If you are marketing any sort of product or service, you’ve undoubtedly realized that YouTube is an important marketing tool. With more than a billion unique users every month and more than 6 billion hours of video watched every month, it only makes sense to promote your company, product, or service online.
Now granted, not everyone using YouTube is watching to learn something — there are far too many funny cat videos on the site with millions of views to make that argument. However studies show that a high percentage of YouTube users are in fact using the site to search for work-related information as well as how-to videos and other useful information.
In fact, according to one study in Forbes, more than 50 percent of executives report watching work-related or business videos on YouTube every week, and of those, 65 percent visit the marketer’s website after watching.
But while it’s clear that YouTube is important for marketing purposes, the question then becomes “What should we put up there?” The answer is animation.
Why Animated Videos Work
You might be thinking to yourself, “But wait. I’m trying to reach executives. These are serious people. They don’t want to watch an animated video.”
The truth is, though, that animation works. Think about what type of video you would rather watch: Another talking head, who may or may not be an actual representative of the company, regurgitating talking points, or a fun, animated video that brings the concept to life with catchy music, a likeable character, and simple explanations?
The truth is, the reason that animation is so powerful goes beyond simple preference. As it turns out, humans are actually wired to be visual learners. According to molecular biologist John Medina, vision is the most important of all the senses, as the recognition and recall of information increases dramatically when it’s presented visually.
However, taking that one step further, illustrations are actually an even more powerful form of visual communication than photographic images or those taken with a video camera. Illustrations, according to anthropologists, tap into the innate form of symbolic communication that’s embedded deep in everyone’s brain.
Illustrations clarify things, even when we don’t necessarily speak the same language.
One of the best examples of this symbolic form of communication are road signs. Many road signs, particularly warning signs, include an illustrated representation of the potential danger or prohibited action. Some might seem somewhat comical, or even open to interpretation, but most people can see a sign with, say, a drawing of a bicycle crashing into a rock and the bicyclist being thrown into the air and understand that there is a hazard ahead.
Because humans naturally understand illustrations, it only makes sense then that illustrations can, and should, be used to express complex ideas.
Using Animation in Marketing
With that understanding of human biology and the powerful of illustrations, it begins to make more sense why animated YouTube videos are such a powerful marketing tool. But on a more practical level, there are other reasons that animation works so well on YouTube.
1. Animation Keeps Attention
We’ve all heard it a million times: Internet users have short attention spans. Animation helps attract attention and keep it. It’s not just another guy in a suit talking about mission, vision, and goals. It’s a fun character getting a solution to his problem.
2. Animation Simplifies Complex Topics
One of the most common uses for animated videos is to explain complex or multifaceted concepts in a simple way. Animation brings things to life in a way that mere text cannot. Animation can show people things that they might not otherwise see: Demonstrating how technology works, for instance, or explaining a process that is otherwise invisible.
3. Animation Is Fun
Most of us equate animation with childhood, and fun, good times. People love watching cartoons, even if they are talking about a business concept. And considering that a good percentage of people using YouTube go there to be entertained, making your company videos entertaining is a must.
One of the best aspects of using video for your YouTube marketing is that it tends to be considerably less expensive than other forms of video. Instead of spending time finding the right spokespeople or actors, you can create the perfect character. That’s not to say that you should never use live action videos, but you can generally make an animated video in a fraction of the time and with significantly less cost.
Video is a powerful marketing tool no matter the platform you choose. Research shows that video increases click-throughs, both on social media and in email, and most executives would much rather watch a video than read text. When it comes to creating your videos, especially for YouTube, don’t dismiss the idea of animation, because it could be just what your business needs to get viewers and make more sales.