Author: Alex Herder
As content and personal media feeds becomes increasingly competitive, the importance of standing out from the crowd cannot be overstated. We all know that social platforms are pushing video, but despite their overall popularity, animated videos are still an underused part of the video content mix.
Today, I’ll be delving into my top 10 reasons why animated videos can make a significant difference in boosting your marketing efforts, especially when compared with live action video.
1. Animation Prompts Increased Engagement
When it comes to marketing content, capturing and retaining audience attention are the table stakes. Animated videos, especially high quality animated videos, do just that because they look different. Depending on the context and the placement, well-designed animation stands out. By combining captivating visuals with dynamic motion, they draw in viewers and keep them engaged longer than static images or text-heavy content. This engagement is critical to the success of any marketing campaign, as it translates to higher click-through rates and ultimately, more conversions.
If you can afford to commit (and it might be worth considering the cost of not committing if you think you can’t), incorporating a consistent animated video style like that used in CNAS’s “In Short” series across all of your content takes this idea further, by fostering familiarity and trust with your audience. Over time, as viewers become accustomed to seeing and liking content that’s produced with your unique visual language and storytelling approach, they begin to associate it with your brand. This familiarity not only helps strengthen the emotional connection between your audience and your brand but also contributes to building brand loyalty, as fans learn to recognize and trust the content you create.
2. Animation Enables Flexible Storytelling
Great marketing is all about telling a story that resonates with your audience. And animation offers an unparalleled canvas for creative storytelling. Whether you’re looking to convey a simple message, leave audiences with a grin and a warm feeling, or create a strong emotional connection, animation is surprisingly good at all of those things. Through the use of captivating characters, imaginative worlds, and thought-provoking themes, animated videos help your brand build a lasting relationship with your audience.
3. Animation is Versatile in Style and Tone
This is an extension of point 2. After more than a decade of creating animated content, I am no longer surprised when someone says something like: “Animation? No, I don’t think cartoons are the right fit for our brand.” I understand the impulse, because of course Disney-style animation isn’t appropriate for most brands, but the term animation covers so much more than that.
Animation offers a wide array of styles and techniques, from 2D and 3D to motion graphics and stop-motion. You can do anything!! This diversity allows you to tailor the style of your animated video to perfectly align with your brand identity and message. Whether you’re aiming for a playful, whimsical approach or a sleek, professional tone, animation offers the flexibility to create a video that resonates with your target audience.
Here are some examples of the diversity of styles animation can cover:
4. Animation is Easily Adaptable for Different Platforms
Animated videos are versatile content that can be easily formatted for various platforms, including social media, websites, and ad campaigns. There’s a lot more to this, which will be explored in a later blog post, but because most animation is created entirely in the computer — we’re not using filmed video — it’s very easy to plan for multiple formats in a way that feels native to each one. By creating a single animated video and then optimizing versions of it for each context and viewer, you can effectively reach a wider audience with consistent messaging, reinforcing your brand’s presence across multiple channels. This adaptability ensures that your marketing efforts achieve maximum impact, regardless of the platform.
5. Animation Simplifies Complex Ideas
In the fast-paced world of marketing, clearly communicating your message is essential. Animated videos excel at breaking down complex concepts into easily digestible visual elements. Our own studio started as an “explainer studio” doing exactly this for public interest concepts for groups like the World Bank and the Pew Charitable Trusts, and it’s a big piece of what we do still to this day.
One of the things I like to say is that in animation you can take the viewer on a journey that starts inside a blood cell, visually showing the unique way that hemoglobin binds oxygen, and just a few seconds later be exploring the galaxy. From technical and scientific explanations to abstract concepts, the flexibility of the medium makes it easy to create visually appealing and engaging content to help your audience better understand your product, service, or anything else.
In our How Ads Work series produced with Axios for Meta, we use animation to explain the science behind targeted advertising.
6. Animation Improves Message Retention
One of the most significant benefits of animated videos is their ability to enhance memory recall. Humans are visual animals. We evolved to use visual input to build a model of our world. Even seeing an image for just 13 milliseconds can create a memory, and 50% of our neural tissue is related to visual processing, which is more than all the senses combined.
But all of that is just the visual elements. Remember that animated content is usually structured in the form of a story, and stories are how we make sense of the world. Visual elements combined with motion and sound create a multisensory experience in the context of a story that is more easily remembered than text alone. By presenting your marketing message in an engaging and memorable format you increase the likelihood that your audience will retain your message and recall your brand when making purchasing decisions.
7. Animation has Universal Appeal
Unlike live-action videos, which may inadvertently reflect cultural biases or preferences, animation can offer a more neutral canvas for creating universally appealing content. Because of the flexibility of the medium, animated videos are also easy to adapt to local contexts, helping to transcend cultural and language barriers and connect with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Adapting on-screen text and voice-overs in multiple languages enables your brand to connect with diverse audiences worldwide in an authentic way. And by carefully crafting characters, stories, and visuals that are relatable to a wide range of audiences, your brand can effectively build connections with viewers from different parts of society and the world, fostering inclusivity and expanding your reach in the global market.
8. Animation is Better for the Environment
Creating animated videos is an environmentally friendly alternative to live-action productions, which often involve physical sets, props, and transportation. Conducting and filming basic interviews remotely over Zoom, Riverside, or other tools has gotten much better since pandemic but the minute you have to fly a crew across the country or bring 20-100 people together for a shoot your carbon budget goes through the roof. The digital nature of animation reduces waste and energy consumption, making it a more sustainable choice for your marketing campaigns and aligning with the growing demand for eco-friendly business practices.
9. Animation is (Usually) More Cost-Effective
This is a little bit of a red herring, because it’s not always true. Animation is almost always more expensive per minute than a simple “talking head” style interview video, or a Ken Burns-style compilation of b-roll and stock photography. But, when you compare the costs of animation to a full commercial shoot with actors, extras, wardrobe, props, sets, and all the trimmings, it can be much more budget-friendly than live-action productions. Additionally, animated videos typically have a longer shelf life, as they are less likely to become outdated, providing a better return on investment (ROI) for your marketing budget.
10. Animated Content is Easy to Update and Repurpose
Piling onto the cost comparisons between live action and animation: It’s easy to update. When we’ve worked on live action commercial projects, there’s always been this paranoia about not getting everything we might want “in the can” for later editing. Because if it’s not captured during the shoot, it doesn’t exist! With animation that’s just not the case.
The ever-evolving landscape of marketing requires content that can adapt and remain relevant. Animated videos are uniquely suited to meet this challenge. They can be easily updated and modified to accommodate changing marketing needs, such as updating product features or introducing new services. This adaptability extends the life of your video content, providing long-term value and ensuring that your marketing investment continues to pay off.