How Bollywood is promoting movies using social media!

A good script or outstanding performance can no more ensure a hit in the cinema world or high earnings at box office. It requires planning and executing perfect strategy to be on top in Bollywood. Moreover, the timing of the movie release also matters. The key is to generate interest and curiosity and create positive buzz among viewers enough to bring them to the theaters and make them spend Rs 400 on a film ticket. So digital marketing of movies using various social media platforms help movie producers, directors, filmmakers and actors to reach out to larger audience.

In today’s world, we see that most of the Bollywood movies start getting promoted online much before the release date and the campaign goes on after the release as well. The official trailers of movies are uploaded on YouTube which gets millions of views and likes in couple of days. Bollywood celebrities have also moved to the social media platforms. They post about the movie from their personal Instagram or Twitter account or Facebook page in order to get larger audience with increased level of engagement.


Lets have a look at the various interesting digital marketing strategies with which Bollywood came up so far:

  1. Sultan (2016)

The team Sultan has launched their own official website – This has information regarding movie’s first look, poster, official trailer, theatrical trailer, songs, photos, videos, release date, star cast, shooting details, related news, interviews, etc. They also created Twitter handle for the movie as @SultanTheMovie  and Facebook page as Sultan @sultanthemovie. As part of promotion campaign, the team has also launched a video that showcases Salman Khan’s journey from Salman to Sultan.


  1. Bajirao Mastani (2015)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali and team came up with very creative and out of the box way of creating buzz about their movie. They launched an eight part animated web series with the title “Blazing Bajirao” around 2.5 months before the movie release. The purpose was to educate audience about the Bajirao and discover his personality and charisma and know that he was a true Hero. As a result, it helped movie garnering huge box office collection.

Bajirao Mastani Animated Webseries


  1. Dilwale (2015)

Considering the fact that everyone is becoming selfie freak, the team Dilwale came up with new idea based on selfies. The idea was Half Selfies. The movie’s main cast posed with half faces covered and posted it as first look of Dilwale on Twitter. Soon it became the trend. The team also conducted #DforDilwale contest on social media for innovative posters and motion teasers.

Dilwale Half Selfie


  1. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015)

The team Prem Ratan Dhan Payo used Dubsmash videos as promotion technique on Instagram and Twitter. As Sonam’s dance moves in the title song had become rage, she asked her fans to make dubsmash videos and send it to her. She then posted those videos on her Instagram account. Many other Bollywood celebrities like Helen, Waheeda Rehman, Sridevi, Shilpa Shetty, etc. performed on the song and posted those Dubsmash videos on Twitter and Instagram. This increased the movie reach to even their followers.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo SonamSridevi Shilpa on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo


  1. Happy New Year (2014)

Actors of Happy New Year created customized twitter handles with their names in the movie. For example, Shahrukh created @charlie, Deepika – @mohini and so on to connect the audience with their movie characters. The movie team decided to tour US and UK to put up live shows there for promoting the movie. It was called SLAM! THE TOUR! Shah Rukh was constantly updating his fans on twitter about the SLAM! concert. They also visited Google and Twitter Headquarters in San Jose, USA being first Indian film to do so. The team met the CEO of twitter, Dick Costolo and clicked pictures with him which went viral on social media.  The team also met Google CEO, Sundar Pichai and had interview with him. Many people watched that interview on Google Hangouts.

HappyNewYear meets Twitter CEO  HappyNewYear meets Google CEO


  1. 2 States (2014)

To promote 2 States, Alia Bhat tweeted her engagement ceremony invitation card. In the card, she mentioned movie promo launch as engagement ceremony and movie release as wedding. No doubt this was one of the most interesting and dramatic way of movie promotion on social media. It generated lot of curiosity among the fans. As a result, it lead to high ticket sales.

2 States Wedding Card


  1. Jai Ho (2014)

Salman Khan went a step ahead and involved his fans in making first digital poster for his movie Jai Ho. He invited his fans on Twitter, to make the poster along with him. He wanted to have his fans on his flagship poster. So the team merged thousands of faces to make a close up shot of him. He even painted the poster himself.


