How to deliver visually rich user experiences on mobile without dragging down page performance.

We all know the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” meaning that a complex idea can be conveyed in just one image. The phrase was made popular nearly 100 years ago in an article about the power of images in advertisements, and the sentiment rings just as true in today’s always-on digital age. It’s been said that the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text, and research supports that images directly impact mood and invoke a variety of emotions.

This makes visual media, both images and video, a powerful tool full of marketing potential. According to YouAppi’s CMO Mobile Marketing Guide, 85 percent of digital marketers plan to boost their mobile marketing budget for videos in 2018 by 10 percent over 2017 levels. That’s to meet a marked surge of interest in videos, which are a superb medium for personalization and connections.

Source: YouAppi’s 2018 CMO Mobile Marketing Guide

During an interview in 2017, Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman said, “A lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords.” We aren’t quite there yet, but the visual web has changed the game. All signs point to continued growth in the use of media-rich content to engage digital consumers.

Mobile is king

Mobile reigns supreme in today’s digital world. More than half of the time we spend each day with digital media is done with our mobile devices, and 80 percent of all shoppers make purchases via smartphones, logging billions of transactions and revenue every month.

By 2019, mobile advertising is forecasted to represent 72 percent of all US online ads. Notably, smartphone owners often search while on mobile devices and are five times more likely to leave a mobile-unfriendly site. If you aren’t providing the best mobile experience possible, you are likely losing out to your competitors that are.

If media-rich content provides a powerful vector of communication with your target consumers, and you need to reach them on their platform of choice — their mobile device — the path forward is clear. You need to provide a media-rich, engaging experience, delivered seamlessly to their mobile device. Great! Let’s all do that…

Easier said than done

Unfortunately, this can be more challenging than many think. Over the past three years, as a result of the ubiquity and large file size of non-text content, the average weight of a webpage has increased by nearly 85 percent, leading to slower load times. Research has shown that even a three-second loading time causes a 53 percent bounce rate.

Factor in the shift to Mobile-First Indexing by Google, and that page load speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches,…