The recent Social Media Masters Summit hosted at Morningstar welcomed several digital and social media leaders of forward-thinking companies from around the Chicago area. Susan Parsons, Director of Direct Marketing at Redbox, helped kick off the morning session with a detailed overview of customer engagement in an omni channel environment.  Parsons shared some of her success stories and insight regarding Redbox’s unique approach in engaging customers.

Did you know that 16 billion movies are rented via Redbox per month? With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that Redbox has a subscriber base comparable to those of HBO and Netflix. As of late, Redbox has seen a double-digit increase in open and click-through rates; as well as a decrease in unsubscriptions. So how do they keep consumers who are using a variety of devices and applications engaged with the brand?

First of all, Parsons emphasized the need to find consumers where they are, be it via desktop, tablet or mobile; via email; or via apps like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter; and to tailor the engagement to their preferences. Based on the platform, the approach may vary, but Redbox has been successful as many related tactics have helped create a successful engagement strategy:

  • A multi-channel text club promotes exclusive deals to subscribers via mobile app, email and text messages. The deals usually have a time-based call to action, like being valid that day only. Users are encouraged to share the deal via their social networks, too.  An algorithm depending on how often consumers usually engage is in place to help determine how often they are contacted. he touch point usually maxes out at about three or four notifications a week per channel.
  • A recent “scratch card” mobile program added element of surprises, frequency, cross channel engagement and PR buzz, and delighted consumers and increased engagement with fun, interactive content. Overall, having fun with the promotions and messaging while varying the content has proved to be successful.
  • Timing of the message is also important. Certain times of day (morning vs. evening, or 7 a.m. vs. 3 p.m. vs. 10 p.m. deployments) often create more results and engagement among users. Some single day campaigns, like to promote a new movie release, will come out on a Thursday for some users instead of just on Tuesday, as it’s found that some promotions aren’t as effective when users are busy during the work week.
  • Mobile-friendly emails and emails that include animations from movies have also helped drive engagement. The use of “super subject line” promotions—“super subject line” being  the small line of copy that sits at the very top of an email—have also proven successful. Just by adding a little extra information about the content of the email increases consumer interactions. Finding winning subject lines to vary and rotate also increase helps increase results.
  • Using customer preferences to help create different versions of personalized emails has proven successful, when the right kind of messaging coincides with content interesting to the consumer. A rate and review program allows users to tailor their preferences when they log in, in order to help them find movies that match with their interests, with communications picking up on those preferences, too.
  • The ability to reserve movies before picking them up at a kiosk also promotes app and website development, as does a new rewards loyalty program called Redbox Play Pass. The rewards program allows users to get a free movie night every time they reach a certain point level, as well as for their birthdays and one year Play Pass anniversary.

What’s in store for the future? Likely a continued focus on analytics and the overall customer experience and brand relationship, as well as utilizing new digital capabilities like location-based targeting, to engage with consumers.

To experience Redbox’s digital strategy firsthand, download the Redbox app on your smartphone, visit to sign up for email and/or text MOVIENIGHT to 727272 for free movie night and deals via text message.