Opportunities to Raise Visual Storytelling
Social media and business collaboration apps offer tremendous conversion opportunities.
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While at ImageCon, I had the opportunity to meet with Colin Bendell, Senior Director of Strategy and Data Insights at Cloudinary to discuss the key findings of their recently completed State of Visual Media Report. The findings reveal how fully-optimized rich media is vital to successful visual storytelling.
The research was fielded to help companies better understand how visual content is being viewed and consumed. The insights and trends are based on Cloudinary data that comprised billions of media transactions across a sampling of more than 700 Cloudinary customers representing 14 vertical industries including e-commerce/retail, media, travel, and entertainment. You can view the interactive report here.
New file formats like HEIF are 30-40% smaller than traditional JPEG, with more visual impact, but remain underutilized beyond e-commerce.
Brands should not overlook the increasingly important power of social word-of-mouth sharing beyond now legacy platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Visual engagement with modern apps like Slack, WeChat, and WhatsApp continue to carry big conversion opportunities.
While Chrome wins the overall browser war at 56.6% usage, the tail is increasingly fragmented with major regional differences that brands must understand and address to reach diverse audiences.
As global web traffic is increasingly mobile, representing 65% over 35% for desktop, brands that view laptops as a big part of the mobile web equation, and leverage regional differences and usage patterns, are at an advantage.
In today’s highly-visual world, companies understand the critical role images and videos play in communicating brand values, selling products, and connecting with consumers. Yet too often these business-critical media assets aren’t optimized to their full potential. Slow-to-load or mis-cropped images can be directly tied to lost opportunities, while beautiful, engaging media can be attributed to upticks in social shares and improved bottom lines. With more choice, more channels and dwindling attention spans, it takes more understanding than ever to attract and engage today’s digital-savvy consumer.
Further insights from the report include:
New image formats deliver major business benefits. Newer formats like High-Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF), which enables richer and more vibrant colors at much smaller file sizes compared to JPEG, is a no-brainer when it comes to elevating visual stories and selling products. The data revealed that e-commerce companies are taking advantage of the format in big numbers compared to other industries, accounting for more than 98% of represented HEIF traffic.
Apps like Slack and WhatsApp hold hidden word-of-mouth opportunities. We know customized visual hooks drive more social sharing, but apps for work and home aren’t as divided as brands might expect. Understanding social engagement and word-of-mouth sharing beyond more traditional platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to include apps like Slack, WeChat, WhatsApp and iMessage will be increasingly important.
True global engagement means thinking beyond Chrome and other popular browsers. While it’s tempting to default to the most popular formats, browsers, and devices, global brands that overlook the growing long tail are missing opportunities to engage with millions of users. For example, Nokia Symbian smartphones are still popular in India, and Nintendo DS devices share more than 15,000 images per day.
According to Colin, “Brands understand strong visual experiences engage users, create loyalty, and drive revenue. Companies continue to struggle to deliver visual experiences quickly and consistently across all channels, locations, devices -- and at scale. Our goal with the first annual State of Visual Media report is to share what we’re seeing across our massive data set in hopes that others can learn from what our users are doing -- and not yet doing -- to improve processes, tell better visual stories and convert engagement to long-term loyalty.”
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