Megan Imbres, Director/Product Creative at Netflix, discussed this subject at the 2017 Strategy Festival held by the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) in New York.
As an example of the company’s approach to tapping the data from its millions of users, she cited the film “Bright”, an action-meets-fantasy movie starring Will Smith, the acclaimed Hollywood actor.
“It’s our first really big, big film,” Imbres asserted. (For more details, download WARC’s free-to-access report: Mixing data and creativity at Netflix.)
“And something that we’re looking at a lot is: What are the trends that we’re seeing with film on the service? Because we know we can launch original series; we’re know we’re great at that.
“But with film, especially [a] big film, how can we can get great at doing that on the service – and how can we learn from the service to inform our marketing? So that’s what we’re looking a ton at.”
Drilling down into this topic, she revealed that the data used at Netflix – which houses a growing slate of original shows, like “House of Cards”, “Narcos” and “The Crown”, alongside licensed content – sits under two main “hats”.
The first, she told the 4A’s assembly, is “business data”, which assists the company in predicting the potential impact of its various in-house content plays.
“We’re doing statistical analysis and modelling to see how big these shows are going to be. And that helps inform our big bets; that helps us prioritise whether we’re going to go big on ‘House of Cards’, or ‘Narcos’, or ‘Orange is the New Black,’” Imbres said.
Insights from “creative data” can also point towards the optimal marketing tactics for promoting material made by Netflix, such as “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”, a four-part revival of the popular series that launched last year.
“We did a tonne of analysis around ‘Gilmore Girls’, and we saw that every single time we posted something on social, it just exploded," Imbres said. “And the trailer for ‘Gilmore Girls’ exploded.”
One activation for this show involved partnering with 200 “local mom-and-pop coffee shops”, and turning them into versions of “Luke’s Diner”, a central location in “Gilmore Girls”.
“We actually didn’t spend a whole lot on that campaign, but it felt really big,” Imbres said. “It was the data that really informed us that this was something that we could really work with.”
Data sourced from WARC