Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Video has proven to be a highly effective form of marketing; 64% to 81% of consumers have been convinced to buy a product or service after watching a video online. And there's a particular style of product video that's extremely popular and effective with large and small businesses alike: animation.
Animation video marketing has taken the digital marketing scene by storm. As we'll explore, animated videos uniquely allow you to have full control over the aesthetics and message you want to convey as part of your marketing strategy. So how can you use animated videos to promote your business?
In today's post, we'll cover everything there is to know about animation video marketing. We'll...
Take a look at different types of animation used as part of a digital marketing strategy at different levels.
Briefly look at how video animation for marketing has changed over the years.
Discuss the unique benefits of animation video marketing.
Compare animation with written content and live-action video.
Outline the steps you can take to ensure your animation best promotes your brand.
Throughout the post, we'll analyze some practical examples and summarize with tips and reminders of what to consider when planning your animation video.
Different types of animated video
The most prevalent type of animated video in marketing is the "explainer video." 45% of companies that use video have an explainer video on their homepage, and 83% of those businesses claim that it has been effective.
As we discussed in "What is a Product Video - How do they help?" an explainer video is usually around 2 minutes long. It includes narration to aid the audience's understanding of the product or service. It addresses what problem the product or service solves, who it's for, how it works, and how to use it.
Explainer videos are usually used on landing pages, or in the about us section of a website. If you'd also like to use your explainer video like a paid ad online, talk to your video production agency, as there are a few tweaks that can make it more effective, and prevent people from clicking that "skip" button.
This animated video for home hub platform Picniic is a textbook example of an animated explainer video. It contains all the information you need to understand who the app is for and how to use it.
Writing the perfect explainer video script for your company
The following is an outline on what you should include in your explainer video:
What is the problem that your product or service resolves?
Introduce your product/platform/service as the solution!
Who is your product/service for?
Show critical features and explain their benefits.
How was the problem resolved?
Include a Call To Action (CTA). "Call this number," "Find out more
You want to keep your video as short as possible. Ideally, under 2 minutes, any longer and you'll lose eyeballs before you get to the all-important CTA.
Marketing campaign videos
If you'd like to raise awareness about a product launch or campaign, or if you're considering incorporating video into your latest marketing campaign, video animation is a great option.
The #ReuseRevolution campaign by Greenpeace shows how effective animation can be without the use of text or narration. They use paid advertising to disseminate this animated video online.
Bring a static infographic to life by turning it into an easily digestible animated video. You can use animated infographics to...
Establish a need for your product. E.g., How many people are affected by the problem or need your product fulfills? What areas are affected?
Show the effectiveness of your product. E.g., What are the positive outcomes some of your users have recorded? What percentage of users would recommend your product?
Showcase the popularity of your product or service to date. E.g., How many people have trusted your service since your launch? How many positive ratings have you had?
Publish your animated infographic on your website, share it on your social media channels, incorporate an animated infographic into a presentation or newsletter for your investors, or play it on loop at a conference stand.
Example: Walmart Neighborhood Market
Walmart chose to use an animated infographic as part of its Neighborhood Market campaign, demonstrating the positive effect it is having on local communities in LA.
Depending on your industry or your business model, there might be an opportunity for you to use animation to create free content of real value for your clients.
Creating free content might feel like a counterproductive move in the pursuit of increased revenue, but here are a few reasons why it works:
You establish your brand as an expert on the topic. People researching your industry will find your video filled with useful information or advice and consider you an authority on the subject.
You demonstrate your value. Showing is much more useful than describing. By providing free content, your audience will get a taste of what to expect when working with you.
You create goodwill and loyalty with your audience. Never underestimate the power of gratitude. If you help your audience with meaningful content before they've even spent a penny, it logically follows that you'll be first on their list when it comes to deciding whether to buy from you or your competitors.
Example 1: Headspace
We've already spoken about this meditation app brand's incredible use of animation in "What is a Product Video - How do they help?". Here they've created an on-brand video blog with wellness tips and free meditation. It's a straightforward example of how providing free content can leave the viewer wanting more.
