Why animated video explainers and small business are the perfect fit

- December 22, 2017 4 MIN READ

In order to engage audiences online, you need to be working with the most effective medium. And the numbers are in: it’s a visual world out there.

Sixty-five per cent of the population are visual learners: researchers have found that by pairing concepts with meaningful visuals, ideas are more likely to be stored in viewers’ long-term memories. Visuals help us make sense of content, and also capture and direct our attention as required.

What does this mean for your business? Well, we aren’t just visual learners. The power of the visual also extends to our spending habits. Studies show that including video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%, and after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.

If your small business hasn’t already dabbled in the world of visual content, the time to start is now. And the best place to start? Animated explainer videos.

Why animate?

Animated explainer videos blend professional quality audio with real-time illustrations that come to life before the viewer’s eyes, make even the most complex or bland material interesting and accessible. They give your brand the opportunity to quickly and accurately get a message across, and they are cost effective to boot.

Key benefits of animation include:

  • The ability to explain complex, difficult or instruction-laden topics.
  • A fast turnaround and instant impact.
  • The ability to utilise your video asset in multiple formats and platforms such as GIFs, social media, email, websites.
  • The ability to connect digital content by showing people exactly where to click, how to download, what to visit and how to act.

Read on as we delve into a few reasons why animated explainer videos should be on your radar.

Mass appeal, minimum cost

Animation is effective for any marketing need: telling your brand’s story, product explainer videos, infographics, and release announcements. They are also much more cost (and time) effective than a live video, which often involves spending tens of thousands of dollars, searching for a spokesperson, actors, shooting and cutting film. For small businesses without bottomless marketing budgets, this often isn’t an option.

Complex content made simple

The simpler the image, the easier it is for our brains to process and relate to it, so the format and structure of animated explainers is perfect for learning and retention.

Animated video brings concepts to life that text or live videos can’t. With the help of animation, you can use your characters to do any number of impossible things to show how mechanisms and processes work. A great example of using animation for explanation is TED-Ed. With more than 3 million subscribers, Ted-Ed is one of the most popular educational channels on YouTube, and most videos created by the team use animation.

The advantage of having the full visual history of the topic displayed on one canvas is also optimal for long-term memory retention and concept processing. The result? Animated videos will hold a viewers’ attention substantially longer than other types of videos, and they also help us understand the content that’s being presented.

An appeal to our emotions

The step-by-step unveiling of the key messages in an animated explainer video builds anticipation in the brain. Each ‘reveal’ causes little bursts of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, which means viewers are being rewarded by their own brains just to keep watching.

Animation can also evoke a sense of nostalgia—most of us associate cartoons with childhood and viewing cartoon-style animation causes us to associate the topic being explained (and in turn, your brand) with positive emotions. 

The viral effect

Not only do they evoke emotion and capture attention, animated explainer videos also have mass appeal—they are accessible to any age, gender, to the informed industry expert or the uninitiated. As touched on above, animation also evokes a sense of nostalgia that resonates with viewers, which leads to increased engagement and content sharing.

One study compared 1000 animated video viewers and 1000 ‘talking head’ viewers (from age 22 to 65+) and found that viewers of animated content were three times more likely to share the video on social media and were twice as likely to both recommend and buy the service, as well as to recall the facts and message being delivered.

Ready to animate your message?

A digital design agency will work with you to turnaround a quality visual product—the process usually takes just a few weeks from initial briefing to final video launch. If you prefer to go it alone, then start with your script. Explainer videos should generally be 30 to 90 seconds in length, which translates into a written script of around 200 words or less in most cases.

Once you have your script worked up and have made decisions about your visual outline, have a look at some of the animation tools out there. Here are two options:

  • Animoto: a nice tool for creating videos from photos, with a number of templates. Packages start at US$8/month and there is a free 14-day trial available.
  • Animatron: a great free online animation maker which allows you to create your own animations from scratch, or use pre-animated objects available in their market.

Keep your visuals simple, and use colour to your advantage: researchers have found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on colour alone. By making smart choices with colour in your animated video, you can not only influence buyer behaviour, but also strengthen your brand awareness with your audience.

Additionally, if you customise the characters of the video to reflect your target audience’s style, look, age, etc. you’ll generate a strong emotional bond and build trust with your customer base.

If you are stuck for inspiration, there are a ton of great examples of animated explainer videos out there. Here are a few of our favourites. They are all simple, informative, effective, and light-hearted—a winning combination.

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