STX Entertainment Turns To Location Attribution To Measure Ad ROI For Bad Moms Movie Ticket Sales

The movie studio and its agency Horizon used Placed Attribution to determine the impact of digital ads for the hit comedy had on moviegoers.

In addition to using geotargeting to drive last-minute movie ticket sales, location data’s real starring role in the Hollywood studio system may be as a metric that shows how well interactive ads worked to drive visits to multiplexes.

Case in point: STX Entertainment worked with media buying and planning shop Horizon and location analytics provider Placed to determine the ROI on its collective ad spending on behalf of the summer comedy Bad Moms.

If It Can’t Be Measured, You Can’t Spend Ad Dollars On It

The R-rated film, which cost at $20 million to make and stars Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, and Kristen Bell, has so far sold $112 million in tickets, according to the most recent tally by Box Office Mojo.

While satisfied with its hit status, the movie studio and its agency wanted a better sense the ad spending performance behind the effort.

While TV advertising continues to rely on the traditional gross ratings points associated with Nielsen’s household measurement in order to calibrate ad spending, online advertising generally — and mobile in particular — have no clear standard by which to know what’s the “optimal” amount of spending that should be budgeted to drive awareness and sales. And as media buyers often say, if you can’t accurately measure it, marketers are going to be reluctant to spend it.

Source: Placed
Source: Placed

Bad Moms, Good Opening Weekend

At the end of the day, Placed Attribution, the Seattle location insights platform’s analytics product, showed “attributed incremental audience returned 2.31x the marketing investment needed to drive a ticket sale.”

In addition, the digital campaign drove an additional 428x moviegoers into Bad Moms on the opening weekend. According to Placed, people exposed to a Bad Moms ad were 55% more likely to watch Bad Moms that the control group.

Placed calculates the incremental number by comparing audiences exposed to digital ads to similar audiences who were unexposed through a combination of directly measured locations, survey and modeling within their panel.

As for Placed Attribution, its insights are based on a panel model that includes more than 600,000 active opted-in mobile app users — a number that the company has noted represents 1 in 450 adults in the US. That metric is also used by over 80 publishers, networks, and demand side platforms, including ncluding IPG Mediabrands, DigitasLBi, Tapad, DataXu, Drawbridge, and TapJoy, in addition to Horizon.

“Horizon challenged Placed to look beyond just a theater visit to truly close the loop from digital advertising to BAD MOMS ticket receipts,” said Erin Foxworthy, SVP, Partnerships and Innovation at Horizon Media.

“With every $1.00 spent in marketing, our digital media was able to drive an incremental $2.31 box office receipts as measured by Placed,” Foxworthy added. “With this new level of measurement and accountability, STX and Horizon are developing new insights into media effectiveness and the success of theatrical campaigns.”

In Placed CEO and co-founder David Shim’s view, the value of geo-data goes beyond examining digital ad effectiveness in isolation from other media messaging.

“Location-based advertising plays a role in the overall marketing mix to generate ticket sales, but the more important play is location-based attribution, which closes the loop on ROI to determine what is the right time, place, media, and creative to drive incremental box office sales,” Shim told GeoMarketing.

Source: STX Entertainment

Putting Moviegoers On The Map

The ability to analyze and review at how a campaign performed is important. But it still leaves gaps when it comes to influencing the next campaign in terms of how much and when to spend. With TV advertising, the traditions largely hold: most studios will still pay heavily for broadcast and cable placements on Thursday, late nights in order to capture younger viewers’ attention for new theatrical releases as those consumers consider their weekend plans.

But time-shifted viewing and digital media consumption has altered that equation to a certain degree for the movie studios and their agencies.

Aside from gaining insight into what drove ticket sales for Bad Moms, Horizon and STX Entertainment are gaining proprietary knowledge around audience segmentation, flighting optimization, and the overall audience behaviors of moviegoers such as store preferences, app propensity, and device usage.

“STX Entertainment was designed from inception to unlock the value of today’s changing media landscape, which includes looking at emerging media attribution tools, with a focus on ROI,” said Amy Elkins, SVP, Media and Marketing Innovation at STX Entertainment. “We were able to move past the traditional metrics of views and clicks to measure the true impact of our digital media on ticket sales with Placed Attribution.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.