Example 2: Chineasy
Chineasy is an app that teaches people how to read and write Chinese characters. Their YouTube channel is filled with great free content in which they overlay the live-action video of the narrator with animation.
They not only talk about the Chinese language, but they also include videos relating to Chinese culture, establishing themselves as experts providing a holistic language learning experience. This video is one such example. It also helps demonstrate how the app works - by converting characters into memorable drawings that relate to the meaning of the characters.
Who uses animated videos?
Animated video marketing is ubiquitous. It's used by big and small businesses alike, non-profit organizations, government bodies, and startups. Almost every industry can benefit from animated videos. There are a few exceptions, as we'll discuss later in the section entitled "When and when not to use animation video marketing."
8 ways animated videos can help:
1. Visualize abstract benefits
If you're selling a physical product like a vacuum cleaner or kitchen interiors, it's relatively simple to use live-action video to showcase the benefits of your product.
Nowadays, however, it's more likely that what you are selling is digital or service-based. The benefits are much more abstract than a clean carpet or a soft-close cabinet. What you are offering your customers is intangible: maybe it's efficiency, organization, security, or peace of mind. How can these be visually represented?
By animation, of course! Take a look at this explainer video for Slack:
The video opens by explaining the problem: the chaos of modern communication, which is represented by colored shapes, dashes, and splodges. The solution: Slack. "Slack is simpler; Slack brings everything you need for teamwork into one place." As the narrator speaks, the colorful chaos satisfyingly arranges itself on-screen.
The problem that Slack solves (chaos) and the resulting benefit (organization) are both intangible concepts that are elegantly represented through animation.
2. Sell a feeling
Time for some marketing 101: selling a feeling is more effective than selling a product. It's easier to connect with an audience on an emotional level.
As with the abstract benefits mentioned above, feelings can also be tricky to represent visually. In a speech, we use hyperbole and surrealism to express feeling like hunger, pride, and joy:
"I'm so hungry I could eat a horse!"
"I feel like a million dollars."
"I'm on top of the world!
We're used to breaking the laws of nature when verbally describing feelings. But when it comes to expressing it through live-action film, well… it's easier said than done!
Unless you have a sky-high budget and can fork out on green screen and special effects, you're entirely constrained by the laws of nature.
Not so with animation videos. Take a look at this example by Giant Ant studios for Spotify Premium.
Who can't relate to that feeling of release and relaxation after a hard day at work? This animation conveys a clear message: Subscribe to Spotify Premium, and you too will be transported far from your daily grind with their music and Hulu documentaries. The effect that this video achieved would not have been possible with just live-action footage.
3. Show off the functionality of your app/ online platform
Do you have a sleek user interface? Want to show people how easy it is to use your app or website? You can use animation to give your audience a sneak peek of your product and demonstrate how it works.
This example from Grammarly overlays live-action footage with animation to demonstrate their product in use.
Seeing the app in action helps us visualize how it works and imagine ourselves using it in our own lives.
4. Keep it fun
Animations are engaging, and it's probably because they're just more fun to watch. They're colorful, playful, and it's easier to rest your eyes on a 2-minute animation than to read a long blog like this one!
That might help to explain why 80% of marketers report that including a video has reduced the bounce rate on their website.
5. More memorable
Not only do animated videos attract and keep our attention, but they also help us retain information.
"People remember pictures better than words," says Randy Krum, President & Chief Design of InfoNewt, "especially over longer periods of time." This is known as the Picture Superiority Effect.
The fact that people better understand and retain information presented to them in video form has substantial repercussions for your business.
Of the businesses that use video, 93% believe it has improved understanding of their product or service. Needless to say, prospective clients who better understand your product or service are more likely to follow through to purchase.
The benefits don't stop there: 47% of marketers have seen reductions in the number of support questions they receive after publishing their video. It would seem that a well made, thorough explainer video could help curb expenditure on customer service resources.
6. Reinforce your branding
You have invested time and money on your branding. You (or your branding agency) have researched which colors and typefaces best represent your brand and make it stand out from its competitors.