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Photos in the Cloud: Out of Sight, Out of Mind!

July 7th, 2016

In May, we shared with you some of the results of our Cloud study focused on overall adoption drivers and inhibitors as well as brand trust. This month, we set out to try and find out more about how consumers engage with specific aspects of the cloud: music streaming, photo storage and file sharing and collaboration.

37% of our 400 US consumers said they do store their photos in the cloud because their phone does it automatically. 47% do not store photos in the cloud and 16% are not sure whether they do or not. Storing photos increases considerably with iPhone users at 56% and even more so among early adopters at 89%.

Sadly though, it appears most users do not really appreciate the benefits of having their pictures in the cloud. Among people who use cloud storage for their photo library, 47% do it only because their phone does it automatically, 35% do it so they do not have to worry about on-device storage, 24% of users like not to worry about managing their photo library. Only 42% actually appreciate being able to access their photos from all the devices they own and 18% enjoy being able to share with friends and family in a more private way. (this was a “Select all that apply” type of question) It is not a surprise, with such passive behaviour, that 63% of the panelists storing their pictures in the cloud had no idea of how much storage they were using.

Not only do consumers not seem to appreciate having their photos in the cloud, they also do not interact with them. 75% let their phone do all the work, 14% put them into different folders and 11% do nothing in the cloud but organize them on a hard drive or PC.

Family access to the pictures stored in the cloud only matters to some: 18% said it is very important while 26% said it is somewhat important.
While it was clear from the start the cloud is seen mainly as storage and not a very valuable one, the limited level of engagement with pictures, which are often seen as the most precious content on someone’s phone, leaves little hope mass market consumers will see the cloud as a valuable asset worth paying for.

“The Cloud” remains a confusing term for consumers and it seems even the concept of storage is unclear. Among the 16% of panelists who are not sure if they store pictures in the cloud, 8% uses Instagram, 8% uses iCloud, 6% uses Google Photos and 55% uses Facebook. Of course, it is possible none of those 55% Facebook users ever share a photo.

Carolina Milanesi

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