According to Forrester Research's Dr. James McQuivey, "a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words." While this controversial factoid smacks of Donald Trump-esque hyperbole, the power of online video for marketers is undeniable:
- According to MarketingProfs, 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium.
- Forbes insights found that 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week.
- And Vidyard revealed that 82% of B2B marketers reported achieving success with their video marketing initiatives.
The list of these impressive stats from countless sources goes on and on, but the bottom line is that if you are not marketing with video, you are losing business to those who do.
Marketing video productions come in many different styles and approaches, all of which can be effective when done correctly. Live-action productions, like this hilarious example below, can be amazing, but come with the challenge of dealing with actors, cameras, lighting, locations, pre and post production, and much more.
Since the logistics and/or the budgets of live-action productions can be cost-prohibitive for many marketers, animations like ours at Gisteo are an excellent choice for a wide-array of companies and applications. These versatile, affordable videos truly are the “Swiss army knives” of marketing and, when done correctly, can be the digital gift that keeps on giving.
With that in mind, let’s review 5.5 specific ways smart marketers use animated videos.
1. Add an animated video to your homepage
This is perhaps the “mother” of all animated marketing video uses. Your website homepage is likely the single most visited page of your site. You’ve got a precious few seconds to communicate the essence of your value proposition before visitors click off your page and move on to the next site or online activity.
Many marketers make the mistake of overloading their sites with far too much text that today’s busy consumers would rather not read. Smart marketers, on the other hand, streamline their copy and integrate an animated explainer or promotional video into their homepage design. By placing an engaging animated video on your website, you can help reduce bounce rates while increasing the amount of time users spend there, two important factors to improving SEO performance. More importantly, homepage videos can help improve conversions by up to 20%, according to Reel SEO.
Don’t be afraid to give your animated video plenty of real estate either. You don’t want people to have to hunt for the video or click on a tiny link to discover that it is there. At Gisteo, we prominently place our own intro video above the fold, making it hard to miss. This video has been critical to the company’s success since launching in 2011 and has always played a very visible role on our homepage.
2. Upload your animated video to YouTube
You may be saying to yourself “duh!” after reading this one. If so, feel free to skip to #3 on this list, but you may be surprised at just how many people are still failing to capitalize on this simple way to showcase their marketing video and reach a wider audience. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, right after its parent company, Google. That’s right – more searches are conducted on YouTube than on Bing or Yahoo so if for no other reason than that, posting your video to YouTube is a no-brainer.
Furthermore, explanatory or instructional videos make up 67% of YouTube viewership worldwide, so your animated video is likely to find a healthy audience and may even get shared on other social media platforms. Don’t forget to add a relevant video title, along with a detailed description and tags. You can also put a link to your URL in the description text, as well on your video “cards” (as YouTube calls them), in order to potentially drive traffic back to your site.
3. Use an animated video in your email campaign
Email marketing is one of the best resources for businesses to communicate with their target audience. It can be challenging, however, to create an email message that stands out and truly engages people.
Adding an animated video to your email just may be the “secret sauce” that gives your campaigns the edge over those of your competitors. One case study reported by Vidyard showed that emails with a video call-to-action had a 53% higher click-to-open rate on average over those with no obvious mention of video. The same study also found that those who interacted with video in the email were significantly more likely to make a purchase.
One thing to keep in mind when using your animated video for email campaigns: not all email platforms support video. For now, the safer approach is to show a static thumbnail image (with the play symbol or video player clearly visible) of the video within the body of the email itself. Then, simply link that image to YouTube or wherever you are hosting the video, so when someone clicks the image, they will be taken directly to the video. Here’s an example of this approach from a recent email campaign effort that I received:
4. Arm your sales force with an animated video to use in the field
If your sales team goes out in the field for a number of face-to-face meetings with prospects or existing clients, an animated video can be an excellent “arrow” to include in your sales force “quiver.” It’s a great way to provide an overview of your business, showcase difference aspects of your service, explain the key points of a specific offering, etc. Your salespeople can easily show the video to clients or prospects using their laptop or tablet. If they are presenting to a larger group, it can be shown on a projector, for example, as a perfect primer to the discussion.
Here is an example of an animated explainer video that we created for OpenTable sales reps to use out in the field when the company launched a new program targeting restaurant owner/operators:
We are often asked to develop animated videos for use at trade shows. Videos can be effective at both attracting people to your space and keeping them there. You can use your video either on an elevated screen in your booth, so that people can see it from afar, or on a desktop computer for more one-on-one conversations. Animated videos like this make perfect ice-breakers and conversation pieces to better engage prospects.
Due to the noise at conference exhibit halls, we’ll often make kinetic typography (animated text) videos for clients so the message can be easily grasped without needing to follow a voice over.
Here are just a couple of examples of the many like this that we have produced:
Since the holiday season is upon us, I thought I’d offer up a timely bonus way to use your animated video. Instead of sending static images in an email or standard paper cards out to your clients and partners, how about spicing things up with an animated holiday card? You can share it via email (see use #3) or social media and it will surely make more of an impact than your run-of-the-mill card with a picture of a wreath on it.
We’ve created such animated holiday video cards for one of our clients, Lionbridge, every year for the past several years.
Lionbridge is a global firm specialized in translation and localization services so our cards always have an international, multilingual flair. Last year, the video we created for them included team members from their different offices around the world saying “Happy Holidays” in their native tongue:
There are, in fact, countless additional ways to utilize animated videos in marketing. So many, in fact, that this list only represents the tip of the iceberg. We’ll discuss some more great ways to use animated videos in our next post.
For now, just remember that smart companies who incorporate video into their overall marketing strategy in the ways covered here enjoy higher engagement rates, higher click-through rates and higher conversion rates. This trend is only going to continue in 2016 and beyond, so the time is now to develop a robust video marketing strategy if you are not already doing so!
About the Writer
Stephen Conley is the Founder & Creative Director at Gisteo. Since 2011, he has overseen the production of nearly 700 animated marketing videos for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to tech start-ups.