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PPC Ads in Movie Theatres? It Might Actually Happen Pretty Soon!

Paid-search-movies Has anyone been to the movie theater recently? Noticed that the movie is starting later and later, while more and more Advertising is filling the screen as we devour our popcorn and milk duds for the movie? Now, we are seeing TV shows and Cable channels being advertised on the movie screen and that got me thinking about WHAT IF?….

Geo-Targeting and Demographic targeting based on the location and movie genre that was playing could actually become a media outlet for Google, or anyone else for that matter, to start selling Ad space on the big screen. Plus to reinforce this idea, I always go back to my marketing roots with the "old but true" marketing phrase of "Fish where the fish are". Let's discuss……

Let's face it, when you are in a movie theater, your eyes are glued to the screen. We are used to seeing advertisements for the local restaurant as well as the previews of upcoming movies. However, over the past years, we have seen more and more previews and now even advertisements for television shows. Why? Because the networks are trying to "fish where the fish are".

Movie Genre + Geo + Time Targeting = Extreme Targeting
The demographic of someone seeing a cartoon or Disney film is pretty well targeted. The theater will have a wide audience, but you will have parents and/or grandparents with their kids and/or grand kids, and everyday people who enjoy Disney movies or animation. Furthermore, if we were to also add in movie time, an advertiser could run DAY-PARTING to advertise their restaurant if the movie ended around dinner time.

How would we calculate Volume?
Now lets consider the volume potential. Many movie theaters have multiple screens available playing different movies at the same time. For example, a movie theater near me has over 10 individual theaters in the complex. So basically the more movies that are being played at any given time in a given location, the better the scenario for the advertiser, as well as the Search Engine company.

How would we monetize this?
Obviously there cannot be a CPC (Cost per click), unless you throw a beer can at the screen which has touch screen capabilities. This would obviously have to be a flat CPM model based or other flat rate based on movie screen impressions. CPM rates could vary depending new premiers, summer blockbusters, types of audiences, etc…

How would we track conversions?
Well, that's a difficult one to predict. I cannot think of any mechanisms while watching a movie screen that a search engine service would provide. For now, it would have to be left to the advertiser to figure that out. However, if I were an advertiser, I would at the very least create the following tactics in my Ad (based on movie genre, location or time.)

  1. Virtual Directory:
  2. SMS TEXT your Reservation while the previews are showing
  3. Telephone Vanity Number in Ad (for easy retention) 1-800-APPLEBEES

Ppc-ads-movie=theater How would the Targeting work?
Well, the best thing to do is to look at what is currently available online now. We could take attributes from both Google Site Placement Targeting and Facebook's Demographic Targeting and just tailor them to the movie theaters' variables. For example, it could provide the following targeting information:

  • Geo-Targeting: Zip code, Region, State, Mile Radius, etc…
  • Movie Theater Type: Multi-screen, General, Imax, Drive-in, etc…
  • Movie Theater Brand: Regal Cinemas, AMC, United Artists, Imax, etc….
  • Movie Genres: Horror, kids, action, romance, sci-fi, etc….
  • Movie Times: Matinee, midnight, dinner time, etc….

Movie Theaters Are Becoming A Marketers Dream;
In a recent article published by the New York Times, entitled "Lights, Camera, Action for Concession Coupons – Sprint Says Take Your Cellphone to the Movies, author Stephanie Clifford states "FILM producers spend millions every year to draw audiences to their movies. Now, advertisers are beginning to benefit from that, using not only movie screens for their commercials, but the lobbies of cinemas as

To reinforce the topic seeing PPC Ads at the movies, the article goes on to say that "Companies have been expanding their cinema advertising recently,
realizing that theaters are good places to reach audiences that don’t
have too many distractions.
" This SemGeek thinks that this is a significant trend that will eventually make it's way to Google.

In conclusion:
In a world of instant news, Crack-berries, iPhones and iPods, our attention span is all over the place and Advertising surrounds our eyes, ears and nose ($20 for a bucket of Popcorn). The tradition of going out to the movies will never go away, even in this sluggish economy. However, the big difference between TV, Radio and Print, is that when you are in a movie theater, you are looking at (1) one screen, waiting through all the ads, previews, etc… to get to the movie.

Eventually, as in all media, testing different market segments to see what works, what doesn't or to even see what the potential is, is not a bad thing. The only bad things that could happen are: (1) Popcorn is stale. (2) Soda is flat. (3) Milk Duds are melted (4) The person next to you have a flatulation problem.

Filed under: Paid Search in General

One Response to "PPC Ads in Movie Theatres? It Might Actually Happen Pretty Soon!"

  1. kelfast says:

    Nice write-up though you may want to look at NCMI – National CineMedia with its digital Firstlook show, and realize the magnitude, segmentation and the digital path they are already headed on – and already occurring in the theater…

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