Cinema Plus Digital Advertising Improves Intent-to-Buy

In our last post about Nielsen and National CineMedia’s (NCM) co-authored study, Cinema Advertising and the Science of Capturing Consumer Attention, we explored the significant lift in brand awareness and message recall marketers can expect when combining their television advertising campaigns with cinema. If they take that one step further and combine cinema with digital advertising, it not only generates lift, but intent-to-buy as well.

To better understand how cinema and digital advertising impact one another, NCM analyzed  automotive client campaigns using the Nielsen Marketing Cloud’s In-Flight Analytics application. The goal was to see if the combination of these media moves people further along in the consumer journey, so the study[1] looked at NCM audiences exposed to cinema auto advertisements who were subsequently exposed to banner and video advertisements from the same advertisers across desktop and mobile devices.

The in-flight campaign analysis connected cinema exposure to subsequent digital actions taken by moviegoers that constituted evidence of car-shopper consideration[2] and intent-to-buy[3] information from consumer actions taken on endemic automobile sites (e.g. dealership sites, automotive media and product comparison sites), including anonymous car research and product comparisons, test drive requests and price quotes. The cinema advertising exposure was then matched with the aforementioned consideration and intent-to-buy data and compared with those of a pre-defined control group to identify lift. This journey analytics data was analyzed in real-time (e.g. as the “in-market” actions were taken) to support the clients’ in-flight campaign optimization efforts.

The results showed that the combination of cinema and digital advertising has a significant impact on auto advertisers’ ability to guide potential customers through the stages in the purchase funnel in an aggregate analysis across multiple auto brands.

In-consideration lift for mobile banners was +230% versus a control (e.g. those not exposed to a subsequent digital advertisement), while mobile videos saw a 350% lift. Intent-to-buy lift was 350% for mobile banners and 270% for mobile videos.

So while cinema advertising packs a punch in terms of generating brand awareness and message recall it really shines when combined with online and mobile advertising. Audiences come away from a movie experience with the advertisements they’ve seen top-of-mind, which gives advertisers an ideal opportunity to encourage them to take concrete steps towards making a purchase with digital reinforcement.

Another in-flight analysis was conducted for NCM, this time looking at a single auto-brand, and the results were equally encouraging. Mobile again did a great job of pushing audiences closer to making a purchase with a lift of 450% for in-consideration and 370% for intent-to-buy among the audiences tested. Desktop banners also see a big jump with a 240% lift in intent-to-buy.

One of the biggest challenges marketers face in today’s complex advertising environment is understanding how individual media channels impact consumer behavior and how these channels can more effectively work together to guide people through their purchase journeys. The better you are at generating brand awareness – at capturing consumers’ attention, which is an increasingly hard thing to do – the more effective you will be with subsequent advertising. Cinema advertising’s captive audience and engaging form-factor does an exceptional job of winning the attention of consumers.

Advertisers trying to get the word out and fill the top of their purchase funnels should consider the reinforcing brand awareness effect cinema and digital have on each other. Mobile and online advertising – especially video advertisements – subsequent to an in-theater exposure, led to big increases in purchase intent (e.g. consideration and intent-to-buy) for the automobile advertisers analyzed in this report.

For more information about cinema’s impact on brand awareness and message recall, click here to read and download the full report.


[1] Nielsen Marketing Cloud – In-Flight Analytics and NCM 2017 – Confidential & Proprietary Copyright © 2018 The Nielsen Company.

[2] Consideration is a subsequent ‘interest’ action – defined by the client– taken by a person exposed to an in-theater automobile advertisement such as visiting an auto dealer-site visit, engaging with a digital advertisement (online, mobile, search, etc.) or vehicle simulator.

[3] Intent-to-buy is a subsequent ‘ready-to-buy’ action – defined by the client – taken by a person exposed to an in-theater automobile advertisement such as requesting a test drive, scheduling an appointment or asking for pricing on a dealer site.

Posted in Ad Industry, Insights

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