Image Is Everything Part 1: Has Your Rich Media Strategy Expired?

Image source: Adobe Stock by sdecoret.
Image Is Everything Part 1: Has Your Rich Media Strategy Expired?
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You’re using Dynamic Media within Adobe Experience Manager Assets or Dynamic Media Classic — so you’ve nailed rich media, right? Not if your rich media strategy has gone stale. To be a successful brand in today’s content-heavy world, you must offer unique, engaging, high-quality experiences. It’s hard to track how rapidly consumers’ expectations keep spiraling upwards and how competitors meet those expectations. If your strategy hasn’t been refreshed in the last 6-12 months, it may be past its use-by date.

Understanding consumer content expectations in 2019

The 2019 Adobe Brand Content Survey revealed some interesting statistics about consumer engagement with and expectations around content in 2019.

  • Consumers spend more than half their waking day engaging with content. Consumers spend 8.8 hours a day on average engaging with digital content.
  • Consumers won’t stand for poor experiences. More than a third (35%) of consumers say slow page loads frustrate them most. More than half (51%) of consumers would stop viewing the content all together if it took too long to load.
  • Use of emerging tech is on the rise. Gen Z has a unique relationship with devices compared to other generations — they engage with content on gaming consoles about as much as laptops (46% gaming consoles, 49% laptops).

Delivering rich media to engage consumers

Rich media is fundamental to enhancing, nurturing, building, and safeguarding your brand, as well as increasing customer satisfaction making you stand out from the competition. Even if you choose great images and videos, their impact falls flat if they’re not optimized for the delivery channel and don’t meet the brand’s standard of quality.

Image fidelity: Choosing and applying the right level of sharpening is a critical part of image delivery.

Both Dynamic Media and Dynamic Media Classic give you the tools you need to deliver rich visual merchandising and marketing assets on demand, automatically scaled for consumption on web, mobile, and social sites. Paired with Adobe Experience Manager Assets, you boost your efficiency by being able to quickly find, adjust, and deliver high-impact assets at optimal speed and quality.

Whatever tools are in your kit, our Rich Media Strategy Kickstart Guide will help you get your strategy in shape.

Defining an effective, well-executed rich media strategy for your brand

A properly planned and delivered rich media strategy not only ensures a best-in-class experience for your customers — it marries seamlessly with your brand’s visual aesthetic.

Your strategy provides clear guidelines on how to optimize for quality and delivery — how to combine image contrast, sharpness, and color trueness. Where do you choose image size to optimize download speed, and what level of image compression to optimize quality? Where is the middle ground that delivers good images at a good speed?

As consumers see it, quality depends first and foremost on speed — so if pages load slowly, you’ve lost half your audience. Half your audience doesn’t find out how great your images are, and you may have lost their loyalty, your ROI, and left them with negative feelings about your brand.

Contrast: Flat/muddy or overly saturated images are great for editorial work but aren’t ideal for product photography. (From left to right: low contrast, balanced contrast, high contrast.)

An additional challenge for your strategy is future-proofing. The latest web design trends are larger images and richer experiences, with video fast becoming a hard requirement. How will these trends affect file size, and ultimately, the experience with load times?

A rich media strategy answers these questions:

  • How can we optimize for the latest web design trends that include larger images and richer experiences?
  • How can I optimize specific (or all) of my pages with a focus on fast loading and low page weight sizes at scale?
  • How is quality defined and prioritized in my brand aesthetic?
  • Contrast
  • Sharpness
  • Color trueness
  • File size, format, and compression

Taking steps to create your brand-matched rich media strategy

The purpose of a rich media strategy is to make each of these decisions easier and more consistent — and automated for scale.

As a marketer, you have a number of levers to help define and refine experiences. While you likely won’t be making these changes yourself, you need to be knowledgeable about them so that you can develop your strategy as a team.

Here are the steps to create your strategy:

  1. Set your priorities: Where is speed more important than richness, or vice versa?
  2. Engage stakeholders.
  3. Inventory the experiences you deliver.
  4. Document brand goals and direction.
  5. Gather information, including:
    • Sizes, types, and media formats.
    • Load-time policy.
    • Static versus continually refreshed experiences.

By the way, you can learn more about information gathering in the Rich Media Strategy Kickstart Guide.

Keeping up the momentum

Now that you’ve started updating your rich media strategy, here are three ways you can keep that going:

  1. Engage with the three-part Image Is Everything webinar series to get practical tips, and learn how Dynamic Media and Dynamic Media Classic help you evolve your strategy. The webinars explain how to develop a well-defined rich media strategy for optimal experiences, optimize webpage layouts for speed or quality, optimize video experiences, and avoid rich media gotchas.
  2. Use our Rich Media Strategy Kickstart Guide and Rich Media Strategy Image Preset Guide to perfect your strategy.
  3. Follow the Dynamic Media and Dynamic Media Classic blog for tips and guidance with top posts like It’s Never Just a Blur — Quality Versus Speed and Video, the Experience Maker — or Breaker.

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