Apparently there’s a trick to get users to click on your programme or film. Netflix just released data that indicates how people decide what to watch.
The thumbnail selected was cited as the biggest influence on people looking for a movie or show to watch. Users are more likely to click on a thumbnail featuring an emotional face over a simple logo. The data shows that animated faces perform better than a neutral expression.
We’re also suckers for villains; the appearance of a villainous character in a thumbnail “significantly outperformed” all other thumbnails. This trend holds true across both adults and kids alike.
The number of characters featured in a thumbnail also has an impact. There’s a steep decline in performance once the thumbnail shows more than one or two people. This may be tied to the fact that small thumbnails don’t make it easy to see individual characters’ faces when they have to share the spotlight with many others.
Netflix also says that if you don’t find a show or movie to watch within 90 seconds, you’re more likely to close the service and go do something else. So you can see why it keeps tabs on user habits and motivating factors.