Custom Animation Blog

16 Things We Learned in 2016

Posted by Ian Smith

As 2016 comes to an end, we want to take a look back at the year, and share a few things we learned. Some are fun, some are serious, others are neither, but we think anyone marketing a business can learn a little something from our 2016 round up.


Brands & Celebrities Rule Youtube, Not Cats


The top 10 videos on Youtube in 2016 all follow the same pattern: they are from big brands, celebrities, or well established Youtube stars. Sure Youtube seems like a playground for anyone with a camera, but the top of the pile is dominated by mega stars:

1. Adele Carpool Karaoke

2. Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen/PIKO-TARO

3. What's inside a Rattlesnake Rattle?

4. Nike Football Presents: The Switch ft. Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Anthony Martial & More

5. Grace VanderWaal: 12-Year-Old Ukulele Player Gets Golden Buzzer - America's Got Talent 2016

6. Water Bottle Flip Edition | Dude Perfect

7. Channing Tatum & Beyonce's "Run The World (Girls)" vs. Jenna Dewan-Tatum's "Pony" | Lip Sync Battle

8. Donald Trump: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)


10. Brothers Convince Little Sister of Zombie Apocalypse


Video Is Eating The World


"A third of online activity is now spent watching video, and some analysts predict that could increase to more than two-thirds by the end of 2017. Even Facebook, a platform built on written status updates, may be mostly video five years from now, according to Mark Zuckerberg himself."

That's from a Fast Company piece out this month called "Yes, Even Your Company Needs A Video Strategy In 2017". We couldn't agree more. Over the last several years more and more of are clients want to talk about the bigger video marketing picture than the do just about video production. So if you have been thinking about taking video more serious, now is the time!


Good Work Leads To Great Relationships


In 2015 ACUE challenged us to make an engaging animation for their professors. This fall we delivered their 29th video. We owe that long-time partnership to delivering great work, again and again, to a client that we believe in, and who believes in us.

Check out a behind the scenes look at how our ACUE animations came to life HERE.


Instagram is for Beautiful Celebrities


A photo posted by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Of the top 10 most liked photos on Instagram this year, 8 of them are from Selena Gomez, the other 2 are Cristiano Ronaldo (both beautiful people).

Adweek has a great roundup of other 2016 Instagram findings, from the most popular locations (Disney properties), the busiest day (Halloween), and who picked up the most followers this year.

See the full rundown HERE.


Digital Ad Spend Will Outpace TV In 2017


As the title says, advertisers will spend more on digital ads next year than on television ads (projected 38.4% digital compared to 35.8% TV). One driving factor is that audiences are migrating into new digital spaces, such as Netflix, Hulu, and other on demand services, and the ad dollars are following them.

What's that mean for us? Good question. Many small and medium businesses simply can not afford to reach their audience on TV, but can compete with digital buys online. This is good for most all businesses, especially those who want to zero in on their audience with strong, smart video marketing.


Google Can Measure Brick & Mortar Store Visits


For those in e-commerce, tracking and reporting impressions, clicks, and conversions  into customers through Google Adwords is pretty straight forward. But what about searches that drive people to brick and mortar stores?

Well, Google has worked all that out: Using anonymised Maps data, Google can report on users who click on ads, then visit real world store locations.

Search Engine Land has the full scoop HERE.


Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix


OK, so we already knew that kids alchol don't mix, but this year we learned why.

Our animated series with Ask, Listen, Learn teaches kids exactly what goes on in their brains and bodies when they drink alcohol, and how that effects their lives.

Our team had a blast working on the series. Seeing our animation put to use as an educational tool is incredibly rewarding.

See the tool kit at


Google & Facebook Sell A Lot of Ads


We all know that Google and Facebook are huge online ad sellers, but 76% of ad growth in the US going through them is crazy! Even crazier is that there are no signs of the market, or the ad sales of either company slowing down.

This is just one of many great points from Mary Meeker's exellent 2016 Internet Trends Report.


The Most Expensive Keyword in the UK Costs $185


Paid search in every country and industry is a real battle ground. Costs for competitive placement can reveal a lot about a product, and profit margins. 

SearchEngineWatch breaks down this year's highest cost keywords by price and industry. It should come as no surprise that gambling, finance, tech, and legal round out the top of the list. 

Oh, and the $185 word is... play live blackjack.


Half of Your Content Should Be Video


Brian Halligan, the CEO of Internet marketing giant Hubspot said in his Inbound keynote that "50% of your content next year shouldn't be text, it needs to be video".

Can you see a pattern forming here, hint: it's video!


Content Marketing Is The Future of Marketing


A quick Google Trends search for content and inbound marketing show a bright future. As the digital landscape gets bigger and bigger, having all the tools at your disposal will become more and more important. For us, one of the biggest and best tools is... video marketing!

*note, the micro stat here shows that marketers love Christmas break. All those dips, including the one on the far right are the last week of December 🎄


If You Lead Your Tribe, The Marketing Will Take Care of Itself



Every year we make an animation just for us, one that we want to share with the world, one that we think tells a story that our clients want to know.

In 2015 we did "Steve Jobs - Marketing Values". This year, we animated Seth Godin's Tribes speech. It's a tribute to the power of tribes, and how ideas of all sizes need a human voice to move them forward.


There Are Endless Ways To Add Video To Your Content Strategy

Throwing your company videos on Youtube or your website is just the start. The Wistia crew is always showing new ways to grow your video strategy, integrate video into your marketing mix, and showing out of the box tactics to engage your customers and potential clients.

We really dig their post on adding video signatures to your email, and this post on social video for small business, oh and their post on adding video to your content strategy.


7.3 Billion People Have 7.6 Billion Mobile Accounts


What are we to make of the fact that there are 4% more cell phone accounts in the world than there are human beings? And that's all humans, including babies, kids, and seniors, many of whom don't have phones. So the actual saturation number is far higher than 104%. 

This year also told us that 64% of American adults use a smartphone, and 50% report watching video on their phone. Those millions of people can see video content at home on their couch, waiting in line at the bank, in a car or on public transit, or even at work.

If you are in the video business, your universe is quickly expanding.


Social Media Is Killing Internet Comments


Commenting and other forms of content engagement are losing ground to social channels. Rather than fight with annonomous trolls, actual web communities are using social media communites to truly connect with brands and products they like.

Companies, and web personalities that understand this are taking full advantage, those that are not, and missing the boat.

This year NPR moved away from comments, and did a fantastic story on the why and the how:


2016 Was A Good Year For Movies



This last one is not marketing focused, just a little fun (something we all need right now). Every December David Ehrlich makes a video montage of his top 25 films of the year. Although his 25 picks usually live in the arthouse genre, the intro is always a good snapshot of the current state of film making.

This year's video easily lives up to 2015, 2014, and 2013.

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