Customers Are Sharing Your Brand -- But On Dark Social And Not Always Your Content

Anyone else planning to go to the cinema this weekend to get away from wall-to-wall Brexit coverage? Ab Fab's got a movie out, those aliens from Independence Day have come back for revenge and there's "The Secret Life of Pets" for that all-important kids' animation. 

To grab your attention, the movie houses spend millions on slick trailers that adorn movie Web sites and pop up as pre-rolls when we're busy trying to do something else on YouTube. You'd imagine that these would be the powerhouse asset that puts very real bottoms on seats. The thing is, if you shared anything about the movie you're hoping to see with a partner or friends, the chances are it wasn't the trailer. 

New research from RadiumOne on what people share, typically on dark social, reveals that only just over a quarter of movie-related shares are the trailer. While the trailer is still, on average, the most shared piece of content, reviews for films are a very close second. In fact, in two genres -- horror and family films -- reviews are shared more than the trailer. Cast information is the third most shared piece of content, by the way.

Interestingly four-fifths is on 'dark' channels of email, text and private messaging and the majority of content is shared between mobile device. These sharing acts, then, are arguably highly targeted to either someone a person knows will appreciate the content or the other person the sender is hoping to attend the move with. There are some interesting findings, such as action being the genre most shared on mobile and drama the least -- hinting at an age gap -- but the overall takeaway is that people don't always share in the way the mega brands think they will.

Reviews being nearly as popular as a trailer is pretty self-evident when you think about it. With so many sequels out there, you don't really need to see X-Men performing a stunt or Jeff Goldblum push back his spectacles in surprised horror at the size of an invading flying saucer. You kind of already know what the film's going to look like, and we've all been to enough movies where the trailer looked great but stretched out over a hundred minutes, the good bits were few and far between. No, the big answer we want is whether it's any good, backed up by maybe who's in it, which we can normally glean from the review.

So it's a sobering lesson. It doesn't matter how much you put into the most amazing, professional video -- people will share the information which they deem relevant. When they do, it's more likely to be invisible to you, on dark channels, than it is screaming out of Facebook and Twitter feeds. There are serious limits to a brand's marketing reach when consumers are in control of what they share, and how.

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