Streaming has evolved. Increasingly, streaming is thought of in many different ways— mobile apps, Roku, smart TVs, video on your own website, and even social media all fit the definition. In an age where attention is the ultimate currency, gone are the days when streaming and social media analytics can live in silos.
Can you tell what happens after a person watches your video on Facebook? Do they then go into your app and stream a longer clip on their connected TV? Do they watch on Snapchat on a totally different device, or was that video so compelling, they immediately subscribed to your streaming platform? Not knowing this can create at best, a fractured experience. At worst, it could damage your brand and cause customer churn. It’s critical to deepen the understanding of your customers and unify the viewer journey among your owned videos and social content.
The need to know what your audiences are doing on both your streaming platforms and social media platforms was exemplified during the recent Super Bowl. In doing the analysis for our Super Bowl LV recap report, we discovered, “As the excitement on the field waned in the second half, fans took to social media. This side-by-side illustrates why it is critical to track streaming and social engagement in tandem to uncover trends about where your audience is when they’re not with you.”
If you see a drop in streaming, you might still be engaging your audience, but in a different way. Same on social media; if you see a drop in engagement on social, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost that audience. They could be consuming content on your streaming platform, in a different location, or on a different device. Without a consistent way to track a viewer across all your platforms and their devices, you’ll never know how and where to best engage—or reengage—your audiences.
Furthermore, because of the heightened competition for views and engagements, you also need to understand more about how your content performs. What types of content resonate with different audiences on the myriad streaming and social platforms available? How does that content convert viewers into customers and what is the ROI?
Why fully understanding your audience and content in today’s digital landscape is challenging
- Social media is expanding and evolving.
As social media platform become entertainment destinations, longer-form video content is becoming more common. Think IGTV and Facebook Watch along with the popularity of livestreaming on platforms like Twitch and TikTok—not to mention the mainstay of YouTube, which our Q4 State of Streaming report found was the only social network to increase audience share in four key categories. New social platforms and new video streaming features on everything from Twitter to LinkedIn also mean that monitoring performance and customer experiences is constantly changing.
Plus, until recently there hasn’t been an easy or consistent way to measure across not only all the social media platforms, but also your O&O platforms and apps. A single metric could mean one thing on one social platform and a totally different thing on another platform. Normalizing your data can be tricky—and that’s just one part of the customer picture.
- Streaming is still growing.
How, where, when, and why your audience streams your content is yet another part of the customer picture you need to understand. Streaming used to be isolated to specific places online. Now, it’s fragmented across many different devices and dimensions like the type of content, location of a viewer, and how they are watching. Similar to the issues with understanding your social content and audiences, there’s no standard way to measure across everything. Livestreaming, which is also a viable new way to connect with viewers, adds additional levels of complexity and content challenges. You can’t really optimize live content as it’s streaming, but if you could monitor engagement before, during, and after a live stream, you can create better content over time.
- Content experiences are getting more creative.
The types of content that resonate with audiences are different now too. Content is increasingly not static, as short- and long-form video, livestreaming, user-generated content, and derivative content like teasers for teasers are all on the rise. Because creating video content is quicker and cheaper than ever before, companies need to uncover unique ways to reach viewers and give people a secondary way to engage with content. Consider a sports app experience, for example. A person can stream a live game and simultaneously use the app to access additional player and team details, deeper analysis, and real-time stats not available on the live stream. As more companies redefine the customer journey with a streaming-first imperative, you need to understand all the touchpoints, including social media, websites, streaming platforms, and ads, to create quality, consistent experiences across all of them.
- Viewers have more control and options than ever before.
Viewers now have so many options, not only for what and when to watch, but also how to watch. They are watching all of that short- and long-form video, live streams, user-generated content, and derivative content, and they are watching on disparate devices, platforms, and apps. This makes behaviors and patterns hard to track, benchmark, and trend. Additionally, not all of your audiences are the same, and they demand content that is specifically for them. You need privacy-safe segmentation to create more personalization and to share with your partners. Today, businesses mostly ask how to better identify what audiences are viewing, but you will also need to understand those audiences better, know how to make sense of segments, and then create experiences tailor made for them. This is already hard and getting harder because of regulations like GDPR and CCPA.
Streaming content is everywhere, not only across different social and streaming platforms, but also on disparate devices. That makes it incredibly difficult to fully understand your audience and to map the customer journey in this ever-changing world. While difficult, it’s certainly not impossible. Understanding this journey will allow you to better engage your audience wherever they are, market more efficiently, and provide an overall better user experience for your existing and potential customers.
Next week, we will explore ways to remove barriers and make this challenge a little less challenging.