5 key movie marketing takeaways from our keynote at Variety Innovate

Successfully executing movie marketing campaigns and driving ticket sales is harder than ever before thanks to the rise of alternative viewing platforms. With so many options at their fingertips, moviegoers have become much more selective when deciding to purchase tickets.

This has put pressure on movie marketers to gain a deeper understanding of who, based on past online and offline behavior, is most likely to go see their titles. At the same time, you need to understand exactly how to message them to maximize exposure and consideration for your movie into who is mostly likely to see your movie and how to get them there.

Watch now: Finding moviegoers: How to leverage innovation to drive box office (A keynote from Variety Innovate)


5 keys to identity-based movie marketing

Leveraging customer data isn’t a new concept in movie marketing. Studios have been doing this for years in an effort to identify moviegoers and target them effectively.

However, the way the industry has approached identity is often flawed. In many cases, studios rely heavily on transactional data from online ticket sales because it’s easy to obtain. A report by Webidia found that online ticket sales account for just 25% to 30% of overall revenue. Leveraging the other 70% of transactional data is critical to identity-based movie marketing.

The problem is that identity is highly complex. Many individual moviegoers buy from multiple exhibiters, online or offline, and uses a variety of devices to make decisions. Even after you gain access to individual-level purchase data, it can be difficult to determine a path forward.

Our keynote at Variety Innovate offered the following 5 key takeaways to get the most out of your movie marketing campaigns.

Find Frequent Moviegoers

About 50% of moviegoers only visit a theater once per year. And while these infrequent moviegoers are valuable customers, they aren’t the only ones to focus on when building out a movie marketing campaign. Because these customers only see one movie per year, they’re most likely to go see one of the big blockbusters. The people who go to the movies most often will be more likely to give your movie a chance.

Among our millions of verified movie ticket buyers, about 10% of moviegoers have seen 6 or more movies in the last 12 months. While the average order value is lower for this segment of customers, targeting your movie marketing campaigns to these frequent moviegoers can lead to greater ROAS.

Know ticket buyer behavior across non-entertainment sites

Understanding moviegoer behavior outside of the entertainment industry can bring valuable insights to your marketing efforts. For example, timing is everything in a digital marketing campaign. Do you know when your target customers are most likely to open your emails?

Beyond timing, it can help to know what kinds of marketing campaigns have captured your target customer’s attention in the past. Do you know if they’ve participated in any kind of sweepstakes before? Having these kinds of behavioral insights about moviegoers outside of entertainment sites helps you craft campaigns that are more likely to cut through clutter and maximize engagement.

Remember that context matters

Context within the entertainment industry is also critical to your marketing campaigns. Your ability to understand the preferences and buying behavior of moviegoers can significantly impact campaign performance. So many studios focus their market budgets on weekend transactions. And while Friday, Saturday and Sunday make up 62% of transactions, there’s plenty of value to gain from the 38% of ticket purchases that occur on weekdays. However, there’s a significant dip in average order value on Tuesdays because of somewhat standard discounts.

Understanding the ebbs and flows of transactions throughout the year will make it easier to set expectations for your movie marketing campaigns. While the summer is understandably busy, September is a noticeable lull in ticket sales before activity picks back up in the fall.

Calibrate your messaging at the title level

Every ad you create should reflect the movie you’re marketing. While video has become the de facto format for movie marketing ads, it’s important not to overlook where display ads can work.

In most cases, you’re best off starting with a balanced mix of display ads and video ads and then optimizing based on performance. But generally speaking, high-awareness blockbusters can benefit most from display ads. Because so many moviegoers know about, for example, the Mission Impossible franchise, you can maximize ROAS by focusing on display. Because the Mission Impossible franchise is so well known, many have most likely seen the trailer multiple times across social, TV and YouTube. They need a gentle nudge, i.e. a display ad, rather than a full blown trailer ad. But for something like Mortal Engines, a movie with limited awareness, video-based mass media promotion can increase your impact and help people understand what the movie is about.

Don’t underestimate message frequency

The number of times you message people matters to the performance of your movie marketing campaigns. Digital marketing isn’t a volume game. Overwhelming your target moviegoers with messages will only frustrate them. And sending too few messages will prevent your movie from standing out at the box office.

There’s a sweet spot for movie marketing messaging. We’ve found that anywhere between 3.5 and 4.5 messages per person is most efficient for increasing conversions.

Know Your Customer for Better Movie Marketing

Identity data isn’t going to turn a bad movie into a good one. What it can do is uncover the people who are most likely to have a positive experience with your movie. The more effectively and efficiently you can target ideal moviegoers, the more likely you’ll be to see strong box office numbers.

This all starts with having a deep database of transactional insights and consumer IDs that gives you the ability to creatively target moviegoers.

If you want to learn more about movie marketing in the digital age, check out this e-book about how Epsilon data services can help.