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Marketing Strategies for OTT Businesses

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The OTT market was valued at USD 101.42 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 223.07 billion by 2026

The reason for this is that we spend a lot of time on OTT platforms. 

The number of streaming media services is growing. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, Discovery+, Pluto TV, and so many more new OTT platforms are being created while you’re reading this. 

The number of emerging video streaming services proves that there is still room for growth, audiences to be reached, and money to be made.

infographic streaming time spent

An average user spends 78 minutes streaming videos every day.

Users spend 33% of their time on lesser-known streaming services

An average user spends around 1 hour and 18 minutes streaming videos every day.

Now the question is about how do you make them spend those 78 minutes in your streaming service?

The answer is great content combined with the right marketing strategy.

What is the right marketing strategy?

ott marketing funnel

Marketing strategy is about understanding your customers' needs and delivering your service in a way they can't ignore.

A marketing strategy involves everything from identifying your target audience to determining the channels through which you will reach them.

You must know your audience better than they know themselves to build a reliable OTT marketing funnel

Imagine yourself as a customer, from awareness to decision-making. Understanding the stages of the customer journey - awareness, consideration, and conversion - will allow you to identify the right marketing strategies for your OTT service.

Let's break down the journey of a typical customer

ToFu – Awareness

You should focus on creating awareness of your streaming brand at this stage of the funnel. Work on a social media strategy paid advertising, and other media ads.

Introduce your service, and apps and guide users on how to use and navigate through your apps.

MoFu – Consideration

It is during this stage of the funnel that you engage users who express interest and are likely to spend some time with your content.

Make sure your messages are targeted and provide value to your audience.

BoFu – Conversion

Now that your content has caught the user's eye and you have proved its worth, your audience is ready to consume it.

Make sure the user experience is smooth and the users are retained by nurturing the relationship. 

What Should You Do in the Awareness Phase?

Ask yourself these questions. Who do you want to take your content to? How do you want them to see it?

You should understand who your potential users are before you build your streaming service.

Define your Target Segment

ott target audience

Who is your target audience? If you don't know who it is, how will you market to them? 

Rather than generalizing for everyone who might or might not use your streaming service, cater to your specific target segment.

For instance, if you are creating content for kids, you should obviously target parents. Again, not all parents, if you create content for toddlers target parents with toddlers, because a 10-year-old would not be watching stuff made for 3-year-olds.

The next question to consider is – Does it matter if they speak a specific language? Say, you are creating Spanish rhymes videos, then your target audience gets further refined as Spanish-speaking toddler parents. 

These questions provide a basis for building an objective marketing plan based on facts, insights, and research.

Be Present Where Your Viewers Are

This is one of the most crucial factors that will take your audience to the next stage. 

Over 40% of kids access content through smartphones followed by devices like ipads and tabs, so if you are targeting kids and do not have an app for these devices, you lose your audience there.

Similarly, in the US 49% of video consumption happens through Roku devices, so decide upon creating the right apps based on your target audience preference and demographics.

Keep your design simple and intuitive

intuitive design sample streaming website

Make sure your apps are user-friendly and give the best streaming experience. 

Let's say you have a lot of content organized in a way that makes it difficult to find anything. This may lead to users leaving your app or website.

Provide search buttons and organize content in an accessible way

What Should You Do in the Consideration Phase?

nudge user

Your best chance of converting visitors into long-term users comes at this phase. This can only be done by convincing your users both emotionally and rationally.

Communicate Value

To increase the perceived value of each piece of content, it must be promoted individually based on user preferences.

Here is how Drumeo, a platform that teaches you how to play the drums appeal to its users both emotionally and rationally.

They have thousands of hours of content in their library. Even so, their ad promotes drum licks by John Bonham as the conversion factor due to its emotional and rational appeal.

ott value proposition ad

Social media can be your best friend when it comes to promoting new releases and upcoming content. Share promotional content that will build curiosity amongst your viewers. 

Persuade to Convert

Users who are unaware of the benefit of subscribing to your service are unlikely to do so. The simplest way to encourage them is to communicate the value of subscribing to your service.

Also, when a user has been close to purchasing a plan/content and exited for some reason, nudge them to make the purchase.

abandon cart email trigger
abandon cart email trigger

Also, send push notifications to users about the new releases. Set up a periodic schedule to notify users

Push notifications help you to communicate with your customers more immediately than email or SMS. Use this as a way to promote time-sensitive content. 

With push notifications, you can send messages to web visitors even if their browser or app isn’t open. Therefore, push messaging is a powerful tool for keeping your audience engaged - and reengaging dropped visitors.

