You've got data coming in from your distribution platform and you’re ready to start being "data-driven". But what are these numbers really telling you? Let’s break down some common metrics and what you can deduce from them.
First, what’s your goal?
Are you trying to raise awareness for a cause, build an audience, or maximize revenue? Clarifying your goal is an important first step before deciding what to do with your data. Often there are tradeoffs involved. For example, if your primary goal is to build your audience, offering your film at a “pay what you want” price may help you expand your reach, but it could result in less overall profit. Once you’re clear on your goals, making decisions based on data becomes much easier.
And now, the numbers
Views: Is Your Promotion Working?
Are people checking out your film? The pageview count for your landing page (via Google Analytics, your sales platform, or other analytics service) helps you measure your reach. If you only have a few views, start expanding and experimenting with your promotional strategy. Try things like connecting with interested communities and organizations, getting reviews, playing with your social media efforts, getting the help of influential people, and building up an email list.
While you do want to make sure you’re getting at least some eyeballs on your film, views only tell a small part of the story. Not all views are created equal. Ultimately, what you want are views from people in your target audience who are interested in your film. So if you get a politician to tweet about your horror film, you might not see the results that you want in terms of conversions, which are up next.
Conversion Rate: Are Visitors Turning Into Buyers?
Your conversion rate is the number of people who bought your film after visiting your landing page (in other words, sales / views). A high conversion rate means that lots of people who came to your site ended up buying your film. This is typically a sign that you targeted your audience well, wrote good copy, had strong assets, and priced appropriately.
What’s a good conversion rate? For most ecommerce platforms, the average is well below 5%. Why? Because people rarely buy something the first time they hear about it. They usually have to hear about your film 3-5 times before they’re ready to take the plunge and make a purchase. That’s one of the reasons why staying in touch over email is so important (more on that below).
If you have a low conversion rate, try to get to the bottom of why people are checking out your film but not buying it. You might have a problem with your targeting (mentioned above), your messaging, or your pricing.
To fix low conversions, try things like:
capturing people’s interest by ensuring you have a strong tagline, synopsis, trailer, and other assets.
building trust with visitors by providing prominent social proof such as testimonials, award nominations, press, and information about your film, you, and the crew.
targeting different channels of people who are interested in your film. A great example of this is the film The Hooping Life. Rather than blasting out the news of their film as widely as possible, the filmmakers cultivated relationships with the hula hooping community in Facebook groups and one-on-one. This resulted in a highly targeted audience that was interested in the film.
Caution: beware of a high conversion rate from low sales and low views. If your conversion rate is 100% because only 1 person came to your site and they bought it, don’t celebrate just yet. You need to go back and focus on boosting your views through more promotion.
Referrers: Which Promotional Channels are Working, and Which Aren’t?
When it comes to promoting your film, there are a ton of different options, but you don’t have all the time in the world. Your referrer stats can help you focus your efforts on the channels that give you the most bang for your buck.
Let’s say you see 1000 views from Twitter, but only 2 people have bought (giving you a conversion of 0.2%). On the other hand, Facebook has sent you 500 views, but 50 people have bought (10% conversion). You might have more visitors coming from Twitter, but what about the quality of those visitors? It may not seem like much, but if you have a $10 film, this means that every visitor from Facebook is worth $1 to you, while every visitor from Twitter is worth 2¢. That’s a huge difference!
In this case, it’s worth spending more time engaging your Facebook audience, while Twitter is not worth as much investment.
By doing the same analysis on all your channels, you can hone in on where to spend your time and energy promoting so that you’re not just getting any old visitors to your film’s site, but people who are genuinely interested in your film.
Location: Where Should You Do Screenings?
Location data is pretty self-explanatory, but is definitely something you want to be tracking closely. Use it to decide where to do screenings and events. It’s a great way to do some validation prior to scheduling anything.
Email: Is Your Audience Showing Interest?
There’s no doubt that email is one of your most important sales channels and the best way to connect with your audience over the long term. Email outperforms all other platforms when it comes to conversion rates. A recent study of all products on Gumroad showed a 9.4% conversion rate on email, vs. 6.3% for Facebook and 5.4% for Twitter.
Why is email so much better than social media? It’s personal and direct. An email goes straight to someone’s inbox, not through a middleman. Once there it’s typically treated with more importance than a fleeting tweet or post. Additionally, you own your list, and can take it with you throughout your career. If Twitter went the way of Myspace, you’d lose all your hard-earned followers. Not so with an email list.
Here are the main things you want to track when it comes to email:
Number of subscribers: Getting people to sign up for your mailing list is a great way to validate interest in your work prior to releasing it. If your signups are low, try sharing some free content in exchange for an email address, or improving the visibility of your newsletter opt-in on your homepage and blog.
Open rate: Experiment with subject lines that will resonate with your audience and see how they affect open rates. This could also be a great way to test out the language to use in your tagline and synopsis.
Click rate: Click rates are a better measure of interest than open rates because they require a more deliberate action. Include one clear call to action in your emails (read this blog post, watch the new trailer, buy the film, etc.) and examine which emails perform better than others. Maybe a large image and a little bit of copy makes your audience want to click through to your website, or maybe a more personal-looking, plain text email from you works better.
We know data can be overwhelming, so we hope this gives you a good overview of the important things to look at, and, more importantly, what to do with it!