Blog > Image versus Video, which is better for cinema ticket sales? Part 2

Image versus Video, which is better for cinema ticket sales? Part 2

Image Vs. Video

We integrated our tracking tools with the online ticketing system of the Grand Teatret cinema in Copenhagen, Denmark, to show how powerful online advertising can be in driving advance ticket sales for independent film. You can read more about the project here. We found that cinemas are missing out on an important revenue opportunity that can be exploited via digital marketing if the audience data collected from online ticket sales is subsequently incorporated into online advertising.

Key Findings

From previous case studies we saw that:

  1. Audiences that are drawn to a cinema website via ads for one particular film often navigate further around the site, viewing details of other films playing at the same date/time.
  2. This suggests that advertising the full range of films being shown is an important tactic for cinema advertising, in addition to advertising individual titles.
  3. There is a strong correlation between a cinema ad and consumer behaviour, with 85% of people buying tickets with 24 hours of viewing an ad.
  4. The more expensive carousel ad format offered by Facebook delivers a disappointing ROA (Return On Advertising), ranging from 1.2 down to negative values.

From this case study we saw that:

  1. Video ads targeted at a specific & motivated audience are dramatically more effective than ads featuring still images, with a ROA (Return on Advertising) of 9.6X.
  2. The majority of ticket sales generated by such an ad come within 24 .hours of viewing it, showing a high correlation between ad views and ticket sales

Please note: this study is concerned with ticket sales only, the results do not take into account the further revenue generated from concession sales made by those cinemagoers that booked tickets as a result of viewing an ad.

Test 5 summary: Facebook video advert

For this test we used Facebook’s video ad format. Our aim was to see how effective a campaign for a single new release could be when re-targeting audiences.
A video ad for the new Danish release “Kongernes Fald” was used for this campaign, with targeting data based on users that had previously interacted with the film’s dedicated page on the cinema website, but had not moved on to purchasing tickets for this title.
Crucially, these users had previously purchased or reserved tickets for other films via the cinema website. In addition, this data was used to identify a second Lookalike audience group, which was also targeted.
The test ran from June 7th to June 14th.

The campaign targeted a relatively small audience size, with a corresponding relatively small media spend.


The average Cost of Sales per ticket was £1.21 (ticket price £11), with sales taking place within 24 hours of initially clicking on the ad.

Analysis Results – Test 5 (video ad)

Test 5 (with its video ad and audience retargeting focus)was far more successful.
‘Costs Per Ticket Sold’ were significantly better: we achieved one ticket sale for every 61 people reached and every 1.6 visit to the website. This was our best result so far and a significant improvement on the results from tests 1 & 2 – up from every 507 people reached and every 11th visit to the website in our previous study.


  • The results of test 5 (video ad) are in part down to the following:
  • The use of video content – ads built around video content generate significantly more interest than ads built around still images.
  • A 9.6X ROA (Return on Advertising) – this strongly correlates with our hypothesis that the most motivated potential audience members for a particular film are those that have already expressed an interest in the title (by viewing the film’s bespoke page on the cinema website), that may have previously initiated the ticket booking process but failed to complete it


Build on the following hypotheses and findings:

  1. Potential cinema audience members engage far more with ads featuring video rather than still images.
  2. Potential cinema audience members will view details of multiple titles if included in an ad.
  3. Potential cinema audience members that may have initiated, but not completed, the online ticket booking process are highly motivated if re-targeted.
  4. Our next trial will, therefore, focus on more narrowly defined audience data points, and presenting potential cinema audience members with carousel format ads featuring videos for multiple titles.

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