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Case Study: Reel it in and Close the Loop

Wed, Mar. 15, 2017 | By: Katie Rogers


Case study: Alphonso targeting for theatrical release

Did it work? Was it worth it? How can I make it better? Marketers are constantly asking these questions to ensure that they are making the most of every investment. Evaluating performance is key to understanding effectiveness, and attribution insights can help guide strategy in order to maximize ROI. These metrics allow marketers to determine the true value of their digital ad spend — and for movie studios, the one metric that matters most is ticket sales.

Studios primarily care about getting more “butts in seats,” but current tracking methods only tell half the story. Beacon and credit card data can indicate when a theater visit takes place, but studios haven’t been able to tie this data back to a specific movie title — until now.

Viewership data to target and link attribution
Through Tremor Video’s exclusive Alphonso partnership, movie studios have a first-to-market opportunity to directly connect ad exposure to actual in-theater attendance. Alphonso’s proprietary audio content recognition (ACR) technology is integrated within 30MM personal handheld devices to capture and understand what viewers are watching. Although this tech has primarily been used to track living room content exposure, a small theatrical studio turned to Tremor Video in Q4 2016 to find an innovative way to take this on-the-go, and apply the same strategy in theaters. Using audio collected in real time from moviegoer smartphones, this studio was able to verify in-theater attendance and provide more granular attribution data tied directly to ticket sales.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it took time to make the magic happen. In fact, this initiative was set in motion weeks before the movie even premiered at the box office. It actually all started in the living room, where the studio was able to recruit an audience of qualified TV viewers based on relevant programming and live TV viewership.

After collecting this unique pool of device IDs, the studio then delivered 1-to-1 trailer ads to those same viewers on second-screen devices (closer to the movie’s premiere date). Then, on opening weekend, the studio was able verify actual in-theater attendance by applying the same ACR tech to recognize if/when those same viewers were exposed to new film audio that was not included in the original trailer.

Capturing in-theater viewership data for the first time
This was the first time any studio was able to accurately capture an in-theater audience and directly link real-world results back to the film’s digital video campaign. The Alphonso strategy proved to be very effective for the studio, as the film saw a 70% lift in theater visits (exposed vs. unexposed). And during opening weekend, the studio was able to capture 10-15% of total moviegoer device IDs! This campaign also ran a comScore brand lift study, and saw 18% lift in aided awareness based on highly targeted ad delivery.

But wait, that’s not even the best part! What’s more exciting is that this strategy allowed the studio to collect first-party data (based on moviegoer device IDs) to create a proprietary audience pool that they now retarget in the future — for potential sequels or home entertainment releases.

More measurement means more success
This new theatrical solution gives studios the ability measure the impact of their digital ad spend and compare results across all of their marketing investments. They can break out performance by tactic, including broadcast, cable, live TV events, DVR, etc. to identify which strategy drove the highest ticket sales. This data is invaluable to marketers because it allows them to verify whether they are effectively spending their budget and optimizing revenue. There’s nothing better than knowing with certainty what works — and then doing more of it!

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