Digital Marketing in the Entertainment Industry: Using Analytics to Prove ROI

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Digital marketing in the entertainment industry presents an opportunity for executive marketers to use analytics to prove the ROI from their efforts.

Traditional marketing has something of a problem when it comes to the entertainment industry.

It’s not just that traditional marketing suppliers are more sales-oriented now than partner-oriented; nor is it just that the cost of traditional media has only gone up.

It’s that traditional marketing has—and always will—struggle to definitely prove ROI. Even established measuring bodies like Nielsen only use a statistical sample of the entire American TV population, which is good but hardly preferable to the alternative.

Digital marketing in the entertainment industry, on the other hand, excels at collecting and interpreting data so that entertainment companies can make clear, insightful decisions on how best to promote their brand and that of the creatives they produce. With digital marketing, entertainment executives can get the complete picture on any marketing initiative and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Savvy entertainment businesses can increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns while driving down costs by using metrics to discover which parts of their marketing operations have the most impact and are a good use of their budget.

Here are just some of the ways experienced entertainment marketers can derive value from analytics.

Proving value for digital marketing in the entertainment industry

1. Better fan engagement

The entertainment industry is quite possibly one of the most receptive areas digital marketers can work in. According to an online study, entertainment-centric emails have the highest open rates among all industries (37.3 percent compared to 25 to 27 percent for other industries).

This indicates a high demand for entertainment products. And yet the same study indicates that only 47 percent of entertainment professionals use email marketing as part of their overall strategy. This is a severe oversight and must be corrected as much as possible.

Done right, an entertainment company can establish more and much stronger connections with customers via email that few other industries enjoy. This can be accomplished by constantly testing and refining email marketing communications and tracking performance-related metrics such as open rates and conversion rates over time.

But as effective as the entertainment business is at email, it really comes to its own on social media. According to The Hollywood Reporter, 56 percent of viewers believe social networks play an important role in making entertainment-related decisions.

Another study by social video advertising platform Unruly showed that while 31 percent of people who watch a movie promo will pay to see it, those who share the promo are six times more likely to purchase a ticket.

As you can see, there are some very tangible reasons for entertainment companies to track and monitor social media performance. Follows, shares, and favorites are not mere vanity metrics to media and entertainment companies. There don’t just need to be tools in place to collect and monitor all of this data across all social media channels; there need to be systems in place for marketers to act on this information quickly and effectively.

Social media can also be used to engage with fans in ways beyond sharing trailers. These experiences—traditionally called publicity stunts—take on a whole new level of effectiveness once the power of digital marketing and data analysis comes into play.

American Idol is a perfect example. The reality show recently came out with an integrated social media strategy that prompted audiences to talk about the show on social media, and rewarded them with additional show-related content when the posts hit a certain number. This was incredibly engaging to jaded reality show audiences, and as a result viewership and engagement numbers skyrocketed.

Smart marketers using digital marketing in the entertainment industry can take a page from this example and create their own engaging social media or live participatory events, and then use the collected data to fuel further marketing campaigns.

2. Deeper market segmentation

Of course, all of this collected data can only truly be useful if managed properly. Simply lumping all this data into a single list is dangerous and limiting. Smart entertainment marketers don’t just collect data, they manage it.

Thankfully, this seems to be a concept with which most entertainment professionals are already familiar—at least when it comes to email. In fact, 82 percent of entertainment companies already segment their email subscriber lists based on demographics, while only 18 percent don’t.

But segmentation doesn’t just cover personal information. It also covers how audiences watch said media, as well. Different generations have different viewing habits, with younger generations preferring to watch shorter trailers, videos, and other media on their mobile device while older generations preferring longer media and watching on laptops or desktops.

Such information can affect the length, style, and pace of any trailers or media being produced and how they’re presented. Entertainment targeted to younger demographics would be optimized for mobile devices, apps, and sites, while entertainment for older demographics could be placed on branded portals that allow for a deeper, slower-paced experience that encourages browsing.

This is just an example of how segmented marketing data can affect how entertainment companies would use data to market to various audiences.

3. Demographics retargeting

Occasionally, though, the data will show results that are so drastically out of line with original assumptions that it prompts a fundamental shift in the movie’s marketing.

Take the case of the live-action Disney movie, “The Jungle Book.” During a panel at MMS Los Angeles 2016, Andre Fonseca, VP of Digital Marketing at The Walt Disney Company shared that when they first took over the Facebook page for the original animated movie, the fan base was mostly made of women aged 55 and up.

However, when the trailer for the live action movie adaptation came out, it was more men aged 18 to 30 who were interested instead. And so they retargeted the campaign to focus on this new demographic. Had they not done so, the marketing campaign may have fallen flat on its face and led to poor box office performance.

By collecting and monitoring your marketing metrics properly, you’ll be able to discover trends that may have a strong impact on your entertainment business. This can open up chances to capitalize on a successful campaign (or correct a failing one), engage fans more closely, and leverage cross-promotional opportunities when marketing in the entertainment industry.