Commentary

This Summer, Social Ads Are The Winning Ticket For Box Office Success

Summer movie season is in full swing, but the paths viewers will ultimately follow to their seats look much different than they did just a few short years ago. The air-conditioned cinematic temples dotting commercial shopping centers and anchoring suburban big-box complexes haven’t moved, but new research from both Google and Facebook suggests that the old ways advertisers reached moviegoers have been replaced.

While it was once a priority for viewers to get to their seats before the trailers started, online video has clearly become the on-demand source for the film samples we use to make decisions about which movies to attend — and even whether to head to the movies at all.

Google says over 35 million hours of movie previews were watched on YouTube in in the first half of 2015, an 88% increase over the first half of 2014. This is impressive evidence that online video has become the go-to way to consume movie trailers. It goes without saying that consumers will be more engaged with this content when they’ve actively sought it out, rather than when it appears on television spontaneously. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

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What about movie fans who aren’t actively seeking trailers? A recent neurological study commissioned by Facebook revealed that viewers consuming this kind of video content on mobile devices dedicate more of their brain activity to it than those exposed to ads on TV. Consumers watching mobile ads pay closer attention, experience heightened emotional response and ultimately exhibit better engagement than those exposed to the same ad content on television.

With those facts in mind, it’s no surprise Facebook found, in a separate independent study commissioned by the company, that 67% of online movie discovery is happening on its platform today. People not only look to their online friends to vet and validate movies worth seeing, they are also more naturally inclined to retain the movie ads they are exposed to in the Facebook News Feed.

Advertising at the scale big film marketers require on Facebook is no longer a problem, either. Facebook advertising has matured and can help you deliver your advertising to tens or even hundreds of millions of moviegoers. This is exactly why so many Fortune 100 brands are investing in social advertising today.

I’m not suggesting movie marketers abandon their traditional channels. On the contrary, integrated marketing has always worked well in the film industry. It’s time to extend that integrated strategy to include a true investment in social. This will mean better on-target reach and retention, and that means better ROI.

In a Nielsen study commissioned by Facebook, advertising on the social channel helped entertainment campaigns increase their on-target reach by an average of 10 million more individuals than television alone. Film advertisers, specifically, can also extend the reach efficiency of film campaigns by 15X by mixing in Facebook ads, a factor big enough to represent meaningful new ROI for the industry.

The evidence is abundant and the best practices are there. If you’re a film marketer looking for the secret sauce to push your movie over the edge, all you need to do is buy your ticket and get in line. Social advertising is ready to show you to your seat.

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