2018 trends: Box office breakthrough

It’s a challenging time for movie studios. Movie attendance in theaters continues to decline as consumers are faced with more content options across more consumption platforms. With so much content fighting for consumers’ attention, marketers want to know they’re getting the biggest bank for their buck when promoting new movie releases. Particularly after a disappointing year at the box office, an efficient approach to consumer engagement is more important than ever.

This is why we launched Box Office, a new proprietary solution for movie marketers. Box Office leverages previous movie title-level purchase data to recognize the best potential customers for movie premieres, deliver highly relevant ads across their devices, and more accurately measure marketing effectiveness — both online and offline.

Several of the top movie studios have been among the first to use Box Office for their movie premieres. Based on the results of these campaigns, Matt Weisbecker, Vice President at Epsilon-Conversant, shares three digital marketing trends that movie marketers will want to embrace in order to generate box office success in 2018.

1. Audience data and personalized messaging. An efficient approach starts with reaching the right individuals. TV is a great channel for reaching the masses, but it can also be a potential waste of marketing dollars that would be better spent on engaging actual moviegoers online. To cut down on waste, marketers will increasingly use digital to focus on consumers who have the highest likelihood of going to the movies and deliver tailored messages to drive ticket sales. This entails having access to data on past ticket purchases at the title level and at specific exhibitors, as well as TV consumption at the show level, to understand a consumer’s unique movie and content preferences, and tailoring messaging accordingly.

2. Extending campaigns beyond opening weekend. For decades movie studios have focused primarily on generating ticket sales during the opening weekend of a movie release and have put the majority of their advertising budget toward that time frame. But because there are so many options demanding a consumer’s time, it’s no longer just about opening weekend. Although tickets sales are down 5% year-over-year, one trend we see is that audiences are seeing movies later, in the weeks following the premiere. According to Box Office Mojo, 67% of total box office sales for the top 100 movies in 2017 occurred after opening weekend. Data from over 10 different Conversant Box Office campaigns validates this as well. Studios should consider re-negotiating their exhibitor contracts to ensure they’re getting a bigger piece of the box office well past opening weekend and through weeks two and three. This will allow movie marketers to extend their promotions beyond opening weekend and drive even more revenue from would-be moviegoers.

3. Connecting online marketing and offline activities. One of the biggest challenges for movie marketers has been understanding the influence of their online advertising on ticket sales occurring in theaters, but Box Office is changing that. We can measure the online and offline impact of digital marketing investment on driving people to the theater on opening weekend and beyond.

Marketers can now connect the influence of digital advertising with sales occurring in theaters across multiple exhibitors all on one report. Armed with this meaningful purchase-level investment, movie studios can continuously learn and optimize, and ultimately be more efficient by controlling messaging at the unique user level across all their digital media investments.