How to use social media data to create demand for your films

Filmmakers today face an increasingly fragmented audience, with fans arriving from a growing number of avenues, including search, email, social, content recommendations, and off-platform offerings including more traditional PR avenues such as film festivals, news articles, and film reviews.

As the digital media landscape grows and evolves, more and more producers and distributors are putting emphasis on gathering data and targeting audience to boost revenues. If digital and video streaming is the wild west, data collection and targeting is a great Sheriff to keep your performance in check, so the real question is:

What Do They Stream?

For the last two or three years, you’ve been hearing about the disruptive changes facing our business: the relevance of film distribution in an on-demand world, competitive cross-channel promotion, the rise of Netflix, the staggering decline in the DVD market, TVOD (Pay Per View) vs. AVOD (Ad Support) vs. SVOD (Subscription). A lot of buzzwords such as apps and mobile consumption, but not a lot on how to build a successful production and distribution business.

According to Deloitte, 70% of Netflix consumers now binge watch TV, averaging 5 episodes per sitting.

Now hang on a second, that’s not how linear film distribution works.

But it’s not just happening on Netflix, it’s across the board. According to European Comission (2015) “14% of respondents have no access to cinemas within 30 minutes of their home. This figure rises to 37% in Romania, 27% in Lithuania and 16% in Croatia.

European films are considered original and thought-provoking, but audiences are critical about “slow or heavy” storylines. Europe produces more than 1000 films a year, but most are only seen in the country where they are made and relatively few films are screened abroad

Most people choose the film they are going to view just before going to the cinema, with trailers being the most effective marketing tool. 28% of Europeans watch films in festivals”

The study confirms that the European film industry is not making the most of its potential to reach new audiences or capitalizing on cross-border partnerships. What the study doesn’t suggest is how to maximize the potential – And data can really help.

3 Categories Of Proposals

  • Invest in data to reach a targeted audience

  • Measures data and use it for acquisition and distribution strategies

  • Create your In-House Data – If the data isn’t available then you need to create your own.

I want you to start out with the idea that your report is with a menu of dishes, and your job is to put together a menu by creating all of the dishes. Just like a dish we make from a recipe card with instructions, that’s really like data and business rules. You create your shopping list. This is really documenting what you need and where it’s located.

Time To Shop

For data, you always create the list. Then it’s time to shop for your data. You go through the aisles and find what you need based on where it’s located. You may find a million things you need, but try to stay focused to fill your data cart with just what you need for this dish.

Film Data Recipe

  1. Name of customer

  2. Genre

  3. Age

  4. Location

  5. Time / Date

  6. Marketing Channel

  7. Referral

  8. Email

Conversion + The Data We Don’t Have

If data is stored as a set of numbers, and you need to calculate sales projections, you must convert it. So the data we don’t have, we can recreate it through calculations.

Trailer Data

  • Amount of Impressions

  • Amount of Trailer Playbacks

  • Conversions

Basic Terms

  • Impressions – Amount Of Exposure (How many people saw an ad to your film page)

  • CTR – Click Through Rate (How many people clicked to your film page)

  • Unique – One user  (How many people clicked your trailer)

Let’s take an actual case study from a marketing campaign we did for Led Zeppelin Live Cinema Event in 2015:

If Led Zeppelin came up with 1,434,993 Impressions + 309,620 Trailer Views

  1. The conversion % from impression to trailer view =?

  2. The average Clicks to Box Office From Trailer?

Creating the data we don’t have from available numbers

309,620 / 1,434,993 = 21.57% impression converted to film site

9% from 309,620 clicked to box office = 27,865

Now you have some basic data to work with, the average page impression (your film site) is 21% – 28%, a good average of trailer and box office conversion is 4.8% – 9.9%.

Data and Marketing tools to get you started

Here are a few hand-picked tools that can help you build your audience from start to finish and create a large followers base as a result.

Movie Landing Page

A landing page is a simple page that your fans first land on, which has a clear call to action on it. Usually, it calls the visitor to watch a trailer, scroll through your cinema listing, or subscribe to a mailing list.

The idea is that your potential film fan shouldn’t have to scroll down to get an essential information. Your landing page should be cross mobile friendly, as the internet is now consumed mainly on mobile devices.

I’d recommend spending your time on creating a simple (but beautiful) landing page, and facebook page as opposed to hiring an expensive web designer.

Facebook Audience Insight and  Pixel Tracking

Once you gathered your first 1000 emails, you can start analyzing your audience and get a wide range of understanding who they are and what interests them more. Read my latest post on Facebook audience insight

To measure your sales performance and leads effectiveness you might consider installing Facebook Pixel and gather available information on your audience.

Email Marketing

Your best marketing tool is no doubt your mailing list. As you can read in my previous post “How To Successfully Distribute Your Film With These Exact 5 Steps” filmmaker Claudia Tosi has worked her mailing list to a successful distribution of her film. People signing up to get updates from you means they want to hear all about your film and your progress, use it wisely.

VOD – Transactional Video On Demand (TVOD)

Video-on-demand (VOD) is now considered the second most important distribution window of your film’s release. Creating a successful marketing campaign will ensure high volumes of demand online to watch instantly. These platforms offer data services for filmmakers to publish and monetize their work.

For more data and marketing tools, you’re invited to read my previous post 60 Free Online Tools To Distribute and Promote Your Film

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. And if you like this article, please subscribe to my newsletter.

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