RTL Group is Europe’s leading entertainment brand that reaches millions of people across the continent every day. The company operates 56 television channels, eight streaming services, and 36 radio stations. RTL Group’s TV channels are either number one or number two in six European countries.
RTL Play is the leading audio and video platform for Belgium and Luxembourg and is home to the company’s TV shows, reports, and original podcasts. The streaming service boasts a wide range of content across all categories including movies, series, entertainment, documentaries, shows for kids, and the daily news. The RTL app has over one million downloads on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Guillaume Collard, the new CEO of RTL, and his marketing team faced a challenge in the summer of 2022: a fragmented entertainment market where social media and video streaming apps predominated. Consumers were spending more time on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. How could the company tie together social media and its content streaming service, RTL Play, in a more seamless way?
Creating synergy between social media and RTL Play was especially important for reaching younger demographics who were rarely without their mobile device. The company needed to find ways to bring consumers back into their favorite RTL Play programming while meeting them on their terms. That meant smart promotion in social media feeds and reminding viewers that new episodes of their favorite shows were available to stream on RTL Play.
As a start, the marketing team tried placing RTL play links to specific content in Facebook organic posts. The team discovered the links could not open the RTL Play app. Instead, the links brought the user to the RTL website where login was required. The team knew this would be frustrating for app users which were their most engaged viewers and website login friction would also hinder efforts to grow app installations.
Some quick research on QR code solutions found similar results. The team planned to use QR codes during various RTL broadcasts to promote specific movies, series and other content so it was key that viewers scanning the app would be sent to the right in-app screen. QR solutions that could not open the RTL play app to specific content were simply a non-starter.
The marketing team at RTL Play searched for a solution that did not require development resources. The solution needed to be accessible to the entire team so they could use it in a nimble way for their daily social media posts and campaigns.
The codeless approach of URLgenius was ideal as this would help lower the resource burden on the RTL Play technical team. In addition, the marketing team wanted to get started on the strategy immediately. URLgenius required no coding and no SDK which meant the team could get-to-market quicker with promotions designed to increase subscribers and views of specific content across program categories while also increasing RTL Play app installs.
Working with URLgenius, the team implemented an app linking and QR code solution that addressed all their requirements. Key elements of this strategy included:
Linking into Specific In-App Content from Social Media
The marketing team at RTL Play implemented URLgenius links to specific content to increase views on a wide range of programming. One of the challenges was the sheer volume of programming on the platform that could be promoted. A steady stream of new movies and shows were continuously being promoted plus new episodes and seasons of existing programs.
Using URLgenius app links, the team’s strategy was to turn RTL Play’s social media profiles into a feed-like advertising stream with links into new and existing content. Facebook was particularly important because app links to specific content could be included with each individual show-related post. The URLgenius platform also enabled the marketing team to use the RTL Play domain for their links which was important for brand continuity and trust.
If the RTL Play app was installed, the URLgenius link opened to the right show in the app. If the app was not installed, the link would route the viewer to the RTL Play website or to the right web page for the show. The marketing team could also control the fallback destination and easily decide to set the link to go to the right app store if increasing app downloads was the second objective of the Facebook post.
On-Air QR Codes that Linked into the RTL App
The requirements for broadcast QR codes included a link that could open the RTL Play app if it was installed while being able to set the fallback to the show’s URL or the right app store if it was not installed. The marketing team wanted some control over the design of the QR code and the analytics team wanted to be able to measure the number of scans for each code and if the code was opening the app or the website.
Under the watch of RTL Play’s new CEO, implementing URLgenius for on-air QR codes took on a new importance and urgency. During the pandemic, QR codes became the norm on television and the management team planned to use URLgenius QR codes in ways that ensured the RTL Play brand stayed ahead of QR code curve in consumer behavior.
A Single Link that Routes Directly to the Right App Store
Increasing app installs was another key performance indicator for the marketing team. The RTL Play website was an important driver of app downloads as consumers would often go there first to find the app store link. To maximize downloads, URLgenius links enabled the team to remove any unnecessary landing pages and route the viewer immediately to the right app store depending on the device clicking the link.
Another analytics benefit URLgenius app store links offered was link-level, app and web referring data. Understanding where the traffic to the app store links was coming from was important for optimizing the campaign. The RTL Play marketing team often worked with publishers like L’Equipe and Le Point where the link to the RTL Play app would be promoted.
URLgenius allowed the team to see how many RTL Play app store visits each publisher was driving. One intelligent URLgenius app link, could send the user to the right app store, or even be set to open the app directly from that website, if it was already installed would be ideal. UTM parameters for app and web could also be added to the link to measure app installs and app engagement by publisher.
The results of the new app linking and QR code engagement strategy became immediately clear. When the RTL play team started using URLgenius links in their social media promotions they could see an immediate increase in app engagement and ultimately views.
Since using URLgenius, the following results:
- Subscriptions to the RTL Play streaming service increased by 20%
- Views of shows and series promoted on social media increased by 30%
- Viewers on mobile app increased 25% and web views increased by 18%
- App downloads in the same period increased by 300%
- QR codes scans to in-app programming reached tens of thousands per month
Another previously unknown insight was understanding which programming content has the highest concentration of app users. For example, for some shows, series, and programs, 30% of viewers clicking RTL Play links from social media had the RTL play app installed while for other shows 50% or more clicking preferred the app.
The results proved that the marketing team’s instincts about linking to the app from social media and from on-air QR codes at the start of the project were correct. Multi-channel app engagement was an important key to driving RTL Play registration, app engagement and ultimately viewer loyalty.
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