By Olga Bedrina

As we move toward the end of 2016, many experts are beginning to look to the future and make predictions about what content marketing will look like for the rest of the year and beyond. While the need to create relevant, engaging content still remains at the forefront of any solid strategy, there is also a growing sense that content must become more interactive and visual in order to appeal to audiences. As Michael Brenner of the Marketing Insider Group stated, “Visual content continues to dominate. As a society we are consuming more visual content.”

Animation Statistics

While visual content can mean anything from photos and infographics to gamification and videos, one of the hottest trends in visual content is animation. While some may dismiss animation as being too complicated to create, or not in line with their brand, consider these statistics.

  • Everyone is doing it. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 82 percent of B2B and 79 percent of B2C companies are using video in their content marketing plans.
  • Nobody has time for that. Consumers are becoming ever more impatient with content that is too long or too difficult to consume. They don’t want to read long blog posts that don’t contain many visuals, or have to constantly click to close ads as they read. They want content that is entertaining, gets to the point, and offers value — and a short animated video can do just that.
  • Easier for everyone. Animated videos help marketers avoid common mistakes and challenges. There’s no need to worry about lighting, sound, or uncomfortable and monotone speakers. Can’t find the perfect spokesperson? Create one. There’s no need to invest in expensive equipment for an animated video either; with an online animation maker, you can easily create your own videos right in-house without a major investment.
  • Major growth potential. Animated content can grow your business. One of the most commonly cited examples of animated video success is Dropbox, which added an animated explainer video to its homepage — and saw 10 million new customers sign up and a $48 million increase in revenue. Other studies show animated videos having the potential to increase traffic by almost 200 percent.
  • Better for consumption and sharing. More than half of executives report that they would rather watch a video than read text — and they report watching at least one business-related video every week. In fact, the vast majority of internet traffic is actually video, and 64 percent of consumers who watch a video are more likely to purchase a product. Videos are more likely to be shared. More than 90 percent of people who watch video on their mobile devices share it with their friends and followers, especially if it is entertaining or funny. Clearly, animated video is a tactic you need to consider.

Why Animation Is So Popular

The success of animated video marketing begs the question of why it works. Why do people respond so favorably to animated videos?  For starters, animation gets attention — and keeps it. A well-produced animation can both entertain and educate the audience, distilling complex topics into an easily digestible format. And since information is typically presented both visually and aurally, viewers are more likely to remember the information than if they only read it.

From a marketing perspective, animation allows you more control over your branding and your image than a live video might. You can create an image of your ideal customer, use colors, images, and language that is more reflective of your brand, and bring the experience of your company to life in a way that might not be possible with other forms of content.

Maximizing Your Video

If you have decided to take the plunge and add animation to your content marketing strategy, there are a few important points to keep in mind to ensure it gets results.

  1. Keep it short. Users don’t have the patience for long videos. Keep your video under two minutes, remembering that you are simply trying to get people interested in what you have to offer and to respond to you. You don’t need to include every single detail in the initial video.
  2. Keep it customer-focused. Your audience wants to know what’s in it for them, and how you can ease their pain. Don’t focus on your company or the features of the product. The video should be about what you and your product can do for your customers.
  3. Include a call to action. What do you want people to do after viewing the video? Ask them to do it, and make it easy to follow through.
  4. Focus on branding. Animated videos are an ideal format for your key messages, imagery, and other aspects of your brand.

Content marketing is constantly changing and evolving, and for now, it’s moving in the direction of visual communication. As you begin planning for the future, don’t overlook the idea of including animation, as it could be just the thing to take your strategy to a whole new level.