Admit it – you love a good animation. Whether it’s a blockbuster Pixar film or something you catch your kids watching on daytime TV, it undoubtedly raises a smile.
More importantly, it probably drew you in and made you feel a particular emotion. Animation is brilliant at doing this: it’s why Disney is the powerhouse it has become and why it’s arguably one of the key storytelling devices that never, ever gets old.
Guess what. You can use animation as part of your content marketing strategy too.
This applies to pretty much every single industry too. There isn’t a product, announcement or event that can’t benefit in some way (big or small) from a dose of animation magic.
If you’re unsure, we’ve got ten ways to include animation in your content marketing strategy going forward.
1. Get a handle on storytelling
As noted at the outset of this blog, animation is all about storytelling, but so too is marketing, which is why the two are so well suited.
However, in order to make the most of animation videos as part of your content marketing strategy, you need to get smart about storytelling. That means any product, event or service you want to advertise needs to have a compelling beginning, middle and end narrative that answers a big question resting on your customers’ lips.
Once you know the story, you can apply it to animation and that’s where the connection with your audience will begin — big time.
2. Do something simple: animate your logo
You’ve undoubtedly seen this a fair few times of late: animated logos.
It’s most comprehensively used as a way to indicate that an app or website is loading or processing something. The company in question’s logo will animate by breaking apart, morphing, spinning around or doing something else uniquely engaging.
This is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to add some life to your brand and personality to your marketing.
3. Work to understand your target audience
Let’s take The Simpsons as an example; they clearly know exactly who their target audience is, but it’s an incredibly smart take. You see, they know that the content they produce works for both young and old audiences and they play to that fact.
You can do the same with your animated content marketing. The more you understand your audience, the more the content can be tuned to work perfectly for them.
When it comes to animation, that means understanding what makes them smile, cry, happy, laugh, sad or determined. Then, you can apply those emotions to your animation to draw them out and keep those people engaged.
4. Look for the right channels
Not every marketing channel suits animated content. For instance, an animated logo isn’t going to have much of an impact on email.
However, if you choose visually-oriented marketing channels, you’ll find the perfect audience for your animation and the perfect vehicle in which to send it to them.
Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are good examples of where animated content works well, so make sure you focus your efforts on those channels first.
5. Tug on heartstrings if you need to
Go on, admit it – you’ve seen an animation of some sort within the last year that has either made you cry or left your eyes slightly ‘watery’.
Some would say that John Lewis started this trend in marketing with their Christmas campaigns which everyone fervently waits for every year.
They work, don’t they?
Tugging on heartstrings is relatively easy to do with animation – you just need that all-important story (see point 1) and the ability to convey it in a way that focuses in on one of the rawest emotions your audience has.
The end result should be something that provides a solution for a fear or troubling emotion your audience can’t seem to shake off. You can be the brand that puts an arm around their shoulder and says, “it’s ok – we’ve got you”, all thanks to animation.
6. Add animated videos to landing pages
Landing pages play a vital role in content marketing. They continue the story and ensure there’s a clear call-to-action (CTA) at the end of it.
Video has long been confirmed as one of the stickiest forms of media you can use on any website, therefore using animated video on your landing pages should increase the chances of people heading towards that CTA.
Remember that humans have terrible attention spans. We need to be captivated instantly if we’re to bother doing anything, which is why animation is the perfect choice to illustrate and visualise a landing page.
7. Ensure the animation is top quality
Unless you’re an experienced, talented animator, this is one element of your content marketing you’ll really need to get some help with.
Animation comes in a huge variety of forms, but most people can spot a hastily put together or sub-par animation a mile off and its cheapness will probably prevent them from watching it through to the end.
With that in mind, make sure you bring in a talented animator or a professional video agency to tell your story. It’ll cost a bit, but pay back dividends if you’ve got the story and target audience nailed.
8. Keep your animated content simple – and short
The best-animated movies have always been the simplest and—sometimes—shortest.
A lost fish trying to find his way home. A bunch of toys that magically come alive when their owner leaves home. A never-ending fight between a cat and mouse.
Chances are, all of your favourite animations were simple and short. This is exactly how you should approach animation in marketing. And it all comes back to the short attention span we have.
You’ve got seconds to draw people in and keep them engaged, so keep it simple.
9. Don’t be afraid to have a laugh
Remember those favourite animations of yours? They’ll almost certainly have had a strong comedic element, too.
Comedy is a hallmark of animation, which is great news for marketers. It means you can have a laugh and sell products at the same time. Providing you’re not laughing at anyone or being overtly offensive, don’t be afraid to let humour shine through within your animated content.
10. Try and get the message across without words
It’s believed that 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound.
This is why so many videos have subtitles, but it should illustrate something else for animated content (if you’ll excuse the pun).
If most of your audience is going to watch the animated content you produce without sound, the visuals clearly need to get the message across without assistance from words.
A voiceover is still important if required, but, once again, if we look at the best examples of animated films, every frame tells a story without speaking a word – make sure your marketing output does the same.
The best thing about animation is that it ages incredibly well, therefore this gives you plenty of opportunity to create evergreen content for your marketing output that really will last the test of time.
Which of our animation for marketing tips above has whetted your appetite the most? Go and get creative, and remember that it really does make sense to bring in some experts if you decide to head down this route for your marketing campaigns.