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How to Tell Better Stories with Animation Videos

Every day we come across hundreds of animated videos. Some are entertaining, while some are educational. But only some of them leave a mark on our minds. Typically, the only videos that stay with us for a long time are those with great storytelling.

That is why brands constantly strive to tell better stories through animated videos. However, even educational whiteboard videos for businesses also need great storytelling to be effective.

But why does storytelling work?

Stories that are properly conveyed can breathe life into your video marketing strategy. Storytelling through animated videos can combine brand culture, message, values, and product, leading to effective marketing.

This blog contains exclusive tips to help you tell better stories through animated videos.

Some Tips for Better Video Storytelling

Create a Compelling Narrative arc

A narrative arc is the progression of the story from start to end. Many stories use the classic narrative arc to form a good plotline, which includes —a calm beginning with the problem, momentum and tension build-up in the middle, and a conclusive end that presents a solution.

We’ve been accustomed to the same narrative our whole lives. Therefore, animated videos should create a strong and unique plot line following the same narrative arc.

For example, brands can introduce the video’s protagonist at the start. The start should be compelling enough to attract the audience. Then, the video should slowly build up the problem while moving forward. This will help in keeping the viewers engaged.

The viewers will anticipate the solution as the animated video progresses toward the end. That’s when brands need to introduce the solution.

Determine the four P’s of storytelling

The four Ps of storytelling form the base of every good visual story (videos, in our case). These include –

  • Plot – What is the story you want to tell through your video? For example – are you promoting a product or creating a product demo video? With animated videos, brands have the freedom to create a whole new world for the viewers.

Animated videos enable brands to create an imaginary yet relatable plot line that keeps the viewers hooked till the end.

  • Purpose – This includes the objective of the video and its story. It can be conversion, lead generation, or brand/product awareness.

With animated videos, brands can quickly weave a story centered around the purpose. For example, suppose a brand wants to introduce a new product. Then, using the product, they can create a story around an animated character while highlighting its benefits.

  • People – Who is the main character/s of the Story? For brands, these animated characters should be based on the target audience. Viewers will be more engaged in the story if the characters are relatable.
  • Place – Where is the story going to take place? Many promotional videos use a setup representing the target audience’s daily lives. But, animated videos allow brands to create attractive worlds which motivate the viewers to watch the video.

Focus on Appealing Visuals to attract the Audience

Around 75% of the time, people watch videos without sound. So, if your video narrates the story to the audience, chances are —it’s not being heard. So, instead of putting more effort into the voiceover, tell the story through visuals.

For example, suppose you are creating an animated product video. Instead of verbally telling the viewers about the product features, show them the product in use. Animated videos can easily do this by creating a story around the target audience and the product.

Many brands have created eye-catching videos that deliver the message without saying a single word. One of these videos is for Solid credit cards.

The video used minimalistic animations and text to show how the product works and why customers need it.

Center the Story around a Single Character

Many marketers try to spice up an animated video with many characters, visuals, and story arcs. Yes, it may seem like a great idea during production. But it often creates a huge mess.

The audience will become lost in the different characters. Which ultimately leads to confusion and distraction by the end of the video.

Brands must ensure that the video is focused on a single character to divert viewers’ attention to the crucial parts. Furthermore, this character should be based on the brand’s target audience.

Set the mood right

An animated video can have it all — the perfect story, characters, and animations, and still, fail to convey the message.

This happens when the video cannot evoke the right emotions in the viewers. To tell better stories, animated videos must also have proper settings, backgrounds, and sound effects.

How you can do it — create the correct visual atmosphere for each scene with distinctive animations, sounds, set-ups, and plots.

Slack’s Work Simplified video is an excellent example of how videos can set the mood right. The video started with a blaring alarm tone — showcasing the hectic life of the main character.

Furthermore, the start of the video contained darker shades in the background, with only the main character having the color purple. This portrayed gloominess as the problem was being introduced.

Then, after introducing the product, the background changed to brighter colors, conveying the character’s happiness after using Slack.

Engage Viewers with Smooth Transitions

The transitions between each scene hold the story together in animated videos. If even a single transition is too slow or too quick, it can break the flow of the story.

Smooth transitions between every scene make the video more exciting and engaging. Adding a fade or blur effect during transitions will make your animation videos more appealing.

For example — Apple’s “Every Product Carbon Neutral By 2030” video became extremely popular due to its messaging, excellent animations, and soft transitions. The video introduced scene after scene without breaking the flow of the story.

Special Effects keep the Viewers Engaged

Special effects are like the icing on the cake for animated video storytelling. Adding special visual and audio effects to essential parts of the story will bring the viewer’s attention to these points.

Special effects also make telling the story easier for brands by making it more appealing. Furthermore, brands can use special effects to excite and surprise viewers. Adding minimal visual effects to the video can make it more authentic and relatable.

For example — Google Pixel’s product videos are popular among fans for their bright colors and special visual effects. Google combines live-action product footage and animations with visual effects to make the video attractive and charming.

Don’t clutter the video with too many effects

“Too much of everything can be lethal.”

We’ve all heard this line at least once in our lives. And it holds true for animated videos too. Animated videos require special visual and sound effects to make them engaging. But, using too many effects can divert the viewers’ attention from the main story arc.

Detailing is vital to keep the story moving forward. This can be done by removing unnecessary elements from the screen whenever possible.

For example, Google does a great job of storytelling through 2D animated videos. All of the videos for Google products use a minimal color pallet and characters and have the right mix of special effects.

Use colors to bring your story to life

Colors can influence the viewers’ perception, evoke different kinds of emotion in the audience, highlight details, and attract eyeballs. This is why choosing the correct colors for animated videos can be crucial.

The right colors can help brands set the story’s tone even without sounds or video captions. For example, darker shades of color typically represent gloomy and mournful set-ups in videos. But, simultaneously, using vibrant colors can make the scenes bright and uplifting.

Furthermore, colors can also trigger brand recall. For example, Slack always uses brand colors in all its animated videos to fixate its image in the viewers’ minds.

Keep the video short and sweet

The attention spans of humans are becoming shorter day by day. Many viewers tend to lose focus after a few minutes. Creating videos that are only 2-3 minutes long helps deliver the whole message without losing the viewer’s attention.

Another benefit of creating short videos is that they are easily shareable on social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Many brands regularly create short animated videos for social media platforms.


Every brand has a story to tell. Using animated videos to tell that story can make a long-lasting impact. But, with more than 80% of information consumed visually, the competition for making impactful videos is exceptionally high.

Animated videos are an excellent medium to deliver brand messages to the audience. And when brands add storytelling to the mix, these videos become even better.

Related Topics

Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article How to Tell Better Stories with Animation Videos was written by NaijaTechGuide Team. The article was last modified: August 4th, 2023
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