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Moving Beyond Convenience To Deliver Truly Personalized Content

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What does the future of the internet look like?

By 2021, it’s expected that more than 80% of all online content will be video, yet there’s a very good chance we’ll hit that threshold way before then; already in 2016, video accounted for 73% of all traffic.

But in 10 years, users won’t be happy just with access to more content, faster load times, or higher-quality video experiences — they’re going to want incredibly personalized content tailored exactly to their likes and interests.

In the very near future, the norm will become virtual linear channels that intelligently suggest the next show a viewer watches, and that can blackout or replace content based on geographic locations. Take Netflix, one of the biggest players in the streaming game, which is set to spend $7 billion on content this year alone. The company is continuing to take personalization seriously, customizing the artwork users see for films and shows, based upon what they’ve clicked in the past. 

As technology continues to get smarter, personalization will continue to become better and more expected by users. All content creators and providers must ensure their video strategy is on pace to keep up with the future consumer.

Delaying the prioritization of personalization for your business can have a huge impact on where you’ll be in the next few years, so here are a few ways to ensure you’re personalizing your content now.

Leverage Data to Get Personal

We have a long way to go until personalized content is where it needs to be. Today, nearly half of users say streaming-video services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu rarely or never recommend something they want to watch.

At the heart of providing personalized content is leveraging the valuable viewer information you have at your fingertips. It’s not about correctly guessing what viewers want to see; it’s about figuring out a way to collect and analyze the data you already have access to for each user, along with content you already own, to deliver custom experiences.

This concept might seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of services out there that can help you track your users’ preferences and behaviors and turn that into valuable information you can implement into your streaming services. 

Utilize Technical and Product Innovations that Matter

It’s crucial that your company has the capabilities to partner and work with new devices and technologies. Artificial intelligence will only continue to get smarter, and pretty soon, it will allow us to create a perfectly tailored experience for each user. There’s no reason you shouldn’t leverage this type of technology to create even more precise and accurate recommendations that have been fine-tuned to each individual viewer. 

Effectively Create Subscription and On-Demand Opportunities While Successfully Monetizing Your Content

Subscription and on-demand services have changed consumer expectations regarding what they view and how and when they view it. And these services have provided content creators and providers access to new business models. Today’s consumers are happiest when they have a personalized account that meets their needs and requires very little work on their part.

Yet while subscription models are an opportunity to monetize content, they’re a stop gap until the CPM of the OTT video ad rises. With OTT churn over at 50 percent, the industry needs to arrive at that ad model sooner rather than later. 

Be Like Television, but Better

While television may have its shortcomings when it comes to offering personalized viewing experiences, that’s not to say there aren’t lessons to be learned from the medium. An advantage of the television set, thanks to being constantly fine-tuned over the decades, is that it simply just works. You flip a switch and watch a program, sans buffering, stalling, or blank slates. 

Personalized streaming videos must reach this level of “just simply working” as well. In order to do that, we must simplify the process dealing with the video medium so that a live event, linear channel, and other high performance and quality viewing experiences work like television and can be easily monetized. Like television, it literally just needs to always be there and always be ready. 

Make Sure It’s Mobile

The future of content is advanced personalization, but the future of how users will consume that data is all about mobile. Last year, U.S. consumers spent 5 hours a day on mobile devices, and that number will only continue to rise. Since they spend so much time on their phones, they’ve come to expect the same personalized experience they get from the web when they’re on mobile. Ensuring you’re putting as many resources into the mobile personalized experience is crucial to making sure you aren’t frustrating customers and causing them to go elsewhere to get their content.

Don’t Forget About the Ad Experience

Last year, technologies including server-side ad insertion and one-to-one session management ensured that personalized ads could be seamlessly stitched into content, with minimal effort and maximum return. In the future, there’s going to be an even bigger shift beyond personalized ad experiences to making advertising an integral part of the content. 

Advanced technologies like AI and machine learning will enable the move towards integrated, intuitive ad formats, while providing content creators and advertisers with important data about viewing habits. This will lead to producing more relevant ad and content experiences, ultimately resulting higher engagement and better attribution.

The era of personalized content on the internet is well underway, and content consumption as we know it will never be the same. Personalization will lead the way and must be at the core of all business decisions. 

[This is a vendor-submitted article from Oath. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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