Just being real for a minute.
I spent a year and a half making a documentary that people in the target audience like. It’s far from perfect, but it’s been very well received. Here’s a short trailer I cut together highlighting some of the viewer reviews:
It’s the best thing I’ve ever made. So far.
So, I did a TVOD release, made it available for rental and sale. I marketed the film, did the email list thing, did the direct marketing to the target audience thing. I used social media to find audiences.
After the sales dried up, I started down the road of SVOD. Specifically focusing on Amazon Prime.
Now, I’ve written before about how terrible Prime royalty rates are. Basically, when people watch my movie all the way through, Amazon gives me $0.12. Twelve cents…
But, hey, everyone says that SVOD is how people want to view indie films. Even the people I know who took a survey about it said the same thing. People are more likely to watch through an SVOD or AVOD platform. So we just have to get more people to watch it.
And that brings me to the biggest frustration. I have not been able to find a way to advertise the movie to a targeted audience in a way that actually makes money.
I’m not talking about getting rich. I’m talking about making back the money it cost to make the film. Generating profit enough to make another one.
I have identified a great audience through Facebook, with about 370,000 members. Every time I run a brand awareness or traffic campaign I get great results. Sounds awesome, right?
Sure, if you can get people to watch for less than $0.12 a view, it’s great. But I have not been able to spend less than $0.40 per click. That’s just per click, it doesn’t mean people who click actually watch the whole thing. And sometimes it costs more, even up to $3.30 per click, using Facebook’s bid/auction placement.
When I ask experts on social media ads, they don’t have an answer. Most of the time they talk about using email lists, and building audiences. That’s great. Good advice when you’re making a movie.
But for this film, I’ve already plucked that low hanging fruit. I am ready to move to the next phase- where people who don’t know about the movie decide to watch it.
Is there no way to reach these people and see results that actually allows me to break even? No one seems to know one. It’s very frustrating.
For fun, I’m currently running a new test ad campaign. I’m limiting the bid to 6 cents per landing page view, and making the landing page the Amazon video page. I will see if FB can figure out how to serve up the ads. And if it will give any decent results.
Update: FB did not serve the ads. So, back to the drawing board.