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The Future Is Bright for the Visual Economy

5 minute read
Sanjay Sarathy avatar
The start of a new decade is an exciting time for business leaders, marketers and developers to cast their vision for the visual economy in 2020 and beyond.

It’s the beginning of a new decade and an exciting time for business leaders, marketers and developers alike to cast their vision for 2020 and beyond. Brands will have many more channels and touchpoints to create and deliver impactful messages that resonate — and will undergo challenges that may potentially impede opportunities if they are not carefully considered and planned for.

In looking forward to the next 10 years, the brands that will stand apart will deliver a dynamic and personalized visual experience in order to stay ahead of the competition and win market share. They must also take advantage of game-changing technology to make the most of the many digital channels through which customers engage.

Let’s explore the top five trends to consider as we settle into 2020.

1. Increase in Video Consumption

In 2018, it was estimated that there would be a million minutes of video crossing the internet per second by 2020. Whether we’ve already reached that milestone at the time of writing is unknown, but what the trending increase in video consumption suggests is this: videos simply capture a message in ways that images can’t achieve, with an interactive and engaging component that goes beyond a still photo.

Given this demand, companies must develop engagement strategies that cut through the noise and effectively grab consumer attention. Marketers can achieve this by using AI to analyze rich video metadata and reach each viewer with the personalized content most likely to engage and activate them. They can leverage automation and the idea of a single source of truth to deliver the appropriate video formats quickly and efficiently.

Preparing for this rising trend will open up doors to harness video for improved engagement and connections. By catering to consumers’ changing behavior, marketers will be able to reach their audience in the medium that generates higher engagement and increases revenue.

Related Article: The Uncomfortable Truth About DAM

2. Rise in Adoption of Headless Systems

With a shift in media content formats, it’s no surprise that headless systems are gaining traction to easily adapt to these new consumption models. Headless systems, which decouples the delivery layer from the content repository layer in the marketing technology (martech) stack, allow brands to future-proof their business by enabling the visual economy with functional flexibility across different channels. Headless systems provide companies the flexibility needed to cater to unique channel requirements and quickly adapt to new forms of interactions.

With a headless architecture, companies can also deliver faster time-to-market when replacing or upgrading parts across different channels, deploying solutions and new channels easier. Developers have complete platform independence and are given the ability to quickly deliver content via APIs to a variety of channels, including mobile apps, desktop websites and more. The adoption of headless systems will be critical for brand success in the visual economy and will certainly become more widespread in 2020 and beyond.

Related Article: The Growing Importance of Headless Systems in the Visual Economy

3. Evolution of Next-Generation Standards for the Modern Web

New enhancements to image standards will slowly gain traction in the upcoming year. It’ll be exciting to see next-generation formats like JPEG XL continue to evolve as more and more marketers push for improved quality and support for a broader set of use cases.

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With new standards and technology, brands will be able to save time and effort when working with images. The enhancements will also generate better quality images and enrich the visual web with improved image developments.

Related Article: Using Web Standards to Create a Great Mobile Experience

4. The Web Becoming More Accessible

In 2020, brands will prioritize making their business accessible to all. In the online world, this means communicating context to those who have difficulty interpreting media on websites and mobile apps. Businesses must ensure that their site can be used by all, including those with visual impairments, with ease and confidence.

Media accessibility is critical to ensure strong user engagement with people with disabilities. Developers can enrich online experiences for these audiences in many ways. Already, enabling accessible content with meaningful alt text on all images — creating an alternative verbiage that is rendered in place of the related image if it cannot be rendered — is a best practice and proven to impact SEO.

We’ll start to see new levels of accessibility considered moving forward, though. Color blindness, for example, is another challenge brands should consider. To improve the experience of color-blind audiences, developers can use solutions to display colors with stripes in order to highlight the difference between colors.

Related Article: Web Accessibility Serves Everyone: Here's How to Get Started

5. Growing Use of AI

Marketers are looking for ways to save time and money, and one of the best ways to do that is to automate their media assets’ workflow with machine learning. Those who leverage artificial intelligence (AI) will be able to stop wasting resources on repetitive or manual tasks and instead can optimize day-to-day tasks like organization and localization. By taking advantage of AI technologies, teams can auto-tag media assets for retrieval and reuse, localize the assets’ content and deliver an engaging, well-moderated experience at scale.

All of these predictions point to the need for brands to create an engaging visual experience as efficiently and effectively as possible, across as many channels and formats as possible, for every user possible. Thankfully, technology is available to not only respond to consumers’ demands for high-quality media, but to do it efficiently and at scale. 2020 is shaping up to be the year of the visual economy, and it’ll be exciting to see brands turn promise into reality.

About the author

Sanjay Sarathy

Sanjay Sarathy is VP developer experience at Cloudinary, a provider of end-to-end digital media management solutions. With more than twenty years experience in leading global marketing programs, his work spans tech startups and established market leaders in SaaS, Big Data, analytics and e-commerce.