OTT Apps: Combat short attention spans, and keep users engaged

The problem: people have a short attention span

If there’s one thing the world of social media has proven, it’s the fact that people have an increasingly shorter attention span. With the likes of TikTok and Youtube (Shorts) offering almost instant gratification in terms of viewing quick content quickly, and scrolling through immediately playing different content with ease; our attention spans have been decreasing and decreasing. The same applies to picking out content when we’re browsing the Netflixes and Amazon Primes of this world. Content needs to be visible quickly and it needs to fit our needs, otherwise we’re quickly moving.

Showing the right content when it matters

Now that we know the problem, we also know which area to look at in order to keep users engaged: content placement and positioning. Keeping the attention of users can be achieved in many different ways. It’s however very important to do the right thing for the right type of user. You’re obviously not going to attract a fan of horror series with children content. So what should you do?

Netflix.com — example of content placement

Continue watching for returning users

The most important content row, for users that have previously watched content on your service, is the one that allows ‘continue watching’. Whether users are in the middle of their series, or stopped watching a movie half-way, they want to continue what they’ve already started. It’s a great eye catcher and removes a lot of the decision-making for users. Simply continue watching what they already were.

Highlight content that matches the users preference

If a user likes horror movies, they’re probably not going to like a barbie movie. Personalised content is a very important way of keeping the user active and engaged. Use the data of users that you have, and make sure they see content that actually applies to them. And that data doesn’t have to end with just whether they like horror movies or series, it can be focused on many different factors:

  • The actors and actresses in the content
  • The director
  • The length of the content

Word of mouth content

While the talks by the water cooler have died down a bit due to the covid situation, people still talk. A lot. They talk, or maybe chat, whatsapp, slack, or post on social media, what they have watched and what they like from what they have watched. Sharing our daily lives and what we’ve experienced has become so ingrained into the lives of many, it would be a shame to not bank on that. How do you do that? Use popularity data!

Why content positioning and placement matters

I’m fairly certain that some of you reading this text right now, have not bothered to read all of the text. It’s yet another demonstration of how short our attention spans have gotten. And that’s exactly the problem with OTT apps as well. Users lose interest quickly and need to be captivated within seconds, if you want to keep them active in your service.

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