This Netflix research proves just how short our attention spans are
You know the scenario: It’s Friday night, you’ve decided to stay in, and you want to see what’s what’s new on Netflix. Sure, you’ve got your ever-growing queue, but what’s actually new and exciting that you have to watch right now?! So you scroll through one list of what’s trending, and then of what’s popular, and a third showing what else you might like because you binged all of The Office — and you turn up nothing. And you know what happens then? Nothing. Because there’s nothing on Netflix you want to watch right now, and this is a #struggle.
According to Netflix, this entire struggle lasts a whopping 60 seconds, at most 90 seconds. Then, we give up and move on to the next thing.
“Consumer research suggests that a typical Netflix member loses interest after perhaps 60 to 90 seconds of choosing, having reviewed 10 to 20 titles (perhaps 3 in detail) on one or two screens,” Carlos Gomez-Uribe Netflix’s vice president of personalization algorithms writes in AMC Transactions on Management Information Systems journal. “The user either finds something of interest or [abandons] our service.”
“Humans are surprisingly bad at choosing between many options, quickly getting overwhelmed and choosing ‘none of the above’ or making poor choices,” Comez-Uribe continues, which is why so many of us have maybe binged Merlin.
According to this extensive Netflix research, the homepage “influences choice for about 80% of hours streamed at Netflix. The remaining 20% comes from search.” And when that search only lasts a minute and a half, Netflix starts getting worried that we’ll stop searching, and do something else like read a book or watch HBO GO like the traitors we are.
This is why Netflix is trying REALLY HARD to revamp their “suggestions for you” on the homepage. They want you to find exactly what you’re looking for right away, without having to scroll through choices forever. Because when you start scrolling, you start getting desperate for things to watch, as your precious Netflix binging time slowly slips away. And no one, especially not Netflix, wants that.