Animation Beyond Advertising: How Motion Engages Your Healthtech Customers at Every Touchpoint
Just as movement — exercise — is at the core of most healthy living philosophies, movement — animation — can and should be at the core of your digital health brand’s 2024 customer engagement strategy.
From apps to website menus to live events, it’s time to look at the variety of animation use cases specific to healthtech companies like yours.
It’s (Almost) 2024. Animation Is Not Your Grandma’s Advertising Tactic.
There’s a tendency to view animation exclusively as an advertising play. You create a good old animated spot promoting your brand and use it for that purpose only.
While animation is a great advertising tool, it’s not just for advertising. And choosing animation is more than a stylistic choice, for that matter.
Let’s put a fine point on it. Motion can be imbued in your ads, it’s true, but also your app, website, conference decks, social media posts, and so much more (we’re going to tell you exactly how much more next). The resulting rhythm enlivens your digital health brand’s various touchpoints to generate user experiences that imprint on the minds of consumers.
5 Animation Trends to Augment Your Healthtech Brand’s Digital Marketing
Practically, here are five ways you can incorporate different forms of animation into your branding and experience strategies to reach users at every stage of their journey with your product.
1. Raise Awareness Around Health Issues — and Your Product
Animation is a unique form of storytelling that can visually break through the noise of traditional PSA-type advertising, capture consumer attention, and build sympathetic relationships with people who may not have previously seen how they can benefit from healthtech products.
The short of it? You can use an animated video to sell your product, without doing much hard selling.
Remember, animation does not have to be a talking head video that drones on about your product’s features (although these have their place). As a healthtech company, you’re in the unique position of selling a product that relates to a common health issue or activity. So, talk around your product and to users with an animation.
Here’s an example. Say you’re the marketing director for Strava, the running app. Running is known to be good for people’s cardiovascular health. So, instead of creating an animation discussing Strava itself, create one discussing the importance of physical activity for heart health.
You can feature Strava’s branding throughout the video. But it’s not a direct ad for Strava. You’re making a statement about health that aims to pique the interest of people who might not otherwise care about running, or exercise, for that matter. And because this statement is about a larger health issue and not an obvious product ad, the video is more shareable and fosters broader consumer engagement.
These are called awareness videos. We did one to raise awareness for World Heart Day. The animation doesn’t talk directly about the World Heart Federation, but it talks around an issue that many people can relate to, cardiovascular health, and that relates to the brand.
Don’t forget: It’s not just the circuitous messaging of these videos that make them stand out. The animation itself makes the videos stand out visually.
2. Celebrate User Milestones With Your Product
You want people to use your product often and in perpetuity. One way to accomplish this goal is to reinforce use by congratulating users for positive achievements and milestones in-app or on-device. No surprise, animation is a great tool to do just that: celebrate user milestones.
Let’s talk about Strava again. But this time, we’ll use a real example. When you complete a milestone or reach a goal in Strava, a little animated achievement badge makes its way onto your screen. You might receive a badge for your fastest 5k time, or your longest distance. Knowing you’ll be lauded for running encourages Strava use. What’s more, the promise of accumulating the fun, animated badges over time is a draw to use the app forevermore.
Bonus: Using animation to pat people on the back and celebrate accomplishments gamifies health, encouraging repeat usage and perpetuating an overall positive user experience.
3. Add Movement To Your Digital Health Brand’s Website
There was a time in the ancient history of the internet when Macromedia Flash reigned supreme; every website had loading animations and button movements. Those days are long gone. But the UX community is coming full circle, beginning to (re)embrace motion as a way to enliven brand websites and apps, and help guide the user experience.
For our modern purposes, we’re not talking about cumbersome welcome videos or full splash backgrounds that take forever to load. No spinning wheels of death here. We’re talking about microinteractions.
Microinteractions are moments of engagement with elements that use subtle animation such as icons, wavy background gradients, light ebbing glows on a button rollover, or even lines or motion balls that follow or lead a cursor as it navigates a site.
