Sign in

Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.


In Marker. More on Medium.

From startup in 1998 to today, a detailed history of the strategy, metrics, and experiments Netflix executes to develop a personalized experience focused on delivering its members movies they love

Photo: freestocks via Unsplash


This essay details Netflix’s progress from its launch in 1998 to the recent launch of its “I feel lucky” button — a merchandising tactic where Netflix members rely totally on Netflix’s personalization algorithms. It’s a messy journey, with an evolving personalization strategy propelled by Netflix’s ability to execute high-cadence experiments using its homegrown A/B test system.

In 20 years, Netflix has gone from members choosing 2% of the movies the merchandising system suggests to 80% today. In the early days, a member would explore hundreds of titles before finding something they liked. Today most members look at forty choices before…

Every company could learn from Netflix’s approach toward personalization and social behavior

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Consumer personas—fictional customer character models built by marketers—are like horoscopes: “Nicole is careful with her spending, but under the right circumstances she’s willing to splurge on herself if the mood strikes her.” Read carefully and you’ll notice that psychographic profiling is full of generic, unverifiable, ambiguous, and often contradictory language that supports multiple interpretations.

Psychographics also mask the inherent unpredictability of our tastes and the complex ways they interact. My sister-in-law lives in an affluent suburb of Chicago. She owns a piece of Away luggage (before its fall from grace) and gets newsletters from Everlane. …


Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store