A Few Words About Netflix’s Success: Vivid. Snappy. Tags.

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The descriptive tags that the streaming service runs near each title — like “slick” for the show “Suits” — have proved crucial to getting people to click play.

Zipeng Zhu

“Grey’s Anatomy” is “soapy” and “emotional.” “Emily in Paris” is “campy” and “quirky.” “Our Planet II” is “relaxing” and “captivating,” while “Gravity” is “suspenseful” and “visually striking.”

Words such as these — displayed near the synopsis and movie-poster-style tile for each one of the thousands of titles on Netflix — appear to be scooped out of a grab bag.

In fact, they are a critical tool to induce viewers to click play, and a key to Netflix’s dominance.

The two- or three-word tags, meant to convey the gestalt of a show or movie, regularly help viewers choose a show from the service’s nearly endless library, the company says. The words are selected by about 30 employees — so-called taggers.

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