Mysteries of AdWords for Indie Film

I have not read a lot of articles on the use of AdWords to promote smaller indie films. I’m sure it is being done, but I’d be interested to hear more about what has worked and what pitfalls may exist.

I have not read a lot of articles on the use of AdWords to promote smaller indie films. I’m sure it is being done, but I’d be interested to hear more about what has worked and what pitfalls may exist.

We have just begun to develop Google AdWords campaigns for our film, The Enemy God. We worked our way through festivals, found a sales agent, and are now working on some hybrid self-distribution. That is, we have sold the worldwide rights to the film but we retained the right to sell DVDs on our own sites. Therefore, we want to build our own, very specific, audiences through targeted marketing – and encourage them to check us out and buy a DVD!

There are a few things that attract me to strategies like AdWords:

  • You are able to target and customize your ads to your unique audience. (If you can’t identify and target a fairly narrow market, you may still have some thinking to do. It’s not wise to try to just say, “My film will appeal to everyone.” You don’t want to be using keywords like, “comedy film”, or “horror”!)
  • You can manage your expenses by establishing your own budget and you only pay for clicks, not impressions. The beauty of this is that you can avoid being stuck with an ad that just doesn’t work. You can tweak and re-shape an ad campaign on-the-fly or just cancel it if it’s not working for you.
  • There are tools to help you figure out if your ad is working: are people coming to the site, which phrases are attracting people, and what pages of your site are most interesting.

Our film is very out-of-the-ordinary, so that helps us in some ways. I have never seen a narrative film like it; we tell an indigenous story from the Amazon rainforest. We are working with keyword phrases that would not normally be used for indie films, such as: indigenous culture, Yanomami, and the names of famous anthropologists who are connected with the tribe. You can’t do that with a suburban romantic comedy or thriller; I think it’s a more difficult challenge to come up with unique keywords to help promote a more mainstream film. We are hoping that we can take advantage of our out-of-the-ordinary themes to help target ads to folks who might be interested in our film.

We’re only beginning to get enough data to get a good sense of what’s working and what’s not and are thinking of how to tweak ads, landing pages of our web site, messages on the site, etc. to help folks who do click on the ad to ‘stick’ with us in some significant way. We want to develop true fans as well as sell DVDs.

I’ll post again with examples of results we are seeing and what we seem to be doing right and wrong.

“The Enemy God” in India

We got our 1st peek today at The Enemy God film’s web site for its release in India. It will be live in 5 languages! Almost ready for public consumption.

Our distributor is working on language translations of the film for this release and others in Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Scandinavian countries.

You can get your copy today on DVD (shameless plug!) if you click HERE.

Iranian Filmmakers Keep Focus on the Turmoil

Wonder about the power of the arts to influence culture? I suppose that, in media-saturated cultures like the U.S. and Europe, it’s hard to pinpoint influences of individual works of art. But here’s an article about the effects (or feared effects) of filmmakers in a closed society.

Iranian Filmmakers Keep Focus on the Turmoil –

A key quote:

‘During the reign of the Shah, “we went to see films not just to learn about national cinema but to look for hidden references to tyranny and domination,” said Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature at Columbia University, who has written extensively about Iranian cinema. Professor Dabashi said that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was well aware of the influence of film in a nation where art and artists were esteemed in all corners of society.

“He remembers well how arts, literature and poetry were very much the modus operandi of the 1970s, which led to the revolution,” he said. “It has always had a tremendous influence and it has always been there.”’

Today, the current regime is doing everything it can to contain the ideas expressed in the arts. This has driven many filmmakers out of Iran.

The supreme leader held a meeting of film directors late last month, lecturing them on how film was not really art but was a tool of political propaganda. He said that the Oscars (like the Nobel Prizes) “do not have any value and artists should never work to make movies with the purpose of winning such prizes.”

Are we just about reaching for prizes, for box-office returns, or are we making our art to influence our culture in revolutionary ways?

Anthropologists Argue Amongst Themselves

Anthropologists argue about who is telling the truth about the Yanomamö at #AAA09

Anthropologists continue to argue about who is telling the truth about the Yanomamö. Anyone interested in the Yanomamö point-of-view?

This is a recent post on our film’s website.