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8 Tactics That Move The Needle In Festival Marketing

The festival market is highly competitive, and standing out from the competition is essential to attract attendees. With most of the festival costs being sunk, advertising and marketing strategies must be aggressive, when they are driving incremental revenue. Every incremental ticket day sold at a reasonable CPA drives extra revenue. At Gupta Media, we have hundreds of tactics to apply to festivals, but here are eight that help run a successful campaign.

  1. Collect data with a return for the consumer.
    Passively collecting user data throughout the year is important. This includes collecting phone numbers to go along with email addresses with tools such as Attentive. By offering an incentive at a key moment, such as early access to an exclusive pre-sale and tickets at the lowest price, users will be more likely to sign up and, in turn, more likely to purchase tickets at that incentivized time. Using SMS instead of email is key crucial here, as text opens are going to be close to 99%, compared to the 20-40% open rates generally seen from emails.

  2. Focus on the Cost Per Ticket Day.
    Having one primary KPI can help parse through the data of a campaign and identify what really matters. For us, we largely focus on Cost Per Ticket Day, which is calculated by dividing the total cost for all paid activity by the total number of ticket days sold. One ticket day is equal to one person going to the festival for one day. This metric allows you to set a do not exceed Cost Per Ticket Day for each day of the campaign, ensuring that you never spend more budget than makes sense. Our ticket sales tool, Tally, is a great way to monitor trends even down to the hour.

  3. Let earned, owned, and organic social carry their own weight. 
    Audiences need time to make a decision and coordinate with others before deciding to go. A retargeting ad 10 minutes after they leave the site won’t be as impactful as 24-48 hours later once they’ve had time to sit with it. Let the conversions get picked up by organic social or email if needed and save your budget for the incremental sales and the last-mile sales that are truly needed.

  4. Create moments.
    Festival cycles are long and generally only have a few built-in big moments for spikes: on-sale, single-day tickets, price increases, and the final build-up. Find ways to create small moments to cultivate a sense of urgency among festival-goers. Whether these surges of interest are around holidays, artist moments, or weather, give consumers incentives to purchase earlier and take away the risk of not purchasing at the end.

  5. Rotate new creative.
    The fast-paced world of festivals means consistently testing new creative and adjusting to reach the right people at the right time. At the top of the funnel, it can be lifestyle/experience or artist-based, while at the bottom of the funnel, it may be barrier busters, getting people past the final hurdle to purchase. Understanding buyers and their purchase patterns can ensure the creative and targeting are aligned.  

  6. Expand reach.
    It’s easy to continuously target the bottom of the funnel and point out how great your ROAS is. However, that last-mile mentality isn’t bringing in the incremental sales needed to allow the campaign to scale. Consistently monitoring your reach and frequency can help find ways to target new audiences during your flight. This ties back to the Cost Per Ticket Day KPI. While your bottom-funnel ROAS may be terrific, if you aren’t moving more tickets, the number won’t support scaling spend.

  7. Be precise with geo-targeting.
    Know your markets down to the zip code and don’t waste your ad dollars elsewhere. It’s easy to see some sales coming from a big market six hours away and want to run ads in that market because you know the size. But, what you’ll find is your CPA in those markets won’t make sense to try to scale. If you do want to target those markets, do so with just your bottom-funnel ads. If people get deep in your funnel organically from that market, then start reaching them with paid ads. But don’t try to fill the top of your funnel in these areas.

  8. Know why someone might attend.
    Whether a consumer is a returning buyer or a first-time attendee, knowing why they might attend is key for determining the messaging you target them with. If they bought VIP in the past, show them a VIP or Platinum ad this year, not GA. If they visited your FAQ site, show them an ad that highlights on-site convenience, travel instruction, or pricing options. If they are a fan of a performing artist, show them an ad that speaks to their fandom, and not an ad about food and beverage.

By following these tactics, you can set your festival apart in this oversaturated marketplace and attract more attendees.

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