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OTT Marketing Strategy: Tips to Add and Retain More Customers

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With the advent of smartphones, content consumption went from traditional TV to laptops and handheld phones. The pandemic accelerated that further. The necessity to stay at home saw many users watching movies, videos, playing games – in short, using more of the internet to escape the boredom of being cooped up indoors. 

The OTT (short for over-the-top) industry, which was making steady progress over the years also saw a tremendous boost in the number of consumers. While the industry is growing by leaps and bounds, some pain points come in the way of you being able to make it big in this industry. 

With a strong OTT marketing strategy, you can bring in more subscribers, retain your current ones, and generate the desired revenue. Find out how you must work on your OTT marketing strategy to build your user base and (of course) rake in the moolah!

Table of Contents:

1. What is an OTT Marketing Strategy

2. Why should you have a powerful OTT Marketing strategy

3. What are the benefits of having powerful OTT Marketing Strategy

4. Top OTT Marketing Strategies in 2021

5. FAQ’s regrading OTT Marketing Strategy

6. Start working on your OTT Marketing Strategy

What is an OTT Marketing Strategy? 

An OTT marketing strategy is a plan of action you will lay down to help you reach your target audience and convert them into users and customers of your OTT app/ streaming service. 

Why should you have a powerful OTT Marketing strategy?

Great content enhances the power of video as a medium. As a result, having an engaging content plan for an OTT launch is critical. You can divide this strategy into 2 phases, the pre-launch phase and the post-launch phase. Before you launch, you must create an awareness of the product and content among your current audience and your prospective audience. Here are some questions you might want to find answers to: 

   •   What type(s) of content do you want to provide? 

   •   What or who is your audience? Write this down in detail! 

   •   When do they watch your content, and why do they do so? 

   •   How much content do you intend to provide? How often will you update it?

   •   What is your financial situation? What is the production value you hope to achieve?

   •   Will you provide a library of licensed shows? Will there be originals? Will you provide live and/or on-demand video content?

Once you answer these questions, you will understand why you must have a great OTT marketing strategy. 

What are the benefits of having a powerful OTT marketing strategy? 

   •   Larger audience = Faster Growth:

OTT content is gaining more popularity especially since it can be viewed on smartphones, the number of people you can reach with your marketing campaigns is growing by the day. The pandemic has also given a reason for people to move to OTT platforms to kill boredom during lockdowns. Global OTT traffic saw an increase of 198% in April 2020. The more subscribers you have, the faster you grow (in terms of revenue too)

Fact: In Q4 of 2020, viewers spent 239 billion hours globally on video streaming apps on mobiles. 

   •   Precision ad-targeting: 

Unlike traditional ad campaigns, you can now use data and metrics to target your audience precisely. Facebook and Instagram ads are the perfect example. 

When creating such ads, you have the power to select the demographics, age range, and interests, narrow down your targeted audience and reach them precisely. 

   •   Low cost of user acquisition:

It is going to cost you much less to acquire new users when compared to traditional marketing. Even with a smaller budget, you can attract more subscribers

   •   Better user lifetime value 

Lifetime value is the revenue your customer will generate for you being your customer. Better content means better lifetime value, better revenue. 

Top OTT Marketing Strategies in 2021

Do you already have an OTT marketing strategy in place? If yes, are you getting the ROI you envisioned? If not, you might want to analyze to find out what is amiss.

If you’re starting afresh, you must be aware that digital marketing is the way forward. With the rapidly changing new normal, you must change how you market your content. As mentioned above, you can divide your marketing strategy into 2 phases. Here are some pointers that you can work on to determine your course of action. 

   •   Understand Your Target Audience

Have you researched who your target audience is? Before getting into the nitty-gritty of building your platform, you must know who your target audience is. 

You do not want to waste away your great content on an audience who may not even understand it. What is the point of high-quality stuff if it doesn’t reach the intended individuals? If you already have a community, you can collect data that will help you reach out to additional people. 

For example, you could think of collecting data about the type of devices your target audience prefers to use, as well as their geographic location. In the United States, devices such as television and mobiles which are connected via the internet account for 78% of total streaming hours. 


and use it to your advantage!

   •   Formulate a solid OTT content strategy

In a crowded OTT market, it’s important that you create a name for your brand (and yourself). The end goal is to give your viewers content that is engaging, great quality, and sustainable that will inspire them to return to your channel regularly. 

For this, you will need to plan, create and deliver the content to your channel and marketing channels – audit current content, decide on your goals, study your audience and measure the success. 

   •   Create a buzz on social media platforms

Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give you the power to connect directly with your users and expand your brand’s reach.

In the run-up to your launch, you could think of creating excitement with engaging, informative posts and answer any questions from your community. 

As mentioned above, knowledge of your target audience helps a lot. Different social media channels work for different demographics, so it makes sense to be aware of that. 

   •   Work on SEO for your OTT website

Just because you’ve built a website and written some information, it will not promote itself. You will need to work on SEO to bring in the traffic. 

Optimize it for the Google search engine. It isn’t rocket science – Google has the answers but if you are finding it difficult, take help. 

Some of the common steps to improve your SEO include – using strong keywords pertaining to your website, having a proper meta description in place, etc. 

