app interface, complete with human interaction, is most appropriate.

Instead of recreating your app interface for an animated video, these videos feature your actual app and show how real people use it, giving you the chance to highlight the key elements of your app. For example, if your product competes with an existing service by offering a simpler interface or a better suite of features, a real app interaction video can shine a spotlight on those enhancements. Watching an actual human interaction with a new product can also give your target audience the level of comfort they need to actually buy or download your app. This human touch creates a powerful connection between you and your audience.

Finally, if you need to go one step further and show how your app is used in a real-world scenario, a fully live-action video might be the right approach. These videos involve real-life locations and actors to show someone using your app. For most purposes, going to this level of production isn’t really necessary (or even beneficial), but there are some cases that it makes sense.

If you have a physical product or technology that you want to introduce (like a smart appliance), or if your app is designed to augment an activity (like running or driving), a live action video can be the right way to demonstrate the way it will actually be used. This kind of video can also appropriate for crowdfunding, getting investors, or creating an emotional connection with your users. Because of the complexities and logistics involved in creating this type of video, they can be more expensive than other video types, so it’s important to understand your goals and whether live action is the best approach.

At the end of the day, the message and purpose of your video will determine which type of video will give you the most bang for your buck. If your video needs to inform people of a brand new concept, then an animated video may be a more effective way to reach your target market.

Animated videos are also great at generating excitement and giving your audience a feel for the app. However, if your focus is on how the app works, then a real app interaction video will more compelling and useful. It can instill confidence in your target audience and encourage conversion or uptake. Finally, if you have a physical product, or if you want to showcase your app in the real world, a live action video is the way to go.

Each type of video has its own merits and can be equally persuasive and impressive. Contact us to discuss which type of video will resonate best with your audience.