How to Use A/B Testing to Identify Areas of Low Engagement in Your Streaming Media App

By Paul Bernier

May 29, 2024


With any mobile app, user retention poses a major challenge—so your organization might be wondering how to use A/B testing most effectively to provide a more engaging user experience.

Companies aiming to optimize their streaming media app have likely already considered the design, layout, and content recommendations within their app carefully to encourage current users to stick around and new users to download and log in.

But what works for your developers and designers might not work for your entire audience. As consumer preferences continue to evolve, previously successful iterations may also need to change—leading to a constant cycle of experimentation, feedback, and iteration.

With 68% of people ranking streaming apps among their top 10 phone apps, getting data-driven insights from A/B testing can help your team discover what your target market really wants. 

Let’s dive in to discover how to use A/B testing for your streaming media app to capitalize on the growing ubiquity of streaming, identify areas of low engagement, and improve them to become more appealing and user friendly than your competitors.

The Growing Importance of A/B Testing

One of the key benefits of knowing how to use A/B testing is having the ability to identify and address low engagement areas within your digital platforms, which is as crucial as ever as competition heats up. User expectations are increasingly demanding—but by analyzing user interactions with different versions, app developers can pinpoint the specific features or layouts that fail to captivate users effectively.

Whether it’s optimizing content discovery, enhancing playback performance, or refining personalized recommendations, A/B testing empowers streaming apps to use data-driven insights that lead to improved user satisfaction and loyalty. Continuously iterating and refining based on A/B test results can help streaming media apps stay ahead of the curve in a fiercely competitive market landscape.

💡Not convinced better A/B testing can keep your streaming app competitive? Consider this:

A SiteSpect client in the recreation industry wanted to boost engagement across desktop and mobile. While they believed their new variations would boost those metrics, A/B testing revealed the exact opposite. They saw drops of up to 34% in clickthrough, instant booking, and account creation. With SiteSpect, they were able to see the negative impact faster and roll back the less optimized versions right away.

Recognizing the need to innovate and modernize using A/B testing for app optimization could be the variable that makes your app stand out in a crowded market. With data supporting every test result regardless of the outcome you expected, your organization can gain valuable insights into what truly resonates with each audience segment—along with a fresh perspective on the points where engagement drops off.

How to Use A/B Testing to Increase Market Share

Setting up A/B tests to discover areas of low engagement involves a comprehensive approach encompassing both client-side and server-side experimentation. By testing changes across both front and back-end features, streaming media apps can effectively identify and address the root causes of low engagement, leading to enhanced user satisfaction and stronger retention rates.

Top KPIs for Streaming Media Apps

When selecting relevant A/B tests on algorithms, features, and layout to see the greatest progress toward your optimization goals, keep in mind the metrics that contribute most to your broader business goals. These KPIs can help you build a framework for future iterations and encourage you to give your tests a clear direction and purpose:

User Engagement Metrics

  • Average session duration
  • Number of sessions per user
  • Content consumption rate

Retention and Churn Rates

  • Percentage of users who return after a specific period
  • Churn rate (percentage of users who stop using the app)

Conversion Metrics

  • Percentage of users who complete a specified action (subscribing to a premium plan or upgrading membership)
  • Conversion rate on features (selecting recommended content, adding items to watchlist)

User Experience Indicators

  • Click-through rate across elements including buttons, banners, etc.
  • User satisfaction scores (collected via surveys or feedback forms)

Revenue Metrics

  • Average revenue per user (ARPU)
  • Conversion rate for in-app purchases or upgrades

Selecting Impactful Testing Variables For Your Users

Looking to get ahead of your competitors? Think about how to use A/B testing to select variables for your streaming app. Strategically consider elements that directly impact user engagement. Are your audience demographics trending younger? Do users watch more at certain times of the day? Focus on the unique ways your users interact with streaming platforms to choose hyper-relevant tests and improve the experience for your user base and target market.

Some variables to test to optimize your app include:

  • Interface elements
  • Content recommendations
  • Navigation features
  • Playback experience
  • Search functionality

Experimenting with aspects such as different layouts, CTA placements, pop-up messages, or color schemes can encourage specific user interactions that boost your premium subscriptions or elevate your navigation above the competition. With SiteSpect’s built-in server-side testing functionality, your organization can expand your testing program and the complexity of the tests you run to discover where users disconnect the most.

Ongoing Experimentation and Iteration

As you begin to see clear, statistically significant data come in comparing the performance of your variations, you can apply your renewed understanding of how to use A/B testing purposefully to turn your findings into improvements for areas of low engagement.

Take your chosen KPIs, such as user engagement, retention rates, and conversion metrics. Does the data show that your users prefer to see promoted content above their personalized watchlist? If not, make adjustments to the app to offer their preferred experience.

However, the process doesn’t end there. Continuous optimization is crucial for long-term success in streaming media. It’s important to weigh your findings as part of the bigger picture of user preferences, allowing you to progressively iterate and bring your app closer to solving your users’ pain points. The benefit of iterating regularly based on new data and user feedback ensures that the app remains relevant and competitive, fostering sustained user satisfaction over time.

Ready to investigate how to use A/B testing further? Get inspiration for a successful testing program and spark fresh, impactful ideas with SiteSpect’s experimentation idea checklist.

Final Thoughts

A/B testing plays a pivotal role in identifying and addressing low-engagement areas and opportunities for optimization within streaming media apps. By discovering how to use A/B testing effectively, your organization can evaluate performance, apply findings, and commit to continuous optimization. These techniques ensure long-term success, deliver enhanced user experiences, and maintain competitiveness in the market.

Have questions on how to use A/B testing to grow your experimentation program? Request your personalized demo to learn more about what we do.


Paul Bernier

Paul Bernier

Paul Bernier is Vice President of Product Management at SiteSpect. He has a background in website optimization, recommendations, and development, as well as web analytics. He is based in Boston.

Suggested Posts

Subscribe to our blog: