TicketFly Puts a Price on Patronage

New app Fanbase assigns customer value based on spending, social

  • by Dave Brooks
  • Published: May 15, 2013

image002.jpgScreen Shot of Ticketfly's new analytics tool Fanbase.

What makes a great customer? Is it the amount of money they spend at a venue or the number of tickets they buy for each event? And what about social media? How does a venue measure the value of positive brand sentiment on sites like Facebook and Twitter?

A new application named Fanbase launched by firm Ticketfly is attempting to give venues their most comprehensive look yet at the fan, combining social and transactional data to create a dollar-based "Value" on a venue’s most passionate patrons. Fanbase is powered by an analytics engine that uses 12 different online behaviors to determine how much a fan is worth to a venue — everything from purchase history to attendance and social sharing. Promoters get a top down view of their customers and how they rank against each other, measuring everything from spending power to social reach.

“It’s important to identify your most impactful influencers and we developed this system to help identify and engage these fans,” said Andrew Dreskin, Ticketfly co-founder and CEO. According to his own numbers, seven percent of Ticketfly customers account for 24 percent of ticket orders and 30 percent of revenue.

The small percentage is both a hindrance and a blessing. While a small active buyer pool limits the amount of money that can be taken out of the market, it allows for a more direct connection between the venue and the uber-fan. Dreskin said he believes that venues that have a more direct conversation with their best customers can harness fan passion, increase credibility and grow sales.

And hopefully they tell other people over social media about their experience and convert some of their friends into buyers. Integrations with Facebook and Twitter allow Ticketfly to track when a customer shares his purchase on social media or RSVPs to a Ticketfly event. Fans have to opt in through Facebook and Twitter to share their social data with Ticketfly, which they can do when they log in to a Ticketfly enabled venue or complete a purchase. 

“If fans choose to share their purchases with their friends, we can determine how many tickets were sold through each action,” said Project Manager Hawro Mustafa at Ticketfly. “We can tell if sales are happening organically and people are copying links from our events page and copying it on Facebook and Twitter, or whether it comes from one of our social widgets or marketing tools. It’s very helpful information when you want to develop your message for a certain show.”

More importantly, the tool helps venues identify which ticket buyers are most likely to move the needle on ticket sales, whether it be inviting more friends to buy tickets or talking about the show on social media. The system also helps Ticketfly users identify scalpers by looking for 12 unique behaviors often employed by professional resellers; everything from bulk buys to multiple purchases for venues in different area codes.

Dreskin envisions venues reaching out to their top fans with VIP upgrades, free drink tickets and front-of-line privileges — all part of a larger customer service initiative to build strong brand loyalty and reward fans who drive additional ticket sales. 

“The first step is to identify these folks, the second step is to reward them. We want to encourage them to buy more tickets and be more social and encourage their friends and followers to do it as well.”

Fanbase has been in beta testing at a number of venues, including The Vogue in Indianapolis, where Talent Buyer and Entertainment GM Matt Schwegman ran a promotion identifying the venue's top fans and reached out with free tickets.

“I think eight out of 10 replied in the first hour,” he said. “We followed that up with the Super Fan program. We tried to educate fans and tell them ‘we’re not trying to make you do this, we just want you to know that if you buy a ticket and share it with your friends, you will be automatically entered into a contest.”

The Vogue’s first winner for the April promotion won a VIP table upgrade and a free T-shirt from the merch table — “he sent me back a two paragraph email saying how rad that was. I posted it on Facebook and encouraged others to share their experiences” to win ticket upgrades in the future.

Fanbase provides both venue-level and event-level reporting so that venue professionals can pinpoint specific fans who are passionate and socially active for a particular show. Fanbase is available to all Ticketfly clients for free, but Dreskin is considering developing a premium platform with more robust features.

“Whether it’s being able to focus the distribution of a particular offer, like a discount on an upcoming show, or papering the house when a show just isn’t selling, the Fanbase system allows venues to focus the distribution of an offer to a group of customers that are highly engaged with the venue,” said Mustafa.

Interviewed for this article: Andrew Dreskin and Hawro Mustafa, (877) 435-9849; Matt Schwegman, (317) 259-7029

  • by Dave Brooks
  • Published: May 15, 2013