Netflix today is introducing a new feature designed to allow subscribers to provide the service with better feedback about the types of content they like best, in order to be served improved recommendations. Now, Netflix users will see the option to tap on a Two Thumbs Up button, which sits alongside the existing Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down buttons on a TV show or movie’s page. This will tell Netflix you don’t just “like” the content — you love it. This signal will then be used to further personalize Netflix’s recommendations, including through new features that have yet to launch.
“We’ve been hearing from members that it’s important for them to distinguish [between] shows they liked and the shows that they really loved — and that distinction was important to them,” explained Netflix Director of Product Innovation Christine Doig-Cardet. She said the company first trialed the feature using a variety of inputs, including what some would argue is a more obvious indication of love: a heart button. But the numbers from the tests showed that users best responded to the Two Thumbs Up option, which felt like a more natural extension of the existing Netflix rating system.
Though the button is two thumbs, it doesn’t represent double the weight of the One Thumbs Up button, Netflix noted.
“There’s no fixed weight that we’re putting behind that thumbing,” said Doig-Cardet. “It’s just going to be another input that the recommendations take into account.”
The signal will help to inform Netflix what the most meaningful shows are to the end-user so when they land on their homepage, they’re shown better, more personalized recommendations without as much scrolling.
Following the launch, Netflix plans to start testing new features that build off this new form of user input.
For comparison, when Netflix launched its “Top 10” feature that displayed the most popular shows on its service, the shows in the top 10 would also display a badge when you visited their page. Similarly, Netflix added a “Most Liked” badge that indicated when a show was one of the most thumbed up by Netflix subscribers who had watched it. The new Two Thumbs Up data could lead to a different badge that indicated when a show was “most loved,” instead of just liked, for instance.
The feature is one of several ways Netflix has been working to improve users’ experience and control over content and recommendations. Recently, Netflix gave users the ability to remove titles from their “Continue Watching.” The company said it’s also heard from members they want a way to indicate if they have already watched something, when that information wasn’t captured in their experience. And they want to hide titles they have no interest in seeing — which is a bit different from giving a Thumbs Down, as that’s perceived more as a way to say you watched but didn’t like something.
The company is also considering ways it can better harness the fandom around its shows and films within the Netflix experience.
“People love to provide recommendations to each other. They have a lot of fandom groups,” Doig-Cardet hinted.
Netflix may also make it easier for fans to discover more things to watch based on the cast or other factors. For example, fans who love “Bridgerton” might see more shows and films recommended to them that star the cast members or other shows from “Bridgerton’s” production company, Shondaland.
The new Two Thumbs Up option will appear for global subscribers next to the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down buttons on the Netflix app in various places, including the title page, pause screen and at the end of the episodes. The button will roll out across TV, web and Android and iOS mobile devices, starting today.