At Movio, we never stop exploring bigger, better and faster ways to do things. Understanding the likelihood of a moviegoer purchasing tickets and watching a specific movie is a simple and extraordinarily effective way to reduce costs in your campaign strategy - and see top dollar return in theaters. And that’s why we’ve developed our Propensity Algorithm™. The days of solely relying on an individual’s personal experience and memory are over, and movie marketers will now be able to make precise, informed and automated campaign decisions based on actual data.
Our recently-shared vision for 2018 was our first public exploration into the world of propensity. In this interview, we speak with Movio Cinema Product Manager, Ryan Scott, and Senior UX Designer, Scott Gamble, to find out exactly what propensity is, why it’s important to movie marketing and how our new Movio Cinema module, Audience Insights, will dramatically improve the way marketers connect moviegoers to their ideal movies.
How did you turn the 2018 product vision into a useable tool for marketers?
Ryan Scott: Our main focus for 2018 is simplifying everything for movie marketers. An issue we'd found was the complexity of finding the best movie for each individual, and so we addressed this first with last year’s Movie Insights extension module. We then explored how we could determine the likelihood of someone going to a certain movie, in order to gain insight into how best to engage these people.
Scott Gamble: To achieve that from a product design perspective, we decided to go directly to our exhibition clients. We interviewed them to identify how they managed their communications, how they created campaigns and what sort of cadence they followed. We found that there were quite pronounced differences between regions, especially between America and the rest of the world. But all movie marketers follow broadly the same cycle of promoting movies and trying to find the right movie for the right person, every time. Even if some of the specifics differ, it’s all about letting the moviegoer know about movies they want to see. Audience Insights was built in response to this - we wanted to simplify the process of reaching moviegoers with the right message.
What are the key benefits of Audience Insights for marketers and how will it change their current workflow?
RS: Audience Insights is going to revolutionize the way movie marketers promote their slate of movies. It provides visibility on the total demand for movies currently showing, reducing the complexity of creating a multitude of targeted campaigns. Secondly, it allows users to understand the likelihood of members seeing a particular movie, meaning more precise targeting.
As for changing workflows, it essentially makes a marketer’s job more streamlined. If you want to send each individual in your database a unique campaign featuring their best movie match, Audience Insights helps to quickly achieve this.
SG: If an exhibitor creates a list of all of the movies showing in a given theater, group of theaters or circuit-wide, Audience Insights will instantly show them how much of their total membership base each movie will take. The module allows you to create communications for complementary movies, saving time, budget and effort. For example, you might group movies of a similar audience size or genre together into one campaign.
Audience Insights makes the life of a marketer easier. Our interviews revealed that most of our clients were working at such capacity that they really didn't have much time to spend on their communications - whether that be planning, segmenting, or implementing. Whatever we can do to help our users research more effectively, target accurately and design optimal communications, the better.
Why does propensity matter to movie marketers?
RS: It takes a lot of the guesswork out of trying to find the best movie for each person. Traditionally, this has relied upon individuals with deep experience of movies, seasonal trends, circuit knowledge, and client behavior.
Propensity and Movio’s data-driven approach vastly reduces this reliance and any inherent biases, perfectly supplementing human experience and knowledge. It takes out the time-consuming process of identifying groups from such vast numbers of moviegoers, allowing marketers to focus their expertise on the actual marketing strategy. People expect relevant content recommendations and exhibitors are being compared to other content providers, such as Netflix. The bar has been raised, and propensity allows cinema marketers to compete effectively.
SG: Our previous module release, Movie Insights, uses our Similarity Algorithm™, which measures movie similarity based on the relevant overlap of audiences between two movies. Our clients have already gained excellent results from this tool, but these results are still black or white: either you’re in the group or you’re not. That’s why we decided to introduce propensity to Movie Insights.
Knowing the likelihood of someone seeing a given movie allows you to tailor your messaging to that specific audience propensity. For example, if there’s a major release like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, there will be people who are going to see it no matter what. There will also be moviegoers who are quite interested and will probably see it, and then those who really need some encouragement before they’re willing to purchase a ticket.
Even if you want to contact everyone in this group, you can still segment it by propensity and tailor your messages accordingly. Those guests who will be there on opening night, no question, simply need to know when and where to buy tickets. Those who are quite likely to come can be pushed over the line with messages like “collectible popcorn tin” or “drink service direct to your seat!” to communicate a more significant experience. And then there are those people who will really need a free popcorn or discounted ticket to get them through the door.
What can Movio Cinema users look forward to with the upcoming release?
SG: Users can look forward to a much cleaner user interface: we spent a great deal of time designing something that is going to be nice to look at and intuitive to use. We want it to be as seamless and clutter-free as possible.
RS: Audience Insights will allow movie marketers to automatically identify the most relevant movie for each moviegoer and really tailor their efforts accordingly. If a large blockbuster like Black Panther is released this week, you can easily identify those moviegoers who would prefer it over every other movie showing. You can also visualize the demand for other movies showing, providing you with the insight to share a different campaign to those in each group. This means you can ensure that each moviegoer receives highly-personalized and relevant content every time, and not just one big email blast for that week’s new release.
Audience Insights will transform the way users market movies. It will provide marketers with the speed, precision and volume of targeted campaigns that they simply haven’t been able to reach before.
If you’d like to know more about propensity, check out our white paper ‘The New Wave Of Movie Marketing’.