Pages that load even a few seconds slower than usual can greatly impact engagement. Slow site speeds can lead to lost sales and damaged customer loyalty.

Nathan Kelley, head of media quality and performance, Cloudinary

Most businesses, regardless of industry, understand the importance of using images and videos to captivate their audiences. Visual stories are at the heart of nearly all our connections today, whether we’re reading the news, engaging with a brand, or deciding which dishwasher to buy.

The odds are pretty good that before reading, this you’ve already engaged with several sites that either hooked you in or lost you entirely because of their visual content. That’s the power of visual storytelling.

Delivering these visual experiences successfully, however, is not always as easy as it might seem. Critical to success, businesses must understand the role web experience plays, including the quality and speed in which their web pages and content load. According to Gomez, a one-second delay in page load time can lead to a drop in conversion of 7% or more.

This is why media optimization, delivering images and videos with the optimal file size while maintaining visual quality, is crucial for providing fast and engaging media assets. It’s a key element of improving a visitor’s website journey and driving an exceptional digital experience.

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 Here are four reasons to optimize your media quality and web performance today.

  1. Increase engagement and conversions

    Nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy. This number highlights the reality of web performance – it can completely make or break a sale. Speed is directly related to visitor satisfaction as it can increase conversions by encouraging customers to stay longer, browse more and make purchases. Marketers must take steps to deliver fast page load times by making media optimization a priority.

    Optimizing media means saving bytes and improving performance for your website: the fewer bytes per asset, the faster the browser can download and render the content on the users’ screens. And the faster the download, the better the user experience. If the webpage loads visual assets too slowly, consumers will get frustrated and won’t wait around, negatively affecting brand perception and overall revenue.

  2. Automate desired content optimizations

    Optimal delivery on an image-by-image and user-by-user basis can be time-consuming and challenging. There are multiple factors to consider, including file formats, vision algorithms and browser behavior. A visitor using a mobile device on 3G doesn’t need to see the same extra high-resolution image that a desktop user on high-speed Wi-Fi sees.

    AI capabilities like automated cropping of images, face detection, proper sizing and transmuxing—a process in which audio and video files are repackaged into different delivery formats—now make it easy to adapt and optimize images for all devices and browsers. Teams can save valuable time and bandwidth by integrating these automated capabilities with built-in, fast content delivery network (CDN) delivery.

    By automating the process of transforming images in a content and context-aware manner, developers can responsively deliver the optimal image in any resolution or pixel density, leading to faster page loads, more site engagement and higher conversion rates.

  3. Get data-driven performance reporting and insights

    Improving web performance also means collecting valuable insights on visitor behavior for a given website. Businesses can analyze reports on the images contributing to their monthly bandwidth and determine which ones are slowing down page loads. They can also look at usage patterns and see what images they need to transform to a smaller resolution and how much bandwidth search engine crawlers are responsible for, and more. This data gives brands the insights they need to make optimal media delivery and performance decisions.

  4. Improve overall SEO

    Largest contentful paint (LCP), which measures webpage load performance, is an important metric that search sites like Google use to determine load time so that web users have a good experience on a site. Media optimization can also significantly affect core web vitals like by improving loading time, responsiveness, and visual content stability.

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    Google is launching page experience ranking signals for Google Search in May 2021, providing metrics that will measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity and visual stability. Marketers should keep in mind that search engines penalize slow-loading pages. By improving web performance, brands can get higher SEO rankings that increase visibility.

 Web performance impacts the bottom line

Pages that load even just a few seconds slower than usual can impact visitor/customer engagement greatly. More importantly, it can mean a loss in sales and is a big miss for customer loyalty. Businesses must look at their media quality and web performance to ensure that images and videos are optimized for each users’ experience.

Media quality and web performance can make or break a brand. In a time when consumers are online more than ever, now is the time to manage visual assets correctly and reduce their impact on a website’s performance.

Cloudinary provides a cloud-based image and video management software for the web.

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