The Real Cost of Producing an Animated Video

The Real Cost of Producing an Animated Video

When I talk to companies about expanding their video marketing in 2024, the most common question I hear is: what does it cost to produce an animated explainer video?

I get it. Having worked in marketing for the better part of a decade and in startups no less, I know two things to be true: most marketing budgets aren’t unlimited and most bosses don’t just hand over the company credit card, no questions asked.

But asking how much it costs to produce a video is like asking how much it costs to build a house. It just depends on how many bells and whistles you want to pull out.

So, I propose to look at cost in a different way. First, based on value. Second, based on your budget. Let’s start by re-phrasing the cost question.

Question # 1: What do I get with your agency?

Getting the most value out of what you’re spending is the real indicator of a good price. If agency X wants to charge you $5,000 and freelancer Y only charges $500, you need to get a clear description of what will be included and who will be doing it.

For example, at CatCow, our base package includes everything to create your video. So when we give you an estimate for your project, there won’t ever be any unexpected charges coming up at the end. A complete package should include:

- Research and concept development

- Scriptwriting

- Storyboard

- Illustration

- Animation

- Sound design (background music and sound effects)

- Professional voice over

- Final video in HD format

So, along with that estimate, make sure you are getting a detailed description of deliverables. Oh - and make sure to define upfront how many rounds of changes you are allowed and what additional costs will be added if you decide to change from blue to green and back to blue again.

Bonus tip: if you’re looking to save some extra dollars, ask if there’s any work that you can get done yourself. We often work with companies who prefer to do the bulk of the scriptwriting and just get feedback from us. We’ve also worked with a company’s design team to help out on creating the illustrations for a video. Use the resources you have to make the most of your budget.

Question #2: How much of my budget is allocated to video?

As marketers, we often don’t know how much money we can actually spend on video. Which is crazy. Back to the house example, if you don’t know how much you can spend, how do you know if you afford marble countertops?

At the very least, have a range in mind when you start talking to potential video partners. Video cost can range from the affordable to the outrageous and quality often relates directly to what you can pay.

Don’t feel despair if you don’t have a huge budget to start with. At CatCow, we’ll recommend what you are and aren’t able to achieve depending on your budget. Sometimes it’s just about finding the best way to match expectations to reality.

Bonus tip: if you’re hesitant about spending thousands on video – discuss the possibility of doing a test project and measuring the ROI. Once you can prove that video works – you’ll have no problem getting budget allocated to more projects.

Ok - but you didn't answer my question. How much does it cost?

Every video should be unique and tailored to your brand, your story and most importantly your budget. So, it really is necessary to talk to an agency about your specific needs before getting an accurate estimate. You'll be glad you did!