Brands such as Coca-Cola, Hertz and Starwood are increasingly turning to mobile as a way to reach consumers at live events. The medium’s portability makes it a natural fit for connecting with fans during live shows and serving as a real-time link with other digital marketing platforms.
In a presentation at the IAB’s Mobile Ad Marketplace conference Monday, Russell Wallach, president of Live Nation Network, discussed the close link between mobile and concert enthusiasts. Based on a new study of some 2,000 Live Nation customers, he noted that almost two-thirds own a smartphone and a third (34%) have a tablet -- both figures far higher than the average.
Since last year, the company’s mobile traffic has jumped from 9% of all traffic to 23% as of May, while ticket purchases via mobile have risen from 0.3% to 5.9% in the same period. “Smartphones and tablets are creating more buying opportunities for our product," said Wallach, calling them "the driver of our business long-term.” He added that Live Nation launched its first app about 18 months ago.
While its mobile users tend to have somewhat lower household incomes than its overall users ($85,000 versus $94,000), he said they are more active customers. Mobile users buy 24% more tickets per year, spend 16% more on tickets a year and go to 29% more events annually. They are also slightly more male and younger, with an average age of 36 compared with the overall ticket buyer’s average of 42. They tend to be iPhone and iPad users.
Search plays a key role in driving business in mobile for Live Nation. In that regard, more than a quarter (27%) of people who attend live events search for related information on their smartphones, with 7% regularly using their phones to purchase to buy tickets.
Wallach stressed that mobile has become a key part of sharing the live concert experience, with 42% of smartphone owners using their devices to do things like sharing photos (75%), texting (63%), 40% connecting with friends on Facebook, and one-third calling friends from shows. That activity in turn opens up additional marketing opportunities tied to events.
Plus, mobile can help a brand like Coca-Cola drive on-site promotions at concession stands or other venue locations, he said. Wallach pointed out that a number of companies employ simple marketing programs using location-based services. Coca-Cola brand VitaminWater, for instance, has run a campaign that offers the chance to win upgraded concert seats in return for checking in at a venue via foursquare.
But he also suggested thqt creating a one-time app that integrates different screens -- including those at an event location -- is more effective than creating a traditional integrated promotion. “What years ago may have cost three or four times more to figure out the activation” can now be done with few additional resources, according to Wallach.
Looking ahead, he said Live Nation aims to broaden its use of emerging mobile technologies, including near field communication and augmented reality to power m-commerce. The entertainment company is also exploring the use of geo-fencing at venues to be able to deliver targeted messages and offers on behalf of advertisers.