Think of some of your favourite video ads and commercials. The best ones tell a story that connect with you in the moment, and dig a little comfort zone in your brain that makes you remember them for a long time. Perhaps it was a catchy jingle that helped you reminisce fuelling up on Oreos, every twist and dunk a new wonder-filled adventure. Or the one that showed you that yes, celebrities like Mindy Kaling wish they could be invisible and kiss Matt Damon, too. Some of the best brand ads reveal the real truth of the matter, like Apple did with the infamous silhouette ad commercial series. It’s a fact: everyone dances like an all-star when they’ve got sweet Daft Punk tunes loaded up on their 60GB iPod Classic.
These days, advertisers need to connect with their audience a lot quicker, a lot smaller, and a lot quieter. That’s why modern marketers use cinemagraphs to create better brand ads for their social media and marketing, driving higher engagement and conversions as a result. But before you jump ahead to what cinemagraphs can do for your business, you need to think clearly about the story you’re telling through a blend of photo and video. How can you compose a beautiful shot, and use video motion to communicate a specific message?
3 Types of Cinemagraphs in Digital Marketing
If you’re ready to use cinemagraphs in digital marketing, but unsure of what styles make for eye-grabbing, thumb-stopping living photos that can best share your story, we’re here to break it down for you. Whether you’re selling a product, a service, or an experience, cinemagraphs will create a compelling moment that your customers can live in forever.
But remember: your cinemagraph storytelling is only as good as your willingness to look at your advertising differently. Once you do, I promise, the possibilities are endless from both a creative and results standpoint.
Here’s the 3 types of cinemagraphs in digital marketing that will inspire your own cinemagraph storytelling.
So you’ve created a great, tangible product that is going to improve your customers’ lives. Your cinemagraph ads need to communicate how your product will do that. Think about the every day situations your customer encounters. In what scenarios would they be using your product? You want think about what the product can do, or how it can fit, in those situations.
Now, zero in on those scenes, down to the smallest detail. It’s always the little elements of an experience that customers connect with while viewing your cinemagraph ad, and your product cinemagraph should evoke those emotional responses. Sometimes this involves looking at your product in action, like the above product shot of cream getting poured into coffee. The endless swirls of cream remind you of the solitary, relaxing moments in the morning, when you’re getting ready for the day with a good ol’ cup of Joe, just the way you like it. While the elements in the background, like the other cups of coffee and the French Press, help set the scene. It’s the motion involved with the product in the foreground that captures your attention, and makes you go tumbling down the rabbit hole.
The great thing about product cinemagraphs is that there are more opportunities to build vivid stories outside of a typical environment or a studio. The video component of a cinemagraph can give your ad context, which will make it easier for customers to draw the connection between the product and the environment. It all depends on your messaging, and the types of scenarios you want your product to be associated with when customers see your cinemagraph ads.
Take, for example, the above ad created by Flixel Wizard Jon Kane Houldsworth for Woodstone, a watch company that sells watches and accessories made from all-natural wood. Woodstone prides themselves on originality, the resources they use to create their products, and their association with the outdoors. By placing their product in a beach setting, and using the motion of the wind blowing through the plants, you’re immediately reminded of both the adventure and serene experiences you have when you visit the beach. A gentle breeze, birds circling, and waves crash against you as your scrunch your toes into the sand. It just takes is a hint of motion to remind you of the simple pleasures of life―all while wearing your Woodstone watch.
One of our golden rules in marketing is that you’re a human, so be a human. That extends to the visual content you use in your social media posts and ads as well. Portrait cinemagraphs help your audience identify with your messaging on a more personal level. The beautiful composition of a portrait shot, then brought to life with a repeated, looping movement allows your brand’s personality to shine through.
It also allows you to showcase to your audience―a collection of humans, in all likelihood―how your product or service can physically be a part of them and their world. Whether it’s an expression, a clothing item, or a beauty product, portrait shots are meant to capture the human experience of a brand. It’s no coincidence that we typically see portrait cinemagraphs used in ads and social posts by brands in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle categories. These are the verticals that want to generate an image that is aspirational; your customers should want that image to be their image. Why not take the mirror reflection a step further, and create a visual story that is also relatable? Show what life looks like when your earrings dangle, your hair blowing in the wind, or the experience of using a new lipstick. The motion can create a story that may resonate with your audience more.
Landscape and Nature Cinemagraphs
Travel vlogs, enviable profile photos, and listicles of the best places you can visit around the world: there’s a reason why people always click-through to these types of content, whether used as ads or otherwise. Any imagery of beautiful forests, beaches, cliffs, caves, and beyond are typically eye-catching because they are so extraordinarily different than the places most people see or get to visit on a day-to-day basis. Audiences are captivated by the valleys, peaks, and crystal blue waters that pushes traveling as not only a priority, but as a #goal.
If the idea in travel and tourism marketing, or even digital travel publications, is to transport customers and show them the potential of an experience, then a cinemagraph is the best way to get them engaged with that #goal. In a still image, customers can see what that experience could be like. In a cinemagraph, they can actually live in the moment that is captured. When customers are scrolling through their social media feeds, the gentle waves of a waterfall, breeze in the trees, and shape-shifting flames will remind them of both the thrill and calmness of an escape. Depending on your audience, you may want to think about the composition and colouring of your cinemagraph so that it maximizes impact. Place a subject in the frame, and bring up the warm tones of the leaves on the trees, so that the #goal becomes less of a dream, and more of a reality.
And there you have it! 3 cinemagraph styles used today in digital marketing, all ready for you to explore in your next campaign. Let us know in the comments what other tips you’d like to learn about cinemagraphs in marketing!