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Bad Moms case study makes a strong argument for digital advertising

October 17, 2016

Bad Moms is the subject of an innovative new analytics case study

Bad Moms is the subject of an innovative new analytics case study

Bad Moms, one of the summer’s biggest hit comedies, is the subject of a new case study in digital advertising which approaches the issues of measuring its efficacy in an innovative new way.

The film, released by STX Entertainment in July, was a box office success in no small part due to media efforts from Horizon Media. Since its release, location analytics firm Placed held a research study on the film’s digital advertising numbers that focused less on traditional metrics that the industry tends to rely on and more on something closer to studios’ bottom line interests: sales.

“Studios now have the ability to measure the impact of display, video, audio, and social to box office ticket sales, enabling them to optimize and invest against the best performing channels,” said David Shim, CEO of Placed. “By delivering a measurement solution that works across 200+ partners, Placed is delivering a common currency to studios to measure the success of their campaigns, publishers, and targeting tactics based on ticket sales.

A new approach
Placed’s study involved a paradigm shift in the approach of analytics to measuring how advertising translates to ticket sales, which can be a speculative process without the right metrics. Its approach involved eschewing traditional models of analytic assessment that relied heavily on metrics such as impressions and clicks.

Instead, the study focuses on locational data, which allows a direct assessment of ticket sales instead of the proximal data that clicks and impressions provides. Placed did this by measuring visits to theatres using first-party location in addition to surveys and models.

The resulting data is more relevant to studios than clicks and impressions due to its proximity to the transaction itself; a focus on clicks and views only accounts for exposure. Placed’s approach can account for more abstract notions relevant to transaction such as intent, all through accounting for locational data.

The results that Placed returned to STX Entertainment and Horizon Media bodes well for all parties involved: the studio and media agency received a 231 percent return on ad spend, and Placed was able to accurately calibrate for its clients that the spend accounted for 428,000 incremental moviegoers.

The study was able to hone in on metrics such as return on ad spend

Analytics moving forward
The new approach to data collection and generation could be of huge benefit for the film industry, which has to relegate itself to traditional advertising models in promoting an experiential product that consumers have to anticipate as opposed to being able to purchase immediately.

By finding a way to hone in that much closer to the relevant transaction, Placed could be at the vanguard of tomorrow’s industry best practices.

The study helped to explain the film’s massive domestic return

Analytics’ steadfast relationship with advertising continues to grow stronger as brands expand to new platforms. Since Snapchat debuted sponsored stories earlier this year, analytics was— and has been— the main buzzword off of marketers’ tongues when looking for a solution to targeting, despite Snapchat’s commitment to privacy and ephemerality (see story).

Even companies as stories as the United Kingdom’s Boots pharmacy chain are leveraging analytics. It recently called on IBM’s MobileFirst platform for its iOS application, enabling associates to browse inventory, give product recommendations based on online analytics and look up ratings and reviews (see story).

“This ability to close the loop from ad spend to BAD MOMS ticket sales is a first for the industry, lead by Placed, STX, and Horizon,” said Mr. Shim.

“It’s time for studios to move away from the metrics of the 90s, impressions and clicks, and focus on the ultimate success metric for media: incremental ticket sales.”

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Rakin Azfar is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach him at

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