AFM 2023 Maximizes Global Digital Spend for Film Industry Show with Robust Creative Asset Strategy

Dec 06

AFM 2023 Maximizes Global Digital Spend for Film Industry Show with Robust Creative Asset Strategy

The annual motion picture industry event, American Film Market (AFM), ran a multi-month, cross-platform digital campaign in 100+ countries to attract buyers, filmmakers, producers, directors, writers and other film industry professionals from around the world to its recent 44th edition.

AFM’s digital creative strategy leveraged a large portfolio of assets, best practices and real-time performance data to get the most from its ad spend and the millions of impressions it ran.

We highlight this because you can have a great advertising strategy but poor creative execution will reduce your results as creative is a key driver of campaign performance.

We collaborated with the show organizer on this campaign and share seven takeaways from AFM’s creative strategy and execution…

Maximizing reach: The paid campaign employed 39 creative assets spanning display, mobile, video, social, native and content, and multiple ad sizes including mobile-specific units and large format units.  If you only use traditional display ads, you will miss out on reach and frequency.  The wider range of assets you employ, the more ad inventory you can access, which provides a better chance of reaching your potential attendees across the web. 

Avoiding ad fatigue: Due to the long flight window for the campaign (four months), AFM refreshed its assets several times to avoid creative burnout, which occurs when people are consistently exposed to the same ad over and over.  After a while, people will simply tune out and ignore your ads. This is especially relevant for high-frequency campaigns like retargeting which drives overexposure quicker. 

Diversifying messaging: AFM used different creative assets to communicate different messages to the same audience as well as to tailor its messaging to different audience segments.  For example, AFM ran different messaging packages i.e. ads and/or destination URLs targeting film buyers vs. other industry professionals as they attend the show for different reasons. Creative variety not only provides you different opportunities to engage your target but also helps mitigate ad fatigue.

Aligning CTAs with funnel stage: While the overall campaign was designed to drive attendance and ticket sales, different groups of ads had different objectives and call-to-actions (CTAs).  For example, top of the funnel ads such as videos and content assets, which focused on generating awareness, educating people about the show and engaging new prospects, used soft CTAs i.e. “Watch Now”. Bottom of the funnel ads i.e. retargeting used hard CTAs i.e. “Register Now”. 

Optimizing with data: Programmatic buying and analytics dashboards provide valuable real-time data on performance of creative assets.  AFM used this data to optimize ad delivery, showing its best performing ads more often and allocating more spend to these assets.  Data was also used to inform creative development.  For example, based on the view-through rates of its previous video ads, AFM ran different video lengths to best address its user behavior.

Leveraging high-value content: AFM expanded past just standard creative assets and deployed value-rich content assets to maximize engagement and social sharing, which enhanced cost metrics as viral reach had no incremental cost.  In addition, high-value content helped AFM reduce its CPCs as content relevancy factored into the ad auction system for the social ads it purchased along with bid value in determining which ads were served and the ultimate price it paid.

Tailoring creative to environment: AFM adjusted its ads depending on where they were shown. For example, when deploying video assets in-feed, AFM ran intro copy, whereas when delivering video via in-stream environments i.e. pre-roll ads, it did not.  AFM also leveraged different advertising environments to maximize its assets, for example, when deploying video in the LinkedIn feed, it used native video vs. assets from YouTube or other platforms to benefit from LinkedIn’s native features/functionality.


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