How to Increase Engagement Throughout the Media User Experience with Recommendations

How to Increase Engagement Throughout the Media User Experience with Recommendations

Recommendations, when done right, offer an incredible opportunity to media marketers. Personalized, relevant recommendations can fuel engagement and content consumption from your brand, but only if you have the data to produce these recommendations accurately. Once you’ve established a solid foundation of data, then the real marketing magic starts (and, often the advice ends). You just need the right recommendation know-how to get there. Check out our best practices from our Smart Guide to Recommendations: Media and Publishing for choosing the right recommendation themes and executing delightful, tailored marketing campaigns across the active user journey.

Top recommendation themes to leverage for existing users

Your journeys and campaigns for an active user should pick up right where your Welcome coms left off — you’ve given them a taste of what your brand can offer and because users have been leaving behind their browsing and engagement data while interacting with your brand, you now you have the data to really wow them. For these campaigns, your goal is to keep users invested and active. This is achieved by continuing to deliver the content they seek as well as surfacing fresh, relevant content to engage with next. Within media, it’s crucial to make it as easy as possible for users to navigate to content (videos, articles, and more) through your marketing. Not only is the experience frictionless, but it also makes it easy for users to engage with new content regardless of the channel they use — which is the gold standard of user experience media marketers should be aiming for.

While vast content libraries are essential for media brands, they also throw a wrench into the user experience, it’s impossible for a user to sift through everything you have to offer — that’s where content recommendations come into play. Your main tool in providing excellent recommendations (and experiences) to active users is through the data they leave behind every time they interact with your brand. As your understanding of users builds and deepens, content recommendations can become truly 1:1 and adaptive to each user’s current context — what they’ve recently engaged with, the channel they’re on, the time of day, how deeply they’ve engaged with other content, and so on. This makes your content catalog much more navigatable and delightful for users.

It’s also important to remember that the recommendation themes that worked well for new users (which you can learn more about here) can still be used for active users. Think of the themes you add at this stage as building upon your deeper understanding of users and what they’re interested in. Here are some popular themes that have been successful for companies when marketing to active users:

  • Continue Watching/Reading: Remind users to pick up where they left off with videos, shows, stories, or other types of content.
  • Complete Collection/Series: Remind users to finish a content series or a season of a show when there are only a few content items left.
  • Users Like You: Recommend content based on what users with similar preferences, content consumption behaviors, or demographics have engaged with.
  • Similar Content: Recommend content similar to what the user has been engaging with based on their favorite topics, genres, actors, authors, or other content elements.
  • Next Episode: Showcase the next episode for the same show, season, author, topic, or other content in a series.
  • Watch Again: Remind users of content that they’ve engaged with, in the past, that they may be interested in watching again.

Recommendation Tip: Use recommendations to make it easy for users to continue where they left off regardless of channel.

How to apply themes throughout the user experience

Luckily for marketers, these recommendation themes you work hard to vet and implement can be used in many different ways across the user experience — and you can get really creative when weaving them into your marketing strategy. The key is to use recommendations where they shine: to promote engagement with your brand and your content To drive users back to your site or app, combine recommendation themes within the same weekly or daily “roundup” emails to increase the chances of surfacing interesting content.

If your goal is to get users to finish consuming a piece of content (and on to the next), nudge them to wrap up unfinished content using email, push, in-app, and other types of reminders leveraging the Continue Watching, Next and Complete themes. These can be set up as triggered messages when users abandon a session without finishing a certain piece of content (like reading an article, listening to a podcast, or watching an episode).

Unlike new users, who you might not have had the data to make accurate predictions about, these users have left behind enough data to predict (or even explicitly know) their favorite genres, actors, and writers. This can be extremely helpful when recommending new content by these creatives — or content similar fans have enjoyed. Ultimately, these recommendations should always be aimed at keeping users engaged and interested, and there are many ways you can play into what you know about a user’s preferences to achieve that.

When setting up a new recommendation theme for existing users, here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • As users are completing a season, series, etc nudge them with “next-best” content, like the next season or series similar to the one they’re wrapping up.
  • Tailor your seasonal release and live event recommendations to individuals’ interests.
  • Drive urgency by highlighting relevant content or popular content that will no longer be available soon.
  • Help users discover new content they’ll likely be interested in by leveraging the New, Similar, and Users Like You themes.

Recommendation Tip: Nudge users to wrap up unfinished content using the Continue Watching, Next and Complete themes.

More about our Smart Guide to Recommendations: Media and Publishing

This is just a small part of the information, tips, and tricks we offer within our Smart Guide to Recommendations: Media and Publishing. In this guide, we will cover all the best content recommendation themes, how to select the right ones throughout your user journey, and best practices to add relevance across every interaction with your brand. You can access the full guide, available now.

If you’re interested in continuing your learning beyond recommendations, you can discover our full library of Smart Guides here.


Learn about different content recommendation themes, how to select the right ones throughout your user journey, and best practices to add relevance across every interaction with your brand.