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Netflix Introduces Private Sharing On Facebook

Easier Than Ever To Share Your Guilty Pleasures

Promoting their products through social media is a vital aspect of marketing for any modern business, and maintaining a strong presence across digital media is an essential way for brands to recommend themselves to consumers.

The holy grail, however, is getting customers to recommend products to each other. People might pay some attention to a company’s account (if it’s saying something interesting) but they’re far more likely to listen to their friends. This is something which works especially well with entertainment companies, and it’s why Netflix’s latest move makes so much sense.

The online film and television streaming service has introduced a new feature allowing users to privately recommend content to friends through Facebook’s messaging system. For those who have their Netflix and Facebook accounts connected, each time they finish watching a film or TV show viewers will be asked if they want to suggest it to a friend.

Users have had the option to share their watching habits on Facebook since March 2013, but this is the first time that private sharing has been available. It makes sense; you may not want all your friends to know that you really like Step Up 2: The Streets, but your sister might appreciate it. And Netflix would rather you share your watching habits with one or two people than with no one. Indeed, they may even prefer it – it would make sense that people are more likely to consider a direct recommendation than the fact that the eighth person on their Timeline gave Orange Is The New Black five stars.

The set-up is a good step towards what could be considered a more passive form of social media marketing: put the interface in place, and let the consumers do the heavy lifting in the form of sharing and recommending.
The set-up also recognises a shift in the way that people use Facebook. No one can claim that they’re genuinely ‘friends’ with all 400-odd people they’re connected with on Facebook, but rather spend the vast majority of their time on the site interacting with a smaller core of close acquaintances. Targeted advertising has been the name of the game for many years now – many of Facebook’s own algorithms are designed to make sure that you see the ads best suited to you – but even the best algorithm can’t match the recommendation of a friend. By encouraging people to recommend content individually, the service kills two birds with one stone: it makes people more likely to listen to those recommendations, and it gives Facebook more precise data about not only what you watch, but what you like.

It also works alongside Netflix’s expansion into producing its own original content. By encouraging peer-to-peer conversation about films and television shows it works towards mirroring the organic way in which people watch traditional television, the idea of media consumption as a social activity which has been gradually eroded as the Internet has splintered consumption of popular culture into a myriad of individual strands.


Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Netflix Introduces Private Sharing On Facebook Reviewed by Douglas Clarke-Williams on Friday, September 05, 2014 Rating: 5
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