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Facebook Movie Ads Can Now Include Premiere Reminders, Showtime Lookups

Variety — Todd Spangler

Facebook is extending Hollywood studios’ ad buys on the social platform with the official launch of two new features – movie reminders and showtimes.

The new features are available in the U.S. and the U.K., as a standard part of ad campaigns that studios buy for News Feed. Facebook isn’t charging extra for the reminder and showtime features, with ad rates determined based on the targeting parameters marketers set, according to Jen Howard, group director, entertainment, technology and telco for Facebook.

“It’s another foray we’re making into helping people connect with the movies they love on Facebook,” Howard said.

Facebook has already run smaller-scale tests of the reminders and showtime lookups. For example, last year Universal Pictures used the features for Illumination Entertainment’s “The Grinch” animated film, which premiered Nov. 8, 2018. That drove a “significant increase” in showtime lookups and ticket purchases, according to Doug Neil, Universal’s EVP of digital marketing, although he didn’t quantify the extent of the lift.

Moviegoers often discover a film months before its release, with interest typically peaking when the trailer hits. Now Facebook is letting movie fans tap a button on a movie’s ad — labeled “Interested” — and when the movie hits theaters, they’ll receive a notification that provides a link to the movie detail page on Facebook where they can look up showtimes and purchase tickets.

Facebook shared a mock-up of what the movie reminders look like (for a fake movie called “Love, Served”):

In addition, for movies currently playing in theaters, Facebook ads can include a “Get Showtimes” button to go right to the movie detail page to find out where and when to see the film (and buy tickets).

The social network already provides showtime listings through deals with theater chains including AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas. In the U.S., Facebook provides ticketing through partnerships with NBCUniversal’s Fandango and Atom Tickets. In the U.K., users can purchase tickets through the AMC-owned Odeon Cinemas chain.

In partnership with Atom Tickets and AMC, Facebook is currently running a limited-time promo to waive the convenience fees charged by the two partners on movie tickets purchased through the social network.

About 58% of moviegoers discover movies online, with 39% of those specifically finding upcoming releases on mobile, according to Facebook-commissioned research conducted by Accenture released in January 2019.

Howard said Facebook also is considering extending the reminder feature to TV or streaming-video services — and even more broadly, “any industry where a reminder would be helpful,” she said.

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