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10 Tips On How Movie Studios Can Maximize Online Buzz And Drive Sales At The Box Office

Theatrical box office sales in the US alone have plummeted 8.8% year-over-year, showing a $1 billion loss. Generating a profit is further complicated by the short theatrical window, making it crucial to maximize opening weekend box office revenue.

To help, we recently released our Science of Sharing: Movies Promos white paper, in which we found that movie trailers and promotional videos are the fastest form of branded content. Sharing activity peaks within 24 hours of video launch.

That doesn’t leave a lot of time to get it right. To further issues, people are experiencing content shock. Every day, there are 4.75 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook and 1 million video URLs tweeted.

So how can a movie studio break through the clutter?

Here are 10 tips studios can use to outsmart the competition and utilise the science of sharing to maximize online buzz and drive sales at the box office.


1. Track the metrics that matter at the box office

As video sharers are 5.5 times more likely to purchase movie tickets, marketers would be remiss to only track views as the measurement of success. Views are a vanity metric and don’t measure the deep engagement required for a consumer to take action.


2. Launch your strongest content close to opening weekend

With 62% of movie promo shares occurring within 3 days of launch, a movie trailer launched months in advance of theatrical release is too early to drive buzz that can convert to ticket sales. For all online ads, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the days with the heaviest sharing. So if you’re planning to maximize the benefits of social WOM, we recommend launching your strongest content the Wednesday before your Friday premiere.


3. Experiment with non-traditional trailers

Add stand-alone, provocative content to your content plan (e.g. Devil’s Due’sDevil Baby Attack (above)”) or music videos with scenes from the movie (e.g. Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” / The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug). Popular music videos have the added bonus of generating additional organic views over a longer time period.


4. Pre-test your movie promos for shareability

Unruly ShareRank for Movies identifies the social variables driving your content and makes data-driven recommendations on how to optimize your video player and distribution plan to maximize online buzz and deliver brand recall. If you have multiple pieces of content to choose from, ShareRank will identify which video most resonates with consumers and is likely to drive Box Office revenue.


5. Provoke intense emotional responses to promote sharing and improve memorability

Use the science of sharing to create movie promos that grab your viewer’s attention. Use less-common psychological triggers or hit the more common triggers of happiness, amazement and exhilaration with great intensity to increase your chances of social success.


6. Invest in paid distribution

The greater the number of views, the greater the number of shares your content will receive – even if the share rate is low. Invest in paid distribution to guarantee you achieve the earned views and online buzz necessary for a strong opening weekend.


7. Ensure strong branding for original films

Franchise movies, such as Transformers, Maleficent and Godzilla are memorable as the title and concept are already familiar. Original films benefit from an extra branding boost in their promos, which can be achieved with greater screen presence for the film’s title in its promo video or by deploying a BrandBar in your player when using paid distribution.


8. Make the most of mobile

Mobile is becoming an increasingly prominent tool for moviegoers, with 41% of US moviegoers now watching trailers online, 40% researching showtimes and 36% reading reviews. Use In-Feed native formats to distribute your trailers on sites where viewers are researching movies on their mobile devices.


9. Align advertising and transactions to drive sales

Think outside the frame and customize your player with links to purchase movie tickets or purchase/rent digital versions while passion is at its highest levels immediately following a movie promo view.


10. Attract light movie-goers with exhilaration and amazement to create a sense of urgency

Frequent movie-goers plan to see most movies after watching a trailer. Therefore, studios can increase box office revenue by attracting light movie-goers Use audience targeting to get your trailer seen by light movie-goers, and highlight the exhilarating moments which will be augmented by the theater setting and sound system.