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The Animated Approach to Health Tech Growth: Strategies for User Acquisition and Retention

User acquisition and retention are chief concerns for health tech company leaders. Attract people to your product so it can grow — or watch it wither away. 

Given this reality, marketing and brand departments at digital health companies are on an important, never-ending quest to find inventive ways of expanding brand reach and connecting with users.

Animation is the inventive brand awareness play you’re searching for. It’s a medium uniquely positioned to explain the sometimes complicated benefits of your health app with clarity and your brand feel. The result? Increased user acquisition and engagement (retention) once they’re on your platform. 

How Animation Can Impact the Entire Digital Health App User Journey 

The best way to take advantage of all that animation has to offer your health tech brand is by using motion videos and its assets — like characters and graphics — throughout the user buying journey

At a high level, you might promote an animated brand awareness video (like an explainer video) during the acquisition phase. Then, you might move to animated in-app instructional videos and microinteractions to help acquired users navigate your platform successfully and get them engaged. To retain these users, you might alert them to new features with an animated video. Track, review, and iterate these strategies for an ongoing, positive impact to your digital health brand. 

Animation’s Role in User Acquisition 

Let’s dig into specific ways animation can uplift your brand to get and keep users, starting with the “get” part — user acquisition. 

Generate Awareness through Video 

Generating awareness for the problem(s) your health tech product solves is a great way to connect with potential users. Instahelp provides a solid use case. The Swiss-based app helps people quickly find psychologists online. They launched a video campaign discussing some of the mental health issues their psychologists can address rather than hitting potential customers over the head with product benefits. 

As Instahelp’s messaging resonated with viewers, these people searched for more information and help with these issues. They again encountered Instahelp, this time as a solution to their mental health challenges…a solution they were likely to pursue thanks to their familiarity with the brand and understanding of the issues Instahelp addresses. 

In a conversation during the health.tech conference, Silvia Geier, COO of Instahelp, confirmed that this awareness tactic was crucial for their growth and success and a health tech brand. 

Subtly and Steadily Reinforce Branding 

When you leverage animation for these kinds of brand awareness of videos, you can carry your brand elements — like colors and typography — throughout, further increasing the “stickiness” of your brand. 

Headspace is a great example of this. The company is well known for developing these kinds of branded, animated awareness videos to explain the mindfulness and mental health link. In this one, the visual style, colors and characters reflect the Headspace’s branding at the time. Through their series of educational videos, it was easy to spot whenever a new Headspace ad or content showed up – solidifying their brand in people’s mind

Is it a coincidence Headspace is the number one mental health and meditation product? We’ll leave that for you to decide. What we can point directly to are the positive comments viewers have about Headspace’s animation:

  • “You[r] animations are SO HELPFUL that is the reason I come to your channel, is the simplicity.”
  • “This is one of the best videos I’ve ever seen — a great philosophy for living life communicated through an accessible, friendly way. Thank you.”

Communicate Complex Health-Related Ideas 

The comments on the Headspace video above not only show it leaves an impression they also prove that animation is the perfect medium to explain health-related ideas and, ultimately, get users on your platform. 

Again, communicating the complexity of your health app isn’t always easy. Especially these days as users are bombarded with constant info. Using animation for this purpose allows companies to translate their products into a language potential users will understand while making it engaging to watch, going against the traditional overused imagery and style of the health industry.

For another example, let’s look at MOWE client HopStair

HopStair builds users’ self confidence to improve their mental health. But self confidence isn’t usually the first thing people think to work on when their mental health is suffering. So, the animations we created for HopStair had to communicate the role of self confidence in mental wellbeing while tastefully discussing the product’s benefits — all in the name of converting casual scrollers to loyal users. Here’s just one of the outputs as an example of how we did just that. 

Animation’s Role in User Retention 

You did it. You got users onto your platform. The next step is making sure they have an exceptional experience, easily navigating your health tech product so they come back to it again and again. Let’s dive into how animation can help you keep users. 

Help Users Get the Most from Your App with Onboarding Animation 

For new users, getting inside your app is equal parts exciting and challenging. You want folks to find what they need with ease so they can return to it. 

To ensure this seamless experience, start with an animated onboarding video. These videos can show users where everything is as well as explain how to use and get the most out of it.

The best part about relying on motion in this case is you can use elements of your app itself to more easily direct users than you could with, say, written instructions. 

Guide Users with Consistent UX Motion 

So, good UX = higher user retention, right? Right. Another way to improve your digital health app’s UX is to incorporate motion graphics throughout. 

For instance, animation makes microinteractions more palatable and understandable. Here’s the perfect example: When you enter the wrong passcode on your iPhone, does a block of unwieldy text pop up demanding you “try again” in red letters?” No. That would be off-putting. Instead, Apple smartly uses motion. The interface shakes, akin to a head shake, to let you know you must re-enter your code. It’s delightful and explanatory all in one. 

Take a cue from Apple and leverage animated microinteractions whenever you can — from hamburger menus to loaders. 

You can also use animation to provide users with hints if they appear stuck navigating your app, or with directions on how to use it in the first place, as mentioned. 

Kaia Health’s physiotherapy-guided app has plenty of animations that not only show users what to do to improve their maladies, but also create an experience that is connected with Kaia Health’s brand. Take a look. 

Powerful Health Tech Product + Plenty of Animation = User Delight

Animation can play a pivotal part in user acquisition and retention, but it can’t win you dedicated users on its own. 

If your product lacks value, it doesn’t matter how many new users animation brings in or how good it makes your UX. People won’t keep using a so-so platform that fails to address the issue(s) it claims to ameliorate. 

That said, once your product is rock-solid, put the power of animation behind it to get your platform the attention it deserves.

Felippe Silveira
Felippe Silveira
Co-founder & CEO at MOWE Studio