Selling out cinemas with Facebook ads for National Amusements

Campaign Highlights

  • Winner Best Paid Media Campaign at Performance Marketing Awards
  • Sold out cinema tickets for four films
  • Generated over £200K in box office sales
  • Sold over 36,000 tickets for best performing film title alone
  • Overall ROI target exceeded by 69%
  • Highest ROI achieved: £12 for every £1 spend for best performing title
  • Target for link clicks to booking sites exceeded by 61%

An exciting brief from our client

We were approached by National Amusements to sell screenings across the country for the launch of four films, all of which were niche genres with widely different audiences.

The films were:

  • Thomas & Friends: Journey Beyond Sodor
  • Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life
  • Young Frankenstein
  • 3 Million Euros (Lithuanian Language Film)

Our aim was to prove the effectiveness of Facebook ads for selling out cinema screenings, by delivering game-changing results and smashing ticket sales. Another main objective was to generate a minimum ROAS of £1 : £5.

Why was this campaign challenging?

All of the films had a widely different audience, so we knew we had to be strategic and targeted in our approach for each. The films each had their own challenges:

Young Frankenstein: We were appealing to fans of classic comedy and trying to persuade them to buy a cinema ticket for a film they already know and love.

3 Million Euros: This is a Lithuanian-language film, so targeting had to be very specific to a small community of non-English speaking cinema-goers.

Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life: We had to be careful not to generate unfavourable reactions with promotions for Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life, considering the controversy surrounding the artist.

Thomas & Friends ‘Journey Beyond Sodor’: The kids entertainment sector is highly competitive. Kids aged 2-5 are not traditionally considered cinema goers and usually play outside during the summer. Therefore parents needed to be convinced to take their children to see this film!

Purchasing a ticket to an event such as a cinema screening requires a process of consideration, including timings, location and plans of family members and friends. These additional steps in the buying process had to be taken into account, and provided further challenges to the campaign as a whole.

Our targeting technology

We built custom audiences based on purchasing intent; by using  extensive audience insights from our ATOM technology, we were able to connect with the emotional side of the fans, specific to each film, thus driving high engagement on Facebook.

These insights allowed us to understand the motivation and interests that drove each audience to buy tickets.

A winning campaign strategy

Insights into wider interests were also used to create look-a-like audiences and reach an even larger audience who had high levels of affinity to each film title.

Compelling creative executions, which highlighted the most popular element of each title, were tailored for each audience and optimised to result in specific actions (Trailer views, Ticket sales etc).


Our unique reminder ads helped people with initial interest for each respective film to engage with the ads while also giving them time to organise their plans so they could buy a ticket. By opting in to be reminded they were added to a bespoke retargeting pool of people who were delivered ads nearer the time of the screening.