   •   Optimize Your OTT App for App Stores

As mentioned above, optimizing the website is vital, and so is optimizing the app for App Store or PlayStore. Once you work on the SEO, there are more chances for the app to rank high up on the App Store/PlayStore, thus getting more downloads. 

Needless to say that people usually download the apps that appear somewhere on the top of their search results. The higher the downloads you get from organic searches for specific keywords, the higher the app rankings. 

Here are some tips you could consider to improve your OTT app rankings for the app store:

   •   Use apt keywords in the app title and description – There are several tools available to check this – Use keywords that have higher traffic and are low on difficulty.

   •   Mention attributes that set your app apart from the competition. Check out the Voot app for example. They’ve mentioned what kind of exclusive content they have, the wide variety of shows in different languages broadening their audience base.

   •   Use good, clear photos/screenshots of your app so users know what the app looks like and what you offer.

   •   Pay attention to where your target audience is located, as this might impact the language they use to search for apps.

   •   Positive reviews and good ratings (4 stars and above) for the app also attract more downloads. Engage with your users and ask them to leave a review of the app in the App Store or PlayStore. 

   •   Run Paid Ads

A paid ad campaign prior to the launch can set the ball rolling. For this, you would have to work on identifying your target audience and target them. There could be an undiscovered audience for OTT players like you. 

These paid ads can be run across platforms – be it social media or even on other apps. 

For example, Spotify’s recent advert announcing a new web series on Netflix. 

   •   Reach Out to Journalists and Influencers

Another thing you could do is to reach out to influencers to give a shout-out for your product or latest content. There is nothing like getting a popular person (or celebrity) who people trust to spread the word about your product/content, ain’t it?

Reach out to journalists/bloggers in your niche to write about your content. Ask them to review your content after it has been launched. You can do this alongside your other marketing efforts.

For this, you will need to screen the people who will suit your niche and your audience, people who have a good following and credibility for doing this kind of work.

   •   Build an Email List and Work on Email Marketing

In 2018, OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime had about 765 million subscribers, and the worldwide OTT subscription industry is only likely to increase in the future. 

Each subscriber comes with an asset – their email address! Use this asset to keep your subscribers informed and engaged about the type of content you are launching. When designed and performed correctly, email may be the backbone of your marketing strategy. 

You might want to check out Netflix’s email marketing campaigns. 

When Netflix sees that you’re watching less of their content, they’ll send you an email inviting you to check out some ideas that they’ve made (taking into account your viewing history). 

This type of nudge increases the likelihood that you’ll go back to watching that film or series. 

This part can work for both the pre-launch phase and the post-launch phase - Nudge the user to go check the new content. 

Fact: Clickthrough rate for emails is 50-100 times more than for FB or Twitter

   •   Use Analytics to Track KPIs and Improve

Once the content has been launched, you might want to analyze how your OTT marketing strategy worked. 

There are several analytical tools available within many OTT services nowadays. 

While some OTT platforms can only tell you the impressions and basic statistics, there are others, like Ventuno, who offer analytics based on placement and targeting.

This can give you the upper edge over several others by linking vital performance metrics like sign-ups, impressions, conversions, and sales with the analytics offered. Which could translate into optimizing your ROI and the cost-reward ratio of your marketing campaigns.

Now that you have an idea about OTT marketing examples let us dive into some FAQs. 

FAQs regarding OTT Marketing Strategy 

What is OTT Strategy?

An OTT marketing strategy is a plan of action you need to layout to ensure you reach your target audience and convert them into users and customers of your OTT app/streaming service.

How do I Promote my OTT Platform?

You can work on your OTT marketing strategy and divide it into 2 phases - the pre-launch phase and the post-launch phase. In the pre-launch phase, you can promote your OTT platform on various channels and platforms to create awareness of your upcoming content. In the post-launch phase, you can work on marketing it using a different strategy. 

Which is the Best Marketing Strategy for OTT Apps?

There is always not one size fits all strategy that works for everyone. You will need to consider multiple methods to market your content. Each niche has a different audience, and what works for one may not work for another. You can include more than one method discussed here for your strategy and see what works for you and your niche audience. It all boils down to the type of audience that consumes your content, behavioral patterns, and all that jazz. 

How to Start an OTT Platform?

Gone are the days when you had to rely on a single video platform like YouTube. Today, there is an umpteen number of players in the market. Take Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, for example. They launched their own OTT platform and showcased their own content, originals, and other content, be it sitcoms, movies, or documentaries - you name it, it’s there on these two. But if you want your own OTT app or platform, you do not have to grey your hair thinking about it. SaaS-based OTT platform providers like Ventuno are there to solve your troubles 

Start Working on Your OTT Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re starting from scratch or want to develop your existing brand, all you need to do is some basic research and figure out the right platforms to market your niche content so that it reaches the right audience. 

The pandemic has changed how we view our movies and visual content - OTT platforms have made it possible for the struggling entertainment industry to get its wings again. You can even see star-studded releases being showcased on these platforms rather than theatres, right? This IS the new normal, and people have changed the way they consume their content. 

Looking to launch your streaming app?

Hridya Ramani

Hridya Ramani