Business animation trends in 2021

Businesses have faced a steep transformation curve in the past year. Yes, video content continues to dominate consumer preferences in 2021 and there is still an increase up to the point where Social Media platforms like Facebook are rumoured to eventually switch to an all video/ no text type of feed.

Even though we thought that consumer attention spans are decreasing, by the end of 2019, 66% of ads were 30 seconds long, closely followed by the 15-second ones. In 2020, the length of the ad not only focuses on the user but it is still dependent on the nature of your app and platform limitations.

During the past year, most people dealt with digital fatigue and that is also probably why we’ve seen an increase in 15 second ad requests.  According to Insider Intelligence, in 2020 the average screen time nearly doubled in the US particularly amongst teens, while in the UK we’ve seen an increase in the average mobile use. With the rise of platforms like TikTok that have now also created better means for companies and advertisers to reach their audiences, most people still consume the majority of content on mobile.

So what else is changing this year apart from consumer behaviour? What can you do to cover the gap left by traditional advertising within your business, and what type of animated video could help best promote your product?


Tailored ads

Micro-segmentation has finally taken off as a best practice amongst companies. This is most likely because of the sudden over-crowding of the digital environment which sparked a more dire need for differentiation in the eyes of clients and consumers.

If your app spans across audiences with different passions, traits or business needs that your app fulfils, consider animated video ads, specially tailored to them, that grab their attention and call them out.

However, before you hit that Google search button for ‘video ad maker’, remember that your product may fall in one of the many unique categories for which you can’t just throw some words on top of stock images and call it a video. This is especially true for saas platforms and mobile apps. Most have their own unique characteristics that require some creative animation in order to correctly convey their value proposition.

A bit of insight can go a long way on your return and you will be able to find out even more about your audiences and increase your chances for downloads and a better ROI. 

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For instance, check out this ad we made for IRL. It’s tailored for college students who are looking for specific characteristics in an app that helps them better interact with their colleagues and class activities:

App preview videos

As both the iOS App Store and the Play Store release more and more marketing tools, individual app developers and small agencies learn about the importance of having a good app store presence and an optimised inbound strategy.

This has brought a shift in discussions from what is an app preview video and why it works to how many there should be (the App Store allowing up to 3). What are the benefits of using multiple videos and what kind of content should they showcase.

Whilst in the gaming industries having a preview video was a de facto step in releasing a mobile game, now consumer-oriented brands have started to also include this form of video in their launch checklists. 

User Onboarding videos

In the B2B market, new user onboarding videos have proven invaluable in 2020. If you have an app or SaaS that helps individuals and enterprises organize, communicate or augment any part of their workflow while working remotely then an animated onboarding video is the way to go.

Why? First of all, because you give users a quick feel of your app, its perks and how easy it is to handle. Secondly, because most executives (which often happen to be your target audience) would rather watch a quick video than read text or go through endless webinars.

A good animation team will know how to manage the length of the video and the interactive elements of your app so it stays engaging and relevant to the user. Remember: relevance is key. As an example, check out this video we made for Mirro’s Performance Check-in feature:

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In-game animated ads

How many times have you been playing a mobile game that prompted you to see a 30-second ad in exchange for a perk? Recently, the vast majority of ads are also interactive. They give you a choice or two and then on the next tap, without any warning you’re staring at the app and its download button.

We’re not here to discuss the morality behind this practice, but the business benefits it brings:

  • It gets the otherwise passive viewer engaged.
  • Sparks their interest and curiosity.
  • Completely eliminates any user journey and makes the download only one click away.

Even if the user’s engagement is purely emotional and they simply follow a story while the ad makes the choices for them, it dabs into their ambition and frustration. Either way, it gets them involved and it gets them to act. An example of an in-game animated ad that is meant to spark curiosity is the one we drafted below for Runegate Heroes:

With all the digital ad fatigue that users feel, giving them a choice to willingly see an ad changes their mindset from “ugh, another ad!” to “oh this game looks interesting, I might give it a go”. These requests have proven very popular for mobile gaming apps. Why? Because they integrate perfectly with the user’s current context and mindset and offer them a native way to discover yet another game they might like: yours.

When you select an animation agency to work with, make sure:

They ask the right questions  There are many times when what we envision is not necessarily the best path for our product or app. A good animation team will not only ask you specific questions to figure out your business needs and offer their knowledge and expertise on the subject but they also challenge you when needed 

Did you know that...

...having a final script before you record the voice saves you a lot of time and budget along the way? Don't let the details get in the way.

They care about your budget  There are some agencies that at the end of the project surprise you with extra costs and fees because they said “yes” to any request along the way. This can be particularly unpleasant and often leads to disputes and endless conversations.

A good agency talks to you in advance. They ask the right questions and iron out a good budget that is not prone to extra costs later down the line. Otherwise, they would expect extra costs, and clients don’t like that. They want to know that they will never have to change their budget unless it’s very obvious, even to them, that they have to.

They care about quality  Every project manager needs things as soon as possible, but animation takes up more time than a video edit. If you want something done in 24 hours, you’ll most likely get poor quality for your investment. This is not because they didn’t try but because there is no time to produce quality animated content on such short notice. For instance, a good explainer or onboarding video can take up to two months depending on the needs of the project and how responsive both sides are.

They keep you in the loop – no matter if it’s just to show you little animation progress or inform you on where they are and the next steps, you feel like they’re there with you for every step along the way. Why is this important? Not only does it prevent useless work that can be redeemed in the very early stages of the project, but you also feel like you’re in touch with the developments instead of being ghosted.

In the proverbial nutshell

2020 came with many abrupt changes. Entire businesses shifted their work online and many had to adapt at a really fast pace in order to keep up with the new kinds of demand. This is why tackling 2021 in a disruptive manner is so important. Get your insights, think about your options and if you’re thinking of an animated video, send a request our way.

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