Guest Column | July 19, 2016

Is A Picture Really Worth A Thousand Words?

Jason Miller from Akamai

By Jason Miller, chief strategist of commerce, Akamai 

Judging by the current explosive growth of images on the Internet, a picture may be worth much more than a thousand words. Consider Facebook, the social media giant, which stores more than 250 billion user-generated photos; and the fact that an average web page now contains 60 images.  One of the reasons for the growth in images on the web is that users love images; for example, look at the growth of Instagram, it has over 40 billion images shared.          

For retailers, images are the first thing that grabs a shopper’s attention, driving that first impression of the brand and the products.  Being able to provide consumers with high-quality and engaging product images – with multiple and alternate views and zooms –  is one of the key ways to increase conversions.  This value is outlined in many different tests such as this VWO A/B test, showing larger images increased conversion by 9 percent, while decreasing returns by accurately reflecting colors and fit.

These are all contributing factors to the increase in the proliferation and size of images, which has grown dramatically from .47 MB in 2011 to 1.53 MB in 2016 (measuring the average bytes per page by content type as shown in the graph below), an increase in size by 3.25 times. These have also caused many different headaches for retailers and strained their digital asset management solutions. And, we haven’t even mentioned mobile or responsive web design yet.