Adobe Experience Manager: Dynamic Media Classic Top 10 Hidden Abilities

Image source: Adobe Stock / gstockstudio.

You’ve been using Adobe Dynamic Media Classic as a key part of your workflow and delivery strategy, but are you aware of some of the advanced power user abilities? We gathered some of the lesser-known features that you can easily use now to supercharge all your experiences, whether you are new to the solution or are a longtime user.

We make it as easy as possible to use Dynamic Media Classic, so you can quickly reap the benefits of your rich media experiences. You don’t need an advanced degree in DMC, but this means there are lots of tactics you won’t have encountered, and no reason to go back and hone your skills — until now.

Here are 10 areas that you’ll be glad you took a closer look at.

1. In the Weeds? Advanced Image Presets

Everyone uses image presets. Presets can reduce complexity — until you have hundreds of them, at which point you feel like you’re drowning. It’s an old habit that now haunts your day: wading through all the presets you have been creating for every single campaign.

Instead of growing a kelp forest of campaign-specific presets, I recommend organizing your presets based on experience formats — for example, the desktop landing page, the mobile product detail page, etc. — and then stacking presets to craft the perfect experience you need.

Presets are the controls to over 80 different URL parameters that determine how your images look and how quickly they appear. You may not have realized that you can stack multiple presets, for example, creating editorial imagery using a preset for large size stacked with a preset for extreme color. Instead of creating presets for every variant of color and size, you use this modular approach. You have less testing to perform because you know each module already works. And you have fewer presets to manage.

Here’s another huge time saver: you can use presets to layer objects, adding an overlay or a visible watermark. That overlay could be a “50% off!” badge combined with a preset that is already tested and in your library. You combine the two presets, and boom! You’re running a promotion. Minutes, not days, of workflow and testing. You can also use a preset to display a watermark and create a rule (using Rule Sets) that will only apply the watermark to a select group of assets.

2. Best Barrista Evah: Adaptive Video Sets

You hand over your cup, and your barista knows immediately what to put in it. Just from the look on your face, the time of day, the weather, she knows whether you need decaf or high test or something in between, and how many shots to pull. Adaptive video sets are like your best barista: they adapt media to fit the experience, based on the situation. This is another area where many people haven’t looked past using the out-of-box defaults. But this is a feature that you really should tweak to meet your marketing needs. Adaptive video sets will automatically ensure the best quality and streaming experiences for each screen and browser. In order for that to happen, you must reference the link that Dynamic Media Classic creates when you upload your master video, rather than referencing the master video itself.

See the how-to video.

3. Greased Lightning: HTTP/2

Annoyed because your web experiences are too fast, driving higher conversion and customer satisfaction? Me neither, which is why HTTP/2 is such a gift — it speeds up viewer load time by about 15%, reduces processing power, and increases speed by as much as around 7 to 28% for imagery. Adobe has been moving all its delivery domains to HTTP/2, but a few older domains are still in use. You can create a support ticket to find out if any of your properties are using the older standard. If you are, Adobe Dynamic Media Support will guide you through the steps of moving to one of the HTTP/2 domains.

4. Slimming with Smart Imaging

Typically, we create experiences that call for and use the JPEG format, as it’s universally supported and offers a good balance of size to quality. However, there is a better path forward. Thanks to smart imaging, you can continue to call JPEGs and let smart imaging speed up load times.

Smart imaging intelligently determines and then automatically serves the right images optimized for each user’s experience, based on their browser and device type. Smart imaging has machine-learning algorithms that will determine, for example, that the Chrome browser is being used and, therefore, a WebP file would be the most optimal format. In a situation where bandwidth is constrained, smart imaging will choose the file type that is smallest. When using smart imaging, we see file size improvement consistently in the range of 30-50%.

And no visual loss in image fidelity. Still looks great, Less Filling!

In order to use Smart Imaging, you need a custom domain. Adobe Dynamic Media Support will help you set that up. Expect around one month for the process to complete.

Image source: Adobe Stock / Sebra.

5. Why Would You Build Your Own? Experience Viewers

Are you trying to help IT find activities to fill out their days because they have long since completed their to-do list? Wow. I picture you all riding unicorns to work.

If your IT is building, updating, supporting, and maintaining your own bespoke viewers, you have the huge opportunity of recapturing that budget for something more critical by using Adobe’s out-of-the-box, full-featured, and also fully customizable Experience Viewers. For example, you can customize them to control the location and size of swatches or choose the resolution for zoom to reflect your brand or page design needs. You can set up a mixed media viewer that combines image zoom, spin sets, swatches, and even video, fully device aware and adaptive for all screen sizes and gestures. Also, the viewers support captioning, independent of customizing.

