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Supercharge: The Power Of Animations In Digital Marketing
Matt Whitfield : Aug 28, 2023 6:43:23 AM
Let’s face it. People dislike ads. They’re a nuisance. Something to be ignored. Something to be blocked altogether. At best, our audiences might briefly glance over an ad before continuing to thumb through social media or research a topic on Google.
When it comes to telling your brand’s story to an online audience, you can't afford to be boring. That’s where the use of animation comes in.
Animation can make digital content more colorful, more visual, and more appealing to viewers. It makes it impactful. It makes it memorable. Animation adds emotion and context. It allows people to connect with brands. It hooks your audience and keeps them wanting more. It simplifies your message and helps make information quicker to digest and easier to remember. It’s also one of the most cost-effective ways to build a strong brand identity.
If you want your audience to look at you, animation is the key to captivation. From Facebook and Instagram to banner ads, visual content is the name of the game. It’s the winning move for boosting engagement and conversion rates. By giving your assets a little bit of pop and movement, you can create engaging and memorable content that can directly lead to higher conversion rates more effectively. Plus, when done right, animated content consistently outperforms their static cousins in awareness, engagement, and conversion metrics. Animation is a game-changing tool, and if you’re still stuck on using static images, you won’t even be playing in the same league.
Sure, static content has its uses, which we will cover later in this article, but in this piece, we'll show you how animation can take your digital marketing efforts from good to epic. From creating eye-catching content to skyrocketing conversions with animated ads, we'll cover it all.
Create Engaging Content with Animations
When it comes to animation, the possibilities are endless. Whether it's animated videos, GIFs or mini-videos, there's no limit to the content you can create with animation.
Animations are the best way to convey complex ideas in a way that people will actually care about. Trust us. With attention spans as short as they are today, you’ll need something that can hook your audience. And when boring static images or plain text aren't cutting it, and you're wondering why, we hope you'll remember this article.
Types of Animations and When to Use Them in Digital Marketing
Animation can help explain complex ideas for all audiences to understand. So let’s talk about all the different types.
2D animation - Motion graphics & cartoons.
3D animation - Adds depth and realism.
Stop-motion animation - Compilation of photos that create motion
Whiteboard animation - Animated images or text on whiteboard
Motion graphics animation - Visual elements that convey a message.
Explainer videos - Explain a product, service, or concept
GIFs - Used heavily on Social Media
Cinemagraphs - Photos with small, repeating animation
Before you start animating, it's crucial to understand your audience and business goals. Different animations have different strengths. You need to understand which format and style will make your audience go wild.
HTML vs GIF?
Animated banners attract more interest, making them desirable for any business. When it comes to animation in the digital banner world, there are two types you need to know about: HTML and GIF.
HTML5 banners are like mini websites in a container, while GIFs are a sequence of image frames. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.
A sequence of image frames
Multiple lines of code and images
Large file sizes
Allows more complex animations at small sizes
Limited color palette
Wide range of color options
Limited animation options
Native web transitions and animation
Low quality and resolution
High-quality and responsive ads
Compatible with most devices
Compatible with most devices
Can include interactive forms & buttons
Easy to create and share
Time-consuming and requires coding skills
Can increase click-through rates
Can also increase click-through rates
HTML allows for complex animations and transitions, and are highly responsive, compatible with most devices, and easier to fit within size limits. GIFs are simple to create and cost-effective, but they can be limited in animation, color, and interactivity. They also can result in larger file sizes.
Ultimately, HTML5 banners produce higher quality and more impressive results, making them a better choice over GIFs.
Best Practices for Animations
Creating content that grabs people's attention isn't as simple as slapping together a few images. It takes finesse and skill to make your work stand out from the rest.
Here are some best practices for animating text, graphics, and characters in digital marketing:
- Start with a storyboard.
- Avoid overcrowding with too much text or too many elements.
- Use contrasting colors or font styles to make text stand out and draw attention to key points.
- Keep design elements, font styles, and color schemes consistent throughout.
- Ensure the pacing is engaging but not overwhelming.
- Guide the viewer's attention by highlighting text, using arrows, or other design elements.
- Keep the target audience in mind.
- Test the animation with a small group of people and refine based on feedback.
If that seems like a lot — it is. Animation is a true work of art, and we've got to give credit where credit is due. Luckily, animators and animation teams have plenty of programs to create mind-blowing content. Programs like 3ds Max (Autodesk), After Effects (Adobe), Animate (Adobe), and Blender (The Blender Foundation) are animators' best friends.
