Consumers are hungry for new content from brands or verticals they care about – but getting their attention is not easy. Simply launching apps and expecting to see your channel rocket up each platform's app store rankings is not going to happen. Success for a streaming service hinges on audience acquisition and retention. Growth has to be a conscious effort. The "if you build it, they will come" mindset is a mistake new streaming services cannot afford to make.
OTT Studio has helped guide the growth strategies for dozens of streaming services to tens of millions of installs. From years of experience in the industry, these are the top factors we incorporate into every growth plan we help execute:
1. Lean on your fans
If your streaming service is built around an established brand or IP, you already have a leg up on the competition. Capitalizing on an eager audience who has expressed interest in content can be a significant boon for growth. The cost and effort to convert a fan into a user on a streaming service is significantly less than acquiring someone new to your content.
Having a consistent and concentrated promotional push on the channels that you already communicate with fans on is the only way to ensure awareness and adoption for your streaming service. Posting on social media, sending emails, and shouting anywhere your fans congregate with a constant barrage of trailers, teasers, and descriptions of new content as it debuts is as low cost – high impact as it can get for marketing.
2. Optimize your content library
A static streaming service is a failing streaming service. Short of mega fans, most users will not continue visiting a streaming service if they have watched all the content. New is what brings users back. Even If you are not producing new content, rotating what is available at a given time on the streaming service, curating new playlists and featured content, and remixing footage that already exists are all ways to keep a streaming service fresh in the eyes of users.
3. Develop habits
New content's effectiveness is amplified when it is part of a consistent debut schedule that users are accustomed to. For the same reason, TV show episodes are released at the same time and day of the week, streaming services that put out their new content with a schedule teach their users a habit. Consumers can thoughtlessly come back week after week for new content, knowing there will be something new equate to consistent session and watch time growth.
To maximize the value of the content on your streaming service, a curated selection of videos needs to be exclusive. The motivation to install for most users will be to access videos they can not view elsewhere. If users can see your content on other platforms, they will watch wherever friction is lowest. In most cases, that is on Youtube or apps they've already installed.
5. Syndicate content
A lack of exclusivity impacts marketing's effectiveness drastically. However, this does not mean that some of your streaming service's content can not live outside your walled garden. Instead, syndicating a portion of your library to already established OTT platforms can serve as a top-of-the-funnel acquisition channel – presenting what is essentially a teaser for your entire content library in front of consumers already streaming content.
6. App store SEO
The app discovery experience on OTT can be hacked. Organic search is an extremely powerful driver of growth for streaming services, particularly for AVOD, with lower barriers for users to try and use the app. App stores are becoming bloated on most OTT platforms, and discovery through happenstance browsing is not how the majority of people find new apps. Most consumers are opening app stores with a specific channel or piece of content in mind and then searching for it. Streaming services with the correct content architecture and feeds can deep link each video, movie, and series to show up within app store search results. For a streaming service, this means not only showing up as a result of searches with the words in their app's name but searches for words in any of the potentially thousands of titles in their library.
At OTT Studio, we have expended significant resources to ensure our streaming services maximize the power of search in each app store. Our focus on deep link search has led to millions of installs with no customer acquisition cost and is our true secret sauce.
7. Native advertising
The cost to acquire a user on OTT is in many cases undervalued. Most OTT platforms offer native advertising placements that convert well, with one click-to-install functionality. The majority of streaming services that understand the lifetime value of a user will find that the customer acquisition cost from native ads likely makes economic sense for them. It becomes a simple arbitrage equation; pay X to gain a user via ads, that user generates Y in revenue over Z time period before churning.
Through A/B testing and running hundreds of campaigns, we have found each OTT platform's promotional placements to have varying levels of effectiveness; however, many are well worth the cost and effort to implement when done right.
Need help growing on OTT? Let's work together to supercharge your strategy. Learn more here.