See the viewer library demos.

6. Like filters for Experiences: Viewer Overlays

Wouldn’t it be great if you could add a logo or a badge to an asset in just a few seconds, and not have to suffer a time-consuming workflow? Adobe thought so and created viewer overlays so you don’t have to create and publish more assets just to add refinement.

With our included viewers we make it easy to add logos, watermarks, or type over imagery and video, controlling their transparency and orientation. If you are familiar with cascading style sheets (CSS), you can easily create additional customizations.

See the how-to video.

7. Unresponsive Experiences = Unresponsive Customers: Responsive Design Library

Your customers don’t mind waiting for a huge image to load on their phone, comforted by the thought that if they were on their wired desktop, the experience would be FANTASTIC!

If you suspect that’s not a true statement, you should be using the Responsive Design Library (RDL).

The RDL dynamically adjusts the quality served from Dynamic Media Classic and embeds into responsively designed pages, choosing the right image size and resolution for each screen. This is great for reducing page load weight and time, but also includes the intelligence for upsizing imagery when high-def screens are detected.

The Responsive Design Library can be used as is, but it’s even better if you make adjustments to meet your brand’s defined supported device types, such as desktop, mobile, wearable, in-store displays, etc.

See the how-to video.

8. Rulesets: The Joystick for Advanced Delivery Manipulation

You don’t care that rule sets rewrite the mystical URLs Dynamic Media Classic understands. But you do care about SEO, your conversion, and customer satisfaction power-up. Rule sets create URLs that search engine crawlers love, and they have all the relevant words that you love.

Rule sets can also keep information private, offer a more relevant 404 error image, and preserve brand consistency. A great feature of rule sets is that they can be driven by metadata, in other words, rules can apply to a subset of images, pages, or other objects — not applied globally.

Because the wrong rewrite can stop images from being delivered, it’s best to leave rule sets in IT’s hands.

See the how-to video.

9. Bad Guys Got Your Brand? Time for Brand Control

In the dark of night (or the light of day), do you know where your images and video appear? Probably not, but you can make counterfeiting a lot less profitable for the bad guys.

Watermarking protects your brand, but you have to protect your watermarks. If their appearance and placement are defined within your URL parameters, it’s a simple matter for those guys to remove that data from the URL and poof goes the watermark.

And now your unmarked image is ready for download and unauthorized use. You can counteract this with those fantastic rule sets we just talked about, or by using presets, which hide the URL parameters.

Non-visible watermarking is even more fun: counterfeiters don’t know that they are about to be busted. Our partner Digimarc has a proprietary method of adding in a pixel-level watermark pattern that is imperceptible to humans, but obvious to Digimarc’s web crawler. Digimarc’s dashboard reveals violations, giving you the opportunity of pursuing some fun with counterfeiters.

You’re not the only injured party in counterfeiting. Photographers and image owners also need a reliable and consistent identifier to digital image assets. Digimarc has a Photoshop plug-in to assign a barcode that communicates ownership rights, which persists through online file compression more consistently than traditional visible watermarks or fingerprinting solutions.

Image source: Adobe Stock / Oksana Kuzmina.

Who is spending your cloud budget for their own nefarious ends? Yup, those same bad guys who steal your media. Watermarking makes your media traceable, Hotlink protection defines where it can appear.

Hotlinking is when a third-party website uses your published assets URL to display an image from your Dynamic Media Classic published assets. They use your bandwidth every time the picture is requested because the visitor’s browser is accessing it directly from your server. Hotlink protection is a method to prevent this, shielding your brand and reducing overall usage of your Dynamic Media account.

Adobe Dynamic Media Support can configure a referrer filter at the content delivery network (CDN) level so that Dynamic Media content is only served to websites on your list of permitted domains.

Hotlink protection requires that you use Adobe’s bundled CDN. To activate hotlink protection, create a support ticket to request the configuration change to your account. There is no additional cost for activating hotlink protection.

Keep up the momentum

  1. Missed the live webinar and feature showcase for these Top 10 abilities? View it here.

Need a take-away guide to resources for the Top 10? Get it here.

  1. Engage with the three-part Image is Everything webinar series to learn how Adobe Experience Manager Assets Dynamic Media and Dynamic Media Classic help you evolve your strategy, and hear practical tips.
  2. Use our guides to improve your rich media experience:
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