Performing Arts Digital Advertising Benchmarks

Capacity Interactive AUTHOR: Capacity Interactive
Dec 10, 2013
Min Read


Facebook advertising more effective than banners.

To further our goal of providing current, industry-specific benchmarks to the performing arts industry, we took a comprehensive look at digital advertising performance, specifically retargeting banner and Facebook campaigns.

We analyzed over 80 campaigns that we managed across 10 organizations in the United States and Canada including theaters, music, ballet and dance companies, and performing arts presenters.

Key Takeaways

  • Facebook and banners are very well suited for the performing arts, delivering an average cost per acquisition of $12 and $20 respectively.
  • Facebook advertising is more effective than banners in driving engagement and sales. Facebook campaigns saw click-through-rates more than 30 times higher than banner campaigns and the cost per acquisition was less than half that of banner campaigns, on average.
  • This isn’t to say most banner campaigns were not effective. The middle 50% of banner campaigns we analyzed saw ROIs close to 500%.
  • Unlike Facebook, banners are primarily a view-through, not click-through medium. While click-through-rates are lower for banners, we still see strong ROIs for banner campaigns.
  • The top 25% of campaigns deliver similar cost per acquisitions on Facebook and banners, at $12 and $11 respectively.

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Notes and Definitions

  • Click-through-rate (CTR) measures the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions
  • Return on investment (ROI) is the total revenue the ad drove minus the total media spend, divided by the total media spend, and it is measured on the basis that the ad receives 100% attribution credit. Total revenue was either exact or calculated using an average transaction value for each client.
  • The Cost per Acquisition (CPA) is measured by the total media spend divided by the total number of conversions. Also measured on the basis that ad receives 100% attribution credit.
  • We totaled click-through-conversions and view-through conversions, meaning that if a user saw or clicked an ad and then made a purchase, the ad received 100% of the purchase attribution.
  • Facebook results do not include Facebook Exchange, i.e. the Facebook results we looked at are solely from ads placed directly on Facebook.
  • Campaign results are based on the Capacity Interactive methodology and optimization of campaigns.
  • Facebook campaigns include a variety of targeting methods including Fan Targeting, Friend of Fan Targeting, Interest Targeting, CRM Targeting, and Lookalike targeting.
  • All banner campaigns were via real time bidding with no direct buys. All of these banner campaigns include a major remarketing component and some included acquisition elements like search-intent targeting.

In summary, digital marketing platforms such as Facebook and real time bidding for banners provide incredible data to target and convert prospects and are particularly effective for the performing arts. It is remarkable that the median 50% of Facebook campaigns deliver a cost per acquisition of just $12 and the median 50% of banner campaigns deliver a cost per acquisition a customer of just $20. These are effective tools since the average transaction value for most performing arts organizations ranges from $80-$200, which is why we are able to see such strong ROIs (spend $20 to get $80-$200).

We hope that this provides you with insights on how your company’s results compare to other organizations’ campaigns. We are adding new campaigns to this analysis weekly, so the results will continue to be refined.