2D Animation Explainer Video or Live Action video - Which One is Most Common ?

People usually ask if 2D animation explainer video is more common for marketing strategy, or any other business content, as opposed to a simple live-action video. 

Both of these are video formats that can shape any video marketing campaign. Videos can be a great medium to introduce or explain your product.  Most people find them interesting, informative, and entertaining.

According to the Youtube blog, people have watched over a billion hours of Youtube content every single day in 2017. Facebook also has around 8 billion video views a day!

If we take these statistics into consideration, video is a convenient source and an accessible material to everyone in the 21 century! 

So why not take advantage of such tools and establish creative ideas using video concepts. 

Now the question that comes to mind is how to determine the exact video style that can be suitable for your product/ marketing strategy. 

Since videos are created for people, the first thing you will need to consider is your target audience. The audience can be both people, whom your product is of interest to them and people you would like to attract when promoting your product. 

The second most important aspect is your story. People are fascinated by-products with background stories such as success stories, failure stories. Stories from which they will feel relatable or take inspiration from. 

You may also look into how videos can contribute to your customer’s journey with your product. You might need different types of videos for different stages.

In this particular blog post, we will highlight two video styles that are completely different to see which one is best for your needs. 

Overview of 2D Animation Explainer Video and Live Action Video 

Live-Action Video

Live-action videos require actual film sets and human actors to play the role. This style allows you to experiment with different scenes and props. You also experiment with having people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. 

The first video style in history can be identified as live-action videos. It was the only medium to capture life and report important information and scenery.

In the context of video marketing, live-action videos are usually made for either tangible products or services of help to people.

For example, a furniture company can use live-action video as one of its video marketing resources. Furniture is a tangible product to sell. Also, the chances to have similar products elsewhere are minimal. Therefore, people will most likely get attached to the product if it was showcased in a live-action video rather than other types of videos. 

2D Animation Explainer Video

This video style is probably one of the most popular among marketers. Since the global pandemic hit in March 2020, people have been brainstorming how they can continue working while maintaining social distancing. While Live action videos require having real people and scenery, animated explainer videos can be done on computers.

2D animation refers to two-dimensional animation. It applies that backgrounds and characters are created in two-dimensional flat space. Objects on 2D animation videos are either hand-drawn, developed on computers, or photographed in a still position. They are later created with a sequence of frames.

Originally, 2D animations were done by hand, with people drawing each frame. The sequence is edited afterward and screened at the speed of 24 cells per second. This will create the illusion that objects are moving.

You may wonder how 2D animation video can fit into a company’s video marketing campaign? Well, children are not the only ones consuming this medium.  It is also a direct method to create explainer videos, to portray an idea that could be difficult to interpret using real people, or real materials. 

Usually, the key factor to distinguish between kids and adult content in animated explainer videos is the storyline. 

2D Animation Explainer Video vs Live Action Video- Strengths and Weaknesses

Before picking a favorite out of the two mediums, we need to set a number of strength points as well as drawbacks for both 2D animation explainer video and Live action video. This analysis will help understand which medium is best for Video marketing campaigns. 

2D Animation Explainer Video

The following are some of the pros and cons of using 2D animation explainer video:

  • 2D animation explainer videos don’t require actors and a filming crew. You can easily create animated videos using animated characters and background images. You may need a voice actor though to narrate. Take a look at Voicely software by Vidtoon™, a text reader to generate high-quality, human-like voiceovers. 

  • You can convey a storyline or ideas that can be abstract or complicated. You have the freedom to create everything since it’s digitized.

  • Medium for straightforward, appealing, and informative information.

  • You can make changes to your video at any time. Whether you would like to change a character, replace an image, or an added element, you can even edit back your content at the very end of the production process. Another cool aspect is that even after 6 months of your campaign, you can still change your video content if your goal or the product has changed without spending a fortune in reshooting!


  • 2D animation explainer video may not be the perfect cup of tea for everyone. Some people don't get attached to the video emotionally since the content is animated! This is situational to your target audience of course.

  • Some animation processes may take so much time to finish if you’re creating characters or images that are too specific and authentic. This can be the situation for companies who would like to create a storyline through different video formats using one specific character as a protagonist. The process may take longer than usual. However, after that, the same persona can be adapted to every content in a video marketing campaign. 

Live-Action Video Ups and Downs

Moving on to Live action video, these are the ups and downs : 

  • Live-action videos are authentic and unique. It has a humanizing effect that is valuable to most people and gives your product a sense of reliability. It also has an emotional attachment to it. Show a human crying or laughing in a video and people instantly feel attached to them.

  • You can make a live-action video using a high-quality camera or just a simple decent phone. After directing how your film should contain, the execution is fast and simple. You can have your video in a few days depending on the length, complexity, and resources’ availability. However, it usually doesn't always go according to plan.

  • Live-action videos are perfect if you have a tangible product. New and manufactured products give room for marketers to come up with creative ideas to advertise them. The target audience can take inspiration from the way the product was used and portrayed in the film. They may even become potential buyers.


  • Live-action videos are expensive. Cameras, equipment, actors, insurance, set rent, and more need to be considered. Marketers should also consider filming days as some agencies get paid by the hour. If you have multiple days to shoot then the cost can be large and doubled. 

  • Once you’ve finished shooting your live-action video, you’re done. There is no turning back to edit, change or add. In case it’s necessary to do so, more days will go into planning and filming which can add up more costs. That is why preparation and planning are key before filming is key!

  • The imaginary aspect can be absent in a live-action video. The latter is constrained by reality boundaries that you can’t exceed. Hence you can’t really have Dinosaurs in your video unless you want to blow your budget and announce bankruptcy! 

So How Do I Know Which One is Best and Most Common for Video Marketing Campaign?

Well, you don’t have to pick one or the other. Both can be used interchangeably or in conjunction with each other. 2D animation explainer videos can use some clips of live-action. You can also use motion graphics animation in a live-action video. 

HubSpot has analyzed that 92% of marketers say that video is an integral part of their marketing strategy in 2020. It has grown from 78% in 2015, showing that the importance of video is only increasing. 

That is why the storyline and target audience is important. Based on your product, story, and audience, you get to select which medium works best and if possible apply them both. 

You should consider who you are addressing, the context that best showcases your product, as well as the culture you’re intending to interact with before any preparation.

If you’re still wondering what’s the best option, you can either consult a professional that will help you identify key points in your company and the campaigns you should engage with. Or, you can simply discuss with your team your company’s potential and resources!

The first to reflect upon is budgeting. No matter how cool live-action videos or 2D explainer videos are, if you don’t have the budget for them, you can’t have them! Your budget decides which route to take. 

The next aspect you should consider is your target audience. Some marketers put the product at the forefront of planning video marketing campaigns. They believe that the audience would be receptive and understanding. However, the company needs to establish a case analysis on the type of audiences they need to target. The report can be valuable as it can contain information on the type of videos they enjoy watching and so on.  Based on it, you can either invest in a live-action production process or 2D animation explainer video.