Netflix Misses Search Opportunity In Father's Day Data

Search and recommendations -- Netflix offers both. So when Netflix's media relations contacted me with Father's Day statistics from a study they released this week, I couldn't help but take the concept one step further and use the data to build a search and recommendations feature. It reinforces data from Millward Brown suggesting marketers now have the data, but don't know what to do with it.

As kids, our parents influence many preferences, from the clothes we wear to the television shows we watch. Researchers at Netflix thought so too. The company has released research revealing that 85% of dads recommend the shows and movies they loved as kids to their own children. Not only did 72% say watching their childhood favorites with their kids help dads feel like a kid again, but 76% said it helps teach life lessons through cartoons like Inspector Gadget, Scooby Doo, Care Bears, and My Little Pony.

Netflix customizes the search experience for viewers catered to specific preferences. Most people in the household can have their own recommendations list. Through these themed and trending rows, members explore new content. On the back end, algorithms determine the types of shows and movies to recommend based on historic searches and content viewed. Knowing the popularity of the shows, Netflix lines them up and allows viewers to access them all in one place.

Make Netflix more interactive -- what happened to using the data gleaned from the network? I watch Netflix on a smart television, but I can't share or rate what I'm watching on social media or recommend (or not) the content to a friend without picking up my smartphone and retyping the name of the movie or television show. While Netflix tries to dazzle viewers with content, it falls flat when it comes to using technology and the data behind the streaming technology to improve on the search and user experience, as well as retargeting. It probably remains one of the last places where an on-site search ad could serve-up without possibly being blocked by a browser-based ad block plug-in. 

There are concerns around over-the-top consumption of ad-free services such as Netflix, according to Pivotal Analyst Brian Wieser. "It's hard to say that changes in ad-free viewing as a percentage of total TV consumption have been overly meaningful," he wrote in a report. 

I get it. Membership means not having to view ads, but what if for every ad viewed by the member got a percentage off their monthly bill?

Most marketers are challenged by the opportunities that data offers. While efforts have been mostly centered on gathering and exploring the numbers and possibilities, most marketers don't know what to do with the data once they have it. A recent study from Millward Brown makes that pretty clear.

Today, only 14% of marketers feel their team effectively uses consumer, media, and transaction data available to them, per the Millward Brown study Getting Digital Right In 2015. In fact, it's not getting better with time. The study suggests that marketers report a drop in their confidence level of 25 points since 2014. Fewer than half of brand marketers feel confident in their understanding of digital best practices, while over 60% of media and agency marketers are confident.

Netflix has a dedicated section for kids under 12 years old. Why not let parents pre-program that section for kids with recommendations? They could pick and choose from a predetermined list provided by Netflix. And finally, back to Netflix Father's Day data, before I began this rant.

The survey asked dads what shows they're most looking forward to sharing with their kids. Superheroes like Spider-man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Marvel's Avengers ranked highest worldwide. The survey also revealed some key cultural differences such as that dads in the U.S. went for Inspector Gadget, while Tom and Jerry earned the top spot in Brazil, and British data remain loyal to Danger Mouse.

Happy Father's Day!

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