Streaming platforms have rapidly evolved in recent years. With improvements to internet speeds and mobile devices, there are more users streaming than ever before. During the pandemic, users’ screen time has only increased, creating more demand for content. As more streaming platforms have launched, the competition has significantly increased to keep users loyal.
To survive, platforms have to continue innovating their strategies to differentiate themselves and their content to stay competitive. How they incorporate customer data—a huge part of the streaming landscape—is a particular make or break moment in the way brands are connecting with their users through recommendations.
Let’s take a look at five ways streaming platforms can stand out amongst the content crowd.
5 Strategies to Differentiate Your Streaming Platform
1. Create Unique Experiences for Users
Streaming platforms have enormous content libraries that can overwhelm users looking for new content. Behavioral data is essential to limiting the friction that comes from this choice paralysis. What a user watches, how long they watch for, which shows they browse—all of these are relevant data points that can lead to tailored playlists and recommendations to help users find relevant content. Streaming platforms are not wont for more data. But to stand out, brands would be wise to capitalize on this data, enabling them to create hyper-personalized experiences, increase engagement, and improve overall positive brand sentiment.
Spotify is well-known for creating hyper-personalized experiences based on listening data. They utilize this data to recognize fans, provide recommendations, create new playlists, and even develop original artists. This email from Spotify teases personalized highlights and directs the user back to the platform to learn about their usage trends from the previous year. Spotify has also gone a step further and made their wrap-up data easily shareable on social media, which builds a community while allowing users to bring others into their own, personal experience.
Consider what personalized data you can use to create a memorable experience for your users.
2. Get Nostalgic
As the streaming wars continue, platforms are fighting for users. Some users are turning to more nostalgic content to provide comfort. With new platforms emerging with licensing for classic movies and shows, platforms, like Peacock TV, have leveraged the rights to their older shows to get new users. These changes have enabled brands to tap into new content options and provide relevant messaging based on different levels of nostalgia. Peacock, for example, created new content around The Office, which has a cult-like following. This email dug into the archives to bring back hits of summers past.
Peacock built out substantial premium content to encourage more premium subscriptions. Because video content production has stalled due to pandemic shutdowns and delays, they have successfully created additional social buzz and podcasts around older content to renew interest in classic shows that don’t require any new production.
Brands can extend the life of their content by creating campaigns that support their existing content.
3. Add a Group Watch Feature
With theaters closed and families and friends socially distancing, brands have struggled to recreate the experience of movie nights—either in theaters or shoulder-to-shoulder on the sofa. Browser plugins and applications like Teleparty were created to enable multiple people in different locations to watch a movie simultaneously with a chat feature. This was essentially a workaround while platforms developed the capability natively.
In response to pandemic shutdowns, Disney+ created GroupWatch, a feature that enables multiple users to stream the same show or movie from different locations and share reactions. This email highlights one of their hit shows, The Mandalorian, which created substantial hype for Disney+ during shutdowns, and showcases their new GroupWatch feature. Disney has also underlined this feature for their premium content to help recreate the experience of going to the movies with friends and family.
Whether it’s a new feature or an old one, if you think it changes the customer experience for the better, don’t shy away from giving that feature its own highlight in your communications.
4. Integrate New Technology
Integrating new technology in your marketing campaigns can expand your reach beyond your typical audience. It can also help brands capitalize on trending technology, like smart TVs or smart home devices.
This email from video-hosting platform Vimeo promotes their premium subscription service by giving away a camera when you upgrade your account. Streaming has become such an integral part of our lives, it’s smart to find ways to incorporate the context of your audience’s life—now and in the future—to improve their experience with your brand. Vimeo highlights the best qualities of the camera and the premium subscription benefits, which go hand-in-hand.
Consider what device partnerships your brand could leverage to showcase the best attributes of your brand.
5. Showcase Global Trends
Have you ever spent more time looking for something to watch than you do watching a show? Streaming platforms can have overwhelmingly large libraries to browse. Highlighting the select few options can simplify the process. It can also help generate word of mouth for the trending shows since people often ask, “have you seen this?”
This email from Netflix highlights trending content in the US. It features trending content that entices the recipient to subscribe. The language implies a sense of urgency and fear of missing out on the buzz around trending content. Netflix has also featured global trending content as more users have been watching international programs since the start of the pandemic.
Spotlighting trending content can be great when there isn’t a lot of individual user data available. Brands can feature top content as a starting point in a customer’s journey until more tailored information is available.
Offering suggestions for popular content can remove friction from the customer experience.
Differentiate Your Brand
The streaming wars are not slowing down anytime soon. Established platforms, like Netflix and Spotify, have been successful at differentiating themselves in the past, but as with any industry, innovation and change is likely imminent. With such competition, it’s imperative to use these five strategies to stay top-of-mind. Few things are as personal as what a user decides to spend their valuable time watching. Listen to the user’s data and set up personalized programming for them.
Curious about what a streaming platform’s customer experience looks like? Check out our analysis of the HBO Max customer experience.