Jai Ho Poster Invite Tweet by Salman     Jai Ho Complete Poster Tweet by Salman

Jai Ho First Digital Poster


  1. Ra.One (2011)

Surely Shahrukh Khan never leaves any stone unturned for promoting his high budgeted movies. The team Ra.One came up with the idea of developing a game with the movie theme. The game name was “Ra.One-The Game”. It was released for Sony PlayStation. The game was based on movie theme but not on storyline so as to maintain the suspense of the movie. It also kept players curious to know more about the movie. It created lot of buzz and gained attention of gaming lovers and kids. They also came up with digital comics for mobile platforms.

Ra.One Game


Apart from the above strategies, Bollywood movies such as Teri Meri Kahaani and Krrish 3 have also given chance to fans to directly interact with the lead actors using Google Hangouts and Facebook Chat.

These are just some of the ideas which Bollywood implemented while promoting their movies using digital marketing. As technology is progressing and people are getting more informed, Bollywood would keep coming up with several interesting ways of pulling the audience and thereby generating box office revenues.


147 thoughts on “How Bollywood is promoting movies using social media!

  1. wooh, didn’t know social media was so prevalent even in Bollywood. really an eye opener this article. very nicely done

  2. Really good blog. It highlights perfectly how digital marketing has changed the movie industry. Some great examples too.

  3. Hmmm… Good writeup but i liked bajirao mastani in this list though. Other movies are crap… For success promotion is essential no matter which type of movie it is. People go only if it’s promoted enough to look good and worth their time.

    1. Thanks Ashwin. Yes, thats rightly pointed out. People watch movie only if its promoted in a way to look good, excited and worth their time and thats where digital marketing helps a lot.

  4. Very insightful article. Never knew about the use of animated web series for promotion. Next they might launch mobile games.

    1. Thanks Harsh.
      Yes every big budget Bollywood movie is trying to come up with newer way of digital marketing to differentiate themselves with other movies. Talking about mobile games, its not new concept anymore. Movies like Krrish 3, Dhoom 3, Chennai Express, Race 2, Kick had launched their mobile app based games earlier.

    1. Thanks Shanthi 🙂 Sure dear.. appreciation coming from you is always encouraging 🙂

  5. Using social media to promote Bollywood films has become a trend now and it’s none other than Shah Rukh Khan (with all due respects to others) who is a master in this craft. Not only is he among the first few to utilize this concept, but he also used innovative strategies (for e.g. Getting trailer of ‘Happy New Year’ on WhatsApp after giving a missed call) for each of his release in the last few years (post ‘Om Shanti Om’).

    1. Good insight Debu 🙂 I was not aware of the WhatsApp marketing which Shahrukh and his team used for sharing Happy New Year movie trailer on getting a missed call from fans..! For each of his movies, he comes up with different strategy to promote and knows how to nail it.

  6. This Heads up info could save few hundred bucks..better save us from hours of agony in movie hall..very nice..thanks

  7. Nice article !! Amused to hear about healthy insights where various digital media are used to tap in viewers as a part of their promotional strategy.

    1. Thanks Neelam 🙂 As youth comprises of majority of the viewers of Bollywood, digital media seems to be the best way to attract the target audience.

  8. Nicely done Meenal. Very insightful write up. If I were you I might cut down to fewer examples.

    1. Thanks Kamesh. The idea was to gather different examples to show how innovative Bollywood is getting in using digital media for movie promotions. There are still many more which are not included.

  9. Good Article Meenal!! But in bollywood, its all about stardom. If you look at the highest worldwide gross of the bollywood movies, all top 10 in the list are Khan’s movies. Even though Akshay Kumar gave hit movies like Baby, Special 26 and Airlift, which had good scripts and direction, none of them could even make it to that list. May be he can read this article and put more focus on promotion through social media and digital marketing 🙂
    I will contradict to your statement “It requires planning and executing perfect strategy to be on top in Bollywood.” Rather I will say movie needs one of 3 Khans to be on top in bollywood 🙂
    Moreover no low budget film can afford to spend money on digital marketing. But its good to see regional movies like “Sairat” making a mark at the box office, not much with promotion but with word of mouth!!

    1. Thanks Yogesh 🙂
      Its sad but true…I agree with you that in Bollywood Khans are still the biggest factor to drag audience to the movie theaters. However, the movies without Khans can also elevate their business for the first weekend atleast using social media. As far as low budgeted movies are concerned, digital marketing is cost effective and cheaper than traditional marketing so it can be leveraged to some extent if not heavily.

