MarketersUpskillVisualLiteracyThe internet is becoming increasingly visual with each new generation. Images and videos dominate communication, especially among young people. Nothing has accelerated the already rapid growth of this visual content more than the pandemic. In this increasingly visual economy, marketers need visual literacy to keep up with developments.

Visual competence is a must

Many marketers are quite eloquent in their communications. They know how to write and edit persuasive texts. Most are adept at optimizing written content for SEO and measuring its effectiveness. Visual content such as photos and videos are great for conveying emotion and complex messages in a relatively small space, but they also come with their own set of challenges, because the devil is in the details. For example, how do you optimize images and videos so that they appear consistently across different browsers, devices, and formats? How do you ensure that the video is displayed correctly when a user turns the phone to landscape? How to optimize visual content for SEO? Fortunately, modern technology can help with such visual literacy issues and automate many of these processes. Despite all the technology, marketers should acquire a certain basic knowledge of visual media and be familiar with new image and video formats, for example.

Acquire knowledge about new formats

Whether for broadcast-quality live streaming, on-demand viewing, or real-time interactive communication, video is becoming increasingly important online, and marketers should seek to leverage these benefits efficiently.

On the technical side, a good starting point is the introduction of the AV1 video format. Unlike its HEVC and H.264 predecessors, AV1 was built for the modern web and is supported by big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Netflix. Not only is AV1 royalty-free, but it also offers exceptional visual quality at a much lower bitrate. For brands that stream a lot of video content, AV1 has the potential to deliver big bandwidth, cost and carbon footprint savings while maintaining high speed and quality. Marketers should talk to their web teams about moving to AV1, AVIF, and other new image and video formats.

Optimize visual content with AI

Optimizing visual media for different devices, browsers and social media channels is a very detailed, time-consuming, and monotonous endeavor for the development team. Fortunately, this work can be beautifully automated with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). There are free and subscription-based tools that use AI to optimize images and videos across the four main stages of the media content lifecycle: creation, editing, delivery, and enhancement. For example, you can use AI tools to automatically check the quality of user-generated content, auto-crop images to highlight the most important content, auto-tag images with SEO, and apply filters, effects, overlays, and other enhancements to bulk content.

Use optimization tools

When it comes to user experience and visual content, companies shouldn’t rely on individual solutions, but take a holistic approach. A good visual user experience encompasses personalization, performance and usability and requires tools and interfaces for various visual content to provide such a visual experience. A platform that can take over the management of the visual media assets in the backend, as well as the further processing and the optimized provision of the processed assets can help here. In other words, a platform capable of handling the entire visual content processing pipeline, not just individual products or tools.

No doubt, visual content is playing an increasingly important role in our visual economy. They support brands in communicating their values, products and services. As new technologies and tools help to automate and improve the visual content optimization process, marketers must continue to build their visual literacy skills to take full advantage of the power of these tools.

Marketers should definitely take the time to find out about the innovations in the field of visual content and the basic concepts of image and video optimization or simply to try out different optimization tools. Because one thing is certain: marketers have to adapt their campaigns to the new circumstances to make an impression in the visual economy – and nothing works without visual competence.

By Daniela La Marca