Brands now have a new way to approach video advertising on Twitter, thanks to a new product called Amplify that was launched on May 23. Between hashtags, live-tweeting, and interacting with actors, Twitter has become a breeding ground for conversations about television and movies. In fact, social TV analytics firm Bluefin Labs reports that 95% of real-time conversation about TV happens on Twitter.
Having made substantial headway in the second-screen battle with fans, Twitter is now aiming to woo advertisers with Amplify. Using this product, sponsored tweets will feature video content preceded by short clips from various advertisers.
To start, Twitter tested Amplify with sports content through its partnership with ESPN. An early example of this sort of advertising was an instant replay clip of a Roy Hibbert block, tweeted by @NBA. Another example — a five-second promo for the Will Smith movie “After Earth” — led into a 36-second video and included a follow button for the movie’s Twitter account.
Media companies and publishers are well-suited to this kind of advertising due to the nature of their content. Indeed, early collaborations with BBC America, FOX, Fuse and The Weather Channel exemplified this. Today, Twitter’s list of Amplify partners numbers almost 20, including NCM Media Networks, with its handle @NCMNews.
We spoke with Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing at NCM to learn more about why his company took an early chance with Twitter Amplify.
Leave No Stone Unturned
NCM Media is the largest cinema network in the country — its theatres include AMC, Regal, Cinemark and 36 other regional affiliates. Every year, 700 million movie fans pass through NCM Media properties, with their friends, families and significant others — but rarely alone. It is the social aspect of moviegoing that NCM hopes to tap in to as part of a new advertising strategy.
The company is in the process of developing an all-encompassing advertising plan that will reach customers in the theatre and outside it. Notably, it will offer 41 movie and entertainment websites as well as more than 100 mobile applications to help moviegoers get all the information they want and more about their favorite flicks.
As with its on-site and digital advertising solutions, Marks says Twitter Amplify is another way to give advertisers access to his huge audience. In fact, NCM discussed the partnership at its annual upfront meeting last month in New York City, citing its diverse advertising options in a bid for brands’ TV and video dollars. “NCM Media Networks’ deal with Twitter is part of a new strategy that will allow advertisers to be a part of the social conversation surrounding movies,” Marks says.
Be Engaging and Entertaining
When it comes to cinema, being entertaining may be the most important factor in a film’s success. Media companies do this organically, by creating content that informs or captivates their audiences. As such, their products are highly desirable and often shared among peers. Many brands want their products to evoke similar actions, but are limited by what they offer, or who is currently within their reach.
Twitter Amplify, therefore, allows advertisers to take advantage of the excellent video content available online. The key is inserting an ad long enough to convey the brand’s message without boring the viewer. An advertising clip that is deemed too long by a viewer may result in a click away to another site.
In order to make its already engaging content even more so, NCM is working on a new weekly content series that will cross platforms and use real-time Twitter data to fuel its coverage of trending movie topics. Over the next few weeks, NCM hopes to identify a presenting sponsor for this feature. “This dynamic weekly series will be featured on-screen in NCM’s FirstLook pre-show program and on Twitter,” Marks says.
In addition to giving fans new things to talk about, Marks says the new series will respond to the influence of those who discuss it. That is, the content of the weekly episodes will be based in part on tweets from movie audiences. This gives NCM yet another way to engage its audiences, keep track of their movie-centric conversations and deliver the content those fans find most interesting.
According to NCM’s research, some 73% of its hundreds of thousands of audience members socialize about movies after seeing them at the theatre. In the old days, that might have meant chatting at the water cooler or making a phone call to a friend.
Today, however, it’s more and more likely that such socialization is taking place online — and specifically on networks like Twitter. With Amplify, brands now have a new way to become a part of those conversations. As Marks said, “Going to the movies is one of America’s original and unique social experiences, so it is only natural that conversations about movies continue in social media.”
Amina Elahi: Amina is a freelance journalist in Chicago. Her work has previously appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Grid and Popular Science, among others.