How User-Generated Content Is Driving Netflix Streams

Sandra Bullock, Julian Edwards, and Vivien Lyra Blair in "Bird Box"

If you are in the entertainment business, you will know that social media marketing is crucial in today’s internet-crazed climate. Instagram ads, Facebook video, and hashtags all have a part to play when it comes to directing people to your website or in Netflix’s case – streaming platform. 

One of the most powerful principles of digital marketing is the principle of FOMO (fear of missing out). The principle is simple. When you log on to Facebook and see a photo of all of your friends having a good time together at a bar, it makes you wish that you were there with them. By staying at home and not taking action, you risk missing out on what could be a night that your friends talk about for many weeks to come. 

This is where Netflix’s brilliant marketing comes in. A great example is the recent Netflix documentary, Tiger King. Even if you have not seen the series, if you are active on social media, you would have heard of it. Since it landed, #joeexotic has been trending on Twitter and every other meme on Facebook seems to be about the infamous big cat owner. Some of these “Tiger King” memes have snapped up hundreds of thousands of likes and shares. This creates the feeling that it is a show “everybody is talking about.” And if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re out the loop. You’ve missed out. 

Last year, when Netflix released the thriller Birdbox, a similar phenomenon took place. Netflix released a handful of ads and before long, our feeds were flooded with memes and Bird Box theories. This content is not made by expensive marketers, it’s made by people like you and me. 

This type of “user-generated content” is subsequently the reason that tens of thousands of us flock to Netflix to watch the latest films and series so that we can stay in the know. Within a week, Birdbox hit 26 million views. Tiger King, on the other hand, hit 34 million views within 10 days.

Netflix has a lot of quality content but ultimately, what made people watch these specific offerings was that dreaded feeling of FOMO. And that was achieved through user-generated content and it didn’t cost Netflix a penny.