Netflix has discovered that its users, in the U.S. at least, do not want to share all of their viewing behavior with their Facebook Friends. Now, users will have control over if they share their viewing information with on Facebook and with whom Previously, users who connected their Facebook accounts to Netflix did not have control, resulting in spam-like messages shared to Facebook with a user's viewing history, whether the user wanted it shared or not. Understandably, users were not quick to connect Netflix with their Facebook profiles.
Netflix learned what it needed to. Frictionless sharing that involves automatically posting updates and activity to user feeds has not been embraced by users. Facebook has even relegated most of those updates to the Ticker on the right-hand rail, focusing on more valuable, contextually relevant information on the News Feed. Marketers hoping their customers share their brands should take note.
Sharing is Caring
The thing is sharing and recommending from Netflix makes a lot of sense. It's what people do offline on a daily basis. People enjoy sharing what they love with those they care about, but that's where businesses and people diverge.
Businesses want and hope for mass sharing. People expect more nuance in how they share and who they share with.
They want the control, which is exactly why platforms like Snapchat have taken hold. They allow people to share but on their terms — controlling the audience, content availability and message completely. Facebook has doubled down on its Messenger private messaging app for just this reason.
Respect the Feed
A reach mentality encourages marketers to want consumers to share as widely and as often as possible, but pushing this too hard can alienate users and anger them. They want control, and they often expect a one-to-one level of sharing between friends.
Netflix's new approach asks users to share. It doesn't force them to. It simply offers a reminder and makes it easy for them to quickly recommend a program to their friends. It also puts users in complete control. They hold the keys and are in the driver's seat from beginning to end.
Of course, Netflix would prefer users to share with as many people as often as possible, but after going with that approach, the lesson learned is enable people to share the way they want to. It's certainly better than no sharing at all.