Engagement with branded video is higher than ever. In fact, on YouTube, it increased by 99 percent in just a one-year period. So, especially if you're trying to reach Generation Z, video will be an essential part of your marketing strategy in 2019.

But you can't just release any video, regardless of quality, and expect great engagement. According to a 2018 survey from Salesforce Research, 80 percent of customers say that the experience a brand provides in terms of marketing, ecommerce, and sales interactions is just as important as its products or services. That means that a low-quality video could kill your chances for hooking new customers or making a sale.

The standards may be even higher for a great motion graphic. A motion graphic combines animation with music, short-form text, voiceover, and sound design with the goal of telling a story, explaining a concept, or showcasing a product or service. When you use stock illustrations or music in a motion graphic, it's immediately much more difficult to ensure the quality of the final product.

If you're looking to build or expand your business, you'll have to stay competitive in a world where consumers crave video content. That means you'll need to share high-quality, custom-made videos and motion graphics. Not sure how to produce a motion graphic that will engage, inspire, and drive sales? Here are five steps to producing a motion graphic that drives traffic to your site, lowers bounce rate, and boosts your conversion rate.

1. Embrace the power of animation.

Brands that don't lend themselves to great live-action video or photography -- software companies, for example -- often opt for motion graphics when seeking to describe what they do. Motion graphics are great for communicating complex or abstract concepts, as in this motion graphic that explains the deep web. Why? Because animation offers a unique set of creative freedoms.

Animation empowers you to use visual metaphors -- check out this motion graphic about spring allergies for an example. It enables you to zoom to the microscopic or macroscopic level, or bring the human element to a topic that may seem overly technical. It can also simplify images that in live action might look too complicated or cluttered, such as the Seattle skyline.

So before you get started, ask yourself why a motion graphic is the best fit for your project and your goal(s). Then determine how you can harness all that animation has to offer, instead of just treating this like another live-action video.

2. Choose a design style that meets your goals.

When starting any marketing campaign, you should have a clear goal or set of goals in mind. You should also know who your target audience is. These factors will guide you in choosing the right design style, color palette, fonts, music, and overall tone for your motion graphic.

For instance, if you're aiming to gain more Generation Z followers on Snapchat, you'll probably opt for a vertically oriented, short-form motion graphic with fun, upbeat music and a youthful or humorous illustration style.

3. Use on-screen text wisely -- and sparingly.

One hallmark of effective visual communication is letting the visuals do the work. The illustration and animation should be able to communicate your message effectively without your audience having to read a word.

Still, you may find that some limited on-screen text is necessary to elevate and complement your message. Such text might label a graph or highlight key points.

Depending on where your motion graphic will live, on-screen text may become more or less useful. For instance, if you're showing your motion graphic on a television screen at a trade show, a voiceover might be inaudible, so your on-screen text may have to do more of the work that a voiceover would normally do.

4. Choose the right voiceover artist.

Your voiceover artist will set the tone for your motion graphic. Male or female, conversational or authoritative, young or mature  -- there's a huge range of possibilities. Which one is the best fit for your goals and audience?

Listen to audition tracks for different voiceover artists before making a decision. When you've chosen the right voice, you'll want to work with your audio engineer to get the final sound editing just right.

5. Opt for custom music and sound design.

Many marketers understand the need for custom animation, but then sell their video short by opting for stock music and sound design. Stock music not only sounds cheap to the countless viewers who may have heard that music in another video -- it also fails to echo and amplify the subtle emotional turns and crescendos in your motion graphic.

Sound design includes ambient noise and sound effects that accompany key animations. Just like music and voiceover, sound design sets the tone, and it can be hard to find stock effects that really do the job. Invest in custom sound design and music to round out a truly successful motion graphic.

These five steps will ensure that you've produced a motion graphic that you're proud of, and that others are willing to engage with and share.

Published on: Feb 20, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.