How Geofencing Benefits Live Event Marketing Strategies
Softjourn

How Geofencing Benefits Live Event Marketing Strategies

This location-based service is already being used in many industries; here’s how it works and how it can boost ticket sales for your next event

October 15, 2019 by Softjourn

Crowds walk by venues every day, even when the venue is not open. They might see posters for past events that they had not previously noticed but would have liked to attend. Why rely on printed, physical materials to advertise your event when you can grab a passerby’s attention with a device that already monopolizes so much of potential ticket purchaser’s days?

According to a 2015 Statista report, 94–95% of users in the U.S. are using mobile applications that use location-based services; the number of estimated smartphone users in the U.S. alone is estimated to reach over 270 million by 2022.1 These services can be used to connect to your customers, many of whom may already have your app installed. 

Imagine this: those who live in the area and patronize the venue semi-regularly walk by and get a mobile notification about upcoming shows they did not previously know about. Now they are prompted to buy tickets; what is more, they invite friends, increasing the number of sales.

Benefits of Geofencing

This is a small example of geofencing, a location-based service that can push targeted advertisements to mobile devices via an installed app or network agreement. Seventy-seven percent of companies who have invested in this sort of real-time, personalized advertisement experienced revenue growth in 2018.2 The amount of growth was even higher for companies that used an advanced personalization strategy.

Geofencing has many more applications for the live event ticketing industry, such as:

  • Directions to and around the venue: Patrons using public transportation can get a notification at the closest metro or bus stop that they need to head down a particular street to get to the venue. Those already there can be notified that they are close to an entrance that has shorter lines, meaning they will get in faster. Once they are inside, patrons can be directed to concessions, merch tables, or networking opportunities.
  • Collect event intelligence: See where patrons congregate the most, and for how long. Tally actual attendance for comparison to ticket sales, and review the demographics attached to those to get a better feel for who is coming to what show to aid in future advertisement campaigns, event selection, and more.
  • Review social media: Cast a net to see how people are talking about the show post-attendance; check out Instagram photos, Twitter messages, and others to get an understanding of how your patrons enjoyed the entertainment, the venue, and the amenities. 

This is a small list of potential applications for geofencing; this technology can be tailored specifically for the type of event and the location it takes place at, depending on the information you want to collect. But the more information you have, the more they can tailor future events specifically to a patron’s wants. Ninety-four percent of marketing professionals across multiple industries who responded to a 2014 Forrester Research Inc. survey said personalization was either “important,” “very important,” or “extremely important” when it came to meeting current marketing objectives.

The mobile industry is, by its very name and nature, on the go. So why not bring advertisement to where your patrons are?

What Geofencing Is, and How It Works

Geofencing, as mentioned above, is a location-based service that is usually integrated with a mobile application. Once set up, it creates a virtual boundary around a specified location that triggers an action when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits the boundary line.

These actions can include text messages, notifications, and/or alerts. They are often used by retail establishments to entice patrons with coupons and other advertisements or encourage feedback to better improve locations and services. They are also used to track equipment, field personnel, or secure areas from different types of devices.

The technology is generally integrated via API with an app; a system administrator can then set up the boundary line using GPS- or RFID-enabled software to set a circle or other shape on something as simple as a Google map. Multiple boundaries can be made; think about separate entrances and exits for venues, or defining areas within a venue. Such boundary markers can indicate where people are congregating within a conference hall or concert arena.  

Geofences also collect information about the devices that pass through their barriers, and the targeted advertisement can last for up to 30 days. Send follow-up information about similar, future events; ask their opinion about the venue, the show, and their overall experience.
Event organizers can even follow patrons across other channels to continually reconnect and keep the venue or event producer at the forefront of a patron’s mind.

What Do You Need, and How Much Does It Cost?

Adding geofencing to a planned or existing marketing strategy depends on how you want to implement it. The final design for the geofencing addition will depend not only on whether you choose to go with a full-service company or add it to their existing application, but also the number of fences to set up, and the amount and type of information to be collected.

Here are a few items to consider when trying to estimate the budget for desired geofencing functionality:

  • Location. Figuring out your audience, and the location of that audience, can determine how large or how many geofences you want to set up. Creating more fences might be more expensive, but you will gather more, and more specific, data about the audience you want to target.
  • Level of reporting. Understanding what information you want versus what will fit into the budget for a campaign can help you either adjust expectations or your belt if it seems like it is worth spending more money on the functionality due to the potential ROI.
  • DIY or support needed. If you would rather be hands off and allow a third party to handle everything, that is a possibility. It may be expensive. Adding geofencing to your existing application or building an app to have control over your geofencing is also an option that may fit different organizations’ needs better.
  • Bells and whistles. Adding specific demographic information, targeting certain behaviors, retargeting, and other premium features can add up. However, they are often worth the investment when it comes to understanding a target audience.

Actual pricing for geofencing varies depending on providers and solutions. Generally, the larger of an area that a geofence covers, the less costly it is. However, it is not always about how big a geofence is, but the amount and type of information it collects.

From a live event ticketing perspective, it may be more cost-effective to implement geofencing in an existing mobile app, or to develop a mobile application for the specific venue, entertainment, or organization that will be using the geofencing.

Conclusion

Geofencing is a strong strategy for organizations looking to fill stadiums and concert venues, among other ticketed events. Patrons are increasingly attached to their phones, using their “on the go” internet to access information, make plans, and purchase products. Because users are more mobile, personalization in terms of advertisement is increasingly important.

According to a national poll conducted by Janrain & Harris Interactive in 2013, nearly three-fourths of online consumers become increasingly frustrated with websites and their content when they feel that content does not reflect their interests. Audiences want to be connected with shows and experiences that speak to them, and geofencing provides a bridge for you to understand your ticket purchasers better.

By focusing in on where your potential patrons will be and showing them what’s not only locally available to them but is also related to a current or past interest, you have a stronger chance of increasing and maintaining high ticket sales. Reaching patrons in real time can set you above the competition.

Softjourn has more than 15 years of experience in the live event ticketing space and knows the ins and outs of appealing to a fickle customer base. Ready to discuss how geofencing can be added to your existing mobile app, or how location-based tech can augment your planned marketing strategy? Reach out today

1 IIA (2018, July 3). Research Peek of the Week: Smartphone Users in the US Expected to Reach Over 270 Million by 2022.
2 Smart Insights (2019, May 29). The new era of personalized marketing is here. Are you ready to adapt?

Softjourn is a global technology services provider that finds custom solutions for our clients’ toughest challenges. We leverage our domain expertise in Fintech, Cards & Payments, and Media & Entertainment (with a special emphasis on ticketing), to apply new technology that brings our clients' growing needs to life. Contact us to discuss how we can make your idea a reality!