ott apps

Source: Freepik

For media firms, the path to mobile revenue might seem daunting. Over the Top (OTT) media delivery has little in common with traditional broadcasting via cable or satellite.

Mobile adds another layer of complexity: Mobile app monetization isn’t quite the same as web monetization, which means new opportunities (and challenges) for app teams. OTT apps require a dedicated strategy to become a money-making machine.

At Leanplum, we’ve worked with media companies like NBC, AMC Networks, and Bleacher Report to generate more revenue from their mobile apps. These are a few proven strategies we’ve learned for media app monetization.

Personalize the Experience for More Ad Impressions

Ad revenue is proportionate to app engagement. The more time users spend with your app, the more opportunities there are to serve ads. So how can an OTT app increase engagement?

Personalized recommendations are one of the biggest improvements you can make to your content. In-app content, like news headlines and video interviews, should be curated to the user’s interests. Most users won’t want to track every category of news, every genre of movies, or every team in a sports league. By collecting data on each user’s in-app behaviors, you can serve content that’s genuinely relevant to them.

App marketers can also use messages to guide users toward relevant content. Even if you don’t personalize the core app content (e.g. the newsfeed), you can implement an in-app popup or push notification reminder that drives users to recommended media.

ott app promotion

Personalization applies just as much to out-of-app content, like push notifications and emails. Personalized reminders will ensure that users stay on top of relevant content, keeping your app top-of-mind while minimizing the number of users who fall dormant. And the more you bring users back to your app, the more opportunities you’ll have to serve ads.

Drive Users to In-App Conversions

Many OTT media apps have some way to directly monetize users, without depending on ad revenue. Music streaming apps might have a premium version that lets users listen to music ad-free. Or, a video app might sell standalone movies and TV shows instead of a flat subscription. Whatever the case may be, direct in-app conversions are a major part of an OTT app’s revenue stream.

There are a few ways to optimize in-app conversions with a mobile marketing platform. For streaming services that offer a free trial, you can create a personalized drip campaign to keep users engaged with the product and remind them to purchase once the trial is up. Once the user gets hooked, they’ll be reluctant to return to the free version.

ott app marketing

Source: NY Photographic

Other types of campaigns can drive toward in-app conversions like specific content purchases. For example, a TV app could promote a new season of a show after the user finishes the previous one. The purchase is relevant to this user because they’re already invested in the show.

Spread Your Message on Other Channels, Too

Most OTT media apps serve content on at least one other channel. That could be a website, a cable or satellite subscription, a radio channel, or more. By driving purchases on all channels, not just your app, you can increase your top line revenue.

Cross-channel content presents an opportunity for cross-sells. For example, consider Beyonce’s short film Lemonade, which was initially released on HBO. The video was included as part of HBO’s free preview of the season (alongside hits like the Game of Thrones premier). However, this preview was only for cable TV viewers, not internet viewers. Streamers who wanted to watch the video on HBO Go or HBO Now had to sign up for a separate 30-day free trial.

Content owners can leverage the high anticipation to drive free trials (and even purchases). Depending on how the user prefers to consume content, an HBO Go user might be tempted to sign up for a free trial of the cable subscription, or vice versa. A single piece of highly anticipated content can earn sales on multiple channels.

In addition to pushing for purchases, it’s a good idea to maximize your reach on channels like social media. The more awareness each piece of content has, the more likely you are to acquire organic app users. Try using in-app messages to ask users to share recently viewed content via social media.

ott tv apps

Monetizing Media Apps

Media companies monetize their content in slightly different ways for each channel. Websites and traditional broadcast methods don’t play by the same rules; mobile apps are no different.

On mobile, engagement lies at the heart of monetization. By keeping your users engaged, you create more opportunities to monetize them — whether by ads, subscriptions, direct content purchases, or more.

In the quest for engagement, personalization is the biggest advantage you can leverage. Mobile is the easiest platform on which to collect user data, and more data means more opportunity for personalization. Follow these suggestions and your app will become a money-making machine.

Leanplum is the mobile marketing platform built for engagement. We help brands like Lyft, Tinder, Grab, TED, and Zynga orchestrate multi-channel campaigns — from messaging to the in-app experience — all from a single, integrated platform. Schedule your personalized demo here.