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How to Measure the Success of Your Animation Project

Animation is a powerful engagement tool that directly impacts marketing results. But a successful animation doesn’t mean just having the slickest visuals and movements — far from it. The strategic thinking behind the animation is an essential element for its impact.

To understand how to use animation effectively, it’s important to know how to evaluate it and which KPIs are associated with it. This will enable you to speak about it in an educated way with your clients and deliver better results for them.

In this article, we’ll cover the most common animation goals, which KPIs are most relevant to animation, and we’ll give tips for ensuring that your animation performs well.

Setting the right goals for your animation project

No KPI measure can start without defining goals and objectives. Goals come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the end purpose of what you’re creating. When producing animation for Advertising, Product/Service Launches, Education, or as Content, the most common objectives associated with those types of animation are:

  • Increase and generate more sales
  • Increase the number of leads
  • Reduce friction for early adopters
  • Become top of mind
  • Make a message easy to understand
  • Generate brand awareness and establish a brand connection
  • Make it easier for customers to understand the product
  • Better engage an audience
  • Generate a fanbase
  • Grow a social media channel
  • Make it clear which steps or actions a person needs to take

Next, let’s look at specific KPIs that can be associated with animation and some hints on what to focus on during the strategy and production process.

KPIs for Animation Projects

Play Rate

The play rate, or number of clicks, shows how many people clicked on your video. In paid media, a high number here is a direct indicator that your video is being shown to the right targets. If the content of the animation is relevant and appealing to the audience you’re targeting, you will see a great response in this metric. When you compare it with the total of impressions, it shows you how effective your visuals are performing.

To increase the play rate of your animation projects, you should be looking at two factors: your thumbnail and the initial seconds of your animation.

To produce a good thumbnail, you don’t need arrows pointing at small objects, or random red circles to attract interest. Avoid those clickbait solutions. In animation, three elements contribute to a thumbnail: colors, text, and characters.

Good contrast in the colors you use for your thumbnail helps it to stand out. Using a title right in the thumbnail image is also very attractive for viewers. But what performs best is the usage of human figures. If your animation includes a character, make sure to include it in your thumbnail. If it doesn’t, don’t worry. As a rule of thumb here, a good composition, varied in contrast and/or colors, will do the job.

Some examples of thumbnails created for iluli by Mike Lamb's YouTube channel

Also, remember that the first few seconds of your video are essential to locking in the viewer’s attention — especially on social media where videos usually autoplay. So make sure your opening scene is visually appealing.

It’s better to spend a lot of time perfecting the first 5-7 seconds than obsessing over a detail that comes later in the video. If you plan on using characters, cel animation, big camera moves, and/or some crispy 3D in your animation, make sure to have those impactful elements at the beginning whenever possible.

View Duration and View-Through Rate

View-Through Rate (VTR) is a reliable indicator of the viewer’s satisfaction and the overall quality of your video. Your VTR will be the percentage of people actively interested in your content and brand. Hence, the longer someone watches your animation, the more effective it’s being in communicating your campaign’s message. It’s one of the most critical KPIs for video and animation marketing.

The average View Duration gives an indicator of where in your video people are losing interest, and it can be great feedback when planning additional marketing materials or creating new campaigns. It can be related to the messaging throughout your animation or based on how engaging your visuals are to sustain the viewer throughout the whole video.

To guarantee excellent retention of viewers until the end of your videos, you should use the full potential of animation. Align visuals with emotional connections and a great message.

Shorter videos usually perform a lot better here. As a rule of thumb, always aim to send the message the best way possible, in the shortest time possible. It not only reflects on your KPIs but also reduces your initial investment in production.

A difference in rhythm and flow throughout the animation plays a big part here as well. As you worked on developing an excellent starting point at the beginning of your animation, find ways to keep the bar high. Start with the most attractive scenes and create a sequence that supports this initial state.

Finally, abuse the use of transitions to connect different moments of your message and to bridge the gap when changing subjects.

Interactions

With animation, we’re not just looking for passive viewers — we want positive interactions so we can better evaluate brand performance and organic reach. The PR your campaign generates is essential. And keep in mind that these days, Shares, Saves, and Comments are stronger indicators than Likes.

Having thousands of people sharing and saving your animation means that your thumbnails were good enough for them to click play (Play Rate), your content is engaging enough that people watch until the end (View-Through Rate), AND that your video was so impactful and relevant that people are willing to show it to their friends and peers (Interactions).

In animation, as in every campaign and ad you produce, you want people to be talking about it. You want to spread your client’s message, but even more importantly, you want positive feedback. That’s why sharing is not enough if it comes with negative comments. Looking at what people are commenting on your animations is key to understanding the impact it’s making on them.

Look at what the audience is saying about your animation marketing materials, and you’ll be surprised. In an ad, there’s no higher praise than people saying they stopped what they were doing to watch and comment on your animated video. Below are a few examples of comments one of our clients received in a recent Animation Ad.

Conversions

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If we are selling a product or service, conversions mean the number of people who bought or subscribed after watching your animation. Most of the time, the Click-Through Rate is an excellent metric to use to evaluate conversions. All the KPIs mentioned above come together to generate conversions, the ultimate measure of success for a campaign.

A well-crafted Call-to-action helps in the conversion, and CTA in animation is no different from live-action. But instead of ending your ads with just, “Get started today,” “Subscribe now,” or “Join us,” use a “smart CTA” that is more visually appealing and incorporate it into your content. This creates a seamless transition that compels viewers to take action.

Here’s a snippet of a smart CTA incorporated into the animation itself.

In the end, how well you tell a story throughout the whole animation is what will generate the connection and willingness to move forward. With these KPIs in mind, when you start strategizing your next animation, make sure you’re optimizing your visuals with your message to obtain tangible results. ]

There’s no secret recipe for how to achieve good results. But no matter your end goal, animation can help you maximize performance as long as you know which KPIs to measure.

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Author avatar
Felippe Silveira
Co-founder & Creative Director at MOWE Studio

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