Did you know that, in 2021, the cumulative time Americans streamed video content was 15 million years? It’s never been more crucial to keep viewers returning to over-the-top (OTT) services as engaged users. When viewers have an average of 5 video services per household (in the US), how can media companies ensure their platform stays central to their subscribers’ universe? Is the key to a more engaged audience fewer interactions to get to their desired content? Do viewers want to spend time searching for the content they want to watch? No, they want to be able to discover what they are looking for and enjoy it instantly.
Understanding OTT Engagement
Over the past few years, the rise of OTT services has revolutionized how we consume video content. In 2022 streaming viewing time beat linear viewing (cable) as streaming was up 22.6%, whereas cable dropped by 8.9% in one month. In an increasingly popular industry, for services like Netflix, Max and Amazon Prime Video, it’s become more critical than ever for streaming platforms to keep viewers engaged.
What is OTT Engagement?
OTT engagement refers to users’ consumption and commitment to a platform. This can be measured by the amount of time viewers spend watching content, the frequency of return visits, and interactions with features such as search. Engagement can also be measured by the number of different content the user is watching (aka Effective Catalog Size) or devices that a viewer uses to access a particular OTT service. The more variety of content the viewer watches or devices they use, the more engaged they are likely to be.
There are many different ways of keeping audiences engaged, one being personalization. Creating individual experiences for every single visitor can help increase engagement massively and is one of the main factors in keeping users engaged.
Why is OTT Engagement Important?
OTT engagement is crucial for the success of any streaming service. The longer viewers stay engaged with a platform, the more revenue can be generated through advertising, subscriptions and other monetization methods. Engaged viewers are also more likely to recommend your service to others, helping to reduce subscriber acquisition costs and grow audiences organically.
For example, if viewers spend significant time on your platform, they are more likely to see and interact with ads, which can generate revenue for services. Additionally, engaged viewers are more likely to become loyal subscribers, which can provide a steady stream of revenue over time. Netflix recently announced they have shifted their focus away from acquiring new subscribers but to revenue so that the lifetime value of each user is much more important.
Ways to Keep OTT Users Engaged
One of the most effective ways to increase viewer engagement is through recommendations. Not just editorial suggestions but content that specific users would really enjoy. Utilizing first-party viewing data and knowledge will help provide effective content recommendations.
However, fully understanding the different audiences allows services to create even more than recommendations – personalized rows, watch lists and suggestions of movies and films that are most relevant for each and every user. In the video jungle that is the OTT world, personalization and recommendations reduce the likelihood of frustration and fatigue for viewers, if they are able to find what they want to watch faster. Nearly 80% of users stay loyal to brands offering personalization and just as many are more likely to recommend the services to their friends and family.
Enhance user experience
A positive experience is the key ingredient for a good user experience. The first thing that a visitor encounters is the homepage; it’s the window to the content that a service has to offer. Not only is it essential to make the whole platform easy to navigate and be able to discover the content they wish to watch, but it should encourage users to stay longer and consume more.
A rewarding user experience should help the viewer to reduce the time they are searching for content, so this means having all the content they want to watch at their fingertips. Personalized rows, items arranged in order of preference for each user are some of the ways XroadMedia works with clients. This also has an added bonus of subscribers discovering and enjoying hidden gems that they didn’t necessarily know existed in the first place.
Also, search functionalities need to be user-friendly as well as personalized by displaying results based on preferences, watch history popularity and even location. As well as UI changes, you can drive users back with notifications, push notifications and emails are all great, but they only really work when they are highly targeted and personalized.
Another way XroadMedia enhances every user’s experience is with smart continue-watching. Giving one-click access to the right content, every time. This creates a frictionless environment, eliminating any frustration and element of choice for the user to discover what to watch next – from movies in a collection to binge-watching episodes of their favorite series.
Leveraging social media integration
Content is vital to retention, but social media integration can also be a powerful tool for increasing viewer engagement. By allowing viewers to share content and interact with their social networks, OTT services can increase brand awareness, attract new viewers, and keep existing viewers engaged.
OTT services should make it easy for viewers to share content on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, they should encourage viewers to interact with each other through chat rooms, forums and other online communities. Or even offer watch parties, where audiences can synchronize playback with their friends with popular video services such as Disney Plus and Hulu.
Not only can social media be leveraged for engagement, but also profiles, activities and interests can be used to generate personalization and recommendations. Interpreting interests such as groups or likes can be used to recommend movies, TV series and help personalize the whole experience.
Think Outside the Box
The key to success is understanding what motivates viewers and delivering a compelling experience that keeps them engaged. XroadMedia is helping media companies like Vodafone, NLZIET and A1 Austria Telekom Group offer the most innovative service to their customers.
In order to keep users engaged throughout their whole customer journey, from trial to loyal viewers, it’s essential to be consistent to help build trust with users who will keep returning to platforms. With XroadMedia, not only can you make changes to your UI with personalized recommendations but enhance targeted ads, and notifications no matter what metadata format or language.
Recently, we did a trial with a large telco company and they saw increases across a number of different KPIs, such as, the play rate rising by 25%. If you want to know how we did that, get in touch here.