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Marketing Strategies to Encourage User Engagement

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User engagement has always been a key element in deciding the success of an OTT platform and VOD streaming app because it impacts the profitability of the app. 

Highly engaged users are more likely to keep coming back to your video streaming platform and also share the positive experience with others. 

According to a report, there are nearly 300 OTT platforms in the United States. This means the audience has more options to choose from. 

Naturally, if the users are not engaging with your platform, that engagement is probably being directed towards your competitors. Now you can understand why user engagement is of utmost importance to your OTT channel.

There are several ways to engage with your user segment. In this article, let’s talk about how you can successfully use OTT advertising, digital marketing, and mobile marketing to boost user engagement for your platform.

Table of Contents  

What is user engagement?

Outreaching Strategies

On-boarding Experience

Recommendation and Content Discovery

Foster a relationship with your audience

What is user engagement?

What is user engagement_

User engagement is a metric used to measure the interest of users in your product or service. It is measured using a variety of metrics like click-through rates, shares, archives, downloads, and more. 

The most important metric for measuring user engagement for an OTT provider is the time spent by users consuming content on your OTT platform.

What is VOD_banner

Seamless User Experience

Seamless OTT User Experience

The first thing your users will encounter when they come to the platform is the user interface. If you fail to provide a smooth experience through the user interface, your audience will fail to reach your content, no matter how mind-boggling your content library is. 

Technical complications are the first hurdle that will decide whether the user will continue using your app or not. 

Original Content

Netflix Original Content

The nature of the content plays an instrumental role in deciding the amount of engagement your app receives. More original content receives more views. This has been proven by Netflix in the past. 

In 2021, Netflix still accounted for more viewings compared to any other major video streaming platform. This is because Netflix still creates more content than any other platform and is considered to be the most indispensable content provider.

Other major OTT streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Hulu follow a similar OTT strategy. 

Speedy Content Discovery

Have a huge library of content? Great. However, you need to ensure your users don’t get lost going through the library. Make them reach their choice of content as quickly as possible. 

This is another point where Netflix excels. The categories present on Netflix’s Home Page make it easier for viewers to access a large variety of content in a single interface. 

Personalized recommendation

Netflix Personalized recommendations

Personalization is not just about what you are offering but also about how you are offering it. 

Capture data that tells you about the viewers’ preferences, analyze the data carefully and establish content recommendation strategies based on when and how your users engage with the content on your platform. 

Here’s why an intuitive UI is key to user engagement:

Netflix is a prime example of intuitive UI. 

Netflix brings the video store rental experience at home – shelves upon shelves of Trending Content, Top 10 in Your Country, New Releases, Women-led Stories, Comedies, Action-packed Thrillers, and many more categories to fit in a single user interface and are easy to go through.

The more you go through these shelves, the more clarity you get on the kind of OTT content you want for the consumer. 

What’s more, the user is constantly engaged in searching for the next show or movie to watch. 

Outreaching Strategies

Push notifications

OTT Push Notifictaions

The average opt-in rate for push notifications across Android and iOS devices is 67.5%. Also,  push notifications help boost user engagement by 88%This shows the power push notifications hold for increasing user engagement while being low-key in your communicative approach.

Push notifications for your OTT app can help you run targeted, personalized campaigns to attract attention towards OTT content relevant to their choice.

Push notifications establish a communication channel in the present while paving a way for an increase in subscriptions in the future. 

If you have the right balance of information, entertainment, personalization, and timing, you can easily win back OTT views through a push notification strategy. 

For example, Amazon Prime Video nudges users to watch the new season of their favorite show through a push notification.

Disney+Hotstar also sends push notifications to encourage users to engage with live sports events.

This is one of the best ways to engage with your users and ensure that they keep returning to your platform.

Push notifications are equally effective when you’re looking to acquire more users for your OTT platform

OTT platform provider Ventuno allows you to set up both manual and automatic push notifications. You can activate push manual and automatic push notifications for any user that has installed your Android or iOS app. 

In-app messaging

In-app messages are notifications delivered to your customers while they are active on the OTT app. In-app messaging can help immensely in engaging with your users in real-time.

Ventuno’s in-app messaging helps you send a personalized message to one or more specific users within your OTT platform. 

You can choose to communicate messages for new arrivals, suggestions, rewatches, or simply ask users to continue to watch a video. 

Email communication

The primary goal of a promotional email is to get the word out to viewers of the offerings through OTT advertising. Common email promotions include coupons or other discounts, access to exclusive video content, or admittance to an invitation-only event.

Amazon Prime Video has a way to use email marketing to engage, acquire, and retain subscribers.

Types of promotional emails used by Amazon Prime Video

Recommended for you.
Recommended for You

Sending personalized recommendations is one of the best ways to engage and retain your subscribers.

Most loved stories.
Personalized OTT recommendation email

This is a great way of promoting what is popular on your app. 

Reminders for new content.
Reminders for new content.

A way to remind your subscribers of the great upcoming, original content on your app.

A reminder of what’s coming soon.

Keep them hooked by reminding them of all the new content you will be releasing

Converting free subscribers into premium subscribers
converting trialusers to subscribers

MUBI is a popular OTT platform that curates and presents films from across the world. To attract more paid viewers to its platform, MUBI offers a 36% discount on a yearly subscription.

