Netflix has had no trouble amassing a sizable audience over the years using original programming that includes shows like House of Cards (which debuts its latest season this week), Fuller House and Daredevil. Success hasn’t stopped the popular streaming service from experimenting with new ideas, one of which recently paid off with a 20 percent spike in video viewing.
Variety reported on Netflix’s obsession with testing, which involves the images users see on their website, advertising various original series and hit movies. It doesn’t rely on traditional Hollywood art, but instead opts for more eye-catching material.
“We have 30 seconds, 60 seconds or 90 seconds to capture your interest,” Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt told Variety. It’s best to catch the viewers’ attention with something that will draw them in, or risk losing them to another service.
It all began with a new interface that was introduced in 2013, opting out of the usual DVD box cover art in favor of livelier assets, including stills from the production. These can be seen not only in the menus (with titles), but also on the description screen, where they sit in the background as the viewer learns more about the program.
The company has increased its usage of these images, with around a half dozen utilized for each video. From there, they go through testing with users. Hunt noted that the simple move with these custom images has managed to push video viewing between 20 and 30 percent.
Personalization also goes a certain length with testing, using timing and context with programs to help make the experience more personal for consumers, instead of handing down recommendations that will be passed over. For example, just because someone really enjoys watching an action film like The Rock doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be interested in a comedy like The Ridiculous Six.
Hunt explained that it all comes down to drawing in someone with those images, and the binge factor goes a long way. “So much of Netflix is binging on a series,” he explained. “We don’t need magic for that.”