Is Animation Better Than Static?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Yes, but…
The decision of choosing between static and animated ads is not as straightforward as it may seem. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and how many resources you’re willing to put into it. Static ads are great because they’re easy and inexpensive to create, but they can be quite limiting. Animated ads require more effort and investment, but they create a more comprehensive and tailored ad experience.
What Are Your goals?
When it comes to determining whether animation or static ads are right for you, first, you need to understand your goals. If your goal is to increase awareness, then absolutely — animation wins. But when it comes to getting an audience to click on a clear call-to-action in a simple, cost-effective way, maybe consider static.
While animated ads offer eye-catching visuals, they may not always get to the call-to-action as quickly as a static asset. If your message is simple and your budget is short, a static option may be a better fit for your campaign.
It's also important to consider the different needs of your campaign. If you want to reach a large audience with a broad message, then static advertising can be effective. For example, if your copy is "30% Off — This Weekend Only," it's probably better to go the static route.
However, if you want to target an audience with a particular product or service, animated ads may be the way to go. With the ability to customize content based on user interests, animation can provide a highly targeted approach to advertising.
The Pros and Cons of Static
- Static banner ads are easy and cheap to produce with no programming skills required.
- They can display almost anywhere and fit into existing advertising ecosystems.
- They are useful for a range of messages, whether advertising a product, service, or seasonal/fixed aspect of a business.
- Generic messaging is used to appeal to a wide audience, which can be a negative if it misses the target audience.
- They’re designed to be clicked, and may not be as attention-grabbing as interactive ads.
The Pros and Cons of Animation
- Animated ads are ideal for Google retargeting to convert clicks into conversions.
- Animated banner ads can be tailored to a user's specific interests by using cookies to display different products or prices.
- Interactive elements, such as surveys or product scrolling, can also be included.
- Animated ads are highly customizable and can leave a lasting impression on users by speaking directly to their needs.
- Tailored animated ads often provide a higher return on investment with higher clickthrough and conversion rates.
- Creating effective animated ads is difficult and requires expertise, market research, time, and money.
- Sometimes the cost of animation does not outweigh the increase in performance.
When used correctly, animated videos can explain the benefits of your product or service in a way that's easier to understand and more memorable. Using animation can increase trust and audience engagement, which can lead to higher conversions. But, you may find that according to your specific goals and budgets, static may be the way to go after all.
How They Can (and Should) Work Together
Static and dynamic ads can complement each other rather than compete against each other. Because they are cheaper and less costly to make, static ads can be a more cost-effective way to discover different audiences and collect leads. Once you have an audience segment in your crosshairs, you can deliver more specific animated ads that are better at driving home the sale.
Making Sure Animation Gives You The Results You Want
Can Your Audience Even Read Your Copy?
All too often, we see animated assets yield a lower return on ad spend (ROAS) than their static counterparts. But when we take a deeper look, it becomes evident why that is. It's not because they're not clever or creative enough. It's because the messaging animates too quickly.
How can we expect our audience to click on our ads when the very thing we want them to read flashes away as quickly as it pops in? At least with static ads, messaging stays in the frame the entire time, and the audience has time to read, understand, and digest it.
So if you find your static ads are performing better than your animated ads, there are a few things you can do.
— Watch your ads to see if your copy is animating too fast. If it is, try simplifying the messaging, reducing the number of frames, and asking your designer for an option where the copy is visible for longer.
— Add a loop to your animation. Loops give your audience another chance to catch the important parts of the copy.
— On social media, reiterate the important points of your message in your caption copy (sometimes called post copy).
Using Animation for HyperTargeting
The Google algorithm loves animated ads for retargeting purposes. When we say Retargeting, we’re talking about the process of displaying ads to users who have previously shown interest in your brand. It’s an effective way to convert clicks into conversions.
Using cookies, you can create personalized messaging based on your users' interests. This results in a more targeted approach. With information on different target audiences, you can swap out frames to specifically target certain individuals. By creating multiple animations using the same template, you can display different products or prices to different users, ensuring a more tailored experience.
For instance, if you have two separate audiences who love your brand, with one audience liking Product A and the other preferring Product B, you can animate one ad and use the same template for both. By switching out the frames, you can generate an infinite number of different messages using a single template.
Using Animation to To Generate Clicks
When it comes to driving clicks and conversions, remember the bottom-funnel approach. If you need a refresher, we talk about bottom-funnel SaaS messaging in [link to Optimizing Across the Funnel: Keyword Strategies for SaaS]. Bottom-funnel messaging provides the essential details the audience requires to make an online purchase of a product or service.
