How to Try Netflix’s Experimental Features

Netflix might not roll out features as frequently as something like Google Maps, but the company does bring a lot of new features to Netflix from time to time (remember Netflix games?). Well, if you are someone who likes to experience new features before they are released worldwide, chances are you would like to try the experimental features of Netflix. That’s where Netflix’s “Participation Test” program comes in. So here’s how to try Netflix’s beta features.

Everything you need to know about Netflix’s experimental features

Before launching a new feature like the Play Something button on Netflix, the company is rolling out the experience to limited beta testers. Other than that, Netflix uses experimentation a lot to decide on button placement, UI, UX, movie art, and more. Let’s take a look at how you can enable the Test Take-Along feature to get those exciting experiences before anyone else.

What is test participation on Netflix

You can use the Take Testing option on Netflix to provide your consent to be part of the beta testing package. Majority of apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, etc. allow users to sign up for beta testing to check and make the latest changes to the update. In the case of Netflix, an average user does not see the UI/UX changes or any new features unless the company has rolled out the update globally.

However, by signing up for Test Participation, you are asking Netflix to send you all of these updates before the global rollout. This helps Netflix check if users benefit from the changes. Mainly, there are smaller tweaks like positioning the movie/series title to see if it increases the click-through rate; more on that later.

If a feature proves to be beneficial to the company, they tend to release it in the general update. Otherwise, the feature is abandoned and never sees the light of day again. This means that by opting into test participation, you may be among the limited people to enjoy a new feature from the start. Otherwise, you can see what went wrong for Netflix in its experimentation.

It’s also worth mentioning that testing features are randomly rolled out to people. Therefore, you won’t necessarily see all the new features. First, let’s see how to enable the Test Participation feature. Later we will discuss some examples and how Netflix uses the test effectively.

How to Enable Testing Participation on Netflix

To experience the latest Netflix features, you must opt ​​in to receive tests and previews. Usually the option is pre-activated when you create a new account. However, there is a small chance that you will be unsubscribed either by yourself or by someone using your account. So, here’s how to enable the Test Play feature on Netflix.

  • Open and connect to Netflix website on a browser.
  • Now, hover over your profile picture and select Account.
  • Now scroll down and select “Test participation” under the Settings section.
option to participate in the test in Netflix settings
  • toggle button on the right side and select Done to complete the steps.
opt for test participation on Netflix

By turning it On, you become eligible for future test experiences. However, the setting does not apply to security, anti-fraud, or application testing. You will always see the potential changes in front of a regular viewer and help Netflix improve.

How Netflix Experiences Work and Why They Do It

Netflix is ​​driven by the idea of ​​putting consumer choice and control at the forefront of the entertainment experience. For example, Netflix’s user interface has undergone a vigorous transformation over the past decade. Previously, in 2010, it had a static UI design with limited navigation options, a design inspired by DVD rental store shelves. However, experimentation helped Netflix create a video UI, which resulted in higher click-through rates and growing viewership every day. The same goes for countless other updates like button positioning, movie artwork, call-to-action text, streaming quality, data plans, and everything Netflix streaming platform.

According to Netflix’s technology blog, Making decisions is easy – what’s hard is making the right decisions. So instead of letting the executives make all the decisions, hire a team of experts, have an internal team debate, or copy the competition, Netflix relies on data. It uses A/B testing to verify which approach is best. Here is an example:

Suppose someone tells the Netflix team that upside-down title box artwork works better; Netflix will test it. The team takes a simple random sample from its members and divides them into two groups. The first group sees the general UI, while the second group sees the upside-down box art. Next, Netflix collects behavioral data from repeated tests and analyzes it to make a final decision. If users interact positively with the new design, it stays. If not, Netflix knows what went wrong to improve the platform.

comparing Netflix experiences between members
Netflix Technology Blog

Experimentation allows all members to vote on their behavior, making the Netflix experience more joyful for everyone. Netflix runs all these tests with the employed team before bringing it to us. Those who participated in the test program receive a carefully filtered experience that often leads to better platform evolution, for example, the Skip Intro and Next Episode button.

So far, we’ve learned how Netflix experiments with new ideas and tests them before making them a feature. This greatly reduces the chance of failure. Now let’s take a look at some examples that Netflix has tested many times and some that passed the experiments and proved to be a valuable feature.

  • Netflix regularly changes the tile sizes on the homepage to check which one viewers prefer.
  • Changed the call-to-action button text on the homepage to see what drives the most conversions.
  • The company recently ran a test for people who want to share their Netflix account details with their friends. If accepted, you will be able to share your Netflix account with others. Something the company has banned all these years without success.
  • Quick Laughs is the short Tik-Tok-like video stream that Netflix is ​​currently testing on smartphones. If successful, the company could also launch it for other devices.
  • The Skip Intro and Next Episode button was part of an experience that was rolled out as a global feature. This is one of the most exciting features for anyone who loves watching their favorite shows.

Exclusive features such as the Shuffle-play button or the Next Episode button were presented to the limited test participants. However, if you haven’t opted in to the Test Participation Program, you’re still part of the minor A/B tests. An example is a call to action text. Anyone who opens the Netflix home page may see different text on the button as shown in the image below. The same goes for cinematic art which is created keeping in mind the type of thumbnails that people often open.

Netflix test for call-to-action button text
Netflix Technology Blog

Frequently Asked Questions

How many experiments does Netflix run?

Netflix can run hundreds of experiments at any given time. The majority of them are done with the team of employed members. Still, some of them, like title card size, title positioning, movie artwork, etc., are repeatedly tested on users around the world.

How does Netflix use A/B testing?

According to the Netflix blog, the team designs a hypothesis and creates an experiment around it. Then they run the original version of the platform and a slightly updated version among users. The one that turns out to be a better result is chosen and used to create the new hypothesis. It’s a never-ending process that Netflix always uses to improve the platform.

What is a Netflix test?

The Netflix test is a new feature that the company is experimenting with normal users. For example, the Play Something button was a test that Netflix turned into a feature. Similarly, Netflix is ​​currently testing whether people are willing to pay extra to share their Netflix account with friends.

Use test participation and access Netflix beta features

This is how you can enable “trial participation” on Netflix and try experimental Netflix features on your account. Testing changes in beta is standard practice and if you like being a member of the testing group for Netflix, why not get started with beta features now. In the meantime, check out Netflix’s huge catalog of action movies or Bollywood movies if you’re interested.

About Nereida Nystrom

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