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Netflix chills with Twilio SMS and voice

The video on demand leader keeps members across the globe streaming with quick password resets and other critical account alerts via Twilio SMS and Voice

The Results
Countries can stream Netflix content
Members globally use Netflix
Emmys for Netflix original programming

When Netflix went global in early 2016, they added more than 130 countries to their streaming media service. Behind the scenes, they built a robust operational infrastructure integrating Twilio SMS and Voice into their messaging platform. Now with 70 million members in nearly 200 countries, Netflix uses Twilio to ensure their messaging flows through all the right channels, including SMS, push and voice.

Messaging a global audience

At any given time, streaming media giant Netflix has thousands of existing customers and thousands of new members signing up all over the world, watching original and licensed content on laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The company has built a finely tested and tuned multi-channel messaging platform that engages and connects throughout the entire membership lifecycle.

“The role of messaging is to reach out to members at the right moment to send the right message and get them back in and delighted with the services,” said Devika Chawla, Netflix’s director of messaging engineering/platform.

Netflix messages millions of customers a day across many channels, including email, push notifications, text and voice. When planning their 2016 global expansion, “we spent a lot of time thinking about the most important thing we need to accomplish from a messaging standpoint, and that was to reach members in these new countries with the same efficiencies we’ve been reaching existing members,” said Chawla.

The company did their research, and what they learned is that in most countries outside the U.S., mobile is king, and SMS is the preferred channel. And with a market expansion this broad, Netflix needed account notification capabilities that could scale quickly and be applied broadly in countries across the globe, so they turned to Twilio SMS. “We chose to plug and play SMS and voice capabilities with Twilio. Twilio SMS fit in nicely as another communications channel that flows through the rest of the system. The whole workflow works the same way, the same systems can be leveraged, and the same instrumentations, logging and feedback work perfectly,” said Chawla.

Hello SMS

The Netflix messaging team rolled SMS out to members starting first with password reset, an option previously available only through email. “Password reset is one of the biggest call drivers to customer service, and we knew this was a ripe area to innovate on so customers could login as soon as possible,” said George Abraham, Netflix software engineer. “We did a lot of A/B testing, to arrive at the perfect set of messages to optimize this channel across multiple geographies and messaging preferences.”

“We also have an option to reset the password using Twilio Voice. Because it was a capability that Twilio offered, it was easy for us to add, and it gave us a good reason to use it as a fallback to SMS,” said Abraham.

We chose to plug and play SMS and voice capabilities with Twilio. Twilio SMS fit in nicely as a communications channel that flows through the rest of the system.

Devika Chawla, Director of Messaging Engineering/Platform, Netflix

API insights for messaging precision

Another benefit to the Twilio integration is the real-time access to insights. “We can slice and dice Twilio API data using any number of visualization tools,” said Abraham. They can see sent or delivered messages, as well as error codes such as invalid numbers or unreachable destinations. Other insights include global verification so the team can see where the most SMS users are by country and adapt their messaging content and delivery accordingly.

Learn More

To add SMS notifications to your application, visit our account notifications page to get started.

Watch Netflix's SIGNAL talk to learn how they are using Twilio to communicate with customers globally here.