HBO Max Gains 18% More Viewers for Movie Debuts With This Cross-Channel Campaign

When HBO Max wanted to boost viewership for weekly movie premieres, it partnered with Braze for a push notification and in-app message campaign that encouraged customers to sign up for timely premiere reminders. The “Remind Me” campaign saw a 30% lift in viewing, compared with the control group.

Whether you’re a fan of award-winning original dramas or classic movies, you’re probably subscribed to HBO Max. The direct-to-consumer streaming platform, which launched in May 2020, is where storytelling takes center stage and where creatives find a home with the support and resources to do their best work (no matter the genre or format). Customer engagement is essential to this mission, since HBO Max is focused on finding meaningful and valuable ways to deliver the right content to each viewer.

Accordingly, HBO Max wanted to attract subscribers to new shows and movies they’d like based on their preferences and viewing history—so they turned to Braze.

Changing Customer Behavior with Suggestions and Reminders

HBO Max wanted to increase engagement on the platform by improving viewership for its weekly movie premieres. To power personalized and memorable experiences, HBO Max brought the data they receive from the user’s account and their app activity into Braze via Braze Alloys technology partner Snowflake. Based on that data, they are able to effectively segment their communications.

HBO Max decided to launch a “Remind Me” feature that would send reminders about new content via a targeted in-app message (IAM) that leveraged a model their data science team built to identify movie fans. The “Remind Me” campaign had long been in the works at HBO Max, and their CRM team brought this campaign to life using some of the Braze platform’s standard features (which HBO Max uses with Braze across multiple channels.)

The campaign began with IAMs about the debut of the film “Magic Mike XXL,” and included a “Remind Me” opt-in button and “maybe later” button for those who dismissed the message. Subscribers who clicked “remind me” would then receive a push notification just before the movie’s start time. This capability was made possible by the Braze platform’s out-of-the-box retargeting segmentation feature.

“The ‘Remind Me’ campaigns are the perfect way to drive viewership, learn more about our audiences, and gauge the popularity of premiering titles. It also enables us to better personalize our push notifications to ensure we're targeting users who are most interested in this title and allows us to be more conversational with our subscribers. And once set up, the campaigns are super-easy to repeat and iterate as needed.”
— Christine Miller, Senior Director of CRM, HBO Max

Additionally, HBO Max has used Braze transactional messaging since the platform launched. As transactional messaging is legally required and necessary to consumers, it needed to be ready on day one. Oftentimes, transactional messaging is taken for granted, but it’s a basic need that’s crucial to your business and the experience you’re providing to your customers.

HBO Max Results: Lift in Viewership, Easy Campaign Iteration

By using personalized recommendations across multiple channels, HBO Max successfully engaged with their subscribers, providing them with key information that drove them to take desired actions. On movie premiere night, the streaming service saw a 30% lift in viewership, compared to the control group. That control group was made up of users who had also clicked "Remind Me" on the in-app message but who had not been sent a push notification, demonstrating that the addition of a "Remind Me" push was significant in the decision to watch at premiere-time or not, even for the most explicitly interested subscribers.

Final Thoughts

Ownership inspires creativity. And our work with HBO Max’s CRM team has proven just that. With Braze, the team was able to execute their own unique approaches to driving viewer engagement, leading to significant positive results. The upshot? It’s worth bringing in solutions like Braze that can give teams the freedom to allow their ideas to fly.

To learn more about engaging customers with in-app messages, watch the Braze video, “In-App Messages: What You Need to Know.”

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