Are Simple Animated Explainer Videos Worth Investing In?
Animated explainer videos can help people understand your ridiculously complex product and service offerings in a flash, but are they ACTUALLY worth the Benjamin’s?
By James Maile || September 20, 2022
The Problem with Many CRE Companies
The commercial real estate industry is riddled with an endless stream of companies offering products and services that supposedly save you enough time and money to have a 6-month holiday, twice a year.
Every day, there seems to be a new company focused on helping you drive new leads, connect you to buyers/sellers, revolutionize your CRM process, etc. But in all honesty, trying to understand what they actually do is like going to dinner at your Italian friend’s house; everyone is shouting over one another, and you have absolutely no idea what they are saying.
In most cases, these products and services can make your life easier, but their marketing messages are so convoluted with jargon and terminology that it can be difficult to see how. A method that many marketers (like us) have used to concisely convey such complex ideas is through short, animated explainer videos.
But how viable are they really? And should you potentially break the piggy bank and give these videos a go? Stick around and find out, this article may be for you.
First, What on Earth Are Animated Explainer Videos?
An animated explainer video is a 1–2-minute video that quickly and concisely explains what you do and how you do it. It takes your vision, story, and message and translates them into a fiesta of storytelling, visual thinking, and inspirational communication.
This fiesta presents the most important, jargon-free information that you want your audience to understand about you. The way these work is by combining a thoughtfully written script, and some visually pleasing illustrations (ideally using your brand’s corporate identity) with engaging animations that flow as smooth as pudding.
Given the immediate attention and rich visuals of explainer video animation, understanding why they are effective is not rocket science. This is what sets animated explainer videos apart from other explainers like ‘talking head’ or live-action demonstration videos, making them an excellent choice for sharing complex or even bland content understandably and enjoyably.
Now, if you are thinking of opening that Velcro wallet of yours, let us just weigh the pros and cons first, okay?
Pros and Cons of Explainer Video Animations
Explainer Videos Do Not Just Tell Your Story, They Show It (show AND tell what you need to convey about your company, product, or service).
Communicate Your Message Clearly (potential customers quickly understand what your product or service is and why it should matter to them through visual and audio stimuli that are proven to improve retention over using either one by itself).
Save You Precious Time (most amount of information in the least amount of time. Instead of having to walk all your potential customers through a presentation, an explainer video is an engaging and quick way to teach your prospects).
Improve Search Engine Rankings (videos are 53% more likely to rank on Google’s first page)
Internet Users Have Short Attention Spans (website users - 8 seconds, thanks TikTok…).
Effectively Communicate Branding Elements (specific color, shape, or slogan. With a product, a prospective customer is more likely to choose the product because it is already recognizable).
More Visual Flexibility. Live-action videos have many limitations, these include factors like the physical location, objects, and the subjects (people in the video). Whereas video animations are only limited by the skills of the animator.
They take a long time to create. They require a well-thought-out plan involving scriptwriting, storyboarding, or whiteboard animation to make a high-quality animated explainer video.
They may not work for serious/heavy messages. Due to their light-hearted and often amusing nature, they may not be the right choice for investing audiences in issues/causes.
The lack of people. No matter how well done, the subjects in the videos are still characters. Topics such as customer stories and testimonials may be more effective in live action.
It can be difficult to demonstrate how a product works. Animated videos are better suited for services. Animations tend not to perform well for products as the buyer often needs a realistic look at the product.
Cost. Video animation can be very expensive. Factors such as style complexity, length, and add-ins (voiceover artists, buying copyright audio, etc.) will drastically impact the cost. For 2D animations, freelancers generally start at $100 per minute (with no extra services), a small studio may start at $1,000 per minute for a full-packaged service, and big studios charge between $8,000 - $50,000 per minute. 3D animations can cost as much as $10,000 to $200,000 per minute.
Okay, so if you are still considering increasing that marketing budget of yours, here are several types of animated explainer videos…
Types of Animated Explainer Videos
1. Service Explainers and Demonstrations
Especially when it comes to tech-based services, live-action footage can’t always do services justice. Animated explainer videos can help service providers present their complex, and often abstract processes in a direct and uncomplicated way by using approachable visuals.
