The Beat Goes Online: Live Nation Music Events More Closely Tied To Search, Smartphones

Consumers may soon have an option to search and purchase tickets for live events from a search engine if Live Nation EVP of Digital Marketing Ryan Okum gets his way. "I will not be surprised if a lot of the data gets pulled in to search engines that allow fans to find more tickets for live shows," he says.

Results for local live events could one day serve up on google.com or bing.com, similar to the way airline travel results serve up for flights information, Okum agrees. Dreaming a bit further for the concert promoter, a buy button would allow the purchase of tickets. "It's a huge opportunity for us as a business to be better connected to fans," he says, referring to opportunities in digital that provide "information and value-added experiences."

During Live Nation's first fiscal quarter in 2014, ended July 7, entertainment revenue from concerts rose 29%, compared with the year-ago quarter. To better understand growth from digital channels, Google worked with Ipsos MediaCT to follow the trend. After consumers use search engines to seek out information about live events, about 80% of consumers eventually purchase a ticket.

The study, released Thursday, suggests that 71% of all ticket buying happens online. While consumers mostly buy tickets on their desktops, growth on tablets and smartphones continues to rise. There was a 50% increase in the use of smartphones for ticket purchases from 2012 to 2014. Pop concepts stand out in the United States.

Some 66% of people who view live events engage in online activities during the event such as tweet photos on Twitter or post messages on Facebook and Google+. Of those, 20% comment or post, 17% check in, 16% +1, follow or like something, and one in three research future events.

The increase in online purchases continues to drive more of Live Nation's marketing budget online. The company invested between 15% and 35% of the company's overall marketing budget in digital media campaigns in 2013, but plans to invest between 30% and 40% this year, Okum said.

Consumers increasingly use smartphones to research events. Some 79% use smartphones to look up live event information at the beginning of their research, and 64% use the Internet as the main source for live event information. 

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