Effective communication relies on engaging content, whether this be an interesting article or something with visual appeal like a video or animation. The latter can be a useful way to grab your audience’s attention and stand out from your competitors, however, these tools can also be distracting and add to the noise, making it difficult to be noticed and often annoying the audience you wish to attract. So how do you set your brand apart in an effective way? Try a cinemagraph.
A cinemagraph (derived from the words ‘cinema’ and ‘photograph’) is a video or gif that features a still image with a small element of motion that loops continuously, creating subtle movement. It is a happy medium between static and animated, with the contrast between the still image and the motion creating the visual impact.
Cinemagraphs are not new. The term is said to have been coined in 2011 by Kevin Berg and Jamie Beck who used this technique to give life to fashion photography during New York Fashion Week. As fashion photography is artistic in nature, the cinemagraph can be viewed as digital art and a reinterpretation of photography as opposed to a commercial tool. Due to this, they work particularly well for high-end lifestyle brands. That said, advertisers and marketers across the board are now seeing their potential and they are becoming more mainstream.
Here are three reasons why you should consider cinemagraphs:
1) They are effective for guiding your audience’s attention to a particular element. For example, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the brand name by the flickering sparklers in the Chanel cinemagraph.
2) Audiences have been shown to engage more with cinemagraphs than video or static images. They can spend between 5-15% longer on a website with a cinemagraph (this is because they often look for other examples and take time to study the images closely), and spend eight seconds viewing a cinemagraph as opposed to one second on a static image. Similarly, cinemagraphs receive high levels of social media engagement and can have up to 71% higher viral reach on social platforms than static images.
3) They are budget-friendly. Cinemagraphs are relatively inexpensive to create as opposed to regular videos. However, they do require time and good planning as they are fairly complex to create – the motion needs to be fluid in order to look professional and achieve maximum impact. There are plenty of good tutorials on YouTube to get you started.
It is important to use cinemagraphs correctly if you are to maximize these three benefits. As mentioned, they require planning and skill – there are a number of apps available now, but the end results are often not as slick as those done the ‘old school’ way. Also remember to keep your artwork simple and make use of high definition imagery when possible. Last but not least, always ensure that you use this medium to enhance your brand and not just for show. In other words, use cinemagraphs to add to your message and create proper value in a beautiful way that creates affinity with your audience.