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Social Media and Festivals: Boosting Cross-Platform Attribution and Targeted Messaging

CrowdGuest Post by Jason Hobbs CEO and founder of found.ee 

For the ever-changing music industry, the desire to understand where ticket sales are coming from has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, and for legitimate reasons.  Understanding sales paths—or what we call attribution—is necessary to not only increase immediate sales, but it’s also necessary for understanding the behavior of a festival fan that purchases tickets, so that you can develop future campaigns more effectively.  

Marketing is no longer the shotgun-splatter-against-the-wall-and-make-assumptions-of-what-stuck approach that it once was.  Marketing is now a laser focused beam, targeting qualified audiences, reducing costs, and increasing conversions.  Companies are getting more and more sophisticated, so in order to stay ahead you must understand not just behavior, but attribution.

WORKING TOWARD SOLUTIONS

Keyword, “solutions,” not “solution.”  Understanding consumer behavior across multiple platforms, and being able to attribute sales to those consumers is not a turnkey tactic you can simply turn on as part of an order form, but there are tools, that when combined, will provide you with the transparency you need to: understand consumers, recognize intent, determine which platforms are important to your conversion, and attribute conversions. 

Advertising platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook are attempting to track consumers across platforms and devices, and both offer the ability to do so to a certain degree, but neither are turnkey solutions either.  Google and Facebook both assign unique ID’s to their users, and are able to track behavior while those users are on their platforms, but those, like many other disparate platforms, don’t talk to each other.

An interaction on Twitter, or YouTube, or a premium publisher, don’t sync across some universal advertising platform that watches everyone’s activity across the disparate internet. Targeting models are based on engagements and extrapolations taken from those engagements on their respective (and disconnected) platforms, but since these platforms don’t sync their information, there isn’t an accurate cross-platform targeting model.  Instead those intersections are used as models to “define” segments of people based on similar behavior—analogous targeting.  Sure, you can find similar audiences and buy advertising against that, but what you really want is access to the exact set of people that took those actions on those different platforms.  And you want to be able to target those people based on interest, behavior, context, and event intent.

UNTANGLING THE NOISE

1-yJlPpRI9p6CK-HuVvcp1rwWho drove that spike?  The announcement came from 45 bands all at once; they all drove the spike.  But who drove the sales?  Well the band you want to see most at your festival of course.  Or maybe not, but it feels that way. 

Who might drive the most sales from here?  Good question.  The bands posted across social media, pushed a newsletter to their subscribers, and published the festival ticketing link on their website.  All at the same time!  Just kidding, that never happens, but let’s imagine they did a coordinated dissemination, simultaneously.  Well, now you have to untangle everything to find out who is driving the most sales through their owned media.  Maybe a second status update will seal the deal if you can convince them to do it.  But what if you can’t convince them to do it?  They aren’t obligated to post a certain number of times (or maybe they are).  The festival is six months out.

It’s your job to find the consumers that didn’t buy, but showed interest in buying, and convince them to buy.  This is commonly done using blanketed remarketing campaigns simply targeting all who have come to your ticketing platform—this gets even harder when you have a tier 2 festival using a third party ticketing platform that has no desire to install remarketing pixels for you.

Bigstock-Social-media-concept-43274035-e1414174408500The problem with blanket targeting, even with remarketing, is that all you’ve defined is an audience that sort of showed an unspecific level of interest.  There is no identifiable intent. Remarketing using blanket targeting drives up advertising costs, due to a lack of qualified targeting. If you have remarketing set up across the entire checkout system you can run a campaign and only remarket those that got to step 4 of 5, before falling out of the checkout funnel.  That shows more intent than the person that just spent 30 seconds on your homepage looking at the full lineup.  The latter may not even be interested after seeing the lineup.  The cluster of people that got to step 3 of 5, but also watched the tour trailer, and subscribed to your email list, well that is a cluster you better hope to understand too.  Why did 40,000 people take the exact same series of steps?  Good question.  Can you get them to buy?  What does it take?  Set up your rule based remarketing segments.

That’s a good start, but what else can you do to bolster your campaign? 

CONNECTING THE DOTS

Here’s where specific URLS that contain remarketing pixels come in.  Instead of providing the same shortened URL to every band on the lineup, you customize a URL to each band.  Sure, this takes about 5 extra minutes, but it saves about 5 months of headaches, and tens of thousands of marketing dollars with untailored messaging and experiences.

If The Strokes do the aforementioned list of tasks—or their fantastic digital person does it with their approval—and drive 100,000 people to your homepage; 40,000 of which watched the tour trailer, subscribed to your email list, and got to step 3, but didn’t convert, then your advertising to those 40,000 people should absolutely be tailored to those fans, as fans of The Strokes.  Don’t tell them about the entirely unrelated, lack of crossover potential, PINK playing on day 2.  Tell them about The Strokes, their new album, remind them of why they fell in love with The Strokes in the first place, tell them how long it’s been since they’ve played a festival: create an appeal surrounding the thing you know they like. 

Advertising creative, messaging, and even the landing page you drive these segments to, can and should be tailored to this.  Sure, you’re selling a festival, not a concert for The Strokes; the fans are aware of that, but it’s a good thing to reinforce.  Since you’re attempting to get these fans to pay 3-10 times what a normal concert would cost, you’re going to have to convince these fans of why this festival is better than simply waiting for The Strokes to come back on their own tour, and tailoring your marketing to the interests identified in these fans is going to increase their propensity to buy festival tickets.  To understand why people buy, I recommend reading, “Buyology” by Martin Lindstrom, or “Why We Buy” by Paco Underhill.

Oh, I also recommend you learn from this as you go.  Learn about your consumers.  Save the learnings for your next festival.  Find the crossover; market to it.  Save these segments, refresh these segments, create new segments.  You can build your own consumer targeting models using a combination of found.ee links and remarketing pixels on your website.  Just don’t forget your rule-based remarketing segments require you to think logically.

Jason Hobbs is CEO and founder of found.ee and THE FOUND GROUP. found.ee enables today’s festivals to track fan behavior across multiple platforms, and attribute conversions to both the bands that triggered the engagements, and to the platforms that drove the conversions.

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