As technological advancements continue to emerge, the way people consume content will also evolve. Today, people are no longer limited to TVs, radio, and other traditional channels. Since more people are attached to their mobile devices or have developed a general affinity to technology, the entertainment industry has taken complete advantage of it.
Enter the rise of streaming platforms, where people can access hundreds of shows with a single subscription. With its convenience and ease of use, more and more people find themselves binge-watching their favorite movies and series.
This led to streaming giants, notably Netflix, to experience unparalleled success. However, as streaming continues to increase in popularity, it’s no surprise that other companies are starting to follow suit.
Stiff competition has led to a never-ending streaming war, and if companies want to win this bloody battle, they’ll have to innovate and find ways to stand out. This is where digital marketing comes in. A successful digital marketing strategy is at the heart of successful differentiation, but how exactly is it implemented?
Before we dive into the role of digital marketing in the streaming world, let’s get a better understanding of what the streaming wars are.
What Exactly are the Streaming Wars?
People’s TV habits and preferences have evolved. Before the arrival of streaming services, people were content with flipping through channels until they found something that interested them. Streaming services introduced the newfound necessity to access high-quality content on demand. Hence the emergence of platforms where subscribers can watch thousands of films and shows online.
Netflix was one of the pioneer companies to provide this service, but eventually, other brands followed suit and have entered the streaming market seeing Netflix’s success. Ultimately, this has resulted in an ever-expanding ecosystem where stiff competition is bound to arise.
As the years went by, more streaming channels just kept coming: Hulu, Amazon’s Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, and the recently launched HBO Max and Peacock. Especially with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all these platforms strive to capture and fulfill the demands of a massive audience stuck at home and bring the latest movies and TV shows right where they are.
But with all these options at their disposal, how will consumers determine which platform is the best?
Seemingly, the streaming service that comes out on top can be determined by factors such as price, speed, quality, and programming. However, winning the war would require the company to look beyond these. They would have to stand out among the rest, which will highly depend on how they market their services.
The Role of Digital Marketing in the Streaming Wars
Audiences will now have to adapt to the various ways content will be marketed, consumed, and delivered. Streaming companies are now utilizing the power of marketing and brand positioning to offer more value to consumers and influence their purchasing decisions.
Assuming that all these platforms are relatively similar in content choice, quality, accessibility, and price, the biggest difference would be their marketing strategies. By creating relatable, thought-provoking, enticing campaigns, these platforms can convince their consumers that their offerings are different, and more importantly, better.
Here’s a clearer picture to help you further grasp the vital role of digital marketing in these companies’ efforts.
1. Leveraging user data to segment audiences
Data analytics is an important aspect of any digital marketing strategy that allows businesses to determine their strengths and weaknesses. If it were to be used by a streaming company, they could create different customer segments based on their preferences and characteristics.
In effect, companies gain a better understanding of what their customers want and need. The company is better informed of what works and why through looking into current subscriber data, search terms, and user interaction with specific content and shows.
2. Personalized, exclusive, and unique content production
Research by Accenture shows that 91% of consumers are more likely to engage with brands that provide personalized offers. Since data analytics also allows businesses to create customized ads and recommendations, this can help establish trust and longevity with their users.
Landing pages should also reflect a user’s unique journey. For example, if they get redirected to a landing page after clicking an ad for a specific show, that show should serve as the page’s thematic template. This template will define the copy and hero images used, which will accompany other personalized content suggestions.
Streaming services that can successfully determine what and when content should be presented to each user will have better retention.
3. Creating original content
Speaking of unique content production, companies can also use an extensive, original content roadmap that banks on more popular content. For instance, Netflix continues to focus on the Hollywood movie sphere, democratizing Oscar-worthy films such as “Roma,” “The Irishman,” and “Marriage Story.”
Since data helps confirm that these acquired content attract a large audience, making them available will ensure continued subscriber growth. Eventually, Netflix can (and has) gradually reduce reliance on acquired content and invest more in their original, exclusive content.
These originals now cater to a more nuanced audience while being as effective as the acquired content that inspired them.
4. Paying less for ads
Although there is a general preference for ad-free streaming services, users are beginning to embrace Ad-based Video on Demand (AVOD). AVOD is the version of a streaming service that requires viewers to watch advertisements.
According to a Kantar report, 49% of Americans agree that they don’t mind seeing some ads if it makes video streaming services cheaper. Hulu offers a low-cost subscription version that isn’t ad-free.
Since AVOD grants the streaming company access to a specific audience and allows them to deliver ads to that exact audience, it becomes an essential asset for any digital marketing strategy. Marketers can now target the exact demographic they want, streamlining the campaign-planning process.
5. Emphasizing brand identity
Image development can resonate with specific audiences and boost viewer engagement. Netflix is known to utilize the power of a brand content strategy effectively. Since they produce original content, they need to develop innovative approaches to get customers to watch a show they’ve never heard of before.
For instance, Netflix shares excitement on their social media pages and even uses self-deprecating humor to promote their shows. This makes it feel like they are watching the shows with the viewer, making the latter think they’re part of a collective interest within one community.
6. Taking advantage of storytelling
The merits of storytelling in digital marketing include offering consumers a unique experience and connecting with their emotions. These serve as powerful tools to influence their purchase decisions. With streaming services, storytelling can help attract a wider audience.
Disney+ is able to achieve this by promoting nostalgia. They continue the narrative that Disney is an extension of people’s childhoods, repurposing an extensive catalog of classic yet well-beloved content. Since people already have an affinity with their characters, Disney+, in particular, can take advantage of this.
7. Studying the competition
SEO is an integral part of a successful digital campaign, while competitor analysis is essential in any SEO strategy. Therefore, streaming platforms must keep an eye on their competition to find their edge in the industry; to determine what makes them unique and different from the others.
The launch of Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock caused a shake-up in the streaming industry, so other companies have to maintain their footing.
Upon the launch of Disney+, Netflix began its efforts to dominate the area where Disney is known for—animation. Netflix signed a deal with Japan’s acclaimed animation house, Studio Ghibli, to house the studio’s renowned films such as “Spirited Away.”
Through the deal, Netflix aims to produce more animated films to attract family audiences who are integral to Disney+.
Convincing the Market is the Best Way to Go
As the pandemic continues and people are compelled to stay at home, the streaming wars will continue to intensify. The streaming wars serve as a testament that companies should invest in their marketing efforts to stay ahead of the competition. They are constantly expected to explore new ways to add value to their services and influence how viewers consume their content.
A notable benefit digital marketing can provide is the ability for companies to highlight the features with which they outperform others. Thus, even if their service doesn’t measure up in terms of factors such as price and quality, effective digital marketing strategies will still allow the market to see their platform as a premium option.
In the end, successful products or services won’t be decided by which is the most valuable, but rather who convinces consumers best that their products or services provide superior value.
Digital marketing is founded on innovation and creativity. This applies to brands across all industries. Whether you’re running a small business or a multi-million dollar company, investing in a comprehensive marketing campaign will help you outperform your competition.
If you’re looking to up your digital marketing game, then you may need a team that measures up in terms of innovation and creativity. Enlist the help of an expert digital marketing agency like Spiralytics to give you a huge edge in terms of sheer marketing prowess!