Critical Business Questions Associated With OTT And Its KPIs

With advances in technology, there are various buzz words and terminologies doing the rounds; one of them is OTT or Over the Top services. Today, OTT is not just a technology but a major KPI in business. So let us understand what OTT means and its implications in business.

OTT is a term initially coined to refer to all such devices which went over the cable box and enabled TV content access. Today, however, it refers to all content that gets delivered through the internet and does not require a cable network provider. OTT users include:

  • OTT video viewers who watch videos on apps or websites
  • Connected TV or CTV and Internet Protocol TV or IPTV users who use Smart TVs or TVs connect to the internet to watch content
  • Linear OTT users are those that subscribe to services delivering live TV over the internet

With a huge user base that is being catered to, no business can afford to miss out on the opportunities it presents. OTT services thus make use of real-time reporting, hyper-targeting capabilities of videos etc. to provide viewers with a full-screen and immersive experience as that of a linear TV. 

The advent of OTT has changed the way ad performance is measured. While demographics, probabilistic matching, consumer behaviour and guesswork were the KPI for advertisements placed previously, today it is real-time bidding, programmatic buying amongst others that are used to track the results and optimise ad spend in real-time. The focus today is more on engagement and ROI.

This leads us to certain pertinent questions which require accurate answering like:

What is my most popular content over time?

The popularity of videos is generally translated as most viewed over a given time frame. So determine a time frame! Google Analytics offers an almost accurate method to determine this. It allows you to generate a report of all your uploaded content and the views received within the mentioned time frame. You now have a clear idea of which content has outperformed the others.

Now the need to understand this popular content over time stems from the OTT mantra; the right ads at the right place. Appropriateness and placement of ads generate sales. Thus for every OTT platform, the dates and times of content consumption need to be analysed to understand the popularity trends. This content then needs to be categorised based on your specific requirements.

Some video contents which have proved their effectiveness in increasing OTT campaign performance are:

  • Vlogs or video blogs,
  • Culture behind a brand, company culture or simply culture videos,
  • Interviews of interesting people,
  • Webinars, events and presentations,
  • Tutorials, behind the scenes and animation videos,
  • Product reviews and testimonials,
  • Live streaming etc.

What is the trend of my subscribed users vs. unsubscribed users?

Simply speaking it measures in-app subscriptions. There are certain key subscription metrics which need to be monitored. Subscription businesses generate recurring revenue by enabling a predictable cash flow. But subscription also comes with certain expectations like availability of new content, updates etc. If the subscription does not provide recurring value to the users, they tend to unsubscribe.

To understand the trend of your subscribed and unsubscribed users analyse your churn or cancellation rate. While a low churn rate of 5 to 10% is acceptable, churn rates of 30% per month require immediate attention and correction.

Using a cohort table is a good way of understanding if the churn rate trend shows an increase or decrease over time. Setting up a funnel is another effective way of understanding your subscription business dynamics and improving on them.

The need for analysing this subscribe users to unsubscribe users is an essential KPI for judging the OTT campaign performance. There is a good amount of money that gets invested in the production of the video. Thus a failure to impress viewers and take them further on their buyer journey defeats its purpose.

OTT channel utilisation is all about engagement and conversion and they need to be adhered to at all cost.

What is the trend for users who have initiated a subscription and successfully subscribed?

This measures conversions that an OTT campaign facilitates. Two very essential metrics that measure OTT service performance are:

Video completion rate or VCR: This is an indication of the percentage of viewers who watch a video ad till completion. In OTT services it ranges between 90 to 100% which is not surprising considering the advantages that OTT presents like user-selected content and full-screen viewing.

Effectively ads today are non-skippable; you cannot switch tabs or even minimise the screen. This ensures total audience engagement.

Advertisers can thus make use of VCR data to structure their content to target different segments of viewers and front-load key messages.

Attribution tracking: High viewership needs to facilitate high conversions. To achieve this you have to resort to attribution tracking which connects ad viewing to the completion of the intended action like:

  • Downloading the app,
  • Visiting the website shown or
  • Physically going to the store.

