Can you apply Netflix's targeting model?

and where does YouTube fit in your acquisition strategy

Each week as I face the prospect of creating this newsletter I’m always lifted by the fact that I’m going to learn something new, which I’ll be able to use to help grow a client’s business. This week we take a look at:

📺 YouTube’s growing use

👩‍🔬 Developing a data culture is much more than just hiring data scientists

🤔 How should we think about users?

Is YouTube part of your acquisition strategy?

Pew Research Center began tracking social media use by American adults back in 2005. Their latest research has just been published. One of the most striking statistics is that 81% of adults say they use YouTube and over 50% of these are using it every day. With that level of use you would expect YouTube should be an integral part of any subscriber acquisition strategy. Marketers should consider YouTube paid advertising. If companies are publishing content on YouTube at the very least they should:

  • ensure every video has calls to buy a subscription

  • part of the content should be a direct promotion of their subscription product

  • use incentives to drive users to your own platform

  • think carefully about what content they are giving away for free

You can read more of the Pew report here.

Hiring a data analyst ≠ Data culture

If data is the new oil, too many companies are leaving their oil in the ground. Ensuring you have a well resourced data team is a good first step to becoming data driven. But hiring data staff won’t build the data culture you need to use data to inform and transform your business. In this article three data veterans look at how to build a data driven culture.

  • Communicate the value of data early and often, to everyone - but don’t just say it. Identify two or three strong use cases, for example building a more sophisticated revenue model for marketing - build it, demonstrate the value to everyone.

  • Build a self-serve solution. There are an increasing number of solution providers with AI enabled solutions that allow anyone to query and model data. Let everyone have access and then work hard at making them use the tools they’re given.

  • Hardest of all - build a community around data. Build teams to work across functions. Bridge the gap between data and the business.

Read more.

Beyond user personas

Ana Andjelic, one of the World’s most influential CMOs according to Forbes, believes user personas are failing marketers. User personas are meant to reflect the target customer. But the problem is they are often like horoscopes, using language so vague that they fit multiple interpretations. One of the key issues that user personas ignore is that we are inherently social creatures who often belong to multiple communities that we either inform or are informed by. The communities we are part of influence what we watch, read or buy as much as personal characteristics. Andjelic argues that instead of focusing on individuals we should focus on people’s networks and the communities they belong to.

Netflix take this approach. They divide their users into 2000 “taste clusters” grouping people by their viewing preferences. Alongside this Netflix content is tagged creating thousands of micro-genres. Netflix then takes on the role of matchmaker putting together micro-communities with micro-genres. On top of this users are also grouped by viewing habits eg time and volume of content consumed.

What does this enable?

  • Identifying niches to market to and grow through. Pre-digital companies had to appeal to a mass market with products that appealed to tastes that were generic. Today, as Netflix has done you can build a global market through serving thousands of niche tastes.

  • There are many doors in. Personalisation can be the product that is recommended but also the promotional message, medium, timing etc.

  • Targeting of communities, not individuals. People are the communities they belong to. Customers will often be part of multiple, surprising, communities.

Read Ana Andjelic’s well thought out piece here.

Quick links

Some time ago Buzzfeed reported on a leaked Wall Street Journal “The Content Review: A Guide to Great Journalism”. I came across it through a New York Times piece. The report is revealing in terms of the attitude towards content and audiences. One quote stands out “If we want to grow to 5.5 million digital subscribers and if we continue with churn, traffic and digital growth about where they are today - it will take us on (sic) the order of 22 years”.

Mailchimp is dead - while email is usually the best converting marketing channel, it’s not without cost. Most people don’t know that you can dramatically reduce email costs using a service from Amazon.

More podcast subscriptions following hot on the heels of Apple, Spotify launched a paid podcast feature through a new feature in Anchor on Tuesday. Good news for creators though - Spotify will let you keep 100% of any revenue earned for the next two years.

Spotify announced Q1 results yesterday with monthly active users increasing to 356 million. Paying subscribers grew to 158 million as Spotify added 4 million subscribers improving performance by 21% YoY. ARPU dropped by 7% which may have prompted the announcement of price increases in key markets.