Header images, section breaks, menus, article imagery, parallax — they’re all ripe for movement on your website. You could even activate an illustration by making it a looping gif. Maybe you show a heart rate indicator pulse on a heart monitor, or graphs rising and falling as a user scrolls them into view.
Microinteractions can refine and enhance the user journey, make brand interactions feel fresh, and reinforce the helpful built-for-the-customer focus healthtech products are going for.
TL;DR? Small movements = big consumer impact.
4. Bring Illustrations To Life
Let’s not forget that animation is built upon the foundation of illustration. Not every element that benefits from animation must move all the time.
Say you already developed imagery for brand animations that’s meant to move. Repurpose that imagery in static form sprinkled across your website, in your app, for blog headers, social posts, diagrams, and even printed collateral materials or comms decks.
We talk a lot about logos, characters, style frames and the most prominent elements of animations, but there’s a whole world of design beyond these elements that can be repurposed as stills. Literally, the world behind your characters — the backgrounds of an animation — could serve as a footer design for a presentation, or the backdrop for a header title.
It only makes sense to squeeze more value out of the marketing elements you’re already creating for your animated work. And repeating these elements elsewhere reinforces your consistent brand in consumers’ minds.
5. Traditional Advertising and Sales
Okay, okay. We’ve kind of been joshing on old fashioned animated sales videos. But that’s because when people think about using animation for their brand, they often limit themselves to these promos. We don’t want you to limit your use of animation to better reach and engage your audience. After all, we just listed four other use cases to imbue your digital health brand with motion and attract and retain users.
However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give traditional advertising animations their proper due. They are the go-to for a reason: they work! Using animated videos to advertise your healthtech product is a great idea. Just be sure to repurpose the video’s elements (like we discussed above) and leverage animation as part of your larger marketing strategy, too.
IRL Animation Opportunities for Digital Health Brands
Beyond your website, app, and digital presence, there are ways to use animation to enhance the effectiveness of your tentpole events. Product launches, conferences, studio classes, group activities — these and more in-person meetups can be made more exciting and engaging when you leverage animation throughout.
Here are several ways animation can support your conference communications:
- Personalized, animated invitations. Make your events — or even product launches — feel tailor-made, and therefore irresistible, to the invitee.
- Animated branding. Motion is an increasingly central part of holistically branding event materials. The same animation on your event announcement can appear on screens across the conference. Pro tip: give abstract elements random tweaks for each venue to keep your motion unique, yet familiar, giving the impression of more content without adding more resources.
- Illustration branding. Just as you can use animated elements as still pieces on your website, so too can you leverage the elements of your event animations as still illustrations throughout your event. Again, familiar imagery reinforces your brand. Think cutouts, badges, banners, stickers, even balloons.
- Opening title and starter animations. From epic TV-style title sequences to splashy graphics, animation is a perfect medium to focus the attention of a captive event audience. Animation can set the tone for a presentation or a studio class that’s about to begin. Motion can also lead your audience on a mental transition from the “real world” to the brand world you want to immerse your audience in for the duration of your in-person experience.
- Presentation aids, background elements, and transitory slides. Motion graphics are a great way to breathe life into long presentations, or mark the transition point between conference speakers. Even a gently shifting gradient behind a speaker can help hold your audience’s attention.
Using animation IRL and online strings together that consistent 360° brand experience that makes the audiences feel comfortable and keeps them coming back for more.
Peaking Ahead: Animation Beyond 2024
There’s a lot going on right now in terms of how animation can be used to engage your audience throughout the customer journey, and the groundwork being laid for animation to become more seamlessly integrated as a central component in the future of marketing and communications.
One thing that’s not quite happening yet? Augmented reality. We’re keeping an eye on the AR space as it develops. And you should, too. Because, while it’s not as ripe for the picking as, say, event animation, more opportunities for marketing and AR will arise—especially once we begin to see what impact Apple’s Vision Pro headsets might have on our digital world
In the meantime, consider all that integrating animation throughout your marketing strategy has to offer your digital health brand in 2024.