💡 Studies show that push notifications increase conversions up to 9 times

OTT Push Notifications

What Should You Do in the Conversion Phase?

Now that your streaming service has got some users, it’s time to put in the work to engage and retain them.

Get into the details

In modern marketing, email marketing and personalization rely on a very solid foundation. That foundation is data.

Focus on building stronger relationships with your target audience. To do this, understand them like a best friend. Know what they are watching and on what devices. Take note of what they leave out as well. Knowing your audience's preference helps you to create content they enjoy and promote them efficiently.

Video Analytics

A clear understanding of your analytics helps you with recommendations. To be more precise, it enables you to deliver the right content to the right users on a device they prefer.

User Experience

Whether they are streaming or browsing a library, users expect flawless and rapid interaction with content. The loading spinners are huge put-offs that can turn your users cold to your service. Ensure your videos are adaptively encoded for seamless content delivery

Also, personalization plays a major role in user experience. Personalized watch lists can be created for your users. Several factors can influence this: the kind of content they consume, their inclination to a particular genre, their language preference, casting preference so on.

Nudges to Engage and Retain Users

It's important to stay in touch with customers so that they feel valued and your reputation will improve

Upsell Emails

Upselling encourages a customer to upgrade their account to a higher version or longer duration. 

Upsell emails come at the end of a free trial when it’s time for a user to make a decision about rolling to a paid plan

Upsell emails aren't just about making money: they're about delivering the best solution to your users. For instance, If a user has spent a year with your streaming service, it might be a good time to prompt them about an annual subscription. Or if a user is constantly purchasing 3 or 4 videos every month suggest to them about TVOD content bundles. Make sure you highlight the benefits clearly.

Targetted Discounts

What delights a user more than a discount. Build personalized rewards and loyalty programs and engage at-risk users with targeted marketing campaigns at the right time.

For instance, you can create coupon codes and share it when a user nears their billing cycle. Also, create private plans for select users and share it with them through emails. 

ott Coupons

Win Back Emails

Win-back emails aim to regain your lost audience. Reengage the people who have dropped off by looking at their past interactions. For instance, if you have an SVOD service, and some of your subscribers have not renewed their subscriptions, give them reasons to come back.

You can tell them, how you have improved, or show them what they are missing out on. The ultimate goal is to make them rejoin.


People like giving their opinions so ask them for it. Even if they don’t buy, you get information that can help you improve your service.

Analyze feedback and improve.

ott feedback

Getting your automation system set up can take a lot of effort, but once you've scheduled all your communications, all you have to do is measure, tweak, and optimize.  

Focus Areas for OTT Video Streaming Marketers

OTT streaming marketers, here's the deal: To grow and retain users, focus on exclusive content, personalized experiences, and user-friendly interfaces. Next, consider revenue streams like ads, subscriptions, and in-app purchases.

In the crowded OTT landscape, stand out by offering unique content and innovative features. Lastly, measure your campaigns with metrics like user acquisition, retention, and revenue to keep improving.

1. Focus on Data and Analytics

Make use of the power of data and analytics to gain deeper insights into your audience, track emerging trends, and measure the impact of your campaigns.

2. Enhance Personalization

Use data and analytics to create personalized user experiences, increasing engagement and retaining your viewers.

3. Invest in Content Marketing

Content marketing is your ally for attracting and retaining users. Showcase high-quality content that resonates with your target audience.

4. Leverage Social Media:

Social media platforms is a great way to promote your content, engage with your audience, and cultivate lasting relationships with potential and existing customers

Case Study:  How Did Hotstar Break Into the Indian Market


Hotstar was launched in 2015 in India when binge-watching was not a big part of Indian lives. User acquisition is the key to the success of any OTT player, Hotstar had to penetrate a market where streaming apps were little known. How did they do it? Let’s take a look

They had to start with establishing their brand name. They started with banner ads and used the popularity of Game of Thrones to accelerate their campaign.

They also took their brand up close and personal by advertising on tea and coffee paper cups. In order to generate a call to action, these promotional paper cups were distributed at high-traffic locations during tea breaks. 

OTT Awareness Hotstar


Back in 2015, Youtube was the preferred and most popular destination to consume videos in India. 

They made use of Youtube to promote their shows by sharing trailers and other promotional content. This way they not only attracted the audience to their streaming service but also monetized their promotional content on Youtube. It was indeed a clever move.

