Last month, the leading Content Management solution provider Cloudinary announced its partnership with WebPagetest. Together with WebPagetest, Cloudinary is providing measurable and actionable information about how to go beyond simple compression to optimize web performance. The Cloudinary Website Speed Test Image Analysis Tool will enable WebPagetest users to discover how changes to image size, format selection, quality and encoding parameters can drastically improve website speed and ultimately result in a better user experience for web visitors. We spoke to Doron Sherman, Vice President Evangelism at Cloudinary to understand the rise of visual internet and the optimization of content delivery networks.
MTS: Tell us about the size of your marketing team? Which are your current markets?
Doron Sherman: Currently, there are five people on the marketing team and several contractors. In terms of markets, Cloudinary benefits businesses that operate a website with a lot of assets that need to be managed, in particular images and videos. Cloudinary is particularly essential for any business where user experience of its website and mobile app properties impacts business performance. For those, Cloudinary improves page load time via optimal delivery of high-quality content, personalized for each and every user, based on device type, network bandwidth, and geographical location. That said, we see the strongest demand for our services in the e-commerce vertical.
MTS: Cloudinary uses advanced algorithms for Image Management. Could you elaborate further on the technology? Does it run on AI/ML?
Doron Sherman: Cloudinary shows users how to encode, optimize, and resize images, and the impact that will have on page load time. Cloudinary takes into account many factors, from device type and viewport size to the type of browser on which the image is viewed. Advanced algorithms, including the use of AI and machine learning, are dynamically employed to achieve results that otherwise are only possible via manual human editing and decision making. For example, Cloudinary can automatically detect the type of image content in order to encode it in the optimal format and quality settings. Another example is art direction where Cloudinary performs face detection (or objects of prime interest) within the image in order to automatically crop the region of interest. Yet another example is calculating image breakpoints for optimal delivery of images according to responsive design principles (responsive images). Our customers expect us to continue releasing smart features that save them from tedious manual work and that means Cloudinary will increase use of AI and machine learning going forward.
MTS: Do you offer integrations with any of the marketing automation and cloud platforms?
Doron Sherman: Integration with marketing automation solutions isn’t currently available out of the box. However, Cloudinary offers open REST APIs following standard URL syntax that can easily integrate into any platform and programming environment. We have customers doing that today without our help. In some cases, we engage our solutions team to customize such integrations for customer projects. Last but not least, the developer community releases third-party integrations created as open-source projects that albeit not commercially supported by Cloudinary, are valuable for implementing system integrations.
MTS: Considering the increasing focus marketers now give to User Experience, do you think videos will ultimately replace images as digital assets in next few months?
Doron Sherman: I don’t see that happening wholesale anytime soon but interest in video content is growing in a number of application segments, particularly those involving social sharing and social networking. Currently, images are 60 percent of a website’s weight, and we are still seeing developers and companies struggle to get those properly optimized.
Video presents an even bigger challenge of content management and optimized delivery, an area in which Cloudinary keeps investing heavily to offer compelling solutions that are flexible and easy-to-use. A big part of the challenge is providing a satisfactory user experience on mobile devices that entail unreliable communication bandwidth and a wide variety of device types (in terms of both computing power and display resolutions).
Cloudinary is focused on technology that enables striking the right balance to effectively display high-quality video content utilizing file sizes that adhere to the prevailing end-user delivery constraints. It’s important to note that the internet is not an unlimited resource and isn’t currently setup to support the amount of bandwidth required for everyone to switch over to large video content.
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MTS: How do you see the B2B video marketing market evolving with the advent of new technologies? How is Cloudinary positioning itself for the competition?
Doron Sherman: Marketers are relying more and more on video content because it is a new and effective way to engage with consumers, but the current way we leverage video content is unwieldy and time-consuming. Most marketers have to drop video content into a file share service like Dropbox to share content because they aren’t able to send these size files over traditional methods, such as email. It is also important to make sure you are using modern video formats such as WEBM vs GIF, which is a 30-year-old format.
At Cloudinary we were ahead of the curve as we started working on video optimization in 2015. We offer the same solutions for video content as we do for images, helping our users to optimize their media without sacrificing the quality of what is being delivered. As we look towards some exciting announcements in the pipeline for this year, we plan to make the management of video content even easier.
MTS: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Doron. We look forward to having at MarTech Series again for more insights.
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