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Element Cinemagraph Showcase Series: Q&A with Art Director Aaron Graff

This month’s cinemagraph showcase series features another one of our agency’s talented designers. Element’s cinemagraph showcase series gives our design staff the opportunity to showcase their talent, explore new mediums, design freely – and, of course, have a little fun.

This month, we’re featuring our brilliantly creative art director, Aaron Graff. We put Aaron to the test and challenged him to conceptualize and create his ideal version of a cinemagraph. When Aaron’s not producing remarkable digital art for our clients, you’ll finding him jamming out in his office with his headphones on or rocking one of the several stringed instruments hanging on his wall.

We asked Aaron a few questions about his eye-catching concept. See his masterpiece below and on Facebook.

Q: What inspired you to craft this cinemagraph?

Aaron Graff: Music. It’s always been an important creative outlet for me. Plus, I just bought an electric guitar and I’m kind of obsessed with it.

That’s fun! We expect a concert soon, Aaron.

Q: Why did you choose to create movement in the out-of-focus background versus in the foreground?

Aaron Graff: I love when a design can give you that “aha” moment and subtlety can often carry more weight than something overt.

We totally agree, Aaron. It adds so much curiosity.

Q: We’re eager to know … what song are you guys jamming out to?

Aaron Graff: “Do You Like Me” by Fugazi. Seems like a marketing line, no?

Q: Can you give us a “VH1 Behind the Music” outline of “this band’s” music career?

Aaron Graff: Kid puts his skateboard down long enough to pick up a guitar and play some loud power chords in a punk band … Band breaks up when he moves away for college … Plays Phish songs on an acoustic guitar in the dorms … Graduates and plays some open mics with his veteran brother … Gets married, has kids, and plays living room acoustic for the next decade … Once again gets the urge to rock out, buys a used electric guitar off Craigslist, and plays some loud power chords … Considers starting a dad band.

Love it. A dad band sounds awesome. #ElementDadBand

Q: What would be your advice to brands that are thinking about cinemagraphs to enhance their marketing efforts?

Aaron Graff: While the cinemagraph has been around for years, it’s still fresh enough to surprise. It’s a great way to add some visual interest to your web design that’s a step above a photograph, but without asking for the user’s time investment that a video takes up. Make some great images for your brand and let them come to life for your customers.

We agree, Aaron. In fact, cinemagraphs can be used to create disruptive digital ads, too. Whether you create sponsored/promoted social posts or you pay for play with banner and display ads, utilizing a cinemagraph is more likely to capture attention compared to a static image. And, the facts don’t lie. Case studies show that cinemagraph banner ads drive 5.6x higher click-through rates than still images.

Want more proof? Microsoft’s case study on cinemagraphs versus still photos in social advertising hits the nail on the head. In short, by targeting small- to medium-sized businesses and consumers with cinemagraph ads, Microsoft saw:

  • Twitter: 110% boost in engagement compared to 1.96% on still images
  • Facebook: 85% boost in engagement compared to 0.83% on still images

These stats are music to our ears because they prove it’s possible to get more bang for your buck in cinemagraph advertising.

But why? The truth is, cinemagraphs are more fascinating than static photos and less energetic than videos. Parts of it stay the same while others change. And like the repetition of a chorus in a song, this rhythmic combination creates consonance, but also adds the perfect amount of curiosity.

Tune Up Your Digital Ads

Are you doing digital advertising? Let’s see if your target audience responds better to cinemagraphs or animated ads compared to static ones. Other brands have seen a nice ROI. Will yours? Give us a shout to start the conversation and produce results that are music to your ears, too.


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