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Did you know that video will get 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2017, up from 57 percent in 2012? Research by Cisco says that 9 out of 10 online shoppers watch online video, and that retail site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer and are 64% more likely to purchase than others.

The reason videos are so effective is that they are a great vehicle for storytelling. Brands can take advantage of this medium to accomplish any (or several!) of the following:

–       Get/Convert: guide consumers down a desired path of purchase, registration, among others. A particular type of video, the explainer video, has become important for startups trying to educate first-time customers about basic product features.

–       Keep: help you empathize with current customers to strengthen your long-term relationship with them. Show your brand personality or address criticism straight up.

–       Grow: video can help you generate new business with existing customers. Think about ways in which you can upsell premium versions of your offer or cross-sell complementary products/services.

Enough with the theory. Lets get hands-on with brand videos. Here are 5 fantastic online tools that can help you (yes, you!) get started today:

Short disclaimer: I do not earn anything for recommending these tools. I do it because they get the work done. Period.

1. Powtoon: They offer three prize levels, ranging from a free version to an Agency version that costs USD $59 per month. The free plan comes with a Powtoon watermark, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Powtoon works well for website videos, product demos, explainer videos and clips for social media. Premium plans give you access to royalty free images, music tunes, and a higher export quality.


2. GoAnimate: Similar to Powtoon in the type of “animated” video that they help you produce. GoAnimate has plans for business and personal use. Personal plans start at USD $18 per quarter. Somehow only their most expensive plan ($79 per month) allows you to remove the GoAnimate watermark. Some of their best features include a library with styles, settings, props and actions, automatic lip-sync, and a friendly drag and drop interface.


3. Animoto: They have a more “realist” approach, focusing on providing beautiful templates to make your photos and videos pop. Their 50+ styles are definitely worth taking a look, and it doesn’t hurt that their basic personal plan is free. Like GoAnimate, they offer personal and business plans, but given the short length of online videos (usually between 0.4 and 4 mins) you’ll do great with their Plus ($5/month) plan.


4. Sparkol: For USD $25 per month, Sparkol Videoscribe helps you create those engaging hand-drawn videos that seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Though these videos are not appropriate for every single occasion or brand, they do help explain ideas that would otherwise be too abstract to convey via text.


5. Vine / Instagram Video: These two are making it possible for the rest of us to communicate using online video. While Vine allows you to create 6 second videos, Instagram videos can last up to 15 seconds. With Instagram you get to use their renowned filters, while Vine is more about real life in its true colors. Both Instagram and Vine videos can be embedded on your site/landing page/blog. Take a look at how brands like Target, Sephora, Ebay and Oreo are rocking Vine to communicate their brand stories.