Welcome to the first chapter of a new series, From A to I: 9 AI Use Cases to offer Netflix-level personalisation.
In this use case, we’ll be diving into how Netflix approaches real-time interventions to encourage sustainable play and will break down what casino operators can learn from what they choose to do - and what they choose not to do.
It’s probably noteworthy, to begin with the question of comparison: why Netflix? What does Netflix have to do with casino operators? Why should we look to them for aspects like sustainable gambling and player interventions?
Well, as can be seen from a great deal of press around personalisation, Netflix is one of the few names that seems to jump straight in the minds of those who engage with personalised experiences. On average a Netflix subscriber spends over 3 hours a day on the service, a statistic that most operators would love to have.
Netflix has become synonymous with navigating through thousands of pieces of content and doing its best to curate experiences that encourage lifetime loyalty.
As a public company with no shortage of competitors, and continuously raising prices, they understand that content alone will not keep them in the top spot. They must provide an experience that is so superior, that despite already accruing millions of users, growth is still a must.
Setting the scene for sustainable play
Despite also using the term ‘play’, sustainable watching isn’t probably what most consider when wondering how Netflix encourages a positive relationship that viewers have with their product.
However, there are some very interesting decisions, messaging considerations and features that Netflix have adopted that have similarities to typical operators.
We’re going to break this down into three key learnings:
1 — Binge-watching
Netflix has become synonymous with the term ‘binge-watching’ when referring to watching hours on end of content. So much so that they have taken pride, written ads, built products and promoted that their content is ‘binge-worthy’.
And while this represents great retention, it doesn’t demonstrate a more sustainable, societally conscious way of portraying their brand. So much so that there have been news articles, and video segments, questioning the morality of such behaviour.
This has even led to Netflix themselves reportedly actively moving away from the term. They haven’t done so entirely though, with a recent earnings report noting the following:
And next year, we’ll have a new ad product for members who love to binge. Source
It is worth noting that there is a big difference between content providers like Netflix and the responsibilities and legal requirements for gambling brands.
What casino operators can learn
Netflix’s popularisation of ‘binge-watching’ brings to light a key aspect of player behaviour that is worth understanding.
While binge-play offers great short-term engagement, it can often lead to periods of droughts when new content isn’t so appealing. As such, Netflix has experimented away from its traditional approach of releasing an entire TV show season at once. Understanding that long-term engagement, online virality and cultural zeitgeist is often better achieved with a more sustainable, drip-feed approach.
This is something that seems key for casino operators to consider, just beginning with initial analysis.
Thereafter an operator can choose to either react in real-time to player behaviour and encourage a more sustainable course of action, or customer success teams can review key insights for personal engagements with players.
2 — Up next
If you’ve ever watched Netflix, you’ll know that one of their greatest experiential features is their ‘auto-play next episode’.
By removing the choice from a user, they can smoothly continue to the next episode in a series, jumping past credits, and arriving straight at the content.
This is a great means of encouraging the user to continue watching while still giving them the control to stop auto-play if they so choose. Operating like a pop-up, but with much less friction.
Either due to ethical issues noted above in relation to their public image or as a means of offering greater customisation, Netflix does in fact allow users to turn off auto-play, however, this is still not the default option — for obvious reasons.
As a note, very different from casino operators, Netflix does not offer pop-ups in any capacity, as such, their form of communication is typical marketing channels like email, or through in-product pages.
What casino operators can learn
Whether it is thought of in the same capacity, Netflix’s auto-play feature is a well-considered approach to churn prevention.
It differs from churn prevention, in that, unlike Future Anthem’s churn prevention feature (powered by Amplifier AI), it operates at the end of a session if you will. If it were true churn prevention it would act in moments throughout the programme, if it considered that you’re likely to turn off Netflix entirely, similarly to how Amplifier AI considers your behaviour after every spin, not just when a game session is exited.
But what’s curious here is the decision engine that goes into every possible recommendation. Say you are watching House of Cards episode 3, autoplay will recommend episode 4 at the end. It doesn’t really consider if you have been watching for many hours, and you should probably take a break.
Whereas Amplifier AI can also run a responsible gambling check on every player, and instead of offering a bonus, should it be configured as such, it could present a pop-up, presenting information on their recent activity, and offering them to take a break.
3 — Positive play
The last and most interesting aspect to consider with Netflix involves positive play. A term that is starting to enter the mainstream regarding responsible gambling. One that moves beyond just the players of highest risk and provides a more holistic outlook to all players.
Encouraging positive play as well as reacting to risk.
Again, you might not think that this really plays into Netflix’s approach. They are driven by their shareholders to ensure that their subscribers watch for as long as possible to increase retention and reduce the chance of churn.
However, there will be a threshold for many different watchers, whereby if they acknowledge that they are spending too much time watching, they may in fact leave the service entirely. And while this may sound relevant to a minority, as screentime tools on iPhones and a general consciousness of the levels that children spend on platforms, this becomes a more important consideration.
One of Netflix’s biggest tools in creating a personalised experience for every subscriber involves the use of profiles. It would otherwise be very hard to offer 1–2–1 recommendations if their machine learning models had to cater for every person in a household. But this also allows an opportunity, especially for younger users, to impose limits, both on content type, and usage.
While there doesn’t seem to be a feature on the roadmap yet that offers a congratulatory message with the following
There does appear to be a recognition of the need to encourage more sustainable, long-term behaviour.
What casino operators can learn
Understanding your player base beyond just ‘high-risk’ players is key to offering a personalised experience that retains players for longer.
Amplifier AI has seen that players in the risk zone are 4x likely to churn, as such, it’s imperative to score every player, and encourage the behaviours that keep them in a ‘safe zone’.
With Amplifier AI’s Sustain module, we are able to create a Unified Score for every player, giving internal customer teams and compliance the information they need to make better decisions.
In addition, with real-time personalised interventions, such as:
You can reduce the ongoing requirement on marketing to acquire players and focus on keeping the ones you have.
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