How Mobile Has Changed Fandango’s Business

Retail sales coming from mobile are growing.

RSR Research predicts that in 2014, 24 percent of retailers will see 15 percent of sales coming through mobile. Fandango, however, is well ahead of the curve. The company reports that today, 41 percent of its total sales come from mobile. And while Fandango traditionally focused on a utilitarian approach to mobile marketing, it is now moving into content as well, to boost its ticket sales.

Its newest series, “Summer of Action,” rolled out on Friday and features mixed martial arts legend Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and fashionista Tiffany Smith, who have been charged to talk about this summer’s blockbusters in five episodes. The series is available both online and on mobile.

Digiday talked to Fandango’s vp of marketing, Adam Rockmore, to get a better sense of how mobile is impacting the business.

How has mobile changed your business?
We have been in mobile before mobile was the “in” thing. We started in 2005, with a WAP-optimized site. We launched our iPhone app in 2009 and an Android app shortly after. Our business has changed because we need to cater to this new generation of consumers that use mobile as their primary device. Today, 41 percent of our total sales come through mobile. That’s on average. It depends on the movie. Something like “Purge,” for example, saw 53 percent of sales come through mobile, and “Fast and the Furious” was also over 50 percent. Anything that’s attractive to a 30-plus male audience is going to see higher mobile sales.

How’s content playing a role in your mobile strategy?
We began with mobile being a utility for consumers. So they could use our apps or mobile site to find show times, what’s playing nearby, etc. Today our strategy is also about discovery. We’re providing content to get people to discover movies they may not have known about. We’re doing this through pre-trailers, previews and original content like our “Weekend Ticket” show, which has currently more views via mobile than desktop. We’ve even got mobile-specific content.

How are you distributing this content?
Through Facebook, Twitter and SMS. We’re in a unique position because our SMS database is really big, more than six digits. So we send links to content to these people who then click and watch via their devices. We’ve got 35 million downloads total for our mobile apps, and that helps a lot, too.

What’s the hardest part of implementing mobile?
Being disciplined. We can’t make the screen bigger, so we’ve got to be selective in what we include on mobile. I like to compare it to a Christmas tree. Eventually, if you just keep adding ornaments to a Christmas tree, it will fall over. Same goes for our apps. We’ve got to be careful in the features and functionality we include in them.

What are the challenges associated with driving mobile traffic?
We want to make sure we grow conversion and bring traffic in, but doing that on mobile isn’t as efficient as it is on the desktop. So if we are doing search or display on mobile, it’s just not as effective as it is on desktop, and that’s a challenge.

Image via Shutterstock

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