3 Emerging Image Formats for Marketers to Know

3 Emerging Image Formats that Marketers Need to Know

By |Published On: August 24th, 2022|4.5 min read|

Multichannel marketing is constantly incorporating new tools and processes, especially on the digital front, that make website images better and faster.

Although they should be straightforward, image formats are rarely that. You save the image, logo, animation, or poster that you’ve generated. You can use it for anything now, right? A universal image format system would make life much simpler if only that were the case. Instead, a plethora of confusing acronyms overpowers us.

Let’s face it: you frequently select the one you’ve heard of or used previously and assumed would work. Then you receive the message: Please send in PNG as this device does not accept this format. Sadly, this is just the beginning of your issues.

When displaying photos for the web, we have various image formats to utilize. The primary distinction between image formats is the type of image codec that is used for encoding or decoding every type of image. An image codec is a representation of the algorithm used to compress, encode, and decode images into a particular file format for display on screens. Hence, many names like JPG, PNG, and GIF, among others. With the rise of mobile devices, 5G data, and the ever-increasing need for faster loading websites, new image and video formats are emerging to take on these challenges. Here is your primer on the latest versions so your team can be ready to use them!

WebP Format

The goal of Google’s WebP, a contemporary image format, is to improve lossless and lossy compression for photos on the web. WebP aims to create smaller images while maintaining richness because smaller images speed up the web. Additionally, WebP continues to support the expanding trend of animated graphics. It’s still in the works, but it will be significant.

Lossy WebP compression bases its picture encoding on predictive encoding and the VP8 video codec. It predicts the value of a block of pixels using values from nearby blocks of pixels and only encodes the difference. Multiple image compression algorithms are used to turn photos into lossless WebP files.

WebP lossy images are typically 25–34 percent smaller than JPEG images of comparable quality, whereas WebP lossless images generally are 26 percent smaller than PNG. They also make an excellent substitute for GIF images because they support animation.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Great quality images at smaller file sizes
  • Not supported by Social platforms yet, so traditional formats need to be utilized for Social sharing purposes

Browser & OS Support

Support in all browsers and operating systems

Examples of WebP & JPG compression and quality are below. The view of Lake Como (our namesake) is stunning in both versions, but the WebP is a 61% smaller file size than the JPG.

Lake Como - WebP

WebP – 188kb
Lossy @ 70 Quality

JPG – 476kb
70 Quality

HEIF Format

High-Efficiency Image File Format, or HEIF, is designed to streamline the storage of images. In addition, it tries to maintain good quality while using lower compressed files. With 10 degrees of compression available, HEIF offers lightning-fast encoding and decoding, is lightweight, and doesn’t tax the system’s resources.

Theoretically, the compression is nearly twice as effective as JPEG, producing photos with up to twice the quality at the same file size. However, because it uses a raster picture format and pixel mapping, you cannot enlarge the photos without sacrificing quality.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Great quality to file size ratio
  • No browser and limited OS support

Browser & OS Support

  • Not supported by any major browsers
  • Native support in macOS Sierra and iOS 11 and later, but not in their respective Safari versions

AVIF Format

AVIF, which stands for “AV1 Image File Format,” is thought to be the upcoming image file format of the future. This format is essentially the protocol for storing AV1-compressed still and motion photos in HEIF files. Most tech experts consider the royalty-free video coding format AV1 to be the next development in media compression.

To produce high-quality photos, AVIF enables very effective lossy and lossless compression. AVIF compresses far better than the majority of currently used web formats (JPEG, WebP, JPEG 2000, and more). Images with the comparable visual quality might be up to ten times smaller than JPEGs. According to specific testing, AVIF offers a 50% file size reduction over JPEG while maintaining a comparable level of perceptual quality. Remember to analyze formats carefully because there are situations in which WebP lossless can be superior to AVIF lossless.

Because of its superior compression, AVIF can lower the size of image files. AVIF files download more quickly and use less bandwidth as a result. Because of this, it might enhance performance by speeding up the loading of photos.

Overall, AVIF does pass most of the tests, and WebP offers better support and compression than JPEG or PNG. As a result, you should, without a doubt, consider WebP when optimizing photos for your website. Considering AVIF for your purposes and implementing it as a progressive enhancement could be beneficial as the format spreads across many platforms and browsers. AVIF would eventually become more straightforward with better comparison tooling and faster encoding.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • A better compression method than other image formats lead to faster load times
  • Adobe and other platforms not currently supporting this format

Browser & OS Support

  • It is supported by Chrome, Firefox, and Opera but is currently not fully supported in Safari or Edge

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