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This white paper explores the crucial role of Universal Search on Connected TV (CTV) and
streaming devices, highlighting its significance in enhancing app discoverability, driving new app
installs and audience growth, and increasing revenue while also addressing the challenges of
universal search content data onboarding. Insights from leading streaming brands like Revry,
Gravitas, Dekkoo, and Shout Factory TV underscore the transformational impact of Universal
Search library onboarding to the streaming platform search engines. For a comprehensive
understanding of Universal Search benefits for streaming video apps and channels, please visit
1. Introduction: Content and App Discovery in Streaming is a Big Issue
Connected TV and streaming devices have revolutionized entertainment consumption. But, In this digital landscape’s vast app ecosystem, the challenge of content and app discoverability is larger than ever. With thousands of apps competing for user aQenAon, standing out and being found becomes crucial. Traditional advertising methods are expensive, leading to the need for cost-effective alternatives for discovering content. Universal Search presents a game-changing opportunity for apps to get discovered organically, at a fraction of the cost of marketing and advertising. Billions of content searches are taking place via text or voice and the majority of streaming apps are missing out.
2. The Importance of Universal Search:
Universal Search transcends traditional search functions, allowing users to explore content seamlessly across apps and CTV platforms. With the proliferation of CTV platforms like Roku, Apple TV, Google TV, VIZIO, Samsung and Amazon FireTV, a centralized, home page search experience becomes imperative for channel discoverability. Over 70% of streamers use universal search to find content they are looking for, yet 90% of apps are not showing up in the search results.
3. Benefits of Universal Search Integration:
3.1 Enhanced Discoverability and User Acquisition
Failure to integrate with Universal Search limits an app’s visibility and potential traffic. Integration leads to increased traffic, user engagement, and a larger audience base, akin to putting an address on a house for people and services to find it. No address, no visitors. The sheer number of apps poses a significant barrier to discoverability, particularly for smaller niche
apps. Even high-quality apps risk going unnoticed in the crowded digital marketplace making universal search a vital component of successful discoverability because it harnesses the power of the app’s content. Once integrated into universal search on the major streaming platforms, the app library and brand logo will be displayed in the search results to the millions of users who utilize the search functionality. If the desired content lives in the app, the traffic will start to flow to that app. At USAND, 100% of our clients see increases in new app installs once integrated into search.
3.2 Accelerated Growth:
Universal Search integration catalyzes app growth by prominently displaying the app logo next to relevant search results. This exposure increases the likelihood of organic app downloads, installations, and user exploration. Streaming users search for content title or actors and directors that they are familiar with, not app names like Tubi, Muvi, or Dekkoo. Universal search empowers the content to become the traffic driver to the app as opposed to advertising or marketing dollars pushing users to a branded app and hoping they find the content they like, and then subsequently remain a loyal customer.
3.3 Increased Revenue:
More traffic means more opportunities to monetize. Search opens avenues for increased money, in fact at USAND, 100% of our clients see revenue increases once integrated into search because they are able to capitalize on the traffic through advertising, subscriptions, and other revenue streams, contributing to sustained financial success. Apps will experience a 25% increase in minutes viewed in the first month the content search goes live.
3.4 Cost-Effective App Installs:
Universal Search’s cost-effectiveness lies in delivering tangible results at a 75% lower cost than traditional advertising. Leveraging user intent within search queries ensures installs are driven by a user’s genuine interest, enhancing sustained user engagement. Cost-effectiveness levels the playing field, allowing smaller developers and niche content providers to compete more equitably and appear in search results alongside major Tier 1 streaming services.
4. Challenges in Universal Search Integration:
4.1 Technical Compatibility:
Ensuring technical compatibility across diverse CTV and streaming devices poses challenges. Developers navigate differences in technology, operating systems, device capabilities, and search algorithms, but most important are the capabilities of the content management system (CMS), which delivers the data and content, and app development teams which implement the data and the content into the user experience in the app.
4.2 Data Structure, Data Organization, and Data Delivery
Universal Search involves aggregating data from multiple sources, necessitating basic data structure and organization. Content companies store and organize their data in different ways
depending on the needs of the company which can vary depending on the department using the data. Universal search platforms require the data to be delivered in a particular manner. The data must adhere to stringent platform data specifications which require knowledgeable data engineering resources that can successfully structure, organize, and deliver the data to the platforms. Many companies do not have these resources in-house or do not have the bandwidth within their technical team to focus on this particular data requirement.
4.3 App Deep Linking:
Deep linking enables seamless navigation to specific app content directly from search results, going beyond traditional links that open an app’s homepage. Successful deep linking relies on effective collaboration between the app and CMS. The CMS supplies and exposes data required for deep linking, but the app needs to be able to receive the data successfully in a format (schema) it can recognize, acting as a bridge between the data and app and the Universal Search platforms. The open-overlooked challenge lies in ensuring apps are deep link-enabled. Deep linking involves incorporating specific URLs for precise content access. Robust communication between the app and CMS is crucial. Inadequate communication hinders deep linking, compromising the app’s Universal Search integration. Ensuring the CMS exposes and delivers data correctly is vital for success. Developers must prioritize deep linking implementation, incorporating deep link-enabled URLs, and ensuring app architecture supports this functionality.
4.4 Platform Restrictions on Onboarding App Libraries to Search:
Roku is currently the most “open” universal search platform allowing any app to be onboarded into Roku search that can make a custom metadata feed that meets the Roku spec and has an app that supports dee plinking. Because any app that meets these requirements can join Roku search, Roku has far more apps integrated into search (1000+) than other CTV operating systems. The truth is, even with a capable content management system (CMS) and an app that is deep-link enabled, some apps will not be able to get into the universal search experiences of major platforms like Amazon, Apple, and Google. The larger platforms typically have only a few hundred apps integrated into their search algorithms and have limited the number of approved apps that may be onboarded to a select few each quarter. The VIZIO CTV platform is unique in requiring that 100% of its channels be made available in the VIZIO universal search results.
Universal Search Integration in Streaming is essential to Streaming Channel Discovery and with USAND, the Challenges are Easily Surmountable.
Universal Search integration on Connected TV and streaming devices is not merely a feature but a strategic imperative for app developers and content providers. The benefits that search delivers of enhanced discoverability, accelerated growth, and revenue maximization far outweigh the challenges. By leveraging the experiences of trailblazing brands like Revry, Gravitas, and Shout Factory TV, apps can position themselves for success in the dynamic and competitive world of CTV and streaming. App deep linking is critical for Universal Search success. Overcoming its challenges requires a proactive approach during app development. Recognizing deep linking’s importance, prioritizing enablement, and fostering effective app-CMS communication paves the way for seamless integration.
6. Case Studies:
6.1 Revry App using Brightcove CMS and App Platform: SVOD
Universal Search integration led to a 510% increase in new app installs, a 145% increase in unique users, a 75% increase in individual streams, and a 50% increase in hours streamed. The LGBTQ+-focused streaming service capitalized on the broader reach provided by Universal Search.
6.2 Gravitas App using JW Player CMS and Float Lee App: AVOD
IntegraAon resulted in a 1000% increase in new app installs, a 400% increase in unique viewers, and a 50% increase in minutes watched for the independent film distributor.
6.3 Shout Factory TV using Zype CMS: AVOD and FAST
Universal search led to a 504% increase in new Roku app installs.
In addition, Shout saw a 30% increase in daily viewers, a 59% lie in daily visitors,
18% growth in average streaming minutes for the classic film and TV streaming service.
6.4 Dekkoo using Vimeo CMS and Vimeo App: SVOD
Universal search led to a 400% increase in new Roku app installs.
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