What is it about VOD and the OTT service that generates great demand for such services in the market? The ever-growing industry of easily accessible media has created a never-ending cycle of need and want for more content among viewers. Nowadays, they can scour the internet on the lookout for solutions that offer the best material of interest with the most user-friendly interface. With plenty of choices available, content owners have to fight for their attention and constantly improve their platforms to retain engagement.

This is where extended personalisation comes into play. Most of the vendors are now starting to implement or test out features that offer more freedom to the audience. Whether it is a small tweak like adding materials to a favourite list or big changes like custom recommendation systems, they notice that offering viewers more freedom pays out.

Content is crucial, but recommendations make it shine

The number of choices available on VOD platforms can be quite overwhelming to the user, especially since the abundance of productions that are freely accessible can serve us for a lifetime and more. On the one hand, the high saturation of the OTT/VOD market offers enormous entertainment opportunities, but on the other, it can be an obstacle in finding content that will suit the needs best and provide engagement that is important for all parties involved.

After all, it is all about proper content delivery – the right time, the right topic and categories, as well as access points on different platforms and devices. That’s what OTT service is all about. Well-designed recommendation systems serve not only the audience but, in an even greater part, the service providers themselves. The consumers can easily navigate the solution and discover new possibilities of content enjoyment, but the true stars of the show are heightened engagement and data gathered in the process. The acquired insights can serve as a guide in the next steps of business development and further fruitful personalisation choices.

More on personalisation

The whole concept of personalised experiences is well-known within the media and entertainment industry. The meaning of personalisation is making the user feel special, as if the platform and its content were designed especially for them. There are multiple ways to achieve that effect, whether by simple things like addressing them personally in notifications and other text forms or more complex ones such as curated content lists. The OTT service has blazed the trail here, as this service is 100% web-based and, as a result, customisable.

Personalisation technics are becoming more advanced each day, especially regarding video and advertising. Implementing it into audiovisual format makes the content more valuable and easier to relate to, especially while utilizing the data gathered through the solution.

Where to find data sources for recommendations

The collection of precise data (provided by the user while using the VOD/OTT service such as likes, ratings, watch laters, shares, reviews, and downloads) and utilizing it properly can be a turning point for the success of your solution. Such information enables content providers to deliver highly personalised experiences tuned into what the user is interested in.

The analysis of content consumption and accessed variables and a properly designed system will help you accurately predict user choices and act upon them.

The generated prediction of behaviours can be based on demographics, time of occurrence, events that happen, used platforms, types of connection, past actions, and many more factors.

Data points can be used to create and improve buyer personas based on information from both first and third-party sources.

Additionally, operators can sync up other OTT services to their solutions and use real-time tracking dashboards and plan their next choices based on user behaviour and other indicators.

Why are recommendations so important

There are numerous studies proving that well-executed personalisation elevates viewing rates and lowers user churn. As an example, machine-learned emotional fingerprinting can add up to three times more content consumption by users.

Recommendations in VOD and OTT services

When AI-based recommendations are applied to an OTT app, the whole viewing journey should be considered. This includes the following elements:

  • Recommendations on the homepage

Since the homepage is the first thing that the users see every time they choose to interact with the OTT service, it would be a wise choice to present them with something unique. The personalised view helps the audience create a deeper connection with your service, as a result driving more user engagement and higher use rates. There are numerous recommendation homepage types, such as – “Watch next” or “You may like”. Real-time data or previously watched content is a great indicator of future recommendation possibilities. Personalised homepage recommendations can give an 80-90% boost to the CTR.

  • Recommendations that use the preferred genre data

You can create a more personalised experience thanks to recommendations based on the viewers’ interests. As we all know, content’s relevance plays an important part in the users’ journey, and you can generate more consumption that way.

  • Pre-populated personalised playlists

You can create fully personalised playlists in accordance with the data associated with the viewer. With such actions, the CTR rate can be boosted up to 80-110% with a personalised watchlist or playlist.

  • Thumbnail personalisation

Let’s take a look at Netflix, an OTT platform that successfully implements different thumbnail versions in relation to the information of various target groups. User data can be put to use and become a part of a powerful tool.

  • Personalised emails and notifications

In order to maximize the full potential of recommended materials content providers have to remember connection methods that go beyond the standard offering of the OTT service. We are talking about emails that are accustomed to a specific user, which can increase CTR up to 60-80%.

On this topic, notifications can be a powerful add-on if displayed at the right time and place. Customers react to them immediately, and you can draw their attention to the part that corresponds with your goals.

  • Personalised ads

The time of blindly inputting advertisements into content is long gone; nowadays we don’t have to guess who will be the recipient of our materials. Thanks to the detailed customer information, the placement and time of ads as well as the success rate of the campaign can be accurately estimated. Displaying promotional materials in OTT solutions allows advertisers and content owners to stay true to their brand message.

Wrapping up: Make the most of your OTT service

The importance of the comfortable use of the OTT service is no joke. With the abundance of available choices, it’s hard to gain the attention of users, and sadly, it is quite easy to lose it.

The tricky part is that customers most often use the remote control to navigate the service. For that exact reason, they need to have the content that correlates with their needs served on a silver platter.

Quick, personalised, and relevant options wherever they are – that’s what it’s all about.

While investing in proper development is crucial when creating an OTT service, providers must remember about creating structures that successfully present the content they already have to consumers. The insights gathered from data analysis can help in building recommendation tactics as well as planning ahead for your next business endeavours.

About the author

Maciej Barbarzak photo

Maciej Barbarzak

Business Development Specialist