Online Video Content: Is Animation Worth It?I’m a believer in animation for content marketing. At the simplest level, it can add some pizzazz to PowerPoint, and at its most extensive, animation can illustrate an entire brand idea better than video. One reason is that there is no limit to what you can illustrate. If you want to show planets spinning around a star, race cars flying around a track, or dragons attacking a medieval village, it would take some doing to create that using video. But a clever Flash developer can create some really impactful material showing those ideas in short order.

At a previous company, I used animation all the time. The marketing department created a ton of short, one to two-minute videos for the website, blog, social networks, sales presentations, live and recorded webinars, and trade shows. A lot of work by the company’s exceptional designers went into them, and they had no shortage of places to use them.

My favorite was a Flash piece built as a graphic novel. It stopped people in their tracks in front of the trade show booth. It also supported several webinars as well as held a prominent position on the website. It encapsulated, in just about two minutes, everything the company was doing at the time.

Another set of animations were used to highlight graphs during a webinar on mobile technology. These were simpler. In a nutshell, standard images that are normally used to support a data point were shown to expand and draw themselves as I talked about the purpose of the data or concept.

Some companies like Hubspot are able to push the envelope with their hilarious music videos, but the rest of us are limited in budget, time and a crowd of employees willing to dance for leads. If you want to gin up some great dynamic presentations that can be shared by your audience, and will raise interest in your brand, what kind of criteria should go into your decision to animate?

  • Is your product visual? If you have a software tool or a manufactured product, it can be shown in graphic detail. However, it is important to use the product for sales enablement materials and demonstrations, but only sparingly, if at all, for content marketing efforts.
  • Can your topics be visually displayed? If you can illustrate the various concepts met by your solution in a graphic that builds, expands or morphs to capture the interest of the audience, this is a good way to employ animation in your materials.
  • Do you have visual imagination? If you are able to visualize your business concepts in a way that will readily appeal to viewers, this is a chance to put that talent to good use. It’s time to start building storyboards that will help designers and developers build your ideas.
  • Do you have access to visual talent? If you have great developers in-house who are able to design and build animated graphics, this is a boon to your visual marketing efforts. As long as you have the vision and ideas, you can also contract with designers from outside the business, provided you have the budget.
  • Do visual images appeal to your audience? Finally, graphics and animation won’t matter unless your viewers appreciate visual images and dynamic content. A lot of decision-makers still focus more on written text than on visuals, especially if the images define an abstract concept instead of a tangible product.

Animation can be a truly rich addition to your online video content, able to showcase topics and ideas that cannot be covered by a talking head or a static slide. It brings life to research graphics and charts, and it can illustrate intangible concepts in a way that words cannot describe. You can edit and update animations more easily than video, and you have complete control over how the images appear.

If you decide to use animation for your content marketing and sales materials, you will very likely find your efforts worthwhile.