The film industry has been one benefactor of the social media revolution that has taken place over the past ten years. Social media has allowed film companies to advertise and build up buzz for their movies in whole new ways. YouTube is the main way that studios deliver trailers and other videos to the public, but they utilize the other large social media platforms as well. Prior to the rise of social media sites, studios relied on traditional means of advertising such as television commercials, newspaper ads and showing trailers before other films in cinema. These methods are still used, but social media allows film companies to reach large audiences and to target certain users who may be interested in one of their films.
One of the main benefits of promoting on social media is reach. Roughly 40% of the world’s population uses the internet and YouTube claims to have over 1 billion users. If the film companies create exciting trailers and ads then they have the potential to reach huge audiences. Star Wars has been in the news recently for the trailer that came out last Monday. The reception to the trailer has been huge with 47 million views in the last 6 days. When the trailer was first released ticket websites crashed because demand was so strong. The Star Wars teaser trailer released 10 months ago has been viewed over 90 million times as well. Before YouTube and other social media sites this kind of exposure would have been extremely expensive if not logistically impossible.
I think the studios are definitely doing a very good job of creating trailers and content that excite fans. All it takes is one good trailer to make someone want to go and see a film. For example, this trailer alone made me want to see the last X-Men movie well before it even hit theaters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK2zYHWDZKo Editors have gotten so good that they can make almost any movie look great in a trailer.
Another strategy that film companies use to advertise with social media is to release teasers up to a year in advance of the film’s release. This gets fans excited and invested in a film early. I heard about Interstellar from a friend and I immediately watched the first teaser when it came out in November 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyc6RJEEe0U This was a full year before the film was released and the studio had already convinced me to go and pay for their product. This is a huge advantage for the studio because I am going to share this content on my social media for the next year and potentially attract dozens more customers. Star Wars employed a similar strategy, dropping its first teaser 1 year before release to build buzz.
Film studios also use the extensive amount of data collected from us online to target advertisements at potential customers. For example, I have been seeing ads for the new James Bond movie Spectre on my Facebook recently. I have not liked the Spectre page though. I have viewed the Spectre trailers on YouTube however. I would imagine that since Facebook knows everything about me, it got some data that I was interested in the film and calculated that I would like to see more content from it. This huge amount of data can be a big benefit for film studios because it allows them to target users who have shown interest in their films but may be on the fence about buying a ticket. Also, a computer decides who to target which takes a lot of the strain off of marketing employees. Social media has greatly changed the way film studios market their products in the last ten years. Social platforms allow studios to reach huge audiences, to get fans excited about films long before release and to use data to target customers more effectively.