Sep28

Your Technology Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

Netflix uses data analysis to determine when someone becomes hooked on a show. How else is data being used by businesses?

The streaming giant Netflix doesn’t do anything based on a hunch; they don’t just “wing it” when suggesting titles you may like. Instead, Netflix analyzes data to see exactly how users are interacting with their services.

A recent study from Netflix showed how far into a TV series someone usually ventures until they are “hooked” and end up binge watching the rest of the show. They found a definitive point across a selection of shows beyond which viewers are usually enthralled and more likely to watch the entire series. The study found that 70% of those who watch the “hooked” episode went on to watch the entire series, proving that your Netflix addiction is very real and is in fact orchestrated by the company itself.

The proposed “hooked” episode varies between different shows. For example, viewers of Breaking Bad and Bates Motel were completely absorbed after only two episodes, yet other shows such as How I Met Your Mother took as many as eight episodes to drag their viewers to the point of no return. Most shows sit at around four or five episodes for the hooking point, although interestingly enough not a single pilot episode was deemed the determining episode for any of the shows analyzed.

Although the research informed Netflix about certain episodes, the exact moment in each episode where a viewer is hooked was not determined. However, check out this infographic from PR Newswire to see their speculations on the pinpointed moment of never turning back:

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How will Netflix use this data?

Moving forward, Netflix can use this data to better decide how much of a series should be uploaded and when it should be released. Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix, had this to say about the gathered data:

“Given the precious nature of primetime slots on traditional TV, a series pilot is arguably the most important point in the life of the show. However, in our research of more than 20 shows across 26 markets, we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot. This gives us confidence that giving our members all episodes at once is more aligned with how fans are made.”

Netflix knows that their users are used to “binge watching”, and delivering the entire series allows for just that. With this new research they now know exactly when recreational viewing turns into a no-turning-back addiction.

How are businesses using our data?

We live in a digital age where all business decisions are based on big data analysis. Companies such as hiQ and SumAll are revolutionizing big data by providing analytics services to provide companies with an insight into customer behavior. Thriving companies use this broken-down data in order to make educated decisions that can move business forward.

Thanks to the internet, companies know us well. The things we Google, the products we look at on Amazon and the messages we share on Facebook are all being stored and eventually analyzed. This is exactly why online advertisements always appear to be catered to you.

For example, Nordstrom uses data tracked from Pinterest to identify trending products. They then use this data to advertise on their social channels, and based on the success Nordstrom determines which items make it to the brick and mortar stores.

Warby Parker, a huge online eyewear company, uses A/B testing and data mining to determine which offers work best and what products produce the optimum results. They also put emphasis on their social channels to see how customers are interacting with their brand.

Target is well known for their tactics in collecting data on customer purchases and buying trends. By using this data they come up with more personalized content and promotions that will cater to their actual customers.

Businesses all over the world are collecting and analyzing data to make future improvements. Just as Netflix knows exactly when you’re hooked on a new show, other businesses have a good idea when and what you’re going to buy.

Check out this blog post to learn more about how companies are using big data.

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