Movie Marketing using Facebook’s Newsfeed Adverts

Ben Johnson on 8 December 2015

Since our recent website update, we’re reposting all our Whitepapers. This Whitepaper is from September 2013.

News feed ads are commonly used by movie and film distributors for marketing their movies online. News feed ads are Facebook’s new wonder child, showing up between friend’s posts on the users news feed. These ads work seamlessly into the Newsfeed and without the small “Sponsored” link next to the ad it becomes tough to distinguish between friends and advertisers, which is perfect for advertisers. Pages can boost their posts, or even their entire page to reach a large audience. Pages can also use their fans as leverage to advertise to friends-of-friends.

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 6.47.19 PM

The essential difference between right side and news feed ads (aside from where they are on Facebook) is that news feed ads encourage engagement within Facebook and come with all the social features of commenting, sharing, and liking baked in.

There are two ways of doing this:

Boosting Posts

Boosting posts is a straightforward process  – simply click the promote or boost button and select your budget and confirm (NB set your regions in the admin panel). Here is a quick demo video of this action –

Promoting Posts

Promoting Posts is a little more complex but allows you a variety of options that increase the context and power of your advertising messages through micro-targeting options that are available within Facebook’s ad exchange.


The benefits of these two approaches are:

  • The ability to target users who are on their mobile devices (tabs do not work on Mobile campaigns)
  • Social features such as like and shares are baked into the ad unit
  • The format uses your friends’ likes as leverage
  • Low cost promotions involving your key updates or messages
  • The opportunity to target your messages to demographic, user interests, etc

Beauty of this system is you combine the very best of Owned (your fanpage and its fans), Earned (the sharing of your posts) and Paid (the advertising you dedicate towards your posts and pages) media because the widget and the post it sits in are inherently shareable. While it reaches the user with key message about the product where they are most open to updates – i.e. when they are browsing the newsfeed on their tablet, mobile or desktop device.

What’s Missing

As great as these ad formats are for engagement and awareness, there have been some complaints that Facebook advertising is not effective for conversions and sales. GM pulled its $10 million dollars advertising account. Gamestop, Gap, JC Penney and other retailers shut down their Facebook stores. Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research compared it to “Trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.” But with advertising that engages and interests the user instead of selling to them, news feed ads are a rich spring. This is why we developed the Gruvi’s player widget that shares to the news feed and allows the user to watch film trailer and see where it’s playing anywhere in the world and then deep links to the appropriate url on the cinema’s website. You can see a demonstration in action here:

When the community manager for a film page makes a post update, uses the widget and then promotes the post the widget syndicates via the newsfeed as a player post.

When the user clicks on the player the widget opens and user can interact with trailer and other ticketing features.

In this case the widget has showtimes that deep link the user at the appropriate time into the correct cinema.

Case Study

What we have seen in our experience when we combine these kinds of results:

In Advert

Average Facebook advert Click Through Rates (CTR) of between 0.06% – 0.08% and anything above 0.1% is good – promoted posts on the other hand – see below. We commonly achieve 2 – 4% Click Through Rates.

In Widget

  • 5 – 12% of users exiting to theatres where they have selected the cinema and showtime in widget (globally)
  • Mobile interaction upto 44% – remember that mobile devices can’t access tabs so having the widget display in the news feed or timeline is the only way that users can interact with the technology from mobile devices
  • Sharing of player at 5 -7% from within the widget

What’s To Come

  • Either ad prices will be driven up or Facebook will increase the ad inventory as more advertisers move to the news feed
  • Right-hand-side Facebook ads have been thrown into the backburner for the moment as the news feed ads are showing immense promise but this does not mean the end of right-hand-side ads. Right side ads are only available on desktops, making them irrelevant to mobile advertising for now.

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