It wasn’t long ago that infographics were the secret to creating compelling shareable content. Of course, a good content marketing strategy required producing fun videos as well. Now, motion graphics are becoming a way to combine the two.
The concept of motion graphics isn’t new: You’ve seen them in TV ads when text zooms across the screen or an illustration comes to life. Primitive technology made it impossible for all but the most talented animators to create motion graphics. Now, however, new programs allow even dabblers to put an animated spin on their content.
What’s Driving the Push?
Infographics took off because they allowed content creators to condense complex, wordy information into catchy visuals that, according to studies, more effectively deliver information than plain text.
Just as some ideas are easier to impart in the form of graphics, some ideas are easier to explain in motion. Complex explanations can become vastly simplified when you can show rather than tell, and showing is a lot easier when you have text, animation and audio at your disposal.
One example, created by The Girl Effect, uses kinetic text or animated text that seems to illustrate a situation. Even without visuals other than the text, it demonstrates the importance of this charity:
In addition, video content reaps a lot of benefits in the online world. According to a study by Invodo, Web users typically spend 19 hours a month watching videos, so there is a lot of room to get your message out there. In addition, when they’re available, shoppers will watch product videos about 60 percent of the time. And most incredibly, shoppers are 174 percent more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it.
You could create text content, infographics or videos, but you wouldn’t reap the benefits of the other types — until now. Motion graphics provide a new expressive venue for selling a product or idea or calling viewers to action.
How Are Motion Graphics Created?
There are two ways to create motion graphics. One is to start with the animation itself, and the other is to start with a flat graphic and use software to animate it. Most animators use both methods, depending on what they have and what the final product should look like.
If you already have a full library of digital content, put it through Adobe After Effects, Apple Motion or a similar program. These tools include various plug-ins that allow you to layer elements of an illustration or photo to create a 3D effect or animate specific areas so it looks like something is happening. You don’t have as much room to be creative, but the results attract more attention than their frozen 2D counterparts.
If you have an infographic in Adobe Illustrator format, you have a lot more power to animate your content. For example, CJ Pony Parts created an infographic touting the benefits of staycations and daytrips. To reach a broader audience, they decided to take that static graphic and put it in motion, which resulted in this video:
Starting from Scratch
If you don’t have much content to work with, go back to the drawing board — literally. Start with a basic concept and visual style. Next, come up with the story or write a script of what to say or display. Once the storyboard is created, hire actors to read the lines, illustrators to draw it and animation wizards to work their magic. It takes more time and manpower, but the possibilities are as broad as your imagination (and maybe your budget).
When Clarity Way set out to explain the structure of Mexican drug cartels and why they are so hard to bring down, they realized that a static infographic would not do the subject justice. Instead, they hired an animator who was able to explain this structure in motion. The result was a unique video about a subject that had never really been tackled in this format before.
The Future of Content Marketing?
As the Internet becomes oversaturated with the current forms of content (Yesterday it was article marketing; today it is infographics.), brands have to push harder to be seen. Motion graphics, which play in to viewers’ love of video content, and the ease with which you can get a point across with text, animation and audio on your site are the keys to the future.
Even movie trailers, which typically use clips of video and a voiceover, are fighting to stand out using motion graphics. The 2010 documentary “Waiting for Superman” wanted to grab audiences with a powerful message: we can’t just wait for the American education crisis to solve itself. This trailer masterfully combines powerful music, engaging circular visuals and a strong voiceover to show how change is possible.
As content creators catch on to the popularity of these simple yet powerful messages, we’re sure to see more and more of them used for trailers, product videos and calls to action. As you plan your organization’s content marketing strategy, be sure to consider the benefits of motion graphics.
Originally published Oct 17, 2013 1:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017