There is nothing new in deploying social across a customer journey. Digital marketers have been advocating this for some time now. The game-changer however is hyper-targeting. It may seem obvious to suggest getting the audience right is key, however, there are varying degrees of deep diving into audience segmentation and very few are diving deep enough.

Reaching the most relevant audience segments for a campaign requires granularity, something that global cinema group, National Amusements came to realise when they were deciding what percentage of their marketing budget should be allocated to a social advertising campaign to promote the launch of children’s movie; Thomas & Friends: The Great Race Cinema.

They knew they needed to do something quite different if they were to meet their ambitious goals of beating 2016’s ticket sales despite showing in 150 fewer cinemas. 

With just two months to go before the launch of the film, they decided to put 80% of their marketing budget into social advertising and stepped back to watch the results unfold.

Using 118,000 different data points and 3,500,000 event triggers generated from social and online behaviour, the campaign was built around unique survey and social data that was torture tested to reveal which audience segments were most likely to offer the best return on investment. 

The focus was on family demographics, age and number of children, geo-location through to socio-economic status, interests and hobbies. This data was cross-referenced with personality traits and behavioural patterns and then overlayed around purchase intent, life and family events through to device and channel preferences, taking them closer still.

It took a very sophisticated targeting approach to accurately identify an audience that ended up being four times larger than any standard social targeting option available. By ranking highest relevant audience segments combined with lowest CPM identifiers, there was no wastage and no brand dilution.

Filtering this data to reveal optimal formats and delivery times uncovered the target audiences’ ‘modes’. This kind of fine tuning is crucial. An ad sent out in the middle of childrens’ dinner and bedtime could be lost in the chaos of the moment. Straight afterwards, when parents are in organising mode is much more likely to lead to a purchase. Too late and the parents will be in wind-down mode and may not feel inclined to follow through.

Likewise deciding whether to entertain or focus instead on the impact that is more likely to lead to an action, was dictated by the fact that whilst entertaining is a good draw card for the kids, the true target audience, the parents, didn’t want to be entertained, they required a call to action.

Testing this live and meshing the feedback with previous similar campaigns ensured the campaign was tailored and responsive.

The popular Thomas & Friends UK Facebook page was the perfect platform from which to promote a highly engaging trailer and website click ads to re-target the audience that watched at least 75% of the video, thereby ensuring high levels of interest were already in place.

And, Facebook proved to be a highly cost-effective and scalable acquisition marketing channel, particularly for the entertainment sector. 

The catalyst, however, was stepping beyond personalisation to becoming hyper-relevant. This meant ensuring they were creating the right experience for the right person at the right time.

By delivering great content targeted at the right audience at the best time, the campaign generates a 300% uplift from revenue target.

The campaign also delivered a return of investment of £12 for every £1 invested as well as over 6.8m impressions, resulting in more than 480,000 video views and over 25,000 website clicks. It also had a highly positive impact on website traffic, with over 50% of users clicking the 'Book Now' button.

There is a very fine line between getting in front of the right people and actually playing a part in their lives that has a purpose, no matter how fleeting. Consumers don't want experiences that are personalised so much as they want experiences that are personal and helpful and there is a fundamental difference between the two. 

Hyper-targeting means taking a holistic view of the consumer and remembering we are playing a part in the lives of real people.


By Joel Davis, co-founder and CEO of Mighty Social

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