Exploring the Need of Engaging Trailers for Live Theatre
The marketing department’s job starts long before the actors are cast, the set is built, or a single light has been hung or focused. Creating engaging and meaningful trailers for a production that doesn’t yet exist is a challenge that every arts marketer faces. The unique nature of theatrical licensing rights and other limitations imposed on companies can also make creating a trailer to promote a show very difficult. Because of these challenges, many organizations find themselves caught in a cycle of wanting to create engaging videos around each production but lacking the time or resources to commit to such endeavors. This blog series will explore the entire cycle of creating such assets: the need for trailers, the challenges, some solutions, and a few case studies describing how Engaged Video has worked with our partners to overcome these obstacles and create dynamic video assets to promote their shows. The first blog in this series will explore the need for dynamic trailers.
Traditional marketing for theatrical productions has been in decline for years and many arts marketers aren’t seeing a return on their investment. Theatre companies across the country are seeing fewer returns from traditional newspaper and print promotions, and social media engagement can only go so far without dynamic or eye-catching resources to incite a reaction from your audience. Video content, rich media, and interactive content just perform better than traditional static content. Take a look at the average returns from a dynamic asset on a few established performance metrics:
- 50% click rate – (clicks to view or play)
- 59% conversion rate – (clicks that take a predefined secondary step: purchase, like, subscribe, etc.)
- 80% completion rate – (percent of viewers that consume entire asset)
- 13% share rate – (percent of forwards to a viewer’s personal network)
The reality is that all statistics are fungible based on industry, what product is being promoted, and target market. Many nonprofit organizations are really happy with a 3.5 to 8% click rate and a 2.5 to 4% conversion rate. It’s not really possible to measure completion rate on text or static image content like you can with a quiz or video. Share rates for traditional marketing and promotional content is so small as to be negligible and not worth mentioning. Dynamic content changes the playing field so significantly on these four metrics that it forces most people to completely change how they think about web-based promotions.
AVOIDING MESSAGE SKEW:
Dynamic content eliminates the most frustrating roadblock that arts marketers encounter with static content marketing: message truncating. Every arts marketer has found themselves in the unenviable position of being forced to compress their message to fit a specific text character limit, for example, Facebook’s current 20% text limit on graphical advertising, that results in losing a portion of a carefully crafted pitch. With the statistics outlined above and this fundamental challenge it only makes sense to utilize dynamic content marketing in order to control the message and ensure a higher rate of conversion.
ADVANCED GAME THEORY:
Video and dynamic content actively leverages game theory to incite an audience to participate. The more enticing or engaging your media or interactive asset is, the more likely people are to click, engage, and share. Which character are you from Game of Thrones, or The West Wing? Are you a Capulet or a Montague? What period of history should you live in? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Why do you think there are so many quizzes on Facebook? The stats don’t lie. People complete quizzes to answer these questions, and often will answer the questions in order to get a desired result based on how they self identify. This type of content benefits both you and your patron. “Are you a Capulet or a Montague” “You’re a Montague–Tell Your Friends!” And don’ forget to buy tickets to our upcoming production of R&J and bring out YOUR Romeo! Either way the company hosting the content benefits from the traffic and attention.
EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT ISN’T ENOUGH
The other major issue that many arts marketers are facing is that quality content and intelligent social media programming isn’t enough anymore. You’ve Cott Mail recently shared an article run by The Guardian stating that many arts organizations are seeing dramatic decreases in the reach of their posts and many organizations are having to change how they leverage their social channels. You can game the system all you want: post during the peak read times of the day and create rich graphical content paired with engaging copy, but the reality is that the return on an impression from static content is staggeringly lower than video or dynamic interactive content. Your audience is scrolling through hundreds of Facebook posts, thousands of tweets, and picture after picture on Instagram of their friends. There’s just too much noise. In order to penetrate the clutter you have to game multiple systems at the same time:
- Persistent and programmed massaging that uses your company’s voice
- Effectively timed posts that go live at peak times of interest
- Quality messaging and copy that speaks directly to your target audience
- Engaging content that catches the eye and incites your audience to read, respond, or click through
- Utilize your audience’s social metrics and demographics to target your message
- An embedded and dynamic call to action
The hardest part is that you have to accomplish each of these things without being overt or heavy-handed. Your audience needs to feel like there’s a person on the other end of your social channels and they’re putting up these assets as a natural part of their day. The real irony is that we haven’t even gotten to the REAL challenges yet! Engaged Video exists to help our partners and clients solve each of these problems in a measurable and meaningful way, but the need for video trailers and dynamic content is real. The next question is what is preventing many arts organizations from producing this content?
BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!
The next blog in this series will discuss some of the challenges arts marketers face when trying to create video trailers and dynamic content. We’ve only just begun to dig in to this topic…what have we missed so far? Don’t forget to comment below and subscribe to the mailing list!