When large video services look at user retention, they look at QoE and the lifetime of their users. But before investigating buffering and join times, they should be looking at the first hurdle – errors on their platform and what they mean.
QoE is a priority for any video business competing for eyeballs in a landscape where viewers are becoming less tolerant to inconsistencies as many platforms innovate in order to reduce interruptions to playback.
Companies take an average loss of $243 per year for every customer that gets away. Adding up the costs of customer acquisition with that of customer losses, companies of all sizes see significant cuts to their profits.
On the upside, combating churn is a high return investment: A 5% boost in customer retention rates correlates with an average 25% increase in profits.
While data can be used to measure whether more errors lead to more exits and eventually churn, a study from Akamai Technologies has found a direct correlation between bad video quality and the user’s emotional state.
Using facial coding, they found that a 16% increase in negative emotions was demonstrated when dealing with bad video quality (errors). Additionally, implicit association testing found a 21% drop in positive keywords when describing their experience.
What these results mean, is that poor video quality isn’t just about one poor session and a user exiting the player, this effect has long-lasting emotional damage to the relationship your users have with your platform and can eventually lead to user churn.
In reality, even the biggest players in the world of online video see errors on their platform. The way they deal with this is by using data to gain full visibility of their performance with a tool like YOUBORA Suite which comes with a pre-defined errors dashboard to keep all of the vital information for their platform in one place.
Where errors come from, what they can lead to and how they are solved are very large topics to consider. Here are 3 reasons your business should be looking at platform errors first to reduce user churn.
As investigated in the white paper, The Pillars Of Video Performance: Buffer Ratio, bad QoE leads to lower view time and fewer hours consumed per user.
Poor video quality saw view time drop by at least 30%. This can have a dramatic effect on AVODs who lose ad impressions, meaning a lower ROI despite an appealing content catalogue.
This can then be further investigated by device and broken down into segments by country. For example, we found that the average quality of the view (based on buffering and interruptions) for TV and consoles was three times higher than on mobile.
QoE was on average 7% worse for live content. This is where platforms are much more prone to user exits as issues with latency and player errors drive consumers to competitor platforms in search of a stable connection. 59% of consumers in the US would move to a new platform in order to receive a better experience.
For SVODs, unhappy customers are more likely to stay silent rather than speak up and eventually leave. In fact, 91% of unhappy users who don’t complain will simply leave your platform before raising their concerns. This spells trouble for businesses wishing to keep afloat and puts pressure on those struggling to invest in infrastructure and create a reliable platform which can nurture loyal users.
When it’s six to seven times more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain one, businesses need to remain on top of platform errors in order to guarantee the best ROI.
QoE is made up of many KPIs which video services need to track in order to gain clarity of their platform performance. Errors are normally preceded by a drop in bitrate, rendition switches and buffering.
If these are startup errors, your CDNs may not be configured correctly or you could be having player issues. This data needs to be further investigated and shared with an SNMP in order to cross-reference these irregularities with the condition of your players, servers and CDNs.
Nothing puts a user off quite like a player crashing. both startup errors and in-stream errors can lead to player crashes, therefore guaranteeing a user exit and a negative experience.
If your player is struggling with crashes, it may be that you need to implement more appropriate CDNs. A multi-CDN strategy is a fantastic way to boost your platform performance – the video equivalent of upgrading to an SSD. You can learn more about this strategy in this blog post here.
In 2016, Chen et al found a direct relationship between the emotional wellbeing of viewers and the QoE of the content they are consuming. They found that as QoE dropped, so did their emotional state, leading users to determine an experience as unpleasant and leading to user churn.
This study is very similar to Akamai Technologies’ look into how our bodies react to video quality. Creating dissatisfied customers have long-term and intricate effects on your business. Research from the Quality Management Institue found that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for 1 negative experience regarding the public image. A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience.
Additionally, they found that around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. On the other hand, satisfied customers tell roughly 4-6 people about their experience.
Not only can errors be detrimental to ROI, but they can also lead to fewer hours consumed, meaning a loss in impressions for AVODs as well as SVOD users becoming likely to churn. Not taking action can lead to deeper issues within your infrastructure and produce negative customer experiences, therefore damaging your consumer multipliers.
Alessio Devanna on February 28th 2019
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