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Using animated videos for online marketing

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 29 May, 2012
Essential Essential topic

Boost SEO x53 - and other great reasons to use animation in your marketing

There are all sorts of names for it – explainer videos, corporate video, marketing videos, animated web videos…. cartoons for your company - I prefer to call them animated videos! But, whatever you call them, their popularity in digital marketing strategy is growing.

Once animation was limited to those with massive six figure production budgets, but current technology means you no longer need a big studio or access to television broadcast channels to create and distribute animation.

In theory, anyone can have one written, designed, storyboarded and produced tailored to your marketing needs.

Four major reasons to use animation in your marketing

  1. Increased conversion rates – 64%- 85% of people are more likely to purchase after watching a product video. And, on average, people will stay 2 minutes longer on your website when engaged with a video (Internet Retailer 4/2010 / Comscore 8/2010).A video on the landing page of your site will save visitors time clicking and reading through your website. You have a chance to grab their attention and communicate using a powerful mix of pictures, motion, text, voice, sound effects and music in a short amount of time. It’s an efficient use of time and condenses information in several forms of media. Read more about the power of video and why you should be using it in this article.
  2. Video boosts SEOGoogle owns You Tube, so a presence on You Tube, and embedding video on your site, gives you a 53x higher likelihood of a Google front-page search result (Forrester, 1/2010).You can also add keyword tags to your You Tube videos. For example, adding the keywords “hire freelance animator” into my You Tube videos resulted in commissions for projects from clients who discovered my business through these videos.
  3. Viral marketing and video sharing - Viral video marketing campaigns increase clickthrough rates by 750%. 68% of people who watch online videos will, in turn, pass links for these videos onto their friends (MarketingExperiments.com, November 2006). There is no magic formula for creating a video people will want to share.

    Free Range Studios
    has created several animated videos that have gone viral and had this to say; "…there’s no guaranteed recipe for big numbers on a video campaign. What you can do is make sure you’ve got a solid idea/story/message; a clear understanding of your target audience; an action step or ‘ask;’ a great outreach plan to pound the ether-pavement and get folks ready for your launch.”So, although you shouldn’t simply upload your video, sit back and expect people to start sharing without any other form of promotion - it can be a powerful and unexpected part of your marketing campaign.
  4. Video saves time in creating and delivering Powerpoint presentations - Once you’ve created an animation, make the most of it and use it offline too. Animation can enhance presentations, pitches and meetings by helping to explain and promote your business. It’s a great conversation point and useful for networking. I have all my animation available offline on my phone, iPod and tablet. So, if I ever get into a conversation with someone about what I do, I can whip out a device and show them. My animated videos have generated as many leads as my business cards.

Let's now take a look at some examples of the power of web animations.

Some inspirational animated web video examples

  • The Crisis of Credit by Jonathan Jarvis: symbolism and metaphor Personally, I feel the most effective animated web videos use symbolism and metaphor to communicate their messages.  The Crisis of Credit is an excellent example of how a complex and somewhat dry subject matter has been explained in an engaging and enjoyable animation. This motion graphic animation style was probably not very expensive to produce either.

  • BoxMyDorm: get straight to the point
    A great little animation that gets straight to the point. They let their customers know what they do, the benefits and how they can use its service quickly and simply.

  • The Story of Stuff by Free Range Studios: carefully blending fact, humour and sentiment
  • Free Range Studios has a track record of creating compelling animated videos for social and charitable causes that go viral. I think their animations work because of the careful mix of factual information, humour and genuine sentiment.

  • Commsxchange's Vodafone One Net: promotional animated web video
  • Commsxchange sometimes found it difficult to explain its business communication solution services. So, I was approached to create an animation to explain what Vodafone One Net does and the benefits it can bring to businesses. The script was adapted from existing literature and characters were created to help viewers imagine how the service could benefit them.

  • RS Consulting's market research tools / Mair Perkins Ltd: a map theme for a mapping product
  • This is another example from my animation production company. We used a map theme approach to advertise RS consulting’s market research tools, as its product helps its clients map and understand consumer behaviour.
  • The animation is made up of paper-like graphics from pop-up books, maps and decoupage. Our client needed this animation for a marketing campaign launch with a tight deadline so it was a challenge to create something in the time scale that still communicated its messages and was aesthetically pleasing.

I hope you have found these examples useful and inspiring. In a follow-up post I'll go into a bit more detail discussing marketing issues to consider when briefing an agency to make sure the animation fits your objectives.

If you have any further questions or comments about using animation as part of your online marketing, feel free to contact me.

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Website animation techniques and examples

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