Hotstar Indian Youtube Campaign 2015

They clearly communicated value by sharing recommendation emails

hotstar recommendations


Their primary task was to get users accustomed to streaming content wherever they were. With India being a nation obsessed with cricket, they prompted users with time-sensitive push notifications to watch a live match or watch their favorite player in action

hotstar time sensitive push notification

They also used the right upselling strategies to make a user pay more. 

hotstar upsell

Most importantly, they collected feedback from users who canceled subscriptions and constantly improved on such areas.

feedbak email for streaming services

What Should OTT Media Brands Use to Drive Mobile Engagement?

To boost mobile engagement, focus on

1. Mobile-centric experiences

Ensure mobile apps and websites are user-friendly, offering easy content discovery and mobile-specific features.

2. Personalization

Leverage data for personalized user experiences, enhancing engagement and retention through tailored content recommendations.

3. Push Notifications

Keep users engaged with timely alerts about new content, upcoming releases, and special offers.

4. Exclusive Mobile Content

Provide exclusive mobile content and features to incentivize app usage, like behind-the-scenes access, early episode releases, or exclusive discounts.

Social Sharing: Simplify content sharing on social media to increase brand visibility and drive traffic to your app or website.

What Should OTT Media Brands Use to Drive CTV Engagement?

To boost engagement on your connected TV apps,

1. User-Friendly Experience

Ensure easy content discovery through a user-friendly interface and diverse search options.

2. Personalization

Utilize data to personalize CTV experiences, boosting engagement by recommending content based on viewing history and preferences.

3. Exclusive CTV Content

Offer exclusive CTV content and features to incentivize viewers to use connected TV devices, such as behind-the-scenes content, early access, or exclusive discounts.


How can I increase user acquisition and retention?

Create high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience.
Make it easy for users to find and watch the content they want.
Personalize the user experience.
Offer exclusive content and features.
Make it easy for users to share content on social media.
Run contests and giveaways.
Partner with other brands.

How can I generate revenue from my OTT video streaming service?

Generate revenue by using advertising, subscriptions, and in-app purchases within your OTT video streaming service.

How can I compete with other OTT video streaming services?

Compete effectively by providing unique content, features, and experiences to stand out from other OTT services.
Offer unique content and features.
Focus on a specific niche.
Price your service competitively.
Market your service heavily.
Provide excellent customer service.

How can I measure the success of my marketing campaigns?

Track key metrics such as user acquisition, retention, revenue, and engagement.
Use A/B testing to test different marketing strategies.
Conduct surveys and interviews with users to get feedback.

What are the top trends in the OTT video streaming market?

Top trends in OTT include FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming) channels, increased mobile usage, interactive content, and expanding original programming.

How can I use data and analytics to improve my marketing campaigns?

Use data to understand your target audience and their needs.
Use data to track the performance of your marketing campaigns and identify areas for improvement.
Use data to personalize the user experience.

How can I personalize the user experience for my OTT video streaming service?

Use data to recommend content to users based on their viewing history and preferences.
Allow users to create custom profiles and playlists.
Offer different subscription plans and features to meet the needs of different users.
Make it easy for users to share content with friends and family.

How can I use social media to market my OTT video streaming service?

Create engaging content for your social media channels.
Run social media contests and giveaways.
Partner with social media influencers.
Use social media advertising.

How can I create mobile-first experiences for my OTT video streaming service?

Make your website truly responsive and mobile-friendly
Design your mobile app.
Make it easy for users to find and watch content on mobile devices.
Offer mobile-specific features, such as offline viewing and push notifications.

How can I offer exclusive content and features on my OTT video streaming service?

Produce original content that is not available on other streaming services.
Offer early access to new content.
Offer exclusive behind-the-scenes content and interviews.
Partner with other brands to offer exclusive discounts and promotions.

How can I make it easy for users to share content on social media from my OTT video streaming service?

Add social sharing buttons to your app and website.
Make it easy for users to share content directly from the video player.
Partner with social media influencers to promote your content.
Run social media contests and giveaways that encourage users to share your content.

How can I measure the effectiveness of my OTT video streaming advertising campaigns?

Track key metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per acquisition (CPA).
Use A/B testing to test different advertising campaigns.
Conduct surveys and interviews with users to get feedback on your advertising campaigns.

How can I use influencer marketing to promote my OTT video streaming service?

Partner with social media influencers who have a following that is relevant to your target audience.
Provide influencers with early access to new content and exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
Give influencers the freedom to create their own content about your OTT video streaming service.
Track the results of your influencer marketing campaigns and identify which influencers are driving the most results.

Take Away

This guide has given you all the information you need to keep your users interested in your content and get them to spend more time with it.

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Anjana Devi

Anjana Devi