This KPI thus links OTT to the buyer’s holistic journey making it the most important KPI to track. The correct placement of appropriate OTT ads facilitates good lead generation and increase in sales and ultimately better ROI.

User overlap analysis for top content

A crowded streaming market, especially one which continues to grow and become intricate almost daily, can result in the overlap of top content. With multi-channel viewing a trend, the OTT campaign success depends on understanding the concept of viewer overlap analysis. More so because audience analysis reports help you to estimate:

  • Market saturation
  • Current competition
  • Key players currently influencing viewership in your audience segment
  • Find growth opportunities

For getting these Traffic Analytics tools, it is best to engage with a third party team. Reports generated by them will enable your business development managers to come up with better OTT campaigns to ensure better audience engagement. You need to adjust your UA tactics using OTT campaigns accordingly since they are driven by:

  • Devices like smart TVs, digital media players, mobile devices etc.,
  • IP wherein originality scores
  • In-app advertising using OTT services through both mobile and digital channels

Distinguishing between new and returning users

You might think that this has no relevance to your business since in both cases you stand to gain. But where running a successful OTT campaign is concerned, returning users provide more value. They come with a higher engagement which means that:

  • They bounce less
  • Have increased session durations
  • Tend to view significantly more pages in individual sessions

In business parlance, this translates into higher conversion rates, higher sales and much higher revenues. This would have caught your interest for sure!

But new users are equally important. They need to be nurtured. Feed them good OTT video content so that they can be converted into returning users. Thus to make your conversions grow exponentially ensure you have your OTT video advertising marketing initiatives focus both on encouraging new and returning visits.

Using metrics to understand the type of visitors your website attracts measures its gravitational pull. A first time user is a new user but every future visit of the same comes under the tag of returning visitor. Metrics used to calculate the total number of users will, however, not distinguish between the two. For them, a new user and his subsequent return are taken as the same.

Factors contributing to OTT success

Lastly, every OTT service needs to start from its nascent state and grow. Hence diving into this competitive landscape without preparation can be a waste of time and money. You need to ensure 5 important avenues are satisfied to ensure a successful OTT campaign. This includes:

o   Creating a well-defined unique and original OTT content strategy

o   Ensuring maximum agility in the business model created

o   Having a roadmap entailing the OTT campaign distribution across channels, screen sizes and platforms

o   Using TV marketing strategies to find and nurture viewers and build a sizeable OTT audience 

o   Designing, refining and iteratively redesigning your video content before launching a full-scale OTT campaign across channels.  

The above can be easily facilitated by adopting the following OTT marketing strategies:

o   Maximise your audience reach especially communities based on demographics, geographical areas, topics etc.

o   Create customised quality OTT video content and leverage on it

o   Start with a test audience and see how your KPIs perform

o   Launch the campaign only when you are fully satisfied

o   Have practical budgeting options in place which will enable you to spend less but maximise results

o   Tracking analytics play a big role in the success of OTT campaigns; ensure you have the best ones in place so that they can be tied into your KPIs for better performance analysis.

Content is king. Thus ensure the following crucial factors are met every time you upload content on any OTT platform.

  • Content personalisation: Ensure personalisation especially when targeting niche and targeted audience segments; use a personalised content ranker to understand a viewer’s activity in terms of engagement and interaction.
  • Top content categorisation: Content which is currently trending needs to be categorised both on popularity and the personal information you obtain about the viewer; it would do you good to remember popular content interests people because they want to be influenced by them.
  • Content analytics: Recently viewed content analytics need to be analysed based on the future action of the viewer to understand if the content is generating interest or it is time to offer something new.
  • Similar content recommendation: Make it a point to recommend content similar to the ones that audiences are currently watching. Audience behaviour says that they like to continue watching videos showcasing similar content.

OTT is a rapidly evolving platform. It offers plum advantages like an engaged audience, content-rich platforms, full-screen, unskippable ad formats, a clear understanding of audience viewing habits and behaviour, transparent campaign success reports etc. You have the power and onus to avail these benefits and grab the opportunity to nurture your audience with sequential storytelling. What you know now is just scraping the surface of OTT. Use this platform; understand it so that you can innovate and gain more.