  10. Nice compilation! Didn’t know about ‘Blazing Bajirao’… and visiting Google and Twitter headquarters :O That’s some extreme marketing by Happy New Year!
    Looking forward to read more such interesting articles!

    1. Thanks Aditya 🙂 Appreciation coming from a blogger means a lot and would inspire me to write more 🙂 I would try to come up with more interesting blogs.

  11. Quite a informative write up about the use of digital marketing in Bollywood. You have covered facts which are barely known to general public. Great work!!
    Just one suggestion – If you could have provided some stats about how much of these activities have helped these movies in terms of attracting or engaging audience then it would have given us some idea about the power of digital marketing at present time although i believe it will become a necessity in near future for every movie.
    Nevertheless, a very good article.

  12. Nice blog Meenal. The methods like Half Selfies or Poster Constants and Dubsmash videos are really great methods to engage and attract the audience.
    You have mentioned that ” Ra.One-The Game” advertised the movie on Sony Play Station. Surely it managed to create the profit for the movie. If I remember correctly Ra.One team also launched Nvidia GEFORCE Graphic Card which is used in Sony Play Station. But as it turns out Ra. One movie was a total disappointment. So do you think the companies should risk advertising their products using a movie even before the release? What happens to the product when the movie doesn’t do well?

  13. Reading any blog on movies and its promotions is so my thing , and to read something as stuffy as like this is surely worth having a go at. Great compilation of facts and very nicely put , though I was expecting my favorite SRK’s promotional strategy of YRF’s FAN , i.e the collection of pictures from his fans to make his films poster in this list as well , nevertheless , awesome work !! Looking forward to more of these..

    1. Thanks a lot Abhishek 🙂 Talking about FAN movie, yes that was also nice way of promotion as it helps in building connection with the audience. But the promotional strategy of SRK’s FAN movie was little similar to Salman’s Jai Ho as both had made the film’s poster by involving fans in it. The difference was that for Jai Ho fans clicked on screen and FAN used the pictures from fans.
      Surely I would continue blogging..! More to come..!

  14. Hi,
    Quite an informative blog ,I was unaware of Bollywood’s effort in Digital Marketing strategies, shows how crucial it is in any business, very well researched and presented . Good work, keep it up.

    1. Thanks a lot Adarsh 🙂 Yes now-a-days in many businesses Digital Marketing plays a big role….whether its Bollywood, Hollywood, Corporate, Political Elections – everyone is taking help of digital marketing to promote themselves and they are quite successful in this attempt!

  15. Nice blog.. Now I realise they work more on promotion rather than on the movie itself.

  16. Hi Meenal,
    Really good work especially the way you described it with the help of examples,pictures and vedios.

    1. Thanks a lot Swati 🙂 It becomes easier to make the reader understand with examples, pictures and videos, so I used them 🙂

  17. Digital Marketing strategies used in promoting Bollywood Movies is presented Analytically. It’s a good read. Keep blogging more 🙂

  18. Very well written article. Will such promotions have any significance after the movie release also. How long do you think such promotions need to be managed

    1. Thanks Jitin 🙂 Most of the marketing efforts have impact till the first weekend of movie release. After that it becomes mostly word-of-mouth.

  19. It is nice to see how the industry is trying different means to connect with the consumer. A good read!

    1. Thanks Rishik 🙂 As more and more viewers (consumers) are becoming active on social media, the industry is able to reach out and connect to huge masses.

  20. Indeed well pointed out by you, Meenal. Movies are now using social media as a medium for promotions. Not only do they come up with innovative ideas to market their films, but also reach out to a wide audience by making apt use of social media. Good one! 🙂

  21. Well written Meenal. Considering the penetration of social media in Indian population film makers have found better marketing platform. Great going Indian film Industry. Good read.

    1. Thanks Arjun 🙂 Yes its really great way of marketing to attract especially young and mid aged audience as they are heavy users of social media.

  22. Very informative post. Goes on to show that digital marketing is definitely the way forward especially as far as Bollywood is concerned

  23. Nicely written Meenal. Great insight on the digital marketing strategy of some of the Bollywood’s blockbusters. Keep Writing!!!

    1. Thanks Bharti 🙂 Yes with great marketing efforts any movie can do brilliant first weekend business 🙂

  24. Quite insightful…and I think Bolly is going to change in this era of digi-marketing!! They are very much into cross-country selling at the moment and this would benefit them in a big way for sure.

