Since early 2020, we have all been limited to the confines of our homes in varying extensiveness and varying periods of time, because of the global pandemic. This has changed our lives radically, on a personal level but also in the ways we see and interact with the world. We’ve had to rely on our screens and the internet to connect. Businesses who had had to close their doors, had to open up to the internet. Suffice to say, that for the survival, and often the evolution of these businesses, they all had to rely more and more on digital marketing to reach old and new customers. Advertisement has temporarily and largely moved from billboards and physical ads, to social media and video marketing. As more establishments formulate new digital strategies, animated videos have become a big player in the market and you can take advantage of their versatility to surf this new wave of digital marketing.
It is natural therefore for most companies to redirect more effort and resources into social media advertising, in the form of Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, and in social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. This is where video but especially animated video can make a meaningful connection with your audiences.
What do we look for when we turn to the internet during these times?
Sometimes we want to kill time through entertainment, sometimes our consumer bug kicks in, as a form of escapism, looking at and sometimes purchasing things to fill the void of various lockdowns and help us visualise our future selves looking suave and happy out there in the real world, surrounded by friends, when all this is over… Maybe you are looking to buy home exercising equipment to get a healthier body, or you want to use your extra time productively by learning new things, to get a healthier mind. When the internet user starts looking for relevant products, if your video ad or your mini animation offering work-out advice pops up on instagram, you are instantly a front-runner in the click race.
In order to connect with the audience, your digital content needs to be organic and meaningful, not only to pop out but also to establish a stronger relationship with your prospective client. This is where Digital video, especially animated videos, and animated gifs or ads excel and go a step beyond simply marketing.
How can your video ad achieve this?
Video can be utilised to:
GRAB ATTENTION With a well-designed, stylish animated video, you can draw the audience’s attention to your brand, website and services. What’s more catchy than an intriguing animated ad on an instagram story or facebook feed? It needs to be stylish and appealing enough to match the demands of platform users but it also needs to be interesting enough to make it harder to scroll over and easier to click on ‘Learn More’. What makes the audience want to ‘learn more?’. You offer them something valuable, like a piece of information or you demonstrate the benefits of your product.
AND SIMPLIFY... With the appropriate virtual 'signs' to lead to your door, it is also important to organise your whole digital marketing strategy to be interactive and interconnected. Your animated ad or video, should lead to an appealing website, Facebook page and an easily accessible link to an online store. The easier you make it for a client to see and understand what you have to offer and how to get it, the more people you will have at your virtual door.
BE RELEVANT! USING POSITIVITY, HUMOUR, EMPATHY. Connect with your audience through empathy and humour. We are all in this together, after all, and you can show your audience and potential customers that you, too, have a soul and they can trust you through these difficult times to make their life a little bit easier. Even when this pandemic finally passes, this is a method that should still be maintained when trying to reach new customers…
The Valassis report also found that 37% of consumers want advertising to make them feel safe and give them a sense of normality, while 31% expected the ads to make them feel positive. For positivity you need good vibes and humour, even if it’s over amusingly commiserating over a global situation through a meme or a billboard.
The Netflix Example Netflix is probably one of the companies that least needed advertising during the pandemic because they are one of the top companies to which people have been turning during these times. One of the most popular activities during the pandemic has been streaming movies and series on Netflix or other digital platforms like Amazon Prime, Disney+ and so on. And yet, Netflix has mastered pandemic publicity regardless!
On social media, Netflix uses videos, screenshots and memes from its shows, its brand, to sympathise with the viewer’s situation… This makes Netflix feel like a ‘cool, funny friend’ on your social media feed and makes you want to spend more time with them because ‘they get you.’ It’s like the viewer sees an ad and smiles, they wink and think ‘Hey, X company, I like your style. I’m gonna see what you’ve got’. You want to be a comforting presence in the online chaos.
Another genius example was the billboard Netflix Spain placed in the streets of Madrid in May 2020... It had just been announced that after one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, the residents of Madrid would finally be able to get out of their homes and walk their streets of their city again. In record time, Netflix put up this huge, simple, genius billboard in the centre of Madrid, that was advertising nothing except the Netflix Logo under the title: ‘The Street: New Season-Very Soon’. They weren’t advertising a specific product. They used their platform format to announce their presence and empathise with the residents of Madrid, in a tongue-in-cheek manner using humour, showing their human side and solidarity, celebrating a pleasant event. Genius. You can do something like that with your digital marketing strategy: You show your audience your human side and sense of humour, not trying to sell anything in particular but announcing your PRESENCE in a clever way that will attract the audience to your audience for your ‘style’.
INFORM & EDUCATE Another way in which you can utilise video to connect with your audience, especially in these times, is to make an offering of information and education; giving reassurance through the gift of knowledge. With a video that gives guidance, instructions or information about a current matter that is also connected (but not necessarily directly) with your brand, you form a valuable connection with the audience, inspiring further engagement on their behalf. 87% of consumers appreciate brands that go out of their way to deliver timely and relevant information during the coronavirus pandemic...
COMMUNICATE Moving your marketing strategy online, with easily accessible and clickable links to your services, also creates a new avenue for dialogue with your customers, making your company even more accessible. You can ask your customers what they want, if they find your customer service helpful and if they have any suggestions for products or improvements, strengthening the B2C connection, but also allowing the development of your company. Showing that you listen, is also a way in which you can strengthen your relationship with your customers and their trust in your brand.
We live in interesting times, and everyone from human individuals to businesses, to nature itself has had to make adjustments in the way we used to do things and use this opportunity not only to adapt with the times, but also to try new things, new pathways and new methods in order to evolve, in ways we maybe weren’t bold enough to do before, or didn’t have the opportunity. This is a new era, and a new chance to be better. In terms of business and digital marketing, this is also the time to boost your online game!
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