ppc-marketing-amcIn 2015, the movie industry reported a record setting $11 + billion in world-wide ticket sales. According to the Fool.com article entitled A 2016 Outlook for the Movie Theater Industry, The U.S. theater industry is controlled by three main companies Cinemark Holdings , Regal Entertainment and AMC Entertainment. However, in the PPC Marketing world, which can sometimes act as a “barometer” of company marketing vision, only one of these industry titans is starting to learn toward paid search on its own accord. Can you guess which one?

As you can see in the screenshot below (thanks to SpyFu.com – Search Marketing Competitive Analysis) AMC Theatres has started to put some ad dollars in Adwords while, Regal and Cinemark have remained stagnant.

Movie Theatre Companies in PPC Marketing


AMC Goes all-GEO in their PPC Keyword Strategy:

The data shows that AMC has been spending a majority of their PPC dollars on GEO-centric keywords within the past couple months. This could,  in effect, be in effort to boost awareness in these specific regions, especially when we see Zip Codes as part of the keyword strategy. However, this strategy could be in direct competition with Fandango which basically controls the entire Search Marketing landscape? Well, lets just say there more to the story….

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How did Fandango dominate the Online Movie Ticketing space?

In a very interesting article back in 2012 from TheWrap.com entitled, How Fandango Won the Online Movie Ticketing War, it talks about how Fandango convinced AMC to leave a competitor and the rest is history.  According to the article: “Fandango managed to convince the country’s second largest theater chain to jump ship from MovieTickets.com, adding 3,000 more screens to its rolls. Making the defection particularly painful is the fact that AMC was one of the companies that founded MovieTickets.com in 2000 and remains a part owner. Then, in short order, Fandango announced it has partnered with three former MovieTickets.com cohorts, AOL Moviefone, Yahoo! Movies and MSN Entertainment, to sell tickets, putting it substantially ahead in the battle to establish a foothold on the major portals.

Who’s Dominating in PPC Today?

According to the graph below, Fandango has been controlling a majority of the PPC Marketing space (yet notice the roller coaster effect in seasonality), but as mentioned before, AMC is starting to get more involved. However, I am a little surprised by the lack of effort by Movietickets.com as well as Cinemark and Regal which have no presence at all in the PPC Landscape.

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In conclusion

The “Soap Opera-like” story of how Fandango convinced AMC to leave MovieTickets.com to become the largest online movie ticketing company is interesting. However,  my biggest take-away is the early 2016 surge in GEO-centric keywords from AMC. Is this a sign of things to come? Will Regal Cinemas and Cinemark follow AMC in their PPC efforts? We will have to wait and see.

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