Why the Cloud Is Proving Invaluable for Marketers
The words ‘cloud-computing’ were first uttered more than a decade ago, yet despite this, businesses are only beginning to embrace this relatively ‘old’ technology. Initial concerns regarding privacy and security, as well as high profile data leaks, slowed the rate of cloud adoption. However, this is beginning to change as businesses get to grips with the benefits of using cloud services.
According to research, almost 42% of UK businesses used cloud computing in 2018, which is significantly higher than the 26% average across EU enterprises. This figure is likely to grow as the cloud becomes an acceptable and essential part of modern-day business infrastructure and enterprises start to understand the critical role it plays in managing and sharing content, particularly within the marketing industry. In the UK, 67% of marketers use video for content marketing purposes, while 66% utilise infographics and 54% use photos or illustration. As marketers increasingly turn to video and new forms of digital content in line with consumer demand, the cloud has a critical role to play.
The challenges of video
Before modern cloud infrastructure, video presented an awkward paradox – large, cumbersome files that, once edited, needed to be delivered seamlessly and in as close to real-time as possible. This was extremely challenging – and often impossible. Even large media companies struggled to deploy competent internal management tools. Terabytes of video files were dumped into existing local storage which usually resulted in a lack of organisation and acute network congestion.
Then came the difficulty of serving the content, where a sudden string of viral video successes can rocket server demand from near zero to millions of concurrent users demanding multi-megabyte streams immediately. The adoption of cloud-based media management platforms means most of these logistical challenges can be quickly overcome.
Enabling greater engagement
The cloud has completely changed the way we engage with and consume content. It makes the process of downloading files or streaming videos faster and more seamless than it has ever been before. Just take Amazon Prime for example which allows consumers to choose from hundreds of films and TV shows and stream them on any compatible device. This is all thanks to cloud infrastructure. Marketing agencies or departments that manage digital media will also see these benefits, enabling them to upload, download and share assets in a much more streamlined and efficient way. However, while this will make the process smoother for these organisations, it is something that should be invisible to the end-user who shouldn’t see a direct impact from its use. The cloud is so seamless that consumers shouldn’t notice it at all.
Cloud breaks the dreaded cycle of upgrading physical infrastructure that so many enterprises have experienced on a semi-regular basis. The cloud allows businesses to use what they need and can expand and contract as the organisation requires. This means that businesses only incur extra costs when they need more storage, for instance, rather than owing to equipment failing or becoming outdated.
Privacy and security
While data privacy and security expectations have also been significantly upgraded in Europe by the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the fact is that expectations around the handling of personal data have been on the rise for some time. Best practice safeguarding around video footage of children, for example, is no longer an option. It relies on effective tagging and referencing of content at a very granular level, a challenge that is significantly harder if it is not centrally enforced by robust and transparent policies. Creating and enforcing such guidelines is much easier in a centralised cloud environment than in a variety of workflows scattered across multiple jurisdictions.
In addition, sharing video content between globally-distributed internal departments is now a matter of forwarding a secure text link, not a multi-gigabyte folder. This means that businesses can quickly share content with employees no matter where they are in the world. Also, there is no chance of running out of storage space or delivery bandwidth in a cloud environment either, so the days of frantically phoning IT to spin up another server are long gone.
As more businesses identify the benefits of cloud services, particularly in terms of media management, we will see its adoption continue to increase with 83% of enterprise workloads expected to be in the cloud by 2020. Cloud is an infinitely more flexible and adaptable solution which will prove invaluable as marketers generate and share growing volumes of video content, particularly as research has found that 72% of people prefer video over text when learning about a product or service. By adopting cloud services, marketing departments and businesses more generally will gain the benefit of a more future-proofed, cost-effective infrastructure that allows them to comply with regulations and keep up with the modern-day consumer’s growing appetite for video content.