How to Run a Data-Driven OTT App | Part 1: The Foundation for Success

By Chris Smith on August 08, 2017

In order to be successful and make good business decisions, content owners must have visibility into their audience, revenue, content, and platform. That is why analytics is one of the most important features of an OTT platform and the ability to provide actionable insights.

With so much data available, it’s imperative to not only have the data, but know what data is meaningful to your business in order to build and retain audiences, improve the functionality of your app, and better inform your content strategy. We’ll get more into the metrics that matter in part two of this series.


Yet, before you start digging into your data, it’s important to be sure you have the foundation needed to be successful, this includes a high functioning OTT app and setting data-driven goals for your business to track.

How is your app performing?

First, it’s important to be sure you have a solid foundation and your app’s performance is meeting (and exceeding) your user’s expectations. Your app is the core of your business and poor functionality can be detrimental to your success. Viewers are less tolerant of load time and low video quality than ever before and poor performance is directly correlated with a decrease of users. It only takes a few crashes for viewers to take their limited attention spans elsewhere.

You’ll want to examine both your frontend and backend metrics, including UX/UI usability, total number of completion or fails of any and all API calls, video serves, traffic patterns, ad serves, credit card processing, loading times, device installs, and errors or service failures. Technical challenges can easily be overcome, but only if you have the data to properly evaluate what exactly is failing your users.

How Is Your App’s User Experience?

In addition to having a high performing app, it’s equally important to consider and track your user’s experience. Analytics plays an integral role in gaining a real-time understanding of how your users interact with your app that will not only help increase your viewer engagement but drive retention as well.

OTT viewers expect content to be curated and easily navigable within your app’s interface. In order to make your content easy to find and serve your viewers relevant recommendations, it is important to use a content management platform like Zype that allows you to organize your content using metadata and playlists. Having rich metadata and good content structure is just half of the equation, your ability to serve your audience personalized playlists and content recommendations all depend on your visibility into your viewer data.

Setting Goals for Success

Data is one of the most effective tools to help build and retain your video audience. Content owners must understand their audience’s habits in order to capitalize on what is working and fix what isn’t.

But before you dig into your analytics, first set clear, actionable goals and decide what metrics are going to push the needle.For video businesses, this is a combination of KPIs from content performance, viewer trends, and revenue metrics. At the bare minimum, you’ll want to track the following:

  • Is your app functioning correctly?
  • What do your viewers want and need?
  • Where are you failing your viewers?
  • How engaged are your viewers?
  • How are you retaining users?
  • How are you meeting your overall business goals?

Once you have specific goals you want to track, it’s also important to determine a baseline of your OTT app’s performance over a reasonable period of time. Without knowing where you started, it will be hard to identify any trends, anomalies, and changes over time that will inform meaningful changes.

Having the right tools in place is also essential for effectively tracking your app’s metrics. A good analytical system should be user-friendly and make your data easily accessible with customizable reports and an easy-to-understand user interface.

Vanity Metrics

It can be easy to become distracted by metrics that may look good on the surface but don’t have any real impact on your business, aka vanity metrics. For example, many content owners will focus on video views as an indication of success, but this doesn’t give you any actionable insights. Your view counts don’t tell you anything about your audience or how they are engaging with your content. Setting goals that focus on metrics that indicate quality (vs quantity) will help you continue creating content that viewers love and maximize your businesses revenue.

By diving deep into your data and going beyond vanity metrics, you’ll have the ability to constantly monitor the health of your OTT service, giving you the insights to drive growth that ultimately determines your success.

Now you have the foundation to scale a successful OTT app, check out part 2 for the key metrics that matter to the success of your OTT platform.

Connect your video with viewers, everywhere.