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That’s TheTicket: StubHub Finds Effective Digital Asset Management With Cloudinary

StubHub Finds Effective Digital Asset Management With Cloudinary

eBay-owned StubHub, the world’s largest ticket marketplace for over 10 million sports, music, and theater events in 40-plus countries, serves buyers and sellers, desktop or mobile, with an image- and video-rich app that features interactive seat mapping, 360-degree seating views, and price and best-value recommendations. After acquiring Ticketbis in 2016 and subsequently expanding to over 40 additional markets, StubHub streamlined and automated image management with Cloudinary, netting significant time and cost savings while displaying first-rate images in over 30 viewports across devices.

These impressive statistics that emerged post-Cloudinary adoption speak for themselves:

  • Up to 60 percent reduction in page weight.
  • Up to six times reduction in image load-times, e.g., after a reduction of an image of Shakira from 25 KB to 10 KB, the download time dropped from 336 milliseconds to 51 milliseconds.
  • Three to four times faster page load-times.

The Challenge: Optimizing Digital Assets for Image-Rich Site

Susan Stieglitz, StubHub’s head of imagery since 2015, was tasked with making StubHub’s portal more visually engaging in conjunction with the company’s global expansion. The challenges were many, among them the need to ensure the following:

  • Fast access and proper display of all images and videos on desktop and mobile devices in addition to viewports.
  • Availability of all digital assets, including licensed partner content, for use by third-party marketers.

“All our images required manual editing, severely limiting the potential for innovation in design. We prioritized editing for a desktop view so the images may or may not look good in other viewports,” said Stieglitz.

Also burdensome was the task of managing more than 120,000 active events and publishing 800–1,200 new ones daily on the site. That task involved continually selecting, editing, and updating StubHub’s catalog of more than 54,000 entities with multiple images.

“Delivering quality images at scale is daunting, particularly since our catalog has a single image for each event, which we must display well across all viewports,” said Stieglitz.

Furthermore, StubHub desired to improve the user experience, i.e., load pages faster, by compressing images as much as possible without any perceptible loss of quality.

The Cloudinary Solution: Customizing Versions for All Viewports and Improving Access to Media

Cloudinary proved to be just the right answer. Notably, with Cloudinary, StubHub can efficiently perform these tasks:

  • Optimize high-resolution images with simple parameter configurations, based on which Cloudinary then dynamically selects the most efficient format for the end-user’s device, causing pages to load three to four times faster.
  • Ensure that the dominant faces in photos stay within all viewports with the facial-recognition capabilities. Those photos without faces benefit from the edge- and entropy-detection features. That way, StubHub saves bandwidth by delivering only the important part of its photos.
  • Apply artwork styles, incorporate logos, remove backgrounds, and add tints, color enhancements, or borders through the transformation features.
  • Improve SEO ranking by incorporating meaningful file names within image URLs.
  • Track customer-usage patterns through analytics.

Additionally, thanks to Cloudinary’s digital asset management (DAM) solution, a single, centralized repository became available for access and synchronized editing by developers and designers. That repository also hosts brand guidelines and logos, templates, metadata, and folders for role-based access.

In Stieglitz’s words, the Cloudinary platform is “a no-fail, self-service system” in which StubHub’s teams and partners can seamlessly work on rich-media content. High praise!

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