  25. Very nicely written write up highlighting bollywood’s use of social media. Keep up the good work and keep blogging.

  26. Very well compiled, Meenal. Social media is indeed becoming the trend for publicising and creating curiosity among the people. It would be great if you can put your views too about the use of social media by Bollywood. An informative and fun read. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  27. Really good blog. It perfectly highlights the way in which digital marketing has influenced the bollywood industry. well done.. !!

  28. Production houses are now realising the impact of social network to promote their movies. These e-channel provides them to explore new channels to reach their audience. This becomes their strategy to make their movie a success. Nice article..

    1. Thanks Piyush 🙂 As these social platforms have very great reach and engagement and have more than 1 billion daily active users, producers have started exploring these opportunities.

  29. Good one Meenal.Very nicely written.

    Just a quick feedback, it would have been great if some of the examples were more data oriented.Like what % of the total marketing budget for Bajirao Mastani was for Digital marketing.How online / offline marketing budget ratios have changed over last 10 yrs.Or probably a comparison of ROIs from online and offline marketing activities.

    Still a great read overall.


  30. Very thoughtful and insightfull article, how entertainment industry is leveraging social media platforms. Keep writing.

  31. Very interesting article Meenal! I think you rightly pointed out the facts that we might have not even thought about when considering Bollywood!

    1. Thanks Aparna 🙂 Yes indeed Bollywood is going a step ahead and progressing a lot in using digital media and technology to promote their movies!

  32. Agreed people..but a more academic view would say you need to market the movie no matter how bad it is …It is tough to treat movie promotions as a rule bound or corporate planning sort of thing.But what this write up brings home is that all marketing and especially movie promotions must be specific to the movie star or cast/crew and script

    1. Hi Ankur, yes promotions are required to engage audience. Very few movies like Queen do great business inspite of no heavy promotions and thats purely due to word-of-mouth which spreads slowly after the movie has released.
      Although in India many movies do good business purely due to its Cast but again these promotions need not be specific to movie cast/crew.

    1. Thanks Agnivesh 🙂 I am more of a Bollywood person than Hollywood..But still its a good idea to analyze digital marketing usage in Hollywood for promotion.. I would explore and may be in my next blog provide views on it.

  33. Well articulated! The blog is not only insightful but also a very interesting read. Nice usage of imagery.

  34. Being a bollywood cleric even I was unaware of these facts.

    An eye opener for the marketing industry, Social Media has become the most effective and less expesive way of promoting.

    Beautifully compiled and mesmerising wrting.

    Great Work.

    1. Thanks Akash 🙂 Truly, its an value for money way of marketing……as it has very large reach without affecting pocket much.

  35. Definitely entertainment industry was the early adopter of Digital marketing.
    Maybe only this can bring some audience to Sajid Khan films 😛

    1. Hehehe…Indeed digital marketing can bring audiences for any movie which is being promoted well and innovatively.

  36. Thoroughly enjoyed reading the article, being a movie buff myself. Great going, would love to read more insights!

  37. Informative and well presented article. Never had much idea about bollywood industry using digital marketing at such a huge scale

  38. Nicely written. Didnt know you have good writting skills. Collection of information and examples are super. Some information are new to me like animated web series, half selfie… This shows how directors, producers and their team utilizing digital marketing even though movies doesn’t have any stories.
    But there are some movies which have good stories and acting, nice choreography, new talents are getting promoted by common people through fb, twitter, etc.. Digital marketing and social media playing important role for both movies success and box office collections.

    1. Thanks Sukesh 🙂 Yes Bollywood is finding out innovative ways to promote their movies using digital marketing. This not helps them to reach out and engage more audience but also helps in garnering good box office collection.

  39. Nice work.. Covered most of the methods used by the movie industry.

    You could have included some examples where these actions taken by the movies failed to achieve their objective or had a negative impact.

  40. Something new …did not know that these days movies r so much into digital marketing for promotions..good collection of varied examples of digital media use in Bollywood.

    1. Thanks Punam 🙂 Yes most of the Bollywood is using digital marketing as its inexpensive and time saving. It doesnt require the actors and other cast to travel to various cities to reach out to them for promoting movie and hence saves time and money. Its also very effective medium.

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