With the Fourth of July right around the corner, everyone is gearing up for the next installment of Netflix's huge hit, Stranger Things. The hype around season three makes a lot of sense given the show's track record. According to a study done by Symphony Technology Group, Stranger Things reached 14.07 million viewers within one week of its release. When season two premiered, 361,000 viewers binged their way through all nine episodes.....the very first day it was available.
The cast was unknown, the show's creators lacked the prestige you'd expect from such an immediate hit, and the marketing campaign was virtually nonexistent prior to season one's release. Why was Netflix so confident that their latest creation would be so successful? Because they knew exactly what their audience wanted - thanks to analytics and data-driven content marketing.
Netflix was founded in 1997 and has been using predictive-analysis algorithms to recommend personalized content since its conception. Over the years, the company has grown into an entertainment behemoth with advanced data-collection capabilities and an increasingly large user-base with some co-dependency issues.
As of January 2019, Netflix has 139 million worldwide streaming subscribers whose every-minute and every-action is logged. Netflix tracks what shows and movies you watch, when you pause, rewind or fast-forward, what device you use, what day of the week you binge, what movies you watch in entirety and what ones you bail on, and what types of titles you search for. That much data exposes patterns which can be leveraged to gain valuable insights about users and what type of content will be the most compelling.
That is why it should come as no surprise that Stranger Things was such a hit; Netflix knew exactly what type of show would resonate to an immensely versatile audience. It appealed across-generations. It offered nostalgia, sci-fi, family-friendly entertainment, and mystery. The decision to produce it was based on data analysis of what content was already successful. It has all the makings of a hit because it was designed that way.
Netflix positioned the show uniquely to different users based on past behavior revealed in analytics. Netflix's algorithm applied tags to capture different thematic nuances and then categorized the show to align with personal preferences. Some subscribers found Stranger Things in a list of TV Mysteries and others discovered it after watching a sci-fi thriller.
Netflix not only customized where the recommendation appeared but what the recommendation looked like as well. People who enjoy documentaries saw a picture of the show with Chief Hopper in his uniform, while fans of drama were shown an emotional Eleven next to the title. This type of personalized messaging contributed to the show's instantaneous success.
Though you may not have as large of a data pool as Netflix, there are many ways you can follow in Netflix's lead when developing your own marketing strategy.
Pay attention to Google Analytics to understand your audience, the content they engage with, and the channels that work to reach them. Site content reports can show you what types of blog posts get the most views, affinity categories can help provide insights into your audience's preferences, and micro-conversion tracking will tell you all the actions users take in between step one and step twelve.
Start your research and planning by looking inward. Identify your target market, research what they're looking for, and produce content that matches searcher intent. Review your historic success and failure when determining what will resonate. Add links to related content on thank-you pages and recommend supplementary articles in all of your blog posts. Segment your email list to send more timely emails for higher conversion rates and ask a digital expert about a marketing automation solution that can help do the heavy lifting of hyper-personalization for you.
Helping users discover new movies and TV shows they'll enjoy is integral to Netflix's success, just as developing compelling content and hyper-targeted campaigns is integral to yours. The colossal success of Stranger Things is a shining example of the power of data when you know what to do with it. Leave your competition Upside Down by knowing how to leverage yours.
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