Eye-Catching Uses for Animation in Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing team is always looking for creative ways to tell your company’s story. They want something fresh, captivating, and fun to draw people to the website or get people excited about a new product.
Using animation can help a brand convey a simple message or explain complex concepts in a cost-effective and visually appealing way. Animation is very versatile and can be included in your marketing strategy in a number of ways, from adding it to your website to a short brand animation in an email campaign.
What kind of animation should you be using?
For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on motion graphics, which is a particularly effective use of animation when applied to marketing. Motion graphics is a kind of digital animation that includes text and audio to communicate a message to the viewer. It’s commonly used in advertising and in the opening sequences of movies and TV shows, like Mad Men, and can feature music, voice-over, or both.
Let’s go over a few of the ways you can use motion graphics to tell your company’s story.
An animated explainer helps customers understand the value of your product or service. For instance, it can show how to use a product feature or answer common questions about a service. It’s usually composed of four main parts:
- The problem
- The solution (your product or service)
- How the solution works
- A call-to-action
Animated explainers can be used just about anywhere—on your company’s website, social media, or in an email campaign. Just remember these videos should speak directly to your audience and quickly. If you are planning to post the explainer to your social media channels, it should be no longer than one minute.
A brand animation is a short animation that shows the world what your company is all about. It goes beyond explaining in words and text, and also uses visuals and music to inspire an emotional reaction from your audience. Take this eBay brand animation. In about 90 seconds, you are reminded of all the great things you can buy and sell on eBay, that your payment is secure thanks to aligning with PayPal, and that all of this can be done on a mobile device as you lounge by the pool. The flow of the items in the animation make the viewer feel like the process will be smooth and seamless, whether you are buying equipment for your rock band or decking out your home in shabby chic.
A brand animation can live on your website homepage or be a feature of client presentations. They are helpful anywhere you want people to know more about your company, your culture, and your line of products.
Micro-animations are small, functional animations on a website that help guide the user with moving visual cues, often activated when the user interacts with an element on the page. A well-known example of micro-animation is Facebook’s like button. When you hover over the button on your desktop or hold down the button on your phone, a menu of animated faces and icons appear allowing you to convey amazement, laughter, or sadness.
Micro-animations in your web design can show users the results of a desired action, such as having a button morph into a contact form when the user hovers the cursor over it, or can show progress, like an animated bar showing the percentage of your program still left to download. It’s also useful in mobile design, where space for images, buttons, and icons are scarce. Using micro-animation helps users navigate your site, getting them where they want to go faster, but also keeps them engaged by making your site feel more interactive.
3D animation is the process of creating three-dimensional images moving within a digital environment. Unlike 2D animation, the figures in 3D animation appear to have depth. Why does this matter? Realism gives businesses in certain industries, such as construction, infrastructure, medicine, architecture and real estate, a marketing edge. With a more realistic image of a product, service, or location, 3D animation provides the audience, whether employees, industry peers, or customers, a more comprehensive view.
3D animation is prevalent in advertising, especially consumer tech. Chances are the last time you were drooling over a new cell phone commercial, it looked so good because of 3D animation. It can also elevate common objects, like in this Rubbermaid animation promoting its Enhance line of trash cans. If 3D animation has the power to make a garbage bin look good, think of what it could do for your product.
Everyone loves a good GIF
Plenty of companies are using GIFs to grab the eye on social media or show off their fun workplace culture, but the marketing uses for animated GIFs are far more vast than recycling memes. Consider creating motion graphics GIFs to announce a new product or flash sale. Not only are they effective on social media, but GIFs are a good way to draw people into an email or blog post.
Making a GIF is fairly simple, and there are plenty of tools available, including Photoshop, Giphy, and Boomerang for Instagram. Just remember they should be quick and simple, or they may take too long to load on some platforms, like email.
GIFs are a low-cost, low-risk way to experiment with animation. Why not cycle one into your next social media or email campaign and see how your audience responds?
Bonus: Avoid the whiteboard
We all remember the UPS whiteboard ad. It was creative and fun to watch, so of course everyone decided to copy it. Whiteboard ads became so popular, in fact, that it’s sometimes the first thing companies think of when the term animation is mentioned. Unfortunately, the popularity of this style brought an explosion of low-quality, low-budget means of producing them. More than 10 years after the UPS ad debuted, whiteboard animation now seems gimmicky and dated.
An experienced agency has the ability to produce motion graphics animation that’s professional, current, and engaging. Why not tap their creativity for a fresh idea that will make your brand stand out?
What about videos?
Animated videos and live-action videos do have a fair amount of crossover, especially when it comes to engaging your audience. We’ve written about out how to add video to your marketing strategy, and there are many great uses, such as testimonial and interview videos. But there’s way more to cover on video than we have room for in this blog post. That topic deserves a blog post of its own.
The bottom line on animation
Animation is a powerful tool for telling your company’s story, whether it’s using a brand video, explaining a new product, or creating a better user interface on your website. The goal is to grab their attention and keep them watching. We love doing animation, so if you have questions about how you can use animation at your company, feel free to reach out to us.