The 6 factors that influence what Netflix recommends

How does the streaming platform choose the content that it thinks you will like? You give him all the information.

Netflix has been working for years on an algorithm to recommend titles to its users and prevent them from giving up when looking for something to watch. It is an essential function in the service, especially with a catalog that does not stop growing every weekend and in which it is very easy to get lost. Going ‘on the fly’ and avoiding half an hour of debate about which movie or series to put on is something that users appreciate, but what are recommendations based on?

The streaming platform offers a list of personalized content that has been created through “a complex patented recommendation system”, as stated on the official website. The main aspect that they are based on is you and your movements. Every time you enter and interact with the service you are giving them clues and, in addition, you are improving that personalized selection.

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Recommendations are based on probabilities. According to the 6 factors that we tell you below, they determine the probability that you like one title or another.

1. Your interactions

Netflix records all the data of the series or movies that you have seen or have started to see. Count everything. From the one you have seen in one go to the one you have left after 10 minutes. The classification you make of those titles is also very important here. That thumb up or down that you put is decisive.

2. What your soul mate likes

The data that Netflix collects to recommend what to watch does not only come from your tastes. The service also relies on members with preferences similar to yours to shape the front page listings. It’s almost like having the recommendations of your soulmate, for when a Netflix-Tinder?

3. Information about the movies and series you watch

The information of the titles that you have seen is another factor for the platform. Summarize the genres you watch the most, the year it was released, the actors that appear… You may not realize that most of the movies you watch are from the 80s and adventures, but Netflix doesn’t escape it .

4. If you connect in the morning or at night

The time of day you watch Netflix also counts for the algorithm. Connecting after eating is not the same as doing it at dawn. The thing changes and the contents too.

5. Where do you see it from?

The devices you use to watch Netflix series and movies is another important factor. We assume that the service takes into account whether you connect from a mobile, so only you will be watching it, or if you do it from the Smart TV, that you will possibly be with more people and you will search for content that different people will like.

6. How long do you watch it

You can’t hide, Netflix knows how much time you spend glued to the screen and uses it to improve its recommendations. It is not the same to do a fantasy series marathon than to connect only on weekends to watch a premiere movie. These are factors that also influence what it suggests you see.

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Therefore, Netflix uses your interactions with the platform -what you like and what you don’t-, what other people like you watch, all the information they can get from the movies and series that you usually consume and the way in which they you connect to the service -if you spend a lot of time on it, if you see it on a big or small screen, if it is in the morning or at night, etc-. What it does NOT use is your age or gender data, since it understands that there is no content for young or old, nor, of course, for men and women.

The one you will like the most in first position: How Netflix orders the recommendations

It’s funny, but Netflix doesn’t just give you a list of content it thinks you’ll like, it also sorts it according to certain criteria. It uses three levels of customization: the choice of the order of the rows, the titles that appear in it and in what order they are arranged. What does this mean? That Netflix believes that the movie or series that you will like the most is the one that is placed first in the first selection that appears on the service.

Beware, it does not refer only to the ‘Recommended for a certain user’ section, the series that you will see are also arranged in rows such as ‘Critically acclaimed TV series’ or the feature films of ‘Award-winning movies’. For example, after the 10 most popular in Spain and trends, Netflix suggests watching the animated series Cut along the dotted line. I see it and I tell you if they have succeeded.

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