Flixster Speeds Past Mobile Tipping Point In 2012

James-Smith-BIt probably is not surprising that one of the leading movie discovery and listings brands on the Web and devices went mostly mobile in terms of revenue in 2012. But the velocity with which Warner Bros.-owned Flixster saw studio ad spend shift lanes is still remarkable.

Company CRO James Smith tells Mobile Marketing Daily that back in 2010, 80% of marketing spend was on the Web, and only 20% on devices. But by 2011 that share had shifted to 65% Web and 35% on devices. But in 2012, the percentage flipped completely and quickly. For the year, Flixster reports that studios were putting about 35% of their spend on the Web and 65% on mobile. We caught up with Smith to drill into some of the details behind the migration of marketing dollars.

MMD: What ad or marketing formats are proving most attractive to entertainment marketers?



Smith: The most popular ad format on Flixster is the mobile “prestitial.” Studios are buying 100% of roadblocks for the weekend. These are native mobile ads that link directly to the trailers on our movie details pages. On average, about 10% of mobile users click through to watch the trailers. 

Native ads are rare in the mobile world. On mobile, ad networks sell 80-90% of advertising inventory. But it’s native advertising on Flixster that has helped pushed our studio advertisers to mobile from Web. Featured movie placement is another popular, native ad format on Flixster that is drawing studios to advertise with us.

MMD: What ad strategies are proving most effective?

Smith: From a revenue standpoint, a combination of native ad formats for impact and frequency with standard advertising.

MMD: Have you made any changes to the Flixster model that have attracted more revenue to mobile?

Smith: No. In fact, the opposite is true.  We’ve stuck with our initial, basic model: a consumer-centric, friendly and simple -- yet comprehensive -- brand/tool for movies discovery. Word of mouth, strong reviews and ratings on app stores continue to be our most effective marketing vehicle. Our capacity to scale has been self-fulfilling based on that cycle of strong reviews and more downloads, on smartphones and tablets. We continue to be the largest movies app on all platforms.

MMD: Are most buys integrated across Web and mobile?

Smith: Most buys are in fact across our Web and mobile properties. Studios sometimes opt out of the "ratings environment" of Rotten Tomatoes for some titles exclusively on mobile. With non-studio-buyers, cross-platform is still proving exponentially more powerful because of the combined reach and the ability to create cross-platform synergies and sponsorships.

MMD: Is mobile proving more effective in compelling some actions over others?

Smith: Yes, in regard to consumer actions. Our mobile users are more action oriented: they watch more trailers, do more viewing of showtimes and are engaged for longer periods of time than on Web. And the ultimate consumer action is also stronger. We sell more movie tickets on mobile.

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