Toonimo, a startup that says it can make websites more engaging and lucrative by adding custom animations, is announcing that it has raised $2.5 million in funding.
The idea is that online visitors might appreciate having a cartoon character who can point out the important parts of a website and walk them through some of the trickier bits — and that, in turn, can lead to increased sales. For example, when you visit the Toonimo site, animated characters lead you down the page and explain the concept behind the company, in the hopes that you’ll sign up for a free trial.
If a business wants to add similar characters to their own websites, they can customize the characters’ look, set the triggers for when they should appear, and write the script for what they should say. Then they add the character by just including a line of code from Toonimo.
The idea of an animated helper may give you some involuntary flashbacks to Clippy, but Toonimo’s animations are quite a bit more sophisticated. Chief Marketing Officer Jake Levant said Toonimo can test different scripts and different versions of an animation, then automatically deliver the one that’s delivering the best results, similar to Optimizely. Sometimes, that means leaving out the animation entirely.
Levant told me that the goal is to add more personalization over time and eventually to become “the multimedia layer” for sites to add and test different types of content, not just animation.
By the way, if you’re having trouble playing the animations on the Toonimo site, you may want to switch browsers — I couldn’t see them until I switched from Safari to Chrome. (I dunno, maybe I just need to update my version of Flash.)