Netflix's website is, of course, vital to the brand. It is the end-to-end customer journey and user experience; where you sign up, discover content, and consume it. The centrality of the website makes the brand simple, and this is precisely what Netflix is going for:
Netflix is a global Internet TV network offering movies and TV series commercial-free, with unlimited viewing on any Internet-connected screen for an affordable, no-commitment monthly fee. Netflix is a focused passion brand, not a do-everything brand: Starbucks, not 7-Eleven; Southwest, not United; HBO, not Dish.
The website is on-demand, enables the fun of binge viewing, and even allows immediate cancellation. Everything Netflix starts and ends here. That said, Netflix does have three clear digital strategies.
One clear reason that viewers are moving over to streaming services is to have access to exclusive original programming. Whether you prefer "House of Cards" or Amazon’s "Transparent," paid subscription streaming is the only way to access this content.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Netflix is focusing on promoting its original content rather than promoting its prices and services, a tactic that makes complete sense given the buzz around their original shows like "Orange is the New Black" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." Hulu recognizes this value and is following suit in promoting their highly anticipated original series, "11/22/63" and "Casual."
Original content is an essential promotional element in this new wave of streaming services. With the multitude of options out there, platforms need to differentiate themselves from the rest by bulking up their proprietary content libraries. What better way is there to promote your service than by offering a product that no one else has?
Instead of spending advertising dollars on paid media, streaming services turn to social media to promote their new additions and original content. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon use social media to let their users know what is newly available to stream, what’s going away soon, and what’s getting a lot of buzz. Netflix in particular has been using social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram to put out memes, clips, and digital video to further boost awareness and even cross-promote their shows.
Litchfield has a new inmate, and his name is Titus Andromedon. #OITNB #KimmySchmidt https://t.co/9rwL9j96Mm— Netflix US (@netflix) June 9, 2015
This video features The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ‘s Titus Andromedon as the newest Litchfield inmate on Orange is the New Black. Though they just edit Titus into existing scenes from Orange is the New Black, this video serves as a cross-promotion for two Netflix original shows. For fans of both who understand the joke, they get a laugh and feel like they’re part of an exclusive club. People who don’t get the reference are hit with a fear of missing out and are tempted to sign up. It’s a win-win for Netflix.
For comparison, Hulu has also been using social media outlets to promote new shows that they currently have available for streaming. The most newsworthy show now available is Seinfeld, and Hulu is using Twitter to make viewers nostalgic with a short animated clip that they have thrown together using famous lines from the hit show.
The Summer of George starts now with every episode of #Seinfeld now streaming on #hulu: http://t.co/stFQWiSL6X https://t.co/UXsPMqm2tH— hulu (@hulu) June 24, 2015
In addition, both Netflix and Hulu take to social media to discuss current events and promote related shows. Between NYC Pride, Independence Day, and Shark Week, the streaming services social media presence is hard to ignore, further drawing in new and existing users.
Netflix wants viewers to exist within the realm of the show. When you’ve spent the last 7 hours of your life binge watching a show, you might feel as though the characters are your friends and the world of the show has become your reality. Netflix capitalises on that.
Recently, digital streaming services have executed experiential promotions where they recreate famous sets from popular television shows. Netflix previously created a Central Perk pop-up store in Manhattan just months before they started streaming the entire "Friends" series. They've also done this before when they revived "Arrested Development" and put up a Bluth’s Banana Stand, or when they sent out a Crazy Pyes food truck, a nod to one of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren’s lines on "Orange is the New Black."
These experiential promotions are an interesting dichotomy in the way that they promote digital services. Companies that are digital by nature are leaning towards more traditional advertising mediums to promote their pixelated products. While these promotions are only a small part of the overall marketing strategies for Netflix, they do generate a good amount of hype and user engagement.