Box Office Impact & Facebook

Box Office Image Source: Unsplash

How Is Facebook Impacting Box Office Numbers in the Movie Industry? By Frankie Wallace.

Today, a lot of people get more of their news from social media than from traditional news channels. That goes for everything from current events and breaking news to pop culture. While movie marketing used to exist solely in movie theaters, magazines, and TV commercials, today we can learn about the latest and greatest movies as we browse our social media feeds.

All sorts of businesses use social media marketing to their advantage, so why should the film industry be any different? Facebook is the most popular social platform for advertising, possibly because it has such rich ad-creation tools. Now that Facebook owns Instagram, the photo-sharing app may become just as useful for ad targeting.

Sony Pictures and Facebook Marketing

Sony Pictures is a heavy user of Facebook marketing, and they’ve seen a lot of success with it: 

  • For The Angry Birds Movie 2, they have a video with one of the characters participating in the trending #bottlecapchallenge.
  • One of their ads for Spider-Man: Far From Home has the words “#1 Movie in the World” integrated into a scene as a “thank you” to fans for helping it perform so well at the box office.
  • To celebrate Independence Day, Sony Pictures had Zendaya, star of Spider-Man, thank vets around the world.

The reason Sony Pictures has had such luck with Facebook advertising is that they look at it as a focus group. For years, Hollywood has used focus groups to research performance, but Sony saw Facebook users as a type of easier-to-access, larger focus group. 

Facebook Ads and Movie Marketing

Facebook ads can be used at all different stages. To market a movie, Facebook ads can increase brand awareness through trailers or drive sales by encouraging ticket purchases. Facebook ads can also be targeted to all sorts of demographics, which means box office movie marketers can aim ads at specific ages, genders, locations, and interests.

Moreover, Facebook marketing, both organic and paid, can be used to boost other types of promotions. Experiential marketing is a popular way to promote movies now, for example. Movie marketers will create an experience that engages audience members, and from there, the participants will be more inclined to actually see the movie. For example, Coke offered customers the chance to win seats at the Skyfall premiere. Facebook ads can promote these types of marketing campaigns – it’s not a direct route to the movie theater, but it’s a way to promote a wider-reaching or more impactful marketing campaign.

How Hollywood is Growing Disinterested in Facebook

Despite some success with movie marketing, certain studios aren’t so keen on advertising with Facebook any longer. Instead, studios are growing more interested in other social media platforms, like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. At first, it seemed that advertising on Facebook was much more budget-friendly than running a TV ad. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach any audience, let alone the right audience, with Facebook ads. Targeting can be tricky to master, and a lot of money can be wasted when trying to figure it out. It’s also unclear if liking an ad or promotion on Facebook actually leads to better box office numbers.

Getting Hollywood Back on Board

One solution may be to provide movie studios with more insight and data. Facebook analytics have to show how ads and marketing efforts lead to actual sales. This is especially important now because the current Facebook algorithm is pickier about what audience members see. That means that movie marketing campaigns aren’t being seen as broadly as before, making it harder for them to reach their target audiences.

Additionally, Facebook can educate users about how to create more engaging content. When a movie page has a lot of followers and likes, and when those fans engage with what’s posted, the algorithm will show followers more of that page’s posts. The key is to create engaging content that gets audiences interacting with and responding to what’s posted. 

Facebook Marketing Strategies for Movie Studios

There are a number of ways to create more engaging Facebook content when promoting a movie. One of the best ways is to feature the big-name actors and actresses everyone wants to see. Videos featuring the actors as themselves (not their characters) are highly engaging because viewers love to see their favorite stars talking right to them. 

Movie studios can also add more box office value to a movie. This is similar to how retailers upsell and cross-sell to promote more sales. For example, if a movie is being released to DVD or will be on a streaming network, a marketing campaign can promote a new, extended scene or show the after-credits scene a lot of people missed in the theater.

Videos are an excellent type of media for movie marketing on Facebook. Not only is video marketing hugely effective and engaging, but movies have more options than simply showing the trailer. They can show a cut scene or an introduction to the movie from one of its stars, even if it’s an animated movie (Disney does this a lot). Videos tend to be shared, too, which improves organic marketing.

What movie marketers have to be careful of is not putting all of their eggs in one basket. While a large part of their audience may be on Facebook, many potential moviegoers may not have a Facebook account at all. Privacy concerns are leading plenty of Facebook users to shut down their accounts, which means that marketers have to use alternative methods to still reach them. Facebook should be a component of movie marketing for many studios, but not the entirety of it. 

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