Mobile Ad Engagement Continued To Rise For Holiday Movie Releases

The connection between movie blockbusters and mobile ad engagement is coming closer, according to Millennial Media.

The Oscar race is on, but the holiday box office winners in mobile advertising have been announced. Family movies and kids films such as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb — stole the show.

That may come as no surprise given the hype and budget of the films, but what’s interesting is how much influence and engagement mobile ads had as Dani Cushion, SVP, Global Marketing and Communications at Millennial Media noted in a blog post.

Dani Cushion of Millennial Media
Dani Cushion of Millennial Media

On Thursday, December 18 — the day before The Hobbit’s release — mobile ad views jumped 111 percent.

Mobile ad performance was even stronger when it came to the season’s other hotly anticipated flick, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. The day that film hit theaters, mobile ad views surged 270 percent —the second largest increase of the season, Millennial Media stated.

To put those figures in context, Millennial Media compared the 2014 holiday period’s activity to the previous year, when, on November 27, 2013, the 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film Frozen was released. The day before that kid’s hit came out, Millennial Media saw a 72 percent rise in ad views. On the day after the film’s release, mobile ad views of Frozen jumped by an average of 45 percent a day into and throughout the following weekend. According to Millennial, this time frame saw the second largest daily spike in mobile ad views (101 percent) in history on that Saturday, November 28.

2014 saw even greater mobile engagement between consumers and movie ads. Mobile ad views spiked for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which opened on December 17 by 111 percent on December 16. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 saw a leap in mobile ad views of 270 percent.

Part of the reason the 2014 movie ads saw such a mobile push was because they received heavy promotion across many months, Cushion told GeoMarketing. She also adds that more consumers are “on their phones during the holiday season, [which] makes for higher [clickthroughs] across the board.” Speaking partly from her experience as a mother of three, Cushion noted that “mobile lends itself well to on-the-go planning; especially when kids are home during the holidays.”

The Magic Of The Movie App

But it’s not just mobile in and of itself that’s sweeping in the ad views. It’s a combination of factors that tie in with the platform. Cushion cited “message, audience, and targeting” as key ingredients for “creating the magic” of mobile ad.

Movie apps have an advantage in this fertile mobile landscape because, as Cushion said, they “offer target audiences, prime real estate, and supportive promotion for studios and theater chains.” Movie app Fandango, for instance, will provide a consumer with local movie venues and show times so that one can easily scan options and make a purchase on the spot that will be both relevant to their schedule and their location.

“The key for entertainment advertisers is serving your message to the right audience at the right time and in the right place,” Cushion added.


But mobile isn’t just an emerging medium for previewing movie ads, it’s also being used as a “second-screen” to consumers watching TV at home.This is especially true during award shows like the Academy Awards.

“When the red carpet rolls out on Sunday, you can bet consumers will be watching, with their phones in-hand,” Cushion asserted.“43.7 million people watched the Oscars in 2014, and nearly half of mobile users use a second screen half of the time they watch TV.”

Sunday evening will see an influx of hashtags pertaining to the Oscars and most people will be contributing to the social conversation via their smartphones. Cushion said that consumers will be heavily-engaged in social media be it by tweeting out winner predictions or posting their favorite outfits on Instagram.

“There were 3.3 billion tweets with the #Oscars hashtag in 2014,” Cushion said.  Chances are there will be more this year, especially since this has been a trickier year for critics to pick clear winners.

Join The Party

If theater chains want a piece of the mobile engagement action, Cushion says this years Oscars event is a prime opportunity, and they don’t need to roll out a sophisticated campaign to be involved.

“During the show, advertisers can join the conversation on Twitter with specialized handles and hashtags,” Cushion suggested. “Rich Media and Video also work particularly well to showcase trailers, cast bios, and movie trivia. When the curtain closes, advertisers can capitalize on post-show excitement and extend exposure within heavily trafficked content. For example, create branding on YouTube alongside buzz-worthy videos or leverage mobile video and interstitials that leverage high-volume traffic on entertainment, news, and social sites.”