Advertisers are projected to spend more on streaming services (CTV, OTT, etc.) in the coming year to reach targeted audience segments. But, it’s unclear how many streaming providers are poised to succeed as the pandemic recedes in many regions and consumer viewing habits shift.
Many streaming providers are trying to broaden their appeal by offering ad-supported subscription plans along with premium, commercial-free options—including Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+, and niche services such as Crunchyroll/Funimation.
And ad-supported streaming is increasingly popular among consumers. Seventy percent of adults surveyed said they are willing to pay for an advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) service if it reduces monthly subscription costs, according to Roku’s “2021 Streaming Report” released this September.
Successful CTV/OTT providers that rely on advertising revenue will take decisive steps to increase understanding of their viewers. And they will apply this insight to provide relevant programming and increase advertising revenue in a brand-safe model. Streaming providers have an opportunity to maximize their revenue by focusing on their customers in two distinct ways.
Capitalizing on first-party customer data is essential. But creating relevant user/household profiles is challenging, especially if you have limited information—e.g., subscribers who only provide their name, email, zip code, and payment information.
To fill in these customer data gaps, streaming providers are increasingly turning to audience and identity solutions. By combining in-house customer information with accurate data from multiple internal and external sources, publishers can build a holistic, 360-degree picture of their customers. This can include gaining additional information about subscribers’ viewing habits, demographic data, buying behaviors, and helpful clues about their lifestyle or identity.
For example, a household with two parents and their 18-year-old daughter may watch the same streaming service, but they’ll view different shows at different times on different devices. By drilling down into viewing habits, we see that one parent streams sports-related content via mobile, the other parent watches comedies and food shows on TV, and the daughter streams dramas on her tablet.
Additional audience solutions can also match internal subscriber information with external user data to add important details. In this case, additional household information gathered shows an interest in travel, fitness, and home decoration/renovation.
CTV/OTT services can use this information to develop premium offers for advertisers who are likely to pay more to reach viewers in relevant moments. By understanding their viewers in greater detail, streaming providers can increase ad inventory control and optimize how they package and sell their audiences to advertisers.
Developing and maintaining subscriber segments is central to providing relevant offers and communications for a favorable customer experience. Streaming providers can also use profiles from existing subscriber segments to develop acquisition programs based on these attributes. As a result, they are likely to reach more consumers who are interested in their services.
Initiatives to attract more subscribers include contextual intelligence campaigns to target customers who have similar interests to your most profitable subscribers. Context allows streaming providers to promote a specific show or genre alongside related online news and entertainment articles, forums and community threads, videos, etc.
For example, a streaming platform could promote a new drama series with targeted ads that run next to online news and reviews about similar shows or events. This increased level of relevancy helps drive advertising ROI and efficacy, according to the Journal of Advertising Research.
Context is also privacy-friendly because it targets pages based on content instead of behavioral identifiers found in the likes of third-party cookies.
Streaming providers have an opportunity to use their subscriber base to increase advertising revenue with the help of solutions that:
The key is to have the ability to create a comprehensive customer view that spans devices and channels—and can scale to support a unified customer profile. In doing so, streaming platforms can provide subscribers with highly relevant messages and offers that drive retention and increase customer lifetime value.
Changing consumer preferences coupled with the eventual end of third-party cookies require streaming services to rethink how they reach new prospects and keep subscribers happy.
Effective companies will augment their own customer data with audience solutions to identify ideal prospects, turn them into long-term subscribers, and provide a quality customer experience through targeted, timely communications.
Read our Digital Marketer's Guide to Contextual Insights and Trends for more insights.
Alex draws from his B2B advertising and marketing experience to develop content for Oracle’s Advertising and Customer Experience blogs.