If you are launching or relaunching your OTT apps, ensure you are up to date on best practices, monetization, UX, and distribution with this guide.
OTT App Best Practices in 2021
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach for running an OTT service. Because of the large (and growing) number of OTT apps and devices to stream them on, launching an OTT requires a strategy to help set it apart from the rest.
That includes several OTT app best practices with which your company will need to familiarize itself.
- Your OTT app needs to launch on every platform. While research shows that 63% of viewers stream content on their TVs, more and more people use their smartphones and computers instead. If you are planning an OTT app launch, you need to hit your audience where they are.
- There are several reasons to launch on specific platforms over others, but more on that later.
- Even in the ever-changing media world, content is still king. Remember, your audience watches content, not platforms. Future OTT performance will be determined by what original or exclusive content they have. Keep a close eye on what content resonates with your audience.
- No product can sell itself, and the same applies to your content. Consider using mobile app stores and on-platform connected TV ads to promote your OTT App.
OTT Apps and the Importance of UX
Put simply, your app's UX (user experience) will make or break its performance. According to Uxcam research:
- 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience;
- If a website needs more than three seconds to load, 40% of people will leave;
- Mobile users are five times more likely to abandon a website that hasn't been optimized for mobile.
While your app may technically run on code, in the consumer's eye, it runs on how fast it is, how it looks, and how well it functions based on what they expect it to do. The subjective nature of UX means you will need to tweak it constantly and make an effort to fully understand your audience’s needs.
Fortunately, we have several recommendations on where and how to create the best UX possible.
One of the worst things that can happen to your audience is long-term browser fatigue. This is the analysis paralysis that occurs when your audience can't decide what to watch. Whether this is because of too much content, too little content, or something else entirely, it can cause your consumers to abandon your app.
Different OTTs have taken different approaches to tackle this problem. Some have tried video previews, others have been attempting menu recommendations. There is no set solution to keeping your audience engaged. Make sure whatever you do is data-driven and addresses your customers' viewing habits and needs.
Several features remain consistent across what subscribers want from their streaming services, even across all the different OTT apps. These include cross-platform availability (which we discussed earlier), ease of use, and the ability to search for desired content.
For example, according to a Nielsen study, 71% of OTT subscribers rank the ability to search and access desired content quickly as extremely/very important.
Last but not least, consider what you can do to incentivize subscriber retention.
A high churn rate - the number of subscribers who cancel their subscriptions - can destroy your app's performance. So, you should always be keeping an eye on how many people are leaving your service.
As of 2020, The industry standard for a manageable churn rate was about 20%. Anything higher than that will require looking into what is causing your subscribers to drop off.
International Expansion Considerations
Business is global, and so are your subscribers. If your OTT has a proven track record in your local market, then it may be time to consider an OTT app relaunch in a foreign market.
Streaming services have already had incredible success overseas. For example, in 2017, Netflix's international subscribers overtook its U.S. audience. There is no reason why your OTT app can't share this success.
As broadband continues to expand internationally, foreign markets will be an even more enormous battlefield between OTT providers. Latin America's broadband is still not as widely available as in the U.S. and Europe, but it is proliferating.
For perspective, Brazil and Mexico are expected to see massive growth rates of 85% and 230% respectively in the streaming market, making now the perfect time to expand to Latin America.
However, just because foreign markets show promising growth potential for OTT platforms doesn't mean that you should jump at the chance without a strategy. There is still a lot to consider before you leap internationally.
At the very least, you should make sure that your OTT app provides subtitles for all your content. Dubbed content works even better, but this can get expensive, especially if your content does not have a dubbed version already available.
As you design new UIs for different markets, keep in mind how to make them good cultural fits for your unique audience. While this has apparent solutions like using the local language and avoiding anything culturally insensitive, make sure you accommodate right-to-left script. Areas of the world where people write right-to-left will need their entire UIs rendered this way - not just text.
Building your OTT Development and Monetization Strategies
While it may seem excessive, the importance of launching your OTT app on every platform cannot be overstated. Like we discussed in the first section of the article, your audience is already consuming media everywhere, so your app needs to launch everywhere too.
Put simply, neglecting to launch on every platform will present an immediate opportunity cost. Especially considering that Roku and Amazon Fire TV alone collectively own 70% of the U.S. streaming media player market, not launching on either one of them will impact how well you can launch your OTT.
Consider HBO Max’s decision to not launch on either of these platforms. Even though they reached 4 million subscribers in their first two months, consider how much higher those numbers could have been if they hadn’t neglected the majority of the market.
And while you absolutely need to plan your OTT app launch across every platform, you should consider Roku your essential destination.
Why? For starters, launching your app on Roku will give you immediate access to 54 million unique monthly users. Roku devices are affordable, and the brand has many familiarities, which means this market will only increase over time.
Keep in mind that Roku has a revenue share of 20% for subscription services and a 30% share of either advertising revenue or share of inventory.
This comes with its benefits though, since publishers will profit from Roku's advanced analytics and first-party data. You can use these to deliver the most relevant ads possible to your viewers.
Especially considering Roku's massive share of the industry, their first-party data is something your app launch will not want to miss out on.
One of the most critical tools in planning your OTT app’s monetization is a comprehensive TG (target group) profile. This will give you a better understanding of which platforms your audience is on and what their viewing habits are.
As you build your TG profile, consider how you will drive your TG to your content. Focus on the type of content they prefer and how this group will change in the coming years. These are all crucial questions in building your monetization strategy.
What Zemoga's Solutions Can Do for You
New OTT apps have an uphill battle to fight as the media market gets more and more crowded. You will face fierce competition from both established and new platforms, and you have countless ways to build your own niche.
Fortunately, when it comes to your business, you never have to go alone. Whether you need help building a digital product or want to plan an engaging product launch, we are here to help. Our team has nearly two decades of experience providing design and engineering services to leading media companies. Contact us today and find out why Zemoga is the best partner for your OTT launch.