Startup Tests Cinemagraphs vs. Still Photos in Facebook Ads

Small Business Case Study: Toronto Startup inkbox


Social advertising is an accessible way for businesses of all sizes to scale their operations. For many organizations, particularly small-medium businesses (SMBs) that have limited resources, maximizing the effectiveness of their social advertising is especially critical to achieving their objectives with certain cost-efficiencies. To do that, businesses require an effective plan that not only relies on their targeting, copywriting and optimization, but also their creative.

Case Study: Toronto’s inkbox 

Toronto-based start-up inkbox, the creator behind the two-week tattoo, realized that in order to further scale their business, they needed to expand their marketing efforts beyond their extensive influencer program to include a robust digital advertising strategy. With a highly visual product, they required a solution that would reflect their brand identity and directly connect with their target market.

“Our biggest challenge is capturing people within that initial customer funnel and then building them all the way from awareness to advocacy,” said Mike Maleszyk, Director of Sales and Marketing, inkbox, highlighting the importance of product differentiation and education in overcoming that barrier.

inkbox Pursues a Split A/B Test on Facebook

Click above to take a behind-the-scenes look at inkbox’s Facebook ads campaign

inkbox determined that in order to standout in their digital advertising, they needed to use visual mediums that would appeal to their audiences and showcase their product. Cinemagraphs seemed like a natural fit for their company and strategy, so inkbox decided to test the medium in a split A/B campaign to compare their effectiveness as an advertisement against a still photo advertisement on Facebook with the goals of increasing their engagement, lowering their costs and creating more brand awareness.

Each advertisement was based in the same creative concept created during a shoot on the beautiful Toronto Islands and specifically targeted millennials in top geographic markets. Managed by Toronto agency AdParlor, the A/B split test ran for 19 days and received nearly 1.7 million impressions, resulting in a notable shift in inkbox’s brand awareness, engagement and advertising costs.

Cinemagraph Ads vs. Still Photo Ads on Facebook 


Higher Engagement

The cinemagraph advertisement yielded a 117% increase in inkbox’s click-through rate, which was significantly higher than the still photo advertisement equivalent. As the CTR improved over the course of the campaign, inkbox also noted a huge uplift in their tags, shares and comments.

“Being a new product and being a new brand, we want to have the opportunity to engage directly with those customers who say something like ‘Oh this is just a new form of henna,’” Mike shared. “It’s not, and we’d like to have the opportunity to explain that. When we saw the social uptake in engagement, we saw that as a very positive trend.”

Lower Costs

Small businesses seek to maximize the effectiveness of their digital advertising while aiming for cost-driven engagement. Such was the case with inkbox.

With the tremendous growth in inkbox’s CTR attributed to their cinemagraph ad, their corresponding cost per click lowered by 41%, demonstrating the direct impact that the creative had on campaign spend.

Relevance Lift

With strong creative that captured inkbox’s cool, summery and tropical identity, each advertisement was equally poised to resonate with inkbox’s audience. Yet, the subtle hint of motion found in the cinemagraph advertisement connected audiences to inkbox’s brand better than the still photo advertisement. The cinemagraph advertisement received a 9/10 Relevance Score, while the still photo advertisement received a 5/10. That 4-point lift, along with an average video viewing time of 12 seconds, reflects the strength of cinemagraphs as a medium that can generate more brand awareness and hold your audience’s attention significantly longer than still photo advertisements.

Cinemagraphs in inkbox’s Facebook Advertising

The cinemagraph advertisement used in this split Facebook A/B test had a drastic impact on each one of inkbox’s objectives. The increase in CTR, decrease in CPC and lift in Relevance Score reflected the power of cinemagraphs in their Facebook advertising strategy, and were a clear indication of where their digital advertising is heading next.

“Seeing the results from the cinemagraphs really opened our eyes to how to approach visual storytelling in the digital advertising space,” said Mike, adding that going forward, their efforts to reach their upper funnel through advertising would involve  cinemagraphs.

“Facebook is a very visual medium. Our product is a very visual product. Facebook, and Instagram as well, are our prime growth channels,” said Tyler Handley, Co-Founder and CEO at inkbox. “Our plan is to always have cinemagraphs in our creative arsenal somewhere. They slot in nicely with our growth plan in digital advertising, specifically Facebook.”


Learn more about inkbox’s Facebook A/B split test ad and see how they use cinemagraphs to connect with their audience on Snapchat.

Explore more case studies to see how businesses of all sizes use cinemagraphs to drive growth on social media.


(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.


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