As I intimated in our second post in this series, I fear the days of traditional, static infographics are numbered. We live in such a media rich and visually dynamic world that people want “moving parts” and interaction. Animated infographics could well be the answer – read on to find out more!
Are animated infographics the answer?
They don’t want, and nor do they have the time, to read words. They certainly don’t want to have to sift through literally 100s of cluttered infographics to find one that is easy to understand, delivers value and quick to digest. And is also relevant to them.
Video marketing is in vogue. That’s a given. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a short video clip of your infographic? The constantly panning and zooming would engage the viewer and hold attention much better. There would be no need for lots of words (or any words at all), as a narrator could provide the context and insight.
But video marketing is expensive, complex and time consuming. There must be another way. Let’s consider two options you have: video slideshows and animated videos.
There are plenty of tools and services out there to help create what you want, but we wanted to provide options that were well within the reach of brands that don’t have the budget for traditional video marketing, and don’t have the resources to create them. These options don’t require a leap of expertise to master.
Let’s look at two of the most popular presentation tools out there – Microsoft’s PowerPoint and Prezi. Both have certainly enhanced their offerings over the last few years and now offer some powerful and eye-catching graphics, animations, effects and sharing capabilities.
Let’s start with PowerPoint – they’re certainly not the dull, static slide-by-slide offerings they used to be. With some patience and basic skills, your PPTs can become much more dynamic and memorable by adding animations and transitions. The most common of which are entrances and exits, as well as sound.
Another couple of cool features include the ability to add motion paths and also to customise your animations and motions for text or objects (e.g. an image). This short video helps explain.
Many corporate backgrounders and information decks that are used on big screens at tradeshows and industry events, or within office receptions, use these features to run a PowerPoint on a continuous loop. These features have become pretty commonplace in presentations now but the potential to apply these to infographics is high.
With all the tables, charts and SmartArt at your disposal, as well as any other images or items of your own that you want to insert, all you need to do is master custom motion paths, get your timings right for animations and slide transitions, and then just hit play for you to have an animated infographic on Microsoft PowerPoint.
Certainly no longer “death-by-PowerPoint”, but it is still just a bunch of slides. And if you don’t get the balance right, you could have way too much of the same kind of animation and repetitive motions.
However, if you like PowerPoint and want to try your hand animating your infographics, then this is a good place to start. Indeed, Microsoft’s series of explanations on PowerPoint 2013 Visualizations is a great resource to help you on your way.
Now let’s look at Prezi. For me, a great alternative that is way better than slide-by-slide presentation tools no matter how funky you make your transitions and loops. And I mean that both for simple presenting as well as for creating moving slideshows of your infographics.
You have all the capabilities of the traditional presentation tools, but don’t have to click through each slide one-by-one or watch slide after slide automatically come through on a loop.
With Prezi, you literally have a blank canvas on which to put your content and then have the flexibility to pan around the canvas and zoom in on the important parts – it really helps visualise and bring to life your presentation.
Let me explain…the key feature in Prezi is the ability to “Pan and Zoom” to help visualise your ideas. You take your audience on a journey through your content. You can import all types of media: from images, PDFs and videos, to embedding YouTube videos. You can also import existing PowerPoint slides too.
Once you’ve mastered the simple beginner’s stuff, like the ability to move, scale, rotate, zoom and create a path to travel across the canvas, then you can start experimenting and refining.
One excellent feature is the ability to group and layer content to connect your ideas, streamline the flow of your presentation, and build a more engaging Prezi. I also love how YouTube videos are quickly embedded and will start automatically right on cue, as opposed to having to click ‘play’ or set up an auto-start on traditional presentation tools.
To really understand how it works, check this one out below – just click on the cog in the bottom right corner and choose 4-sec auto-start, and it will run automatically.
So, PowerPoint have benefits for sure. But they are just glorified presentations or slideshows. Our vote, for video slideshows, would be Prezi. But it’s not quite the seamless click-and-play option you want to provide your viewers with. And the templates are all user-generated, so it’s not the smooth create-and-share experience you need either.
Animated videos, on the other hand, provide a quick way to create super HD quality video content that has several advantages over traditional video. It has none of the artificial and cringe-worthy acting and no issues with sound or weather, particularly when filming outdoors!
All you need to do is apply this approach to infographics. As with animated videos, you don’t need any specialist design or video production expertise to create one. And while you’re able to create excellent visual feasts that require little effort from the viewer to learn from them (all they need to do is hit “play”!), you’re also taking advantage of the popularity of videos.
Animated infographics made easy
Let’s take a look at one of our favourite tools of the moment – GoAnimate. Hosted online, all you need is an Internet connection to produce professional-looking animated videos.
GoAnimate provide all the tools, scenes, characters, props and styles to create compelling animated videos in just a matter of minutes. It also has an excellent lip-synching feature that allows you to add your own narration to the character(s) you have in your video.
And the real beauty is in just how cost effective this is, especially when compared to paying for a studio, or a video production team, and also in how simple the process is – no external third parties to navigate or project manage; you have the control.
Applying this to infographics couldn’t be easier – you take the same approach as you would with a static infographic, but have the freedom to use far fewer written words to tell your information story. Adding narrative gives you the flexibility to highlight key insights and trends, while you can also speed up and slow down the pace to highlight an important take-away. Animated infographics are easy to create on GoAnimate – just give it a go!
This animated video infographic from GoAnimate shows just how effective they can be:
And the good news for you all is that they identified this gap in the animated video market and launched an infographics theme in April called “Business as Visual”. They offer charts, props, dynamic single-click animated charts and more features – all you need to do is add in your data!
Animated infographics are the future
Exit: static infographics. Enter: animated video infographics. While PowerPoint and Prezi have some excellent features, the simplest way to create animated infographics that require minimum effort for maximum impact is by using an animated video marketing tool like GoAnimate. Save yourself time, money and headaches by experimenting with this awesome tool.
What do you think about animated infographics – would they be something you would be willing to try, or perhaps you’ve had some success with them already? Please let us know – we’ll reply to your comments and want to learn from your experiences.
Previously, he was Director at Comms Axis, a full service marketing agency specialising in content, social media & website services for businesses of all sizes.
Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and more.
Dan was also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.
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