3 Lessons Netflix Can Teach You About Data Tactics

By Suha Saya

Summer is the time to binge-watch. All of your favorite shows are at their peak, and Netflix makes it that much easier for you — it knows what you want to watch next, and always gives you the right suggestions.

But that’s not a coincidence.

Netflix has used a series of algorithms, analytics, and data to make itself into the $40 billion company that it is today. The company remains consumers’ number one streaming choice, and analytics help it stay on top of the market. Here are some lessons Netflix can teach you when it comes to using big data.

1. Make your data useful

With its predictive and prescriptive analytics, Netflix is able to keep consumers hooked. The company collects all types of data on customer behavior — how long viewers watch, what device they use, what time and day they watch content, when they pause, rewind or fast forward — in order to figure out the relationship this has with viewer enjoyment while watching a show or series.

Netflix doesn’t let this data go to waste. The company uses it to gain knowledge on just how to keep the audience watching and subscribed. Tracking customer behavior helps them gauge “happiness,” and Netflix knows that the more viewers are satisfied, then the longer they will remain customers.

2. Data can help you and your customers

Consumers are stuck in an era of Peak TV — so many different shows are produced, and people are left at a crossroads of what to watch. Netflix knows this, and helps make their lives easier. The company suggests shows and movies to consumers, for a mutual benefit.

In addition to a curated “Top Picks” list for each individual Netflix user, once a customer is done watching their desired show or movie, a rating screen shows up, and suggestions for “what to watch next” appear soon after. However, the suggestions Netflix offers aren’t out of the blue. Viewers’ rating data is used to predict what they would want to watch next, how much of the population has the same taste, and whether or not shows in certain areas are better catering to viewers.

When suggestions are clicked on continuously, Netflix has a stronger ability to predict what shows work best for what communities. The company uses this to best service their customers, while also helping viewers sort through that problem of Peak TV.

3. Use data to create your best content

While Netflix has the ability to pick the right content and knows just how to keep customers engaged, it takes this a step further — producing shows that they know a majority of their audience will watch.

After coming to the conclusion that viewers were a fan of content that was directed by David Fincher and starred Kevin Spacey, the company took advantage of the data, and produced House of Cards. Netflix had so much data regarding consumer satisfaction, that they were even able to predict what cover colors would do well for the new series.

Netflix’s big data tactics are a learning lesson. Put analytics and data at the center of your strategy, and you’ll be able to stay on top.

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