Ticketmaster raises the stakes in the social marketing game with today's launch of its new Facebook app, highlighted by an integration with Spotify which recommends events to fans based on listening habits.
TM's Facebook platform is now fully functional and in effect opens a new Ticketmaster "store" that essentially works like Ticketmaster.com, a top five e-commerce site and the top ticket selling destination on the Internet. Fans can browse events, view which shows their friends are attending, read reviews, build their own upcoming show list by using the "I want to go" feature, RSVP to let their friends know which events they are attending, and purchase any Ticketmaster ticket directly, without ever leaving Facebook.
The Ticketmaster app enables enhanced discovery of live entertainment through sharing on Facebook Timeline. The ability to indicate "I want to go" and "I just bought tickets" will help friends connect on the shows they want to attend and the shows to which they have purchased tickets. Fans can use their existing Ticketmaster login to purchase tickets on Facebook. After purchase, the Ticketmaster Facebook app has convenient, built-in features that allow fans to easily share with their friends what events they are attending.
Until today, TM has used Facebook primarily as a marketing platform that links back to ticketmaster.com, which in itself has proven remarkably effective. Kip Levin, executive VP of e-commerce at Ticketmaster, revealed on a panel at the Billboard Touring Conference last November that "sharing" a Ticketmaster purchase on Facebook resulted in a transactional value of roughly $6 for the company. Now, with the added driver of the TM app, the ante is upped considerably as the process is streamlined.
"This is the first time ever we actually allow somebody to stay inside Facebook to complete the purchase; they don't have to link back to the Ticketmaster website," Levin says. "To me, the thing that puts this [app] over the top is the Spotify integration. Now, for anybody using Spotify through Facebook, it opens up a ton of information about what people like in terms of artists, and now we can actually access all that data. So instead of them coming to the web page where we're just saying 'here are the top-selling shows,' we can show them a list of shows based on what they're listening to."
So Ticketmaster can make recommendations based not only on whether a Facebook user "likes" a given band, but also on the user's Spotify listening habits or Facebook data. Fans can use their existing Ticketmaster login to purchase tickets on Facebook, and after a purchase, the Ticketmaster Facebook app has built-in features that allow fans to easily share with their friends what events they are attending. When a Facebook user buys a ticket though the Ticketmaster app, the purchase shows up in the user's news feed. That ability to indicate "I want to go" or "I just bought tickets" is geared to spur more sales as FB friends connect on the shows they want to attend and the shows they have purchased tickets.
The app can directly connect the dots between music discovery and a ticket purchase. Over the years, concert marketing and promotion have been approached by all sorts of angles, but historically the best weapon in a tour's arsenal has always been positive word of mouth. In effect, social networking is potentially word of mouth on steroids, a concept Levin embraces.
"People who are friends on Facebook generally have very similar interests, and Spotify connected through Facebook is a great way to learn what other people are listening to," he says. "Music starts out with discovering a band, then you start to listen to a song, then the whole album, and then you listen to everything [the artist has], and then the next step in the progression is you go to the live event. Then you either become a fan or you don't. This just ties it all together really neatly."
The fact that the actual transaction on the Ticketmaster Facebook app replicates the familiar process on Ticketmaster.com, including all of the ticket delivery options, will streamline the process. The user's Ticketmaster account profile, including credit card information, is included in the TM app once it is downloaded.
"We're taking all the marketing aspects that being on a Facebook platform open up and tying it to the purchase experience people are familiar with," says Levin. "We see in the future artists announcing tours on Facebook and then having a good portion of their sales happen without anybody ever leaving Facebook."
Ticketmaster worked with Minneapolis-based 8thBridge to develop the app, which they bill as "the only fully functioning, comprehensive ticketing app on Facebook."