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How to Use Data to Understand and Engage Your Audience

What are the most effective ways to gather data to help improve your platform’s understanding of your audience while enhancing user engagement and content monetization? Nadine Krefetz, Consultant, Reality Software, Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, discusses this topic with Naveen Narayanan, Head of Sports and Data Products, Quickplay.

“What are some of the typical questions that your customers come to you with?” Krefetz asks Narayanan. “Maybe not what they say to you directly, but [that] leads to the data question. What are you answering based on the questions that they ask?”

Narayanan says that various factors come into play that contributes to questions about data, especially considerations regarding how well-established the platform is. “We deal with multiple businesses in various stages of their life cycle,” he says. “If it's a mature business, which has subscribers and audience engaged, then they're asking us questions like, ‘how do I understand my audience better?’ And more importantly, ‘what are the actions that I need to take in order to engage them more? And then, ‘how do I monetize my audience?’ And those translate directly into some of the analytics questions.”  

Narayanan cites sports streaming as a specific category that is highly data and analytics dependent, and that can also be narrowed down to specific niches. “The audience watching a sports game or [subscribing] to a sports service can be broken down into multiple groups,” he says. “There are certain people who are fanatics – they are highly engaged. They like to see a lot of statistics. They're always looking at what's the head-to-head and what's the statistic? What's the problem with winning? Maybe they're engaged in betting. So there are a lot of things that you understand about the implicit behavior of that particular user on the application. So we can segment them into, ‘hey, these people fall into the fanatic group.’ And then there is other group that we identify called ‘title.’ So they're very titled, in the sense if there is a big event like the World Cup or the Super Bowl, they're following, but other times they’re not.” He says that the next sports audience segment distinction are more casual users. “They're catching up on highlights and short clips and interviews and things like that,” he says. “So by understanding and segmenting the users using the data that we capture from the behavior of the users in the application, we are able to really understand the user, what drives them, and then we can give them what they want. So a fanatic will really need a UI/UX experience that's more tailored towards their needs…more data, more interactivity…like polls, trivia. Some of the things like this are on the digital side.”

Narayanan further elaborates on how Quickplay monetizes data for these different audience segments. “Monetization is through upsells, understanding the ad tolerance associated with the user,” he says. “How many folks actually started an ad and abandoned the session before completion of the ad? So when we compile the data across multiple sessions, we get a sense of what is the tolerance of ads? And we can break that down into, ‘hey, this group of people from Canada are very tolerant of ads, and these people from California are not, and then we can target them when you increase the ad load and monetize them better.’ So that's really how to understand [monetization]. And the second group of customers are more growth-oriented customers. They don't have a big subscriber base. So they're like, ‘how do I target…tell me more about lookalikes.’ So that they can do the campaigns on all these social media platforms, they have a different set of questions for us, and we help them by understanding what kind of dynamic headlines, images, and descriptions about an upcoming game actually triggers them to sign up.”

Krefetz asks, “So with your customers, though, there isn't a formula? Does each customer ask for something different?”

“Yes, but broadly I would say there are these two groups,” Narayanan says. “There [are] sports customers who are primarily focused on sports use cases. And then there is media and entertainment. And now we are seeing the new form, which is news and more short clips usage. It’s edited content, but not really, we don't do a lot of work on the user generated news clips. So these three customers have different use cases, but there is a lot of commonality in terms of their overall user life cycle, how they go through the service.”

Learn more about streaming user data and audience engagement at Streaming Media East 2023.

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