Referral campaigns

MUBI is a good example of how you can acquire more viewers using referral campaigns. 

Upselling emails

Any emails that help you increase your average order value are considered upselling emails. Upselling emails for OTT platforms can look like:

  • Get our premium subscription and watch content on two more screens.
  • Netflix provides extra benefits like HD and ultra HD streaming and 2 and 4 devices for offline viewing as a part of its upselling strategy.

💡 Tip – Build urgency and anticipation through your emails. 

Time-sensitive email campaigns can urge users to grab the opportunity right then and there. You can achieve this by using catchy subject lines, compelling CTAs, and timely deliveries of the email. 

Genre-based emails

Monitor the user activity on your platform. Segment your target audience according to the genres they prefer and target them using similar triggers. For example, target a user who is watching a thriller show with more shows and movies from the same genre. 

Send emails based on popular shows or films in their geography 

Netflix implements this by sending an email with a list of the top 10 films or shows popular in the user’s country.

An email automation platform can help you implement these email marketing strategies and measure engagement in terms of opens and clicks

email mkt

Learn how to win more users for your streaming service with email marketing

On-boarding Experience

On-boarding is the first interaction your viewers will have with your app. 

Brands and apps that are unable to make the onboarding process simpler and easier end up losing a lot of potential premium customers just after a few days of use. 25% of users abandon an app after they use it once and that's a lot.

As an OTT platform, you can boost registrations by offering free trials, a personalized experience, access to fresh premium content, and more. 

Netflix is one of the very few apps that enjoy over 70% conversion optimization and customer retention rates.

The reason behind such a high retention rate is its smooth onboarding flow. It uses a minimalist design. All their offerings or best selling points like original content, unlimited access to shows and films are presented right in the first step of onboarding. 

In addition to this, the answers to most customer queries like download compatibility, device compatibility, kid-friendly content, and more are presented in the initial steps of onboarding.

As a rule of thumb, the onboarding shouldn't take more than 3 simple steps. It shouldn't take too long for your subscribers to get access to your content and start watching it. 

Multiple device compatibility

Multiple device compatibility

Do not undermine the importance of a multi-device strategy for your OTT platform. Your subscribers must be able to sign up and access your content from any device - mobile, TV, and laptop. This helps you offer a great viewer experience. 

Seamless onboarding

74% of marketers say video has a better return on investment than static imagery.

Seamless onboarding is possible when your users have all the right information at their disposal. For this, it is important to include a skippable video tour of the app. This demo helps your users understand how the app works. Think from the users’ point-of-view and design a demo that walks first-time users through your OTT app.

Tooltips are small in-app messages attached to a specific UI element or button on the screen. These are text-based messages for providing contextual guidance to users, highlighting key features, or alerting users with new updates during their journey of using the app.

Content recommendation and content discovery

The success of Netflix when it comes to personalized recommendations and content discovery proves that personalization remains the key pillar of your OTT strategy. 

Your OTT channel viewers will have a different view of the content according to their interests. 

Each experience on Netflix is personalized across many dimensions whether it is the suggestions, rankings of content, the organization of content into rows and pages. Even the artwork displayed is personalized, isn't that amazing?  

Dealing with human tastes and preferences is a challenge. In many cases, a member may come to your site not knowing exactly what they’re in the mood for. Each person and their choices are nuanced in what they like, what they are in the mood for, what they like to watch at the end of the day. 

In-depth consumer research, curated metadata, and algorithmic approaches help Netflix incorporate a more human element into its system.

Another personalization aspect that is specific to OTT is cast and crew based recommendations. Your viewers will be able to access information about the movie or show based on the search for its cast and crew. 

It lets your viewers discover other shows or movies the actors have been in. Finding them without the specification of a cast and crew recommendation would have otherwise been difficult.

All OTT media apps have their own way of presenting a Watchlist or playlist of shows and movies. The watchlist is not a simple, static list of shows and movies. You can recognize the patterns and preferences of your viewers and add specific content to the top of their watchlists. It could be a movie they had on their list for some time or a TV show they didn’t finish last week. 

Hulu does something very similar. It creates a Watchlist by tailoring the order of your content to match how you watch TV. The Watchlist learns from you at every step and gets smarter with every choice your users make. 

Foster a relationship with your audience

To establish a relationship with the viewers of your OTT channel, you need to invest in the right set of tools and techniques to gauge and analyze the data to understand your users better.

There is no better way to boost retention and customer churn for your OTT platform than giving your subscribers what they want. But that can only be known by studying their behavior.

Key takeaways 

User feedback holds immense importance in understanding the needs and wants of your OTT service users.

For streaming services in the OTT space, for user engagement, send gentle nudges and low-key feedback questions in the form of email surveys and in-app surveys to understand your users better. 

Social media is another great channel to understand what your users want for your OTT media app. Engage with your users through YouTube videos, Instagram stories, content creators, and influencer marketing strategies. 

The way the audience responds to these OTT marketing strategies will tell you a lot about your users. 

Looking to launch your streaming app?

Priyanka Desai

Priyanka Desai