The first unit is called a movie reminder ad, and it does exactly that —since studios usually start marketing their titles months or even years before release, they can now include an Interested button in their Facebook ads, allowing users to opt-in to a notification when the film is released. Then, on the Friday before opening weekend, interested moviegoers will get a reminder pointing them to a page with showtimes and ticket purchase options from Fandango and Atom Tickets.
Meanwhile, a showtime ad is designed for a later stage of a marketing campaign, when the movie is already in theaters. These ads feature a Get Showtimes button that will direct users to that same detail page with nearby showtimes and ticket purchase links.
In Facebook-commissioned research from Accenture published earlier this year, 58% of moviegoers said they discover new films online, and that 39% are doing so on smartphones and tablets.
Jen Howard, Facebook’s group director for entertainment and technology, told me that this should provide the Hollywood studios (who, aside from Disney, are having a rough summer) with a seamless way to connect their ads with movie ticket purchases. She also argued that it allows them to address “the full funnel” of viewer interest, and is “really starting to get them closer to a direct-to-consumer experience with moviegoers.”
Facebook says it’s already been testing the ad formats with select studios. For example, Universal Pictures used showtime ads to promote “The Grinch,” resulting in what Facebook said was “a significant increase in showtime lookups and ticket purchases.”
Movie reminder ads and showtime ads are now available to all studios in the United States and the United Kingdom.