Image Optimization April 30, 2020 by Olga Kokoulina

Uploadcare Webinar: The Future of Image Optimization on the Web

When done properly, image optimization helps online retailers improve not only their customer experience but also their bottom line. 

On May 7th, Uploadcare engineers Max Makarochkin and Nicholas Mullen are conducting a webinar for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the benefits that image optimization brings to the eCommerce field. We talked to them about what companies have to gain from optimizing their images online, and why it’s especially important right now.

So, why talk about image optimization? Is it really so important right now? And for whom?

Max: The pandemic has brought significant traffic spikes that hit eCommerce and online education providers in particular. Traditional content distribution models often fail to cope with surges like that, so companies have to spend a significant amount of time, effort, and resources to adjust. Therefore, it would be great for online businesses to find a way to optimize traffic, reduce costs, and ensure great user experience in times of high demand. This is essential for beating the competition and riding this new strong wave of internet activity. 

What’s more, now Google is introducing new metrics for their mobile-first ranking, and we want to help the developer community to prepare for this in advance by suggesting a handy way to optimize images.

Can you give some examples of the problems that image optimization can solve for online businesses? 

Nicholas: First of all, image optimization is a must if you want your website to load faster and get better conversion. Secondly, it reduces bandwidth costs by optimizing the traffic flow. In other words, it helps you cope with the increased number of users on your platform without spending a huge amount of time and money.

You mentioned website loading speed and some metrics for it from Google. Why should anyone in eCommerce care about that? 

Nicholas: If you want to keep your clients’ attention, you have to be quick and effective. So web performance is a basis for high conversion, sales, and at the end of the day, increased revenue. And Google PageSpeed Insights is probably the most commоn tool for measuring website performance. It provides the easiest way to understand how efficient you are.

Max: As a matter of fact, Google wants to achieve the same goal as you do by introducing such tools and metrics. They want to know if they’re showing advertising banners on websites that are fast, engaging, and effective. So if you want to reach financial success, you have to provide a good UX, and to do that, you need to measure performance. How? With Google PageSpeed, for instance. It helps you quickly see if the solution you’ve implemented (like Adaptive Delivery by Uploadcare, for example) works or not.

Speaking of Adaptive Delivery, how would you define it and how did you come to this solution? 

Max: Adaptive Delivery is the next-generation CDN solution. Historically, CDNs were static and managed to deliver images in a certain format: fixed dimensions, extension, and file type. It wasn’t scalable, and was difficult to manage for many pages and devices. It’s especially important for mobiles because more and more people each day surf the internet using phones, and mobile traffic costs a lot of money. So big sites with lots of unoptimized pictures waste not only users’ time, but also their money. 

Nicholas: Adaptive Delivery performs website image optimization in a fully automated manner. So. you don’t need to implement responsive images or perform manual image optimization. You don’t even have to build a system to do it for you, because we’ve already done that part for you. That’s where you save time, energy, and money.

Max: That’s for sure. To make a website fast and responsive, you need to embed more than 20 versions of each image in the code. If you do it manually, it’s an extremely tedious task. That’s why we thought that it’d be cool to make the process automatic. Once we did, Google reached out to us, telling us that they liked the approach and wanted to use a similar technology in the Chrome browser. So we hit the trend: a full-stack CDN that includes JavaScript code and works automatically. This is the future.

This sounds great, but is there a way to show the value of Adaptive Delivery before a developer actually implements it?

Max: Sure. Instead of offering it to anyone on a guess or uncertain market analysis, we take a data-driven and evidence-based approach to sales. We analyze datasets and reports from various companies to follow the trends and find out the customer’s needs and pain points. And we also use two specially designed tools to target our solutions in the best way possible.

Nicholas: The first one is a scoring tool that analyzes potential customers’ websites and identifies whether or not Adaptive Delivery would be a good solution for them. We can go through thousands of websites and immediately identify which ones it could help. If the website already has plenty of optimizations, or simply doesn’t rely on images that much, Adaptive Delivery wouldn’t speed them up much or reduce costs.

But when we spot someone who can benefit from our solution, we can do a technical demo for them so they can actually see how their website would work with Adaptive Delivery. So one tool is for making an educated guess, and the other is to implement the solution for a specific case and see the result.

Okay, imagine you’re a developer who’d like to use Adaptive Delivery. How would you sell this idea to your boss, who might not be a technical expert?

Nicholas: The two main benefits from a business standpoint are increased efficiency and reduced costs. First, the website loads faster and serves as a more effective tool. Whatever its job is—sales, conversion, engagement—it does it better. Second, a good CDN and image optimization cut down on bandwidth costs: less traffic, shorter delivery time, and cheaper hosting.

Max: And in the end, less work. Adaptive Delivery saves hours spent on new layouts for websites and helps you easily manage different digital outlets. Can we manage all our images ourselves? Well, yeah, by wasting a lot of time, energy, and money for just maintaining every responsive layout and adjusting each image manually.

But sinking all those employee hours into bare maintenance isn’t enough for a good user experience and good sales. Designers and developers need time to work on new features to keep clients satisfied in this dynamic competitive field. A CDN, on the other hand, supports different platforms, speeds everything up at once, and makes it secure. It’s reliable, compliant with all regulations, and easily scalable. And it works on its own.

What would you advise those who decided to optimize their website only now, after reading this? Where to start to get better page speed? 

Max: Review JavaScript trackers and scripts added to the website. That’s the lowest hanging fruit to improve the UX. Most likely, you have some JavaScript dependencies which you don’t use, but they keep loading and block other assets. Think of what to get rid of and what to renovate. For example, the Adaptive Delivery SDK is just 3 kilobytes and it resolves all image problems on a page. It’s nothing compared to other scripts like analytics trackers (at least 40 KB) or lazy-loading plugins, which are about 10 KB or more.

Anyway, once you’re done cleaning up your JavaScript, then you can fix the image problems. But that’s the easy part, because for all of them you can just integrate Adaptive Delivery!

Nicholas: And tune in to the upcoming webinar where we’ll walk you through image optimization for the web. You’ll learn about the benefits it brings to the market and the ways to measure it, and you’ll see how Uploadcare solutions can help you to be in line with the changes that are shaping the future.

About the Speakers:

Max Makarochkin,
Head of Adaptive Delivery,

Max has successfully launched two products as a CTO and worked as a Director of Digital Products in the real estate marketplace. Now, with 8+ years of software development experience and expertise in product management, he is developing Adaptive Delivery technology and knows the effect of site performance on user experience inside out.

Nicholas Mullen,
Solutions Engineer,

A former marketer turned engineer, Nick writes code to optimize sales and marketing processes. At Uploadcare, he is responsible for data analysis for Adaptive Delivery integration.

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