The Top OTT Video Application Features to Optimize

By Chris Bassolino on May 28, 2019

If you’ve just started exploring or are looking to scale using an OTT provider or other options to manage, distribute, and monetize your video content, you have come to the right place. Whether you’re looking to build a video streaming app for Roku, Amazon FireTV, or other platform, we’ve put together a checklist of top OTT video streaming features you will need from viewer registration to in-app subscriptions & payment processing.

Want to dive deeper into designing an OTT app? Check out our definitive guide to OTT apps.

Let’s take a look at 9 different features you’ll need to launch and optimize your video streaming application successfully.

Compelling Content that’s Created and Well Organized for Your Target Audience

It should be a no-brainer that you’ll need compelling content to draw your audience in. But if your content isn’t made or gathered with your target audience in mind, you’ll likely lose out in retaining those viewers. So before you even begin to think about monetizing your videos, you should have a content plan in place that sets the types of content you will produce, who you’ll produce it for, and at what frequency.

If you’re purchasing content rights from others, make sure you understand what your target audience will really want to watch.

With a content plan pulled together and several videos ready to go or in the queue, you’ll then have to think about how to best organize your content to keep those viewers coming back. You should consider looking into how to make the organization process easy on the back-end and flawless from the user’s perspective, which leads us to our next feature.

Easy-to-understand Navigation and User Experience

Would your viewers know how to easily get to your next video in your current set up or would they likely get lost? Do they know how to update their payments and, yes, even cancel their accounts?

Navigating through your video streaming application should be easy for the user. The ability to select video favorites comes in handy, where a viewer can mark which videos they care about, so they can return to them later. Not only is the goal to organize content, but to also make it easy for your users to continue to engage with your content even if they forget where they left off or switch devices. Another user experience to think about is making playlists that easily suggest next videos to watch like Netflix’s new random episode selection.

Similarly, the overall look and feel of your video streaming application has to provide a positive user experience. In today’s digital world, users have certain expectations on how features and technology should look and work. Investing in user experience always pays off in the long run.

Eye-catching Image Assets — Video and Playlist Thumbnails

To keep your viewers engaged and exploring more of your content, your supporting visual assets have to be as close to perfect as possible. This means making sure you have eye-catching images for your video and playlist thumbnails. According to TubularInsights, a few best practices for making thumbnails pop include:

  • Using a splash of color
  • Putting a face to the name
  • Showing the action shot
  • Adding text for context
  • Using custom thumbnail branding
  • Implementing A/B testing

These tips should help convert one-time users to subscribers, which is the next feature we want to highlight.

Account Registration Workflows Across Devices

One of the best ways to implement frictionless account registration workflows is to have them integrated with a single backend for high-quality universal authentication experiences. Allowing users to easily create a single email/password based login that enables access across devices is key. .

The benefits of universal authentication are that it allows users to consume your content on their terms using the same login info when they want to watch something on a different device.

Low Friction Purchasing on Native Marketplaces

Easy to use in-app payment workflows that are integrated with native marketplaces enable low friction purchasing. Navigating payment options across different endpoints and platforms is complicated, so you should really look into finding easier ways to accept payments from your customers across a wide range of devices and marketplaces.

All the user needs to worry about is being able to purchase your video content whether they find it on Roku, their mobile browser, Google Play or wherever else. On the backend, some solutions allow you to implement native billing that’s supported in template SDKs for marketplaces like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. Once users purchase your content and are ready to watch, you should make it easy for them to access their purchased content.

Content Lockers For Future Access

Content lockers or video libraries are a great way to provide your users with easy access to video purchases & rentals. They also help users understand how to prioritize which content to access first by providing them with data such as viewed’ history, videos to watch later, favorites, likes, shares and expiring content.

Seamless Video Playback for VOD and Live Streaming

Your users expect to get high-quality video content and you have to make sure you have everything in place to provide that experience no matter what device they use, where they are, or what internet connection they have. One way to do that is to have seamless video playback for VOD and live. This should include adaptive bitrate playback technology to match any playback and bandwidth scenario.

Robust Video Analytics

How do you know if all the work you’re putting into videos is working? Are there fluctuations in engagement based on the type of device your content is consumed on?

More importantly, how can you tell what type of content truly resonates with your audience? Robust video engagement and device level analytics can help you identify positive trends and opportunities for improvement. You should be able to get a quick snapshot of your top performing video content so that you can keep a pulse on what’s driving the most views and purchases and optimize your funnels towards those actions and channels.

This is a critical top OTT video streaming feature for longterm video success.

Fully Control Ad Serving

Video ads are another way to monetize your video content, but you’ll need to manage running them at appropriate times and making sure they are targeted to your individual viewers.

One final top OTT video streaming feature you’ll need to launch successfully is to have control over your video advertising. This includes integrated ad playback support as well as the ability to pass dynamic values to ad servers to optimize ad fill. You can make the most out of your ads by utilizing ad macros to maximize CPMs and revenue by dynamically returning critical details to your ad SSPs.

Ready To Implement These Top OTT Video Streaming Features?

A final word of advice is to find tools that help you own and accelerate all aspects of your video management and distribution pipeline. Managing your video business should be done from a single dashboard. If you’re ready to jump into building your own video streaming web applications, feel free to reach out the Zype team to help you get started.

Connect your video with viewers, everywhere.