Studios Question the Value of Marketing Movies on Facebook

The relationship between Hollywood and Facebook may be showing signs of strain. While the entertainment industry was quick to embrace the social network as a marketing tool, major studios are now expressing doubt. “Some industry executives are increasingly skeptical that Facebook ads and promotional campaigns that ask users to ‘like’ a movie can deliver big box-office returns,” writes the Los Angeles Times.

At the beginning, studio executives saw Facebook’s giant social sphere holding great promise for reaching moviegoers for less money than traditional advertising methods.

“For people who are actually looking at the research and are looking for return on investment, for metrics that indicate specifically what Facebook’s role is in the movie marketing equation, the jury’s still out,” said Jim Gallagher, a movie marketing consultant who formerly oversaw marketing for Walt Disney Studios.

According to Fred Leach, Facebook’s head of entertainment measurement, the company is working closely with studio executives to help them target the right audiences for their films on Facebook. This includes “giving studios more data showing the connection between ads and movie ticket sales and more tools to track the effectiveness of Facebook campaigns,” explains the Los Angeles Times.

While many still publicly talk up Facebook’s practical use, “other film executives confide privately they are considering cutting their spending on Facebook ads, just as carmaker General Motors Co. did last year, when the nation’s third-largest advertiser dropped its annual $10-million Facebook campaign after deciding the ads didn’t help sell cars,” says the article.

But instead of ditching it, some are trying a different approach: some studios are bringing in writers and producers to create more engaging campaigns on Facebook. The more “likes” a page gets, the more likely users are to see it according to the social network’s algorithm.