How a Music Festival Uses Retargeting Ads to Drive Ticket Sales

Looking for a ticket sales bump? Try retargeting ads.

For Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party, retargeting ads have become an important part of their marketing mix. Last year, Marketing & Ticketing Manager Jordan Olels promoted the festival using Facebook ads without retargeting. This year, they used the Facebook retargeting pixel to focus ads on people who engaged with their event but didn’t buy tickets.

The result? Measurably higher conversion rates, and a much better return on their spend. “Retargeting has made a huge difference,” says Olels.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Olels has used retargeting to drive ticket sales, so you can apply his strategy to your shows.

An intro to retargeting for music marketers

Retargeting is a way to advertise to fans who visited your ticketing page but didn’t make a purchase. If you’ve ever seen ads following you around the web for a product or event you looked at online, you’ve been retargeted.

Retargeting ads work through marketing pixels: snippets of code or 1×1 transparent images that let you track a customer’s journey. A pixel on your ticketing page lets you target visitors to your site who didn’t buy, so you can then remind them to get tickets later.

But does it work? The evidence suggests it does: fans who are retargeted are 70% more likely to buy tickets.

 

 

“It’s been crazy to see how effective the Facebook pixel is at capturing those who clicked on an ad but weren’t ready to convert,” Olels says. “We also retarget people who clicked ‘join’ on the Facebook Event, but haven’t clicked on the ticket link.”

“More and more, we’re spending more money with Facebook because of the retargeting and analytics,” Olels continues. But it’s not just about Facebook. Olels has begun using tracking pixels with Reddit ads and Google AdWords.

Design retargeting ads as reminders

As for the ads themselves, it’s important to remember that you’re retargeting. Your customer didn’t buy tickets the first time they visited your page — but they’re familiar with your event.

“We write copy that suggests the reader already knows about the show, like, ‘Don’t forget: Father John Misty is playing the Capitol Hill Block Party,’” says Olels. “We always include a strong call to action, like ‘Learn more,’ ‘See full line-up,’ or ‘Check out ticket options.’”

Use analytics to improve your costs

Analytics have helped Olels and team watch their progress and improve their results. “Last year, we reached almost 100,000 more people, but the cost-per-click was much higher. [The cost-per-click] has dropped by about 30%. So reach doesn’t always mean conversion.”

At first, Olels found the pixel process came with a learning curve. “Now I find it pretty easy,” he says. “If you put in the time, you can learn to fine tune your different audiences and your retargeting. Then your return on ad spend is going to be much higher.”

Olels now plans to use retargeting ads for Neumos and Barboza, two Seattle venues where he also manages marketing and ticketing.

“The numbers definitely prove that it works,” says Olels.

Key takeaways:

  • Make sure your team has goals and benchmarks for their advertising spend — you should keep track of your costs-per-click, not just your reach.
  • Make sure you have a ticketing partner who empowers you to place your own marketing pixels, so you won’t miss out on valuable tracking.
  • Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket — explore multiple advertising networks.