Another motivation for using animated explainer videos for your service is that they let you build a relationship with your audience. This is done by relating to a common pain point or frustration in their lives and then presenting your service as the solution.
Below is an example of a great animated service explainer/demonstration by Zarmony, making their complicated SaaS tool easy to grasp.
2. Animations for Raising Awareness
As we mentioned above, animated explainer videos can help towards building relationships with your target audiences. Because of this, they are effective in delivering the desired message in an engaging and influential way through the art of storytelling.
The captivating and entertaining nature of these videos makes them very shareable. A study by Professor Wiseman found that animated explainer videos are 33% more entertaining than ‘talking head’ videos and that viewers are 66% more likely to share them.
No wonder so many non-profits use these videos to raise awareness for their various causes. Below is an example by Charity: water, a non-profit dedicated to bringing clean water to people in developing nations.
For CRE, maybe you want to raise awareness around particular social initiatives your company is implementing, or even better, summarize all the good you did in your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) report.
This brings us to the third type of animated explainer video:
3. Animations Summarizing Reports
Like thinking it’s Thursday only to realize it’s Friday, animated explainer videos make bland information more exciting, engaging and most of all, memorable. Let’s be honest, going over financial or ESG reports is like pulling teeth, and finding any way to make them more digestible is always a win.
Not only will an animated explainer video make your reporting easier to digest, but it will exponentially improve its effectiveness. After all, the reason why you’re publicly sharing your reports is to attract potential investors, so why grab their attention with captivating summaries?
It’ll also drastically improve your social media engagement on these types of posts instead of the stock-standard “click the link to read our definitely not boring report”. Lastly, barely anyone is making animated explainer videos to summarize reports, making those that do stand out.
Here are a couple of examples that hit the nail on the head.
4. Corporate & Homepage Explainer Animations
Your company’s mission, vision, unique selling point (USP), personality, story, etc. are all important aspects of your business that your audience needs to know.
If they are on your socials, your home, or your landing page, animated explainer videos make it easy for people to immediately understand these things about you. These are especially important in the modern-day world, where networking events are increasingly being held on websites.
Below is an example that we did for one of our incredibly satisfied clients.
So, What Do We Recommend?
So clearly, we have listed more positives than negatives, which in itself provides an insight into what we think. But it all depends on what YOU need.
If you are sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage trying to get people to understand how your SaaS or CRM tool will save them precious time and money, raise awareness for your initiatives, break down your reports or just understand you in general, then maybe.
In a recent CREview (our CRE content review podcast), hosts Dylan and Josh were joined by Senior Account Manager extraordinaire Demi, who discussed the topic and gave some great insights for brands to consider.
Firstly, If your brand is in a launch phase we don’t recommend you invest in animated explainer videos just yet. As a new company, you’ll benefit more from focusing on the fundamentals first. These include investing in search engine optimization (SEO), making quality content for your social channels, getting leads into your pipeline, etc.
In the future, once you see a return on these investments and are in a position to raise your marketing budget, then consider an explainer video.
Secondly, animated explainer videos are more effective when your objective is to increase conversions. Lay the groundwork in raising awareness and consideration for your brand (which takes months), then you can use an explainer video, among other content, to convert those that are still on the fence.
Lastly, it should not take up a few months’ worth of your marketing budget. As mentioned, animated explainer videos can be very expensive and you need to ensure that having one won’t stall your other marketing activities. After all, one animated explainer video is the cost equivalent to a wide range of marketing activities.
There are many CRE companies (especially tech companies) that are falling short when it comes to getting their vital information across to their target audiences and should look at alternate methods for doing so.
Animated explainer videos could be your answer, but there is a lot to consider before taking that leap. If you are one of those companies that needs a bit of guidance, take a look at what we do.
Because if it’s CRE marketing, we do it all.
Until next week,
Stay ATYPICAL 😉