How ‘Bad Moms’ Used Location Data and Pay-Per-Click Advertising to Get People into Theater Seats


Bad Moms Movie.jpgThe film industry is a powerful marketing force, but with so much segmentation of media, it’s not always easy to see exactly which touchpoint (or accumulation thereof) is effective in getting people into theater seats. Another challenge in marketing a movie is that it’s a very short window of opportunity compared to the marketing and promotion of other types of products.


STX Entertainment (the studio that distributed “Bad Moms”), worked with media agency Horizon to employ location data and pay-per-click advertising on multiple platforms including social media. Initially the ads were targeted mainly to women age 18 and over, but were broadened as the campaign went on. Then Placed, a mobile location-based ad firm, tracked whether people exposed to the advertising were seen at movie theatres showing “Bad Moms.”


What The Mobile Campaign (with Location Data) Did

Here’s specifically what they did, according to article Bad Moms and Southern Charms: Location Lessons– “Of course, those theatergoers could have seen any of the films being shown, so STX used a survey feature that Placed often employs for its advertiser clients. Placed gathers location data from people who use its own Panel app or others such as Give2Charity, which provide premium in-app features, gift cards, or charity donations in exchange for tracking and survey participation. After people’s devices were spotted in the theater, Placed sent them a push notification asking them which movie they saw.”


Key Result

Women the ads targeted were 22% more likely to go see “Bad Moms” in the theater, directly leading to 428,000 ticket sales. They found for every $1 spent on digital advertising of the movie turned into $2.31 in related ticket sales.


What They Learned

The measurement process confirmed that “Bad Moms” a hit with women moviegoers, but particularly with the 18-to-24 year old demographic. That was unexpected because that age group was actually younger than the mom set the studio and agencies were thinking the movie would appeal to. Amy Elkins, Sr VP- Media and Marketing Innovation at STX Entertainment explained how that data is useful for promoting the sequel, “We can target that group a little more for ‘Bad Moms 2’ and drive more opportunistic dollars. Understanding who is convertible- that’s when you can change your box office in the millions.”


Twitter Campaign

Locations data paired with digital ads wasn’t the only approach STX Entertainment deployed to promote “Bad Moms.” Another article, ‘Bad Moms’ Rides Inventive Twitter Campaign to Box Office Success, outlined a coordinating campaign which resulted in a big boost of ticket pre-sales.


How Bad Moms movie used social ads to sell tickets

When fans retweeted the ad, they received a short and funny video response from the cast of Bad Moms. All three main actresses also got in on the fun, tweeting and retweeting and resulting in mix of paid and organic social media buzz.

“Bad Moms” has made more than $100 million domestically, making it STX Entertainment’s biggest hit to date.

How do apply these kinds of techniques to drive your own sales? Chances are, your business could benefit from a similar ad approach. The first step is having a good understanding who your target market is and what appeals to them. Check these articles out:





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