Movie Theaters Missing the Mark on Local Advertising Battle

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Brand Battle - CinemasIt’s dark. Someone shushes a rowdy group of young people. The seats are mostly comfortable but the floor might be sticky, and a popular food option – popcorn – is marked up about 800 percent.

The movie theatre experience is an inherently local activity that drove nearly $10.4 billion in 2014 gross revenues from millions of consumers across the country. Influencing how those consumers choose their local movie theatres involves fine-tuning local advertising strategies. A recent data analysis by digital marketing company Where2GetIt compared the success of AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas. A winner between the two did emerge — AMC, by a hair, as both companies could do better to address their local marketing strategies across the country.

Where2GetIt’s data analysis, in its “Brand Battle” series on Street Fight, looks at six “pillars” that have potential to drive consumer action: data quality, local SEO, reviews, local advertising, engagement and competition. The pillars all contribute to an overall “brand score” that can gauge how different company locations are performing in local arenas. Similar to a credit score rating system, a company’s brand score is measured on a scale of 450-850 and can be updated every week as companies update marketing strategies. The full details can be found here.

In analyzing the numbers that each company scored in the six separate pillars, AMC Theatres took the overall win with a total brand score of 680. AMC scored highest in the data quality pillar, meaning its search results were the most consistent.

Regal Entertainment Group won the reviews pillar, a key category for attracting new customers. A 2013 study by BrightLocal found that nearly 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews to help them make purchase decisions.

The two companies’ brand scores also highlighted one strategy that was not efficiently utilized by either AMC or Regal: local advertising. Four out of five consumers perform Internet searches with local intent, and more than half of consumers using mobile devices search with local intent, according to 2014 research commissioned by Google. AMC scored 20 out of 40 possible points in this pillar, and Regal scored 10.

Since neither AMC nor Regal was targeting local advertising, their scores instead reflected how each was making efforts to increase their local footprints.

The Facebook pages for both AMC and Regal show that the films themselves can drive much of the consumer engagement, as some posts have just a few comments and likes, while others have hundreds of shares and chatter in the comments sections. Data analysis might help AMC and Regal understand if it is their brands that are drawing consumers, or if it is more driven by the movies themselves.

View all the findings on the Brand Battle page.