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Pictures Worth More Than a Thousand Words: Using Animated Video in Online Marketing Campaigns

Monday, November 26th, 2012 by Craig Smiskol

Today’s online marketing campaigns are often forced into the small smartphone viewing area, where everything that can be “above the fold” must be “above the fold.” The name of the game is still the same, however: Getting consumers’ attention and holding it long enough to create an impression that leads to action.

Animated videos can do just that by breathing life into online marketing campaigns, where the need for original content is often great. Motion brings energy. Colors capture attention. Sound sets the mood. The trick, of course, is doing it well. Here are a few tips for success:

1. Animated online marketing campaigns should be web-based (hosted on a web server), as opposed to embedded in email.

MS Outlook uses MS Word as its operating platform, so animated gifs and videos embedded in email won’t work in MS Outlook and many other email applications. If your animated online marketing campaign begins with an email to an end user, they can click to view the animated content on a web server.

2. Test your videos on personal computers, various smartphones, and tablets to make sure end users can view your video on multiple devices—and read all your video content on smaller screens.

Adobe Flash issues on smartphones may be resolved in the future, but for now, rely on other video formats. If your target audience is large enough, you may want to build a larger video for personal computers and tablets and a smaller version (with larger text) for smartphone users. Depending on your web platform, you may be able to use a script to auto-detect if an end user is viewing your message on a personal computer or portable device. Users can then view the version of your video that works best on their device.

3. Keep your videos short and sweet—and satisfying.

If possible, limit yourself to one phrase instead of a full sentence on each video screen. (Yes, content is king, but the king must be brief when boxed into a small mobile phone viewing area.) To increase viewers’ attention spans in a world where so much is clickable, keep your animated videos short and speedy. “Phrasing” your script can give your video the speed it needs to succeed.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an animated video can be worth a whole lot more. To add animated video to your next online marketing campaign, contact the Content Bureau team.

Craig is a designer with the Content Bureau.

is a member of the Content Bureau design team.

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