Assume your audience already knows about your company, already knows your values, and already loves your product. Now, your purpose is to convert! You can afford to keep your messaging straightforward, and your animations less involved. You want to focus on enunciating your call-to-action (CTA) as well as whatever deal or value proposition you’re using.
So instead of animating lots of frames with lines and lines of copy, focus on using animation to highlight the parts of an ad that focus on driving conversions. Copy such as “15% off”, “Limited Time Only” or other urgency messages are proven to drive conversion rates better than any other types of messaging. So why not animate it? Alternatively, you can animate background elements that give your ad some pop — without stealing the spotlight.
Driving Awareness & Boostin Engagement with Animation
Have you ever noticed how much people love fun looping animations? It's no secret that the internet has a passionate love affair with GIFs! But GIFs are just a part of it. By incorporating animated logos, graphics, or effects into your content, you too can use animation for the purpose of driving up engagement.
Animation isn't just about being fun and creative — it's about building your brand to boost engagements and increase awareness. It's a total attention-grabber. People can't help but stop and watch when there's something moving on their screen. With animation, you can get your message across quickly and even inspire your audience to take action, like leaving a comment or sharing your content.
By looping your animations, you can first hook your audience and get them to take action second. Whether it's a video, social media post, or website — if you animate it, people will watch.
Animation is here to stay! And for good reason! With animated videos or GIFs, you can connect with your audience emotionally and create a personalized brand experience that leaves a lasting impression. It's also more cost-effective, engaging, and shareable, meaning you can boost your social engagement and drive a higher conversion rate! By showcasing your company's best features, products, or services in a cool, colorful, and fun way, you can generate higher brand awareness and attract customers like moths to a bug zapper.
When choosing what type of animation to use for your digital marketing campaign, remember it's all about understanding your project goals and target audience. Then, brainstorming ideas with your team members, and designing the perfect animated video or character will take you the rest of the way. Assuming the stakeholders buy into it. Fingers crossed that they do!
Don't forget to follow best practices to avoid any mistakes and ensure success! But if you feel like it's all too much and you'd rather have someone else be there to help, let us know, and we'll work with you to design some animations both you and your client will fall in love with.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us today and let's get animated!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Can Animation Actually Improve Digital Marketing?
If you want to take your marketing game to the next level, animation can lead to skyrocketing conversion rates of up to 85%.
Animation is perfect for giving your ads some storytelling elements! This will make your viewers feel like they're watching a movie or a TV show. It's exciting and unique. Who doesn't love that? It gives you the power to grab your audience's attention and communicate your message in a short amount of time. This means you can attract a broad spectrum of people to your brand and leave a lasting impression on their minds.
Animation is essential for successful marketing campaigns. With it, marketers can simplify complex topics and encourage viewers to take action on their content. This makes marketing more engaging, cost-effective, and memorable for consumers.
Is GIF Pronounced “Giff” or “Jiff?”
Okay, we actually have an answer for this one. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard the story that the original creator of the .GIF went on record to say it’s pronounced “Jiff.” But with all due respect to Steve Wilhite (RIP to this absolute legend of a man), no one gives a sh*t.
We have the real answer. When the digital era was young (even younger than it is today), we all learned about the different formats in which you can save files. We’re talking about the .PDFs, the .JPEGs, the .PNGs, and finally—the .GIF. Remember that strategy meeting? We certainly do.
Now back then, internet culture had not yet latched onto the GIF. So we marketers only ever understood it as a type of file. And so we called them “Jiff files.” Fast forward to today, GIFs are now understood as being less of a file format, and more of a meme format. As a meme, they aren’t “Jiff files,” they’re just “Giffs.”
So in summary, the answer to this controversial question is all about understanding the context in which GIF is being used. When we’re talking about it as a type of file, it’s called a “Jiff,” but when we’re talking about sharing a meme of Michael Scott from The Office, it’s called a “Giff.”
File type — Jiff
Meme — Giff
How Does Animation Help to Engage and Retain Customers?
Animation is a great way to engage and retain customers. With animation, you can create an immersive experience for your customers that's both interesting and memorable. It allows customers to better understand and engage with your message, as well as providing them with an emotional connection with your brand.
If you want to demonstrate your products and services in a visual and engaging manner, animation is the answer! And if you’re planning on scaling up, animation can be used as part of a larger marketing campaign to help increase brand awareness and customer loyalty.
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