One way to “sell” digital copies quickly on iTunes is to use the fifty coupon codes distributed by the aggregator. The Phoenix, Oregon team has split up the free codes, and we each are reaching out to friends to use them. Each use counts as a sale and goes towards increasing our placement on iTunes/AppleTV web pages.
Since the codes can “technically” be used for anything on iTunes, not only for purchases of Phoenix, Oregon, we are mostly reaching out to people we know so we can confirm the use of the codes and a completed pre-order.
UPDATE: I was wrong. The codes only apply to specific content, so that’s good! The iTunes process was a bit confusing to me. We have to provide a direct link to a page to redeem the codes and Phoenix, Oregon will automatically be added to the user account without “pre-ordering”.
Today we also had a long discussion on ad spends and the overall value of social media advertising. For studio films, a large social ad spend translates into overall brand awareness which in the long-term leads to more sales and recognition. For a small film, we have to target and track that every dollar spent on ads drives direct sales. The exception is for PR which can exist on a national, broad level and have long-term impact and grow overall awareness through print, TV and radio.
We have decided that we will only spend on advertising if we can directly track ROI. In other words, if we place an ad on Facebook, we need to be able to track the customer all the way through to the sale. Then if we spend $10, we will know if we make $11. Then we repeat & improve. We’ll also know if we spend $10 and make $5, in which case we abort or revise.
An ongoing issue in the film industry, especially for smaller films, is that there are limited ways to immediately track sales. The best we can do is track if someone clicked our ad to go to iTunes. We have no way of knowing if they bought. We can only guess based on standard conversion rates of 2–5%.
Therefore, there is absolutely no way to track sales and marketing & ad efforts real time. I keep repeating this in various blog posts, because it is so hard to believe. Could any other industry operate like this, not knowing the results of their efforts for 3–6 months?
There are a few new services which allow real-time tracking and are trying to solve this problem, but customers are not yet used to them for wide-spread sales.
We will continue our overall social media campaigns, led by our social team, Luis & Josh. Once digital is kicked off, we will then test some ad spends targeted towards these alternate platforms where we can track ad performance all the way through to purchase. It seems reasonable that if we are able to execute a profitable ad campaign on those platforms, it will also apply towards non-trackable platforms.