With the advent of superhero blockbuster films, it’s easy to overlook that about half of the movies produced today are unsuccessful. Moreover, the margin for error between making a profitable movie and a movie that bomb at the tills is relatively small. This is why film studios come up with all sorts of promotional strategies to give their finished film every chance of success.
It isn’t a secret that, often, a movie lives and dies by how effective its marketing strategy was. There are a few examples where an otherwise great movie was hobbled by poor marketing and, thus, performed dismally at the box office. On the other hand, there are also mediocre movies that hit the jackpot because of their insanely successful marketing.
Film studios had previously utilized various print and broadcast media channels to the fullest to market their products, but now that the internet is here, a whole new avenue is opened. So far, it’s shaping up to be the best marketing tool for films; digital marketing, it seems, is perfectly suited for social media generation, where you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of people before they lose interest.
So, how does digital marketing get modern audiences to watch your movie? Below are a few digital marketing tips for film studios.
Get The Audience Involved
The first film to take full advantage of digital marketing is The Blair Witch Project, released in 1999. If the film’s producers just used a standard trailer, the kind that starts with, ‘In a world where…’ the movie would probably just be a tiny blip on the moviegoers’ radar. But what the people behind the film did, instead, was to create a disturbing uncertainty that turned out to be very effective.
They launched the movie’s official website months before its release and filled it with fake police reports and newsreel-style interviews about missing students. For a while, there were debates whether the film was a work of fiction or a documentary, which added to the curiosity surrounding the film.
The filmmakers also put out posters and flyers that asked for information about the ‘missing’ students, further stoking people’s uncertainty about the movie’s provenance. And it worked like a dream–the audience was hooked. This movie is considered the first to be marketed wholly through the internet. It went viral before the tech that makes things go viral even existed; technologies for sending video files weren’t as polished then as they are today.
Make The Film’s Website Engaging
Some films’ websites are fine with being simple and engaging. A film’s website should contain well-made trailer/s, links to where they can watch the whole movie–whether it’s on a streaming site or at local theaters–perhaps access to online ticket purchasing, cast bios, etc. Lastly, add a gorgeous landing page and you’re good to go.
Nothing wrong with websites like these; some promoters even prefer this type of no-frills site. Perhaps you could also get visitors to engage. In which case, you can add a few options, like creating an effective answer funnel for the merchandise and the movie itself.
But there are also movie websites like what ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ had. The website was launched without fanfare a few months before the movie’s actual launch and it didn’t even mention the movie. The website was for Trask Industries, which is only significant to the fans of the comic book. It was a highly effective use of digital marketing–the website generated a huge amount of buzz and got the target audience excited. All in all, it was a brilliant piece of soft marketing.
Trailers will always be crucial for marketing a movie, digital or otherwise. Sometimes, though, having a trailer isn’t enough. It must arouse strong feelings from the viewers, strong enough that people want to share it with their friends. Having a great video trailer means you should also have a seeding strategy.
Moreover, the trailer should only be available, initially, on the film’s website. That way, sharing it would mean people will also share the film site’s URL, and not other sites like, for example, YouTube. This will mean more exposure for the movie’s website and more exposure to other information and promotions on the site. Perhaps, after a week or two, you can then share the trailer or trailers on other video-sharing websites.
Harness The Power Of Social Media
Advertising on Facebook can be very effective, especially if you grasp what works and what doesn’t work on the social media giant. Facebook ads are especially effective if your content is shareable. For instance, if your ad appeared in a user’s timeline and it got a like or a share, the ad gets free exposure to the user’s friends and followers. As a tip, it pays if your content is good enough to be shared.
It’s the obvious choice to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but you shouldn’t also forget their little brothers and sisters like Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, and others. More than a few films have used these platforms with great results. So, your team should have a deep understanding of these platforms. These platforms may have fewer users than the social media giants, but they can be very active in sharing content, thus helping your film reach a wider audience.
Use Memes And Other User-Generated Contents (UGC)
Using memes is an one of the best digital marketing tips for film studios. An effective way of making shareable content is using memes. Memes are easily dismissed, but they can be instrumental in making something go viral. They can be used subtly in promoting anything–from dog adoption to films. They are succinct, funny, customizable, and eminently shareable. If the film’s memes got shared in community-based websites like Reddit, which has around 430 million active users monthly, it would certainly get the movie a boost.
You could also do fan art, caption contests, or other tongue-in-cheek UGC to encourage people to use their creativity, and if they also like to share them, so much the better.
Use Your Film’s Characters
One of the characters in the film would certainly have an emotional connection with audiences–whether the protagonist or the anti-hero. There had been marketing campaigns that creatively used the viewers’ love or hate towards specific characters in the movie by creating an online persona based on that character. A famous example of this is Tony Stark’s Twitter account. These accounts can have hundreds of thousands of followers.
The marketing team can also create a character blog, which is ostensibly written by the character themselves. This type of digital marketing is popular and has been used by producers to promote TV shows and movies.
A lot is at stake when a movie is released. That’s why the marketing team should use all avenues in promoting the film. Digital marketing can be instrumental in making a film successful. Sometimes, it can even make or break a movie. Promoting a film through the internet need not break the bank. If you have tons of creativity, you can harness the power of the internet to successfully market your film.
We hope that you enjoyed our article on best digital marketing tips for film studios.