Wherever you look on social media, one thing is clear: There’s a proliferation of video. Brands are chomping at the bit to create videos for the big social media services. But while more well-to-do companies are capable of expending resources to produce high-quality videos, what are those with smaller marketing budgets to do? Animoto — yes, that Animoto — on Thursday launched a video storyboard editor designed to let any business craft social videos with as little fuss as possible.
On this Marketing Video Builder, businesses will find a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, meaning there’s a lot of drag and drop functionality rather than the capabilities one would see in Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. This is the first product Animoto has targeted at businesses, as its initial product is geared more broadly toward individuals and companies.
Brad Jefferson, cofounder and chief executive, explained that while Animoto has been doing well over the past decade, the company discovered that many businesses wanted to pay for the service but didn’t want to have the Animoto branding on it. So Jefferson’s team set out to build a service that lets companies easily create distinct looks for videos that are stylized around their individual brand.
There are 12 pre-fabricated templates (like WordPress), or you can start from scratch with a selection of five styles. If you elect to use a template, it’ll come with pre-set blocks and modules that you can customize, just like with a website. At launch, there are five blocks you can incorporate into your storyboard: Logos, text, collage, photos, and video. Jefferson said that each one has a “superpower.”
When customizing your video, Animoto offers some control, including the ability to adjust the length of time for each video section, insert text, adjust the font and color, and apply images (sans animated GIFs and 360 videos). You can also include voice-over audio. And you can drag and drop images into the storyboard when needed and even leverage Animoto’s extensive music library of 5,000 songs — you’re currently limited to one song per video.
There’s no limit to how long your video can be, but your building decisions may be influenced by the one-song limit. Videos can be downloaded right from Animoto and shared to whatever service you want, be it Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest.
“We want to give everyone else the service to create quality videos to compete in the news feed with the same professionalism” as premium commercials, Jefferson said. He explained that his company’s goal is to help businesses stand out on social media, and video is often the best way to engage viewers and tell a story.
Animoto’s Marketing Video Builder has been in private alpha since January, with 1,000 paying customers using it. It’s now available for everyone to build their own quick videos. Businesses can use the service if they’re part of the Professional and Business plans, which offer unlimited videos and start at $22 per month.
While it has largely flown under people’s radars, this 10-year-old company is already cash-flow positive and has amassed more than 17 million registered users, with 100 million videos created. But timing has been a bit tricky for Animoto, as it emerged pehaps too early, well before the creation of a smartphone and app market. However, Jefferson has high hopes for the company’s newest product: “I think we’re timing it just right.”