MARKETING TO INDEPENDENT FILM FANS: HOW TO SUCCEED THROUGH AUDIENCE TARGETING
Acclaimed US indie cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse expanded its reach in May with the launch of Alamo On Demand, its own VOD (Video On Demand) service. Curated by the same film programmers responsible for selecting which movies play in its cinemas, Alamo On-Demand is positioned as a platform for the country’s more discerning film fans and an extension to Alamo’s cinematic offering, with the same focus on indie, arthouse and foreign-language titles. As Alamo Drafthouse founder and Executive Chairman, Tim League, told Deadline at the time of its launch “Alamo On-Demand helps us to continue the conversation past the theatrical window and recommend movies we love to our community. And in these shuttered days and beyond, these rentals and purchases help support your neighbourhood theatre.”
Gruvi was approached to help identify, target & convert those discerning online independent film audiences, via both mobile and desktop. Built up over recent years, The Audience Programme (TAP) is Gruvi’s bespoke behavioural audience database tool that enables us to identify and target a particular audience segment via their actions online, before subsequently refining that targeting further (based upon initial campaign results) and using that data to expand our audience to also include custom lookalike groups. Consequently, this ongoing process ensures an absolute minimum of wastage in terms of actual media spend, with knowledge accrued and acted upon throughout the campaign as part of an indie film marketing strategy.
Our work with Alamo On Demand began in late August with Gruvi creating a range of Facebook ad executions for various titles included in a season of acclaimed Danish movies. These ads were designed to draw on the different motivations shown by members of the potential audience: some offered a free trial with the service, some targeted those film fans eager to discover & experience something new, some used the provocative nature of certain titles to exploit their appeal, and some relied on the fact that certain viewers would want to be seen as early adopters and opinion formers. By consistently tracking all individual ad executions we were able to build on the effectiveness of the strongest ones which, in turn, helped us grow the VOD marketing campaign’s total reach and attract new users (rather than simply cannibalising the existing audience base).
Alamo On Demand Homepage
The campaign is proving to be a phenomenal success: in the first ten days, Alamo On Demand saw a Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) of 20-30X - for every dollar spent on advertising.
The campaign also showed the effectiveness of thoroughly identifying, targeting and retargeting an appropriate audience: the user journey showed that while a significant majority (around 60%) of them initially engaged with Alamo On Demand via their mobile devices they subsequently turned to a desktop/laptop device to finish that journey, with around 65% of all transactions made that way.
Alamo On Demand: site visits + sales by device, generated by Gruvi ad campaign
During the initial phase of the campaign, the vast majority of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas were still closed, although a small proportion of the traffic generated by Gruvi resulted in advance ticket and concession sales in those venues. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Alamo On Demand service proved particularly popular in those cities where cinemas remained closed as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. What was very encouraging was the fact that the vast majority of the users that Gruvi found in those locations were new to Alamo On Demand: by using Alamo’s existing customers as a starting point Gruvi was able to create lookalike groups, successfully identifying, targeting, retargeting and ultimately engaging with vast numbers of new users.
Alamo On Demand: most popular locations of users & new users, generated by Gruvi ad campaign. In key locations such as New York, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco & San Antonio cinemas were closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alamo Drafthouse founder and Executive Chairman Tim League had this to say about the campaign: ”Understanding our guests' needs and tastes are essential to how we designed Alamo On Demand, Gruvi has been a great partner to extend that framework to our marketing support.”
Gruvi’s Alamo On Demand campaign shows, once again, the true effectiveness of behavioural audience data: knowing what people DO is more important than knowing who they ARE.
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