Success case FilmHallen

Culture and data collection in the leading role


About FilmHallen

With nine screens, FilmHallen is one of the largest cinemas in Amsterdam. It offers a wide range of movies, including Hollywood blockbusters, award-winning European films, documentaries, and children’s films. It even hosts live screenings of The Royal Opera House performances from London. Such a diverse offering attracts a broad audience, which requires a strongly segmented customer journey. FilmHallen is making significant strides in this area with the help of our CDP Spotler Activate.

The challenge

When selling an experience rather than a tangible product, it is challenging to predict the preferences of different target audiences and tailor marketing efforts accordingly. Julien Staartjes, Marketing Manager at FilmHallen, experienced this challenge firsthand. “Filmgoers are not easily categorised,” says Julien. “Someone who watches an American action film on Saturday night might watch a feel-good animated film with their nephew on Wednesday afternoon. Our challenge was to approach our visitors more relevantly with recommendations that resonate with them and keep them coming back.”

Julien and his team sought a tool that could assist them with this, and they quickly turned to Spotler Activate.

The power of drag and drop

“To better serve our target audiences, we wanted to implement personalisation on our website and within our emails,” explains Julien, Marketing Manager of FilmHallen. “Previously, we used a CRM platform for data collection and email marketing, but building customer journeys took a lot of time. Moreover, the translation to website personalisation was complicated. We wanted a more practical approach that allowed us to leverage our own creativity in building journeys and generating conversions.”

FilmHallen has three main types of conversions: individual movie tickets, a ten-visit strip card, and the Cineville pass. Julien says, “The Cineville pass is an all-you-can-eat subscription that allows unlimited movie visits at all participating cinemas for a fixed price. We wanted to promote this pass specifically because we believe it creates a culture of film enthusiasts.”

Using the audience builder in Spotler Activate, they created a target audience for potential Cineville pass holders and associated actions with it. If Spotler Activate recognises someone as a frequent visitor, that person will see more promotions for the Cineville pass on the website and in emails. This subtly motivates FilmHallen’s frequent visitors to switch and purchase the pass. Julien adds, “Building such a journey is straightforward in Spotler Activate, thanks to its drag and drop feature. You see exactly what you’re doing, which makes it user-friendly and organised.”

Innovative Audiences

In addition to promoting the Cineville pass, increasing overall relevance in communication was a major challenge. As mentioned earlier, filmgoers are not easily categorised, making it challenging to provide recommendations for repeat visits. Thanks to Squeezely, Julien found a solution. “When building audiences in the customer data platform, we work across genres. We sum up interests and categories and base our retargeting efforts on that. And with the fully automated A/B testing features, we can immediately see what works and what doesn’t.”

A royal niche

However, there is one specific audience segment that stands out, according to Julien. “The live screenings of The Royal Opera House performances at FilmHallen attract a very specific audience. The challenge was to direct these people quickly to the film page and ticket sales without having to modify our entire homepage.” In collaboration with website builders Eagerly, they developed a new feature. “The film lineup carousel on the homepage now includes a personalisation element. If a website visitor falls into the opera lover category, we show the opera in the carousel, and tickets can be added to the shopping cart with just a few clicks.” This makes the customer journey at FilmHallen shorter and more user friendly.

A cultural retention flow

To stay relevant and promote repeat visits even after the purchase, FilmHallen is working on a special retention flow. Julien explains, “Previously, our website was mainly focused on ticket sales, and the journey ended after the check-out. Now, we want to stimulate retention by providing deeper engagement after the purchase or film visit. This can include exciting interviews with actors, behind-the-scenes material, or additional content about directors. By doing this, we increase engagement and extend the journey, which increases the chances of a repeat visit.”

Spotlight on the newsletter

In addition to the retention flow, the newsletter is an important tool for keeping visitors engaged and promoting retention. Thanks to Spotler Activate, the number of newsletter subscribers has significantly increased, along with the relevance of its content. Julien points out, “We have a lot of great content to share, but having a sign-up option in the footer of your website has little effect. Spotler Activate ensures that the newsletter is actively promoted at the right moments and helps us tailor its content to our audiences. Ultimately, we want to move towards personalised emails for each visitor.”

Results and plans for the future

FilmHallen continues to further develop its cross-channel marketing approach in collaboration with Spotler Activate and Eagerly. Relevance, depth, and retention are central to their strategy. Julien explains, “Currently, we are working on a functionality in the check-out process that links ticket types to visitors. This gives us more insights into our visitors and their purchasing behaviour, allowing us to serve them even better. And that’s exactly what we aim to achieve.”

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