Marketing / 01.23.18
New Study Shows How Performing Arts Fans Search For, Find and Purchase Tickets
Digital behavior and the media landscape are constantly changing. While there is general data on these topics about the U.S. market at-large, it’s often questionable if they’re completely applicable to the unique makeup of the arts and cultural market. At Capacity Interactive, a digital marketing consulting firm for arts and cultural organizations, we saw a need to find more media usage data specific to this audience. Last summer, we set out to fill this long-recognized gap by creating a new data source for the field that addresses topics ranging from the viability of print advertising to investment in mobile ticketing experiences.
In an innovative partnership with WolfBrown, we conducted the Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study, which gathered nearly 27,000 responses from recent ticket buyers from 58 arts organizations. The study participants included theaters, presenters, dance and music organizations from across the U.S. and Canada. In addition to general media consumption habits, we explored how ticket-buyers learn about arts events and their digital device preferences for purchasing tickets. What we learned confirms the importance of a permission marketing approach that embraces digital tools and investment in digital infrastructure. Here’s a look at some of the key findings from the study.
What we all know intuitively is supported by the data — we’re living in a rich, multichannel world that exists online and off, and both media consumption and digital behavior fall along generational lines. The data reveal that older ticket buyers tend to rely more on traditional media while younger ticket buyers more fully embrace digital channels and tools.
Prioritizing Media Dollars
An interesting finding is that even those most likely to consume print media are also active online. Looking at the data for ticket buyers over the age of 65: 89 percent also access news online, 90 percent purchased performing arts tickets online in the past 12 months and 53 percent are on Facebook. This is a huge consideration when prioritizing media spend — the drawbacks of print advertising are numerous, and the vast majority of your audience can be reached online. Online advertising through a display network or Facebook comes with the advantage of refined targeting (such as behavioral and interest-based methods and retargeting) and results tracking.
Email Is Alive and Well
An interesting finding was how widely relied upon email is by arts ticket buyers. In fact, email emerged as the most important source of information across all age groups, with over 85 percent of all respondents saying they get information about events that way. Email allows you to contact those patrons who have opted in to your communications in a highly relevant and personal way.
Facebook Is Still King
Overall, 65 percent of all surveyed ticket buyers report using Facebook at least once a week. That’s a larger proportion than use any other form of print or broadcast media on a weekly basis, with the exception of television. Although all forms of social media use decrease with age, Facebook is used extensively across all age groups and provides an unparalleled platform for social storytelling, precise targeting and cost-effective media spend.
All Roads Lead Online
Investing in your website isn’t optional — and that includes both content and a seamless ticketing experience. Seventy-seven percent of those ticket buyers who visited the Study Partner’s website in the last 12 months did so seeking content about upcoming programs, outranking all other reasons. Importantly, 40 percent of those same ticket buyers who accessed the organization’s site did so on a smartphone at least once, putting a spotlight on the need for a responsive, user-centric mobile experience.
This infrastructure focus extends to ticketing given that 79 percent of respondents said they’re most likely to purchase tickets online; 95 percent did so in the past 12 months and of those, and 37 percent did so on a smartphone. The need for a frictionless, fast, cross-device experience is here and will only grow.
Many more findings and applications of the Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study are included in a white paper, which you can download on our website. We hope the data will help generate conversations in more arts organizations about the changing face of the media landscape and arts ticket buyers’ evolving behavior. If these topics interest you, we hope you’ll visit our blog for more ideas and analysis of all things digital marketing related to the performing arts industry.
Capacity Interactive is the premier digital marketing consulting firm for culture and the arts. Founded in 2008 by Erik Gensler, Capacity Interactive partners with leading arts and cultural organizations in the U.S. and internationally to help them build audiences, engage community and market smarter. Practice areas include digital strategy, web analytics, A/B testing, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social and display advertising, and email strategy. Capacity Interactive has a strong focus on education for our clients and in the arts and cultural sector. CI hosts Digital Marketing Boot Camp for the Arts, an annual conference in New York City, and Capacity Classroom, a series of webinars and small group workshops where arts marketers can strengthen their digital skills. Check out our podcast, CI to Eye, on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play.
Johnna Fellows Gluth is a Senior Consultant at Capacity Interactive and led the Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study project. Johnna joined the CI team in 2014 after nearly 10 years working in marketing and development in non-profit arts organizations. She holds an MA in Arts Administration at Columbia University.
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Tags: Social Media , Digital Marketing , Arts , Facebook