Cinema Audit Australia

Gruvi has recently conducted an A.U.D.I.T. of the websites of Australia’s major cinema chains, to determine how effectively those websites engage with their online audiences. It is our belief that by sharing these results – for free – we can help cinema chains learn from their own (and their competitors’) successes and failures, which will enable them to further improve the online service they offer.
The following three criteria were used to determine the results:


The Algorithm score is based on each cinema’s best use of Google’s search algorithm within its page infrastructure.


Shows whether the page uses state-of-the-art AddOn integrations, which provide the ability to better understand audiences and – crucially – track sales conversions.


Shows the traffic each page generates within a month & how long people stay on that page, as well as how many different pages on the site the user visits.
Each cinema chain has a score determined from the results of the above criteria which is shown alongside the scores of its competitors.
In this furlough period, cinemas should be looking at upgrading their websites and digital marketing activities. It seems likely that cinemas’ greatest competition will come from the living room couch, and the numerous streaming services that are currently available or will soon be entering the market.
Studio ad dollars look likely to remain split between supporting theatrical and VOD releases, particularly with Warner Bros’ announcement late last year that they will be releasing their entire 2021 slate in the US simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO max. This trend may well continue after lockdown and could end up being the studios’ de facto ongoing strategy.

To find out more, click here to set up a meeting call with the head of our team in Australia.


We reviewed the following cinema chains in Australia:

It is apparent that the digital marketing teams from practically all of the cinema chains have been doing strong work, but Event Cinemas appear to be the clear leader (across our three criteria).
Approaches to SEM marketing and Google were mixed across the country. SEM was surprisingly low, with cinemas seeming to invest more in organic placement activities and traffic.

Losing traffic is a phenomenon we are seeing across Europe, but most Australian cinema chains have already taken steps to counter this with backlink strategies, social media activities, newsletters, etc. While some of the cinema chains’ social media strategies seem a little outdated, it is encouraging to see they have all commissioned paid advertising on at least one social media platform to highlight their current programme of films, membership schemes, competition sweepstakes, or key upcoming releases. The principle goal of the cinema chains in 2021 should be to drive more quality traffic to their sites, and increase the conversion rate there. The challenges they face include maintaining an awareness of the latest Search Engine Updates and improving their page speeds for low bandwidth connections, in order to keep up with the growing importance of mobile phone usage (which already accounts for +80% of all traffic to their sites).

ALGORITHM – definition: Website optimised technically & structurally for Google’s algorithm (which is frequently updated).

Pros:Cons:– Increasing SEO mobile visibility – Decreasing SEO desktop visibility- Increasing Keyword indexation – Weak performance/page speeds- Better quality backlinks – Overall declining traffic – Low SEM usage
Quick Wins1. Invest in SEO Audit to fix technical and structural issues for better Google rankings.2. Compress images for better performance on mobile phones.3. Very little SEM traffic was monitored across the territory indicating that this is currently an under utilised channel
● Event Cinemas has the highest SEO Visibility from Search Engines, which leads to high traffic.
● Event Cinemas has the highest Mobile SEO Visibility, which drives additional traffic from mobile devices that use search engines.
● Event Cinemas website has 2.5 Million Keywords indexed by search engines, which helps drive users to the site through various search terms.
● None of the cinemas that we reviewed were making any significant investments into Google search engine marketing.
● Event Cinemas has most incoming links to their website, which helps generate more referral traffic from partner sites and/or promotions. If used properly, this backlink metric is very important for high search rankings.

DATA – definition: data point integrations to measure success & understand your audiences

Pros:Cons:– All websites are using Google Analytics – Adword conversions and pixel & dynamic- Most sites have implemented Google Tag Manager retargeting are still rarely used- Most cinema chains are measuring their real ROI – One chain appears to have no tag manager or through advertising/Conversion Pixels audience tagging structure in place Quick Wins:1. Continue migrating integrations to Google Tag Manager2. Build a proper data warehouse
● Palace has the best marketing technology and data integration on their website, followed by Event cinemas. These are the two highest scores across Australia.
● 5 out of 5 cinema chains in Australia use Google Analytics on their website to progress user data.
● 4 out of 5 cinema chains in the Australia use Google Tag Manager on their website to administer their website plugins, and create Data Layers that offer more insight into data.
● Only 1 out of 5 cinema chains in Australia use Google Adwords Conversion to measure the success of either Google Search, Google Display or Youtube Advertising.
● 5 out of 5 cinema chains in Australia use Facebook Pixel to measure the success of their Facebook Advertising.
● Event cinemas and Palace used the most plugins running on their website (including a number of high priced software packages), which helps maximise usage of their user data, but on the other hand might lower page speed and accessibility

TRAFFIC – definition: Website visits & sources of traffic

● Event cinemas has the highest score, but Hoyts, Reading and Palace are not far behind
● Village Roadshow has a markedly shorter visitor duration – significantly it was the lowest in the group. This may be due to the company maintaining two websites simultaneously – one corporate and one for ticketing purposes – which potentially splits the traffic and generates confusion for some users.
● Village Roadshow generates the most percentage traffic from social media (by using more call to actions in their communication) yet the lowest traffic through search, as the website is less optimized for SEO and ranks lower in organic search.
● Village Roadshow has the highest referral traffic and generates the most visits from back links.
● Palace receives the highest percentage of respondents to their display ads – overall SEM appears to be in low usage across the Australian market.


The Australia market is progressing well. Event Cinemas are clearly in the lead and have done significant work on all three criteria, resulting in them coming in top or second position. Palace Cinemas was noticeably the most progressive on the Data criteria, and it will be interesting to learn more about how they plan on using these data sets in the future.
However, the Australia’s leading cinema chains need to remain aware of the frequent & continual changes to the digital marketplace, and each one needs to remain aware of the ongoing activities of its competitors. Key subjects to focus on in 2021 include:
● Increase individual page speed & performance
● Be aware of & act upon all search engine updates
● Continually assess & re-assess social media strategy
● Continue learning from all available data and build marketing funnels for advertising
● Allocate a greater advertising budget to significantly improve results

To find out more, click here to set up a meeting call with the head of our team in Australia.


CAVEAT: The tools we use in our methodology only provide a ‘skin deep’ overview of the web operations and therefore may not reflect the actual workings of a site, particularly if your Data integrations are server side. In order to do a more thorough review we would need access to Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. If you are interested in a more detailed audit or would like to enquire about this study please reach out directly to
Since conducting this study for the first time in 2018, Gruvi has collected significantly more data and enhanced the systems we use. Our updated KPIs reflect key digital marketing changes first seen in 2019, including the increasing rise of mobile phone usage, changes to Google algorithms, and various new state-of-the-art plugins.
Data collection and analysis was conducted through market-leading software for search engine optimisation (SEO), and social media and web analytics including Search Metrics, Moz, Google lighthouse, SimilarWeb, Brandwatch, RivalIQ & Ghostery.

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