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Retention on the Rise: Four Ways That Animated Videos Encourage Your Brain to Engage

Creating video content should no longer be an afterthought for marketing teams; it should be a primary tool for audience engagement. And for good reason.

Businesses that use video marketing enjoy 49 percent faster revenue growth than those that don’t. And 90 percent of customers say that videos help them when deciding to buy a product, while 59 percent of company decision makers would rather watch a video than read text.

Videos yield such results because they help audiences engage with content better than the written word. They’re also able to command viewers’ attention for much longer than the average online attention span. Instead of checking out after eight seconds, people watch online videos for an average of 2.7 minutes.

Animated videos, in particular, offer myriad benefits for customer outreach and experience. And organizations should take advantage because today’s animated videos aren’t your grandparents’ cartoons.

Here are four ways to leverage animated video to bolster an organization:


1. Create branded characters for brand attachment and understanding

Choosing a brand-specific character as your “star” that viewers resonate with — such as a mascot or even a caricature of your organization’s well-known president — is essential for translating video content to the experience your company offers.

When the nonprofit St. Louis Arc wanted to illustrate how it delivers therapy for children with disabilities, we helped it create an animated video starring four superheroes who personified the way therapy enhances kids’ abilities: Walk, Talk, Read, and Write. Not only did these superheroes promote audience engagement, but they also simplified the complicated and rather abstract concepts underlying therapy, another big benefit of animation.


2. Expand current marketing tactics to diversify outreach.

With 54 percent of survey respondents wanting more video content from businesses they support, video should be part of a coordinated campaign that lets your audience choose how it engages with your organization.

Animation can create visual consistency so multiple components of a marketing campaign reinforce one another. While an animated video might appear on a company’s website or social media, for example, complementary illustrations could appear in its print materials and presentations. The St. Louis Arc’s superheroes even appeared as costumed characters at a 2017 fundraiser. This kind of coordinated messaging reinforces learning and allows the brain to retain more information.


3. Let your audience speak.

Animated videos can (and should) capture customers’ own words. But with the addition of sound, motion, and visuals, you’re not relegated to only words. These videos can help you shape disparate testimonials into a compelling story that’s accessible to your entire audience and can elicit emotional reactions that forge deeper bonds.

In 2016, we created an animated video that helped the nonprofit museum The Magic House capitalize on this emotional resonance and increase support for its Access for All initiative. The video highlighted the initiative’s free educational experiences it offers tens of thousands of kids each year by reminding viewers of the wonderment initial trips to the museum elicited. Most importantly, that video helped The Magic House realize a more than 100 percent increase in individual donors that year.


4. Don’t just focus on the foreground — use the background, too.

Sometimes, letting your audience take a peek behind the curtain can be one of the best ways to get past the promotional taglines and sound bites. It can also enhance your organization’s authenticity and transparency, which consumers value.

In fact, as of 2015, 80 percent of consumers said they preferred videos about how products work or how they’re made. After all, videos are meant to be an experience, not simply a regurgitation of the products or services you offer.

Video is expected to account for 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021. And one of the best parts of animation? It’s much cheaper and faster to produce than traditional live video. Animated characters don’t require a paycheck, and editing a frame of illustrations is much easier than reshooting a live scene.

With their creative flexibility, heightened capacity for engagement, and cost-effectiveness, animated videos are a boon for any organization. So what are you waiting for?

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