Background Problem:

The film industry is not afraid to spend big to market new movie releases. Blockbusters like The Avengers receive budgets in the $100 million range. Warner Brothers was given $8.2 million of their $80 million budget from Tourism New Zealand. By contrast, the marketing budgets for the soundtracks to these films are considerably smaller. In order to maximize efficiency and do more with less, Gupta Media uses proven techniques to reach core audiences across digital platforms. Additionally, they are able to take advantage of the buzz created by movie budgets and use it to generate interest in soundtracks.


Search ads appear on Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other partner networks, based on user search queries. In addition to standard text ads, Music Media Ads were designed by Gupta Media and Google specifically to sell music. The ads provide a rich media experience where users can watch a music video and purchase an album or single from multiple retailers, all at a fixed CPC ($0.30 for singles, $0.50 for albums).

For a soundtrack, Search advertising leverages interest from marketing for the film itself, both online and offline, by reaching users who are searching for keywords related to the film, in addition to the soundtrack itself. For the Rock of Ages Soundtrack (released June 5th 2012), Search accounted for 78% of all traffic from the campaign, serving nearly 50,000 clicks at a $0.28 CPC. Search volume peaked during the film’s opening weekend, serving 11,000 Search clicks at a $0.27 CPC. This helped the soundtrack reach #1 on iTunes during its opening weekend. Music Media Ads were particularly powerful for the Rock of Ages soundtrack. By the end of the campaign, these ads had a 24.51% CTR, more than 10x the average click-through rate for MMAs. Gupta Media’s ad copy highlighted high-profile cast members and offered multiple retailers where users could purchase.

Contextual Targeting

For any major film release, there will be plenty of content available online, including trailers, reviews, fan sites and more. Using contextual targeting on Google’s Display Network, Gupta Media was able to reach people who were interacting with this content and serve them ads related to the soundtrack, capitalizing on interest from the film. Contextual banners campaigns for The Hobbit Soundtrack served over 7 million impressions, sending 16,000 unique users to purchase the album on iTunes and Amazon at a CPC of $0.397. The ads saw a CTR of 0.22%, over twice the industry average.

YouTube Targeting

YouTube is another source of relevant and valuable content, including trailers, sneak peeks, music videos and interviews, all of which can be targeted with ads. These ads include In-Video Overlays and :15 Pre-Roll ads. For the release of the Les Miserables soundtrack in December of 2012, over 1 million impressions and 4,600 clicks were served on trailers for the film as well as user generated content from performances of the play and covers of songs from the soundtrack. The highly-relevant nature of this targeting is reflected in the click-through rates of the In-Video overlay ads that run against the content. In soundtrack campaigns for Rock of Ages (0.73% CTR), The Dark Knight (0.60% CTR) and Cloud Atlas (0.52%), click-through rates were 2-3x higher than typical campaign averages.

Facebook Advertising

Using Facebook’s precise interest targeting, Gupta Media was able to reach core fans of films and related content, including books, comics, musicals, and previous films. These users are among those most likely to be interested in the movie’s soundtrack. Combining this targeting with compelling messages and captivating images, Gupta Media was able to connect with these users to create awareness and ultimately drive soundtrack sales. Facebook Ads targeting core fans of The Hobbit served over 16.5 million impressions and sent 9,000 visitors to purchase the soundtrack on iTunes and Amazon.

For The Hobbit, in order to establish a strong connection to the film, Gupta Media used ad copy that incorporated hype for the movie, highlighted Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore and called attention to the album’s position on the iTunes chart in order to raise awareness and create excitement.

For Les Miserables, Gupta media targeted fans of the film, previous versions, musicals, and features songs including the hit “I Dreamed A Dream.” Here, ad copy called out the two biggest songs from the album and highlighted its Oscar nomination. According to Theda Sandiford, VP of Digital Marketing at Republic Records, “Gupta Media’s digital campaign for our release of the Les Miserables soundtrack helped us capitalize on tent-pole events surrounding the film and get a compelling message out to the right audience.”


Extensive marketing for a major motion picture can be used to help sell its soundtrack. Gupta Media’s ability to target core fans and people interested in the movie, bidding on a CPC basis across multiple platforms was a key component in some of the most successful soundtrack releases of the past year. The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack was the highest-debuting score album in over 10 years, selling 33,000 units in its first week.

Gregg Tobin
Written By:
Account Director
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