How to engage highly targeted movie audiences
Updated: Jan 20
Case study: “The Bride” US limited release
We often hear independent filmmakers and distributors expressing fears that the audience demographics for their films is ‘too small’. And while it is true that some movies appeal to a niche audience, it doesn’t have to be seen as a disadvantage. That, combined with a limited release, can go a long way in creating a buzz about the film.
The reason why we know this to be true, is because we have had a chance to work on campaigns that had either niche audiences or were released in a small number of cities.
In August 2016 Gruvi ran a social media and web video campaign for the limited US release of the film “The Bride” (dir. Paula Ortiz). The film was distributed in the US by Outsider Pictures. It premiered on August 5 in 3 cities in Florida- Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
The goal was to target and engage the Spanish-speaking community in Florida during a one week campaign (August 3 – August 8). We refined the targeting by focusing on fans of foreign art-house movies (e.g. “Embrace of the Serpent”, “Son of Saul”) and directors (e.g. Pedro Almodovar and Wong Kar Wai.)
Key media and budget
The key media used for the campaign included:
– Facebook native video player to promote the trailer;
– Gruvi microsite and Facebook responsive player. They both promoted the trailer and included showtimes and ticket booking links;
– video pre-roll on YouTube.
The total budget was of 1000 USD with a target of 8000 actions (including video views, clicking- whether to buy tickets or to explore features of the player, sharing, commenting).
Preparation- finding the audience
We integrated into Gruvi’s CMS the poster, the trailer on YouTube, as well as film stills which were used as share images. Then we began segmenting audiences and adapting creative to those audience segments.
We tested these to identify the key demographics of the audience. This revealed a particularly high engagement from males and females over the age of 55, with particularly good results with females older than 65. The targeting in the main campaign then focused on these groups.
This is how the Gruvi app displayed in sponsored posts
The results confirmed the outcome of the testing. The testing produced an average clickthrough rate of 2.41%. This went up to almost 4% during the campaign. An excellent result when factoring in that the average CTR for Facebook ads in the US is as low as 0.98 %.
Users in the 55+ category accounted for the highest clickthrough rate (5.60% for female users and 3.82% for males). They were also more likely to watch more of the trailer.
Throughout the campaign, another demographic group turned out to be very engaged with the content. The clickthrough rate for young women (25 to 34 years old) was over 6%.
CTR – demographics
Word of mouth was an important factor for “The Bride”- video views spiked the day after the film’s premiere.
Overall, the Gruvi app performed better than the Facebook Native video. The latter accounted for more impressions. But the Gruvi app was more effective in actually engaging and persuading the audience to buy tickets. While the Facebook native video registered 1.9 clicks for every 100 views, the Gruvi app provided a lot more opportunities for engagement. It registered 139 clicks for every 1000 views.
Performance of the Facebook native video
Performance of the Gruvi app
Including video views and clicks, we far surpassed the 8000 projected actions. The campaign generated over 38 000 actions- shares, comments, clicking within the app, clicking to buy tickets etc.
More time for testing would have allowed to expand the target audience by revealing what creative elements appealed to other groups. Connecting the existing video with a channel would have been a useful addition to the YouTube strategy.
Performance of pre-roll (YouTube)
The risky elements of this campaign were its geographical scope (just 3 cities) and its niche audience. We decided to play on these as strengths. A smaller group of people in a very specific area are easier to target through advertising. This can be leveraged for generating word of mouth and exponentially increasing reach. All this for a fraction of the price of traditional media campaigns.
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