Cinemagraphs vs. Still Photos in Social Advertising: Microsoft Case Study

Microsoft Case Study Facebook Ads

We’ve all seen our fair share of Facebook ads and promoted posts on Twitter that use still photos to attract the attention of their audience. But what happens when you switch the still for a living photo that shares a unique story and holds their attention?

Microsoft Case Study: Surface Campaign

Microsoft discovered the impact of cinemagraphs in their social media advertising during a recent social campaign for their latest line of Surface products. A combination of cinemagraphs and static images were used in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram advertisements to target small and medium businesses (SMBs), as well as consumers. This allowed Microsoft to compare the effect of each medium on their engagement, costs and brand awareness. With 1.92 million impressions across an eight day campaign, the results were incredible.

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Social Ads With Cinemagraphs Had Higher Increases in Engagement Rates

Social ads that used cinemagraphs led to significantly higher increases in engagement on social media. On Twitter, Microsoft advertisements that featured cinemagraphs targeting SMBs saw an increase of 110% compared to the 1.96% increase in engagement generated by advertisements using still photos. The effect was felt on Facebook, too; engagement rates increased by 85% with cinemagraph social ads, versus the 0.83% increase on still image ads.

Least to say, Microsoft was impressed. “I’m astounded by the results we have seen with cinemagraph ads,” said Linda Chep, Demand Gen Marketing Manager at Microsoft.

“The engagement rates were through the roof and it shows how more brands can benefit from adopting this new medium.”

Social Ads Featuring Cinemagraphs Drove Costs Down

With ad campaigns being in a constant state of flux, it is important to identify ways to keep your costs low. On Instagram, Microsoft found that cost per engagement decreased by 45% when cinemagraphs were used in their social media ads because engagement was higher than those that included still photos.

Cinemagraphs and Social Advertising 


As we saw with Microsoft, cinemagraphs created with Flixel’s easy to use creation tools, help tell mesmerizing stories that create added value in your audience’s social interactions with your brand and benefit your social media strategies more than your standard still photos. Learn more about Microsoft’s experience here and take a look at how cinemagraphs changed social advertising campaigns for companies like Holden and Mercedes-Benz.

You too can use cinemagraphs in your next social campaign to tell your tale, change the effectiveness of your advertisements, and increase your engagement, starting with the above tutorial. If you’re looking to hire an experienced agency to create cinemagraphs for your campaign, look no further than Mark Homza and his team at Flixel Studios who have worked with mega companies such as A&E, Panasonic and Facebook. Learn more here. 

(Marketing Specialist at Flixel)

Mehek crafts words, content, events and more for Flixel. She firmly believes that life is not life without a little spice, which is why she adds Sriracha to everything.

  • Mike van der Lee

    I think there’s roughly 2 reasons why people look longer at cinemagraphs.

    Some cinemagraphs are really well done and interesting to look at, usually where there is more non-moving than moving content.

    The others, the more busy ones, let’s say, resemble a regular video and people are looking at them longer because they expect something else, more to happen. Which is kind of a bummer when they notice there’s not.

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