NAB Express 2020 — Keeping Subscribers Active & Engaged
After a video by Martijn van Horssen
During these Corona Virus times, we’ve seen a huge uptake in subscribers and content watched for OTT apps. If any, now is probably one of the most opportune times to start a new OTT app. However, starting an OTT app is only the beginning. It is what you do after, that is the most important. Specifically, how do you grow and keep your subscribers active on your platform? How do you keep them engaged with your apps across different times of the day, and across different types of devices? Let’s dive in.
Understanding the screens
Understanding how your customers interact with the various types of screens your app can be found on, is the first step. For this we often refer to what we call the ‘Daily Journey’. It takes a typical approach to how a regular human being goes about on a normal day. Let’s take a look at the image below.
Now imagine you are an employee in an office. Your day starts at seven, and immediately you grab the phone that’s next to your bed. You browse the news, check for email and messages, maybe watch a small video about an interesting topic. First screen activity of the day, check.
Okay, it’s time for some breakfast with the kids now. I will use my tablet to watch some longer video’s, right from my dining room table. But wait, this is already the second interaction with a screen. This is exactly where your app should jump in. In order to keep the user engaged, maybe propose that they continue watching the news-item they had started watching on the phone. By doing this, we’ve already increased our engagement with the user.
The same paradigm can be followed throughout the day. During the typical working hours, the user will switch from phone to laptop several times, often having only 15 to 30 minutes of watching time available. You will want to keep the recommendations shorter, and allow for continue watching across screens as much as possible.
At the end of the day however, the behaviour of the user changes. You can see the bigger screens coming in to play. Suddenly, the news is no longer important. More important however, is spending some quality time with family members. At this point your app should recognise that continue watching of those smaller news items is no longer valuable to the user. Instead, they want to watch a nice family movie, or even binge their favourite series.
Understanding when the user interacts with which device, is very important to keeping them engaged. By following examples as explained above, you are one step closer. But that is not all there is to it.
I’ve touched on this briefly in the previous section already. We now know which screen is used at approximately which time. But what type of content you should recommend exactly? That’s why we need to learn to understand te differences between the types of screen. For this we use the following infographic.
As explained in the previous section already, there is a difference between the so-called ‘personal’ devices and the ‘family’ devices. Things like a phone, tablet and laptop would often qualify as personal. They are often used by only one person. Whereas the television is often a family device, used by multiple people, and often content is watched together.
So how do you address these different types of device? The smaller screens are often used for short periods of watching. This means you will want to push short-form content as opposed to long form. Asking for things like ratings and sharing on social media is also a lot easier, as the device is used personally and often hand-held.
On the other hand we have the larger screens, often shared by the family. We all know that the centerpiece of the living room is often still a television. Every night a large amount of families and couples are watching content together. This makes it the perfect moment to use recommendations to push full-length movies or series. We’re looking for the long-form content here.
Personalisation — Segmenting your content
Now that you know which screen is used for what and at which time, let’s talk personalisation. I’m sure we all understand that not everybody watches the same content. You wouldn’t want to recommend a horror movie to a 10 year old child, right? That’s where segmentation comes in. But what do we mean by that?
Segmentation, fairly simply put, is making sure that you’re recommending content specific to the ‘group’ the user is part of. You can split your users into various groups, that you can target specific content towards. Taking the 10 year old child example, the recommendations should mainly include content targeted towards children. For an adult however, they would find no joy in watching the same content as the child. Meaning the recommendations you show to adults should be much different.
Age is only one of those factors, ofcourse. If your service offers subscription and free content, you can tailor the recommendations based on paying and non-paying users. Push premium series more to subscribed users, and free series more to free users. You can also look into what is popular in a specific country, and you should ofcourse also not forget the time of day factor that we’ve discussed earlier.
This all may seem like a lot to handle. You would need a clear CMS that allows you to alter rows in the apps on the fly, right? That’s where 24i can help out!
In the image above, you can see our Backstage product. This is thé place for altering content shown to your users. Easily place items in the spotlight of your app, place specific rows and items immediately ready to be shown to your users, and a lot more of customisation options. All designed to give your users the best experience, and increase engagement.
Taking Binge Watching to the next level
We all like binge watching, right? That little popup at the end of an episode, that tells the user that the next episode is starting soon. It keeps the user engaged and is specifically created to keep the user in the app. But what if the user didn’t like an episode? What if, through data analytics, you learn that a lot of users step out of playback on a specific episode of a series?
Since we now know when users often step out of the player, we should use this opportunity to push different content. Next to the ‘your next episode is starting soon’, we could also display something else. Things like ‘maybe you also like this series’, or even prompting to continue watching a series they previously watched; this is the opportune moment to push other content. It helps to reduce churn and keeps the user engaged, even though they were originally inclined to stop watching.
You don’t have to do it alone
That must be a lot to take in. You have now learned a lot of things that influences how users interact, and more importantly, stay with your apps. Luckily that’s where we at 24i, and our amazing partners, can help you out with.
We have integrations with partners like Jump TV, Wicket Labs, Cleeng and many more readily available for you to use. All the thinking has already been done, you just have to start using it. Could it be more easy to increase engagement and to keep subscribers active?
If you would like to know more about how we can help take your OTT apps to the next level, do reach out to us. We are always available for a (virtual) coffee to discuss what we can do together.