A set of three gummy letters in the shape of C isolated on white - customer experience concept
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By 2020, videos will likely comprise 80 percent of all internet traffic. Use of another rich media asset, images (measured by total bytes delivered by an average web page) has doubled over the past seven years. And the growth in image traffic for mobile devices is even more, nearly 3.5 times over the same time period. Suffice it to say that your online customer experience is heavily influenced by how well you are thinking through the implications of managing rich media assets.

Brands have always aspired to be compelling, candid and consistent in attracting and retaining customers. But as these concepts become even more relevant in the omnipresent world of rich media, let’s consider how these three magic Cs will evolve in 2019 and beyond.

Consistent

Customers expect that their online experience with their favorite brand will be consistent, independent of the device, channel or location by which they interact with it. These concepts are especially relevant when thinking about delivering rich media online. Brands today have adopted numerous best practices to ensure consistency in the online experience including well-known concepts around responsive design, lazy loading of media, and others.

However, even the goal of loading images into “jank-free” websites, as my colleague Eric Portis so eloquently describes it, is still reliant on web developers using cumbersome methods. Luckily, there are two proposed web standards that will make it easier — in CSS or HTML — for developers to automate how images can responsively be displayed and therefore create a better and more consistent user experience.

Related Article: Customer Experience Trends for 2019

Compelling

The top 1 percent of customers are worth 18 times the average customer. All else equal, the ability to engage with customers in a more personalized way will better identify who could potentially fit into that upper customer echelon. We’re all familiar with the straightforward, “Other customers have also bought...” meme that appears on virtually every ecommerce site today. However, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has added new dimensions to the idea of personalization, and has measurably boosted the bottom line.

According to recent research, 6 percent of ecommerce visits that involve interaction with AI-based recommendations drives 37 percent of revenue. One natural application of this concept that consumers have seen over the past couple of years includes dynamic offers via social ads, emails and website visits, all of which imply using a company’s rich media in unique, personalized ways.

Another personalization trend that will pick up steam over the coming years is the concept of shoppable videos. The explosion of mobile devices along with an increased appetite for cord-cutting has led to growth of digital, video-based advertising of over 30 percent in 2017. Shoppable videos capitalize on these trends and represent an interesting nexus of engaging rich media, personalization and conversion.  

Related Article: A Simple Customer Experience Equation

Candid

Authenticity is another critical touchpoint for successful customer engagement. This can occur in a variety of ways, from handwritten notes (I always enjoy those from my favorite shirtmaker around the holidays) to in-person meetups. In the online world, one way in which businesses showcase authenticity is via user generated content (UGC). The most common example of this is online product reviews by users. Individuals trust content generated by friends/family/other users far more than content generated by the company itself, and nearly 95 percent of shoppers look at online reviews prior to purchasing.

Rich media is now playing an increasingly important role as UGC extends beyond text-based reviews. In markets like travel, social media and dating, UGC centers around uploading personal images and videos that drive greater engagement. In fact, websites or campaigns that incorporate UGC imagery have seen nearly a 5x higher conversion when compared to those sites and campaigns that just used company-driven, professional imagery.

With attention spans at a premium — the average consumer is hit with 10,000 brand messages a day — businesses are compelled to constantly adjust their online and offline marketing efforts to create more engaging customer experiences. With a renewed emphasis around the three Cs, they’ll find their efforts paying off with greater customer engagement and satisfaction, longer-term loyalty and an uptick in revenue.