Eric Wendt

Anyone who doubts the impact of animation should have a quick powwow with the team at Walt Disney Company.

Even if you understand the potential of animated content, you might consider video too complicated or time-consuming to include in your content marketing strategies. However, the numbers tell a different story.

Eighty-two percent of B2C content marketers use video, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Seventy-nine percent of B2B content marketers do the same.

Animated video allows companies to bring any idea to life, regardless of real-world limitations. Like music and literature, it can capture the imagination and draw on personal feelings in a way live video is often unable to due to physical constraints. That same potential is what makes animation ideal for breaking down complicated information or explaining confusing concepts, allowing animators to tell a story through text, sound and imagery that is not hindered by the realities of flesh-and-blood productions.

Check out the following examples, along with insight from Brafton Director of Video Product Jim Davis, to see some of the best animation from the past year and how it can bring your content to life in 2017.

Helpful Tips from Facebook

Animated content should always strive for simplicity in messaging.

The social media giant’s “Helpful Tips from Facebook” series takes users’ most burning questions and provides simple, easy-to-follow answers using fun animations. Like the best animated content, these videos break down complicated details into bite-sized chunks of information.

“[These are] quick, consumable tutorials provided in an approachable format,” Davis said. “Whimsical visual direction makes these more casual than a website’s ’How to’ or ’FAQ’ section. This video reaches people who don’t know how to check a FAQ section and is easily distributable.”

Google’s G Suite

The world’s No. 1 search engine doubles down on the power of animation with visuals and beyond with its G Suite advertisement. Incorporating a lilting rhyme scheme over ’60s rock classic “Spirit in the Sky,” this video illustrates how animation lends itself to easily combining disparate elements for a unified whole. Through the use of flowing cuts, animation makes it easy for the visuals to sync up with the narration as the iconic opening of the song ties the whole package together.

“Following a De Stijl-esque direction with a hand-drawn effect, this stylish piece is delivered as poetry,” Davis said. “Some videos push a lifestyle for viewers to buy into, but this video pushes a feeling. The clean visual style makes us feel organized, the transitions provide us with ‘folders’ or compartments in our mind, while the consistent coloring and style make it feel unified.”

PayPal’s ‘Stellt sich vor’

The advanced technology of today doesn’t mean animation styles from the past are no longer effective. In fact, using modern tech to bring classic styles to life can draw on feelings of nostalgia while streamlining formerly time-consuming artistic processes. Just ask PayPal’s German “Stellt sich vor” advertisement, which used a paper cut-out style to tout its banking bona fides. Even non-German speakers will be wowed by these throwback visuals.

“It isn’t in English, but that doesn’t matter,” Davis said. “This beautiful piece brings in a paper cut-out style, done in 3-D, and mixes it with a vibrant color palette to keep the narrative moving along. Creating an animation to look like paper cut-out, in a 3-D package, is very post-modern and effective.”

From engaging explanatory videos to cinematic content to mining art styles of the past for modern animation, these three brands showcase just some of the trends content marketing professionals should keep in mind heading into 2017.

If you’re hoping to make a splash with your content, it may be time to take your fingers off the keyboard and follow some advice any child would agree with: Turn to animation.