Streaming services are only gaining steam. Whether it’s Amazon Prime Video or podcasts, Netflix or NPR’s New Sounds, even Hulu or Spotify’s Hip Hop genre radio, Americans are continuously increasing their streaming. The music streaming services have had a 25% jump in paid subscriptions since last year (source), and according to Statistica the amount of users streaming was expected to rise nearly 2%, although the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be preliminarily negatively impacting music streaming services as people turn to streaming movies.
Commuters (especially New Yorkers like myself) and homebodies alike spend a lot of time plugged into their headphones listening to music and podcasts or even watching their favorite series whenever they can find the time. According to TechCrunch, Americans are streaming 8 billion hours of content per month on their connected devices, and around 51% of Americans over the age of 12 listen to podcasts every month with 16 million of them consider themselves avid fans (source).
But what happens when the commute is taken away? How do music streaming companies win back their users? And how do video streaming companies increase their user’s engagement even further?
Media streaming companies can continue to drive engagement by:
- Collecting the proper data
- Choosing the right channels
- Sending the right campaigns
1. Data Collection
Content streaming companies are great at collecting and presenting data (looking at you, Spotify). Data for today’s companies is worth its weight in gold, but a lot of companies aren’t utilizing it to its fullest potential. Companies track user actions such as when content is played, skipped or stopped, and even if it’s been downloaded on user’s devices for offline consumption. This data gives insight to users’ preferences on content type, genre, when they engage with the platform the most, and a lot more. Let’s take a look at how we can make sure that you’re thinking about your data’s full story.
Movies and Series
How do you determine if a person is actively engaging with your content (are they sitting and watching or is it just background noise)?
Are you collecting the number of times that a person pauses during a series or movie?
The number of times a person pauses may indicate the level of engagement they have with the content they are viewing. The length and frequency of the breaks between starting and finishing the show and the amount of time it took to finish the show can help a clearer picture of the viewer’s engagement.
Are people fast-forwarding through the opening/closing credits? Do they click the skip credits prompt?
Binge watchers who sit through seasons at a time of their favorite shows can rack up the viewing hours, but how can you calculate if they are sitting and wondering to see if Leslie Knope will win her city council election or just need some background sound while cooking dinner? Skipping ahead of the opening/closing credits can give an indication of their engagement, which means that you don’t need to ask the user “Are you still watching?” (Netflix).
How long does it take for them to find something to watch?
A viewer’s decision on what to watch helps feed the algorithm that recommends future content to them, but what if a person stops watching a movie early? Should it be included as something that they watched in their recommendations? Do you give the user the ability to remove it from the “jump back in” section of the platform?
Music and Podcasts
Do you see patterns in their usage?
Do users download content at certain periods of the day? Consistent downloads of a certain podcast can indicate routine which can be honed in on for future campaigns if they ever break their habits.
Do certain playlists get played around the same time?
Users have dedicated playlists for periods of their day, like for their workout or meditation practice. Do you see a certain point in time that users religiously play their playlists? Can you see if the playlist’s title has the words “Workout/gym” in it? Do you have geolocation to determine whether the playlists are played in certain locations?
Do you have the ability to see when people switch devices?
A break in listening doesn’t specifically mean that a user dropped off, it may mean that they switched devices, like to a smart speaker. It’s important to continuously keep track of what devices users are listening to and when they switch from device to device to give you a better sense of how you can recommend listening to content off their favorite devices. That kind of data can guide recommendations (push notification or in-app message) to listen off their favorite speaker — if connection to it is available.
Collecting and unifying the right data is essential to learn your customer’s behaviors, but how do you make it actionable and use it to better engage with them? Sending the perfectly timed message - through the right channel - will help increase engagement. And using a customer engagement platform like Braze with cross channel capabilities can ensure that your customers are receiving a unified and cohesive message.
2. + 3. Types of Campaigns and Channels
Media companies use batch and blast campaigns to inform their audience about all of the new content that they have coming up - sent to a minimally segmented audience to cast the widest net. More personalized campaigns such as recommendations for new content based on previous choices or even re-engagement campaigns, based on users’ viewer history can have a significant impact on engagement. Some campaigns are more timely and relevant than others and should be prioritized - for example, an email with a CTA to watch the newest episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine may take predominance of a “Coming Soon” email. Sending campaigns through the right channels will also have an impact on engagement and retention. For example, push notifications should be used to send an immediate CTA while emails can contain messages with a lower priority.
Batch And Blast
Informational emails are important but may not be your highest priority. They are a great way to inform users what kind of new content is coming to the platform and when to listen to it. The message content isn’t specific to a certain audience and can be used to start engagement with the user.
This kind of message can be used to educate the audience of new content that you have on the platform now. Best served in emails, CTAs can include “add to watchlist” or “watch now”, both deep-linking directly into the platform.
Educating the customer of upcoming content to the platform is essential to drum up excitement and future engagement. You can encourage your audience to set reminders by prompting them to add a reminder to their calendar for the release date/time and adding the content to their watchlist through both emails and push notifications.
From the newest album drop to the most recently available movie — new releases are important to announce. Sending an email or a push notification with a “watch/listen now” CTA can generate immediate conversions and lead to stronger retention down the line.
Personalized communications will resonate better with the audience and grow the personal connection they have to the brand.
This kind of campaign should be segmented toward users who watched previous seasons of shows and need to refresh themselves before the newest episodes come on. These campaigns should be personalized to re-engage those who missed the previous week’s episode and prompt them to catch up before the new episode comes out.
“New Episodes/Music from your favorite show/artist”
Based on the user’s consumption patterns, personalized recommendations and reminders help drive engagement with your platform. If the new content is released and ready to be interacted with, a push notification deep linking them directly to the platform can lead to high conversions.
To drum up excitement, you can send users emails with trailers to upcoming seasons of their favorite shows, or reminders to listen to the latest album when it drops. A push notification or email that prompts users to add a title to their watch list or a calendar reminder will help with engagement down the line.
What do you do if someone didn’t finish an episode or a podcast? At what point should you try to get them back to finish?
“Jump Back In”
Whether it’s a show or a podcast, it never hurts to encourage a user to jump back in where they dropped off. How early they dropped off may be an indicator of whether or not they enjoyed the content or got distracted and didn’t finish it. It would be beneficial to look at your data and see how the time of drop off and re-engagement correlates with each other. A simple push notification should prompt them to pick up where they left off.
These are perfect reminders to users who downloaded a podcast to listen to it, or to watch a show that has been sitting on their watch list for a while. These kinds of messages can also be used to remind someone to perform an action they usually perform but haven’t done yet — such as downloading a podcast to listen to on the way to work or listen to a specific playlist they listen to on a regular basis. Seamless does a great job of seeking out their user’s ordering habits and sending them reminders when their behavior patterns change.
Reserved to only those who canceled their subscription, these kind of winback emails should generate a feeling of FOMO, and can include special incentives if the recipient opts to resubscribe.
Focusing on user’s behaviors and encouraging them to engage at the right points in time will lead to higher engagement and a longer LTV. From our research team who can help discover insights in your user’s journeys to the growth team who can optimize your communications, reach out to us if you have any questions.