How does the platform attract advertisers and users

It seems that no one can avoid the fact that the technology updates too quickly in the information age - perhaps you still remember the days when Netflix used to send DVD subscriptions to users by email. Now it has become the world's most popular OTT streaming media service provider, with nearly 150 million users worldwide. Many consumers have tried to follow in the footsteps of Netflix, but these constantly changing technologies and products make people dizzy, and users are not very calm when making choices. But one thing remains unchanged: consumers want the best content at the lowest cost. The best content is available 24/7.

This year, the OTT subscription market will be more competitive. Disney+, Apple TV+and Britbox all announced to join Netflix, plus the previous Amazon Prime, Now TV, Roku, Hulu, HBO Go... The list continues. Therefore, how can brands ensure that they can stand out when launching homogeneous products?

Find the subdivided user market

Different from Internet or natural gas providers, streaming media services have their own characteristics. Generally, users or households can choose more than one service provider. In fact, many big brands are well aware of this, so they choose to enter the market one after another. Almost half of British households have multiple streaming video on demand (SVOD) subscription services, and the number of these households who choose multiple different subscriptions at the same time is growing year by year. Therefore, to understand this, we should know that new users may also be using several different streaming media subscription services at the same time.

Is this enough to be convincing? Netflix has always been the industry leader and deserves to be the first streaming media subscription service provider. Who is the second? Amazon Prime。 The latter has 75 million users in the world, and there is still a big gap between it and the first place. In a situation where so many families have multiple streaming media service subscriptions, it seems that the result is not good. But please do not ignore another calculation of Amazon Prime. Prime Video can be said to be the attached member benefit of Amazon Prime subscription, and the greater profit comes from members' online purchase of products. Many users choose to purchase Amazon members for the purpose of saving expensive freight and faster delivery date. They have never logged in to Amazon Video. Of course, more Amazon Prime users do actively choose to enjoy the additional free video subscription function. The problem is that it is difficult to count how many people have purchased Amazon membership services because of the free video subscription content.

This does not mean that users are unwilling to pay for multiple services, or that brands should exclude current SVOD subscribers from target users. The problem is that they cannot rely entirely on this group. On the contrary, it is important to effectively identify other relevant niche audiences that can respond to a specific USP. The best way to achieve this goal is to analyze the first party's data, but as a new marketing service, there is no mature analysis tool at present. Tools available in the market to capture users, such as Hitwise or Mintel, can provide good help in this regard.

Each SVOD service newly launched this year has some unique functions for users to use, but the brand needs to ensure that they promote this information to the truly demanding audience. It is not enough to simply add "this is another streaming media service you need to add to the list".

Increase promotion budget

It seems obvious to let users use branded streaming media applications, but brands should increase the budget for application installation optimization. It is easy to see from Merkle's analysis, especially when it comes to the promotion of optimized installation of an application, which should be where most brand budgets need to be invested.

Last year, when a new sports streaming application was launched, it was originally planned to spend most of the budget on supporting advertisements channeled to the website. The brand idea is also very direct: this is a new product. Before registering for a free trial, users need to go to the website to learn more about the brand and finally decide to download the application. But soon the brand found that the number of users who registered for free trial was lower than expected. As a result, the brand has to adjust its strategy and spend about 80% of its budget on supporting various application installation formats, which are compatible on most digital platforms, such as:

Google application activity: conduct single advertising promotion on Google Search, Google Play, YouTube and Google Display Network respectively. The advantage is that it is easy to launch, because the text and resources in the app store list are used to write advertisements, and Google's automatic bidding and positioning functions are combined to launch. The disadvantage is that the brand cannot control the display location of the advertisement, so the keyword and display location list are crucial.

Facebook application installation advertisements: advertisements that can run on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Audience Network can be directly linked to the user's application list. 70% of Facebook's user traffic comes from mobile phones, which is a great way to attract users when they are in "application download mode". However, it is better to combine other promotion methods to guide users to brand websites, so as to reach the remaining 30% of users to the greatest extent.

DV360 mobile advertising series: Recently, the function of promoting applications through DV360 has been released. The brand only needs to create a new order item and select "mobile application installation", then it can choose to use the same positioning method as any other advertising series in the platform to discover users.

One thing to note: When running any of these formats, you must have a tool such as pixels to track which users downloaded the application. This is not only to detect the performance of the advertisement, but also to record the user groups that have downloaded the application, so as to exclude these audience groups in the subsequent advertising series. Otherwise, we will waste money on promotion that we don't need.


Automation and personalization

What all SVOD services have in common is that they are full of content. It seems that every platform is full of thousands of programs, actors and genres. Even for users who love Disney, brand name alone is not enough to persuade them to subscribe to another channel or repeat subscription. On the contrary, brands need to find potential user groups and focus on effectively promoting their own content. At this time, automation and personalization are crucial.

In the past few years, the automation of digital platforms has made great progress, which is a great help to the streaming media that needs to market large inventories. Some successful strategies demonstrated by Merkle are:


Dynamic creativity

Dynamic creativity is something that retailers are particularly familiar with, especially when a specific product needs to reposition users on a website, which is very useful for streaming media: templates generated in Google Studio can extract different advertising materials from feeds, such as brand logos, program names, etc., to create multiple advertising versions. These different versions can be run in turn and optimized to the best version over time. Alternatively, brands can also be positioned hierarchically to provide relevant advertisements for specific users without manually creating online advertising push. For a sports streaming media service, brands can use geographic positioning and audience segmentation to identify fans of specific football clubs and provide them with advertisements for upcoming games, including team logos. Compared with non dynamic innovative advertising, this reduces the promotion cost of free trial by 22%.


Social optimization rules

In terms of automation, Facebook is inferior to Google, but last year, they published automation rules in Ads Manager. These new rules can monitor the effect of advertisements and the performance of a series of advertisements, and automatically change according to the set parameters. This means that the brand can make real-time response to the change of advertisement performance without continuous manual monitoring, so as to obtain the best possible effect from the promotion. This is especially important for the brand promotion of new content released on weekends, because the user base that can be contacted is larger. In general, by using these rules, the promotion cost of free trial has been reduced by 60%.


Retention Policy

Did you accomplish the previous points? Users downloading applications and free trials have met expectations - is there anything else to do? Of course, it is important to reserve your marketing plan on the first day of launch to ensure maximum revenue.

In fact, 90% of applications downloaded by users will never be opened after the day. In order to avoid falling into the "zombie app", the brand needs to create a remarketing list for users who have "downloaded the app but haven't started a free trial", and regularly launch application activation activities for them. Don't expect users to remember downloading a program one day.

For users who have started a free trial, try to retain them before the end of the trial period. In this way, when their free trial is about to end, they will remember that there are still many good content that they haven't had time to explore, or they will provide an option to recommend to friends during the trial period in exchange for a discount. Users can easily jump from one free trial to another, so don't take it for granted that they can be retained without additional investment.


Some final comments

Streaming media has completely changed our media consumption concept, and the market may become more chaotic in the next few years. Users will no longer be willing to pay for endless subscription lists, but if they are good at using relevant USPs and powerful marketing strategies to attract interested user groups, this new service still has considerable market development space.

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