Given the rapid transformation the advertising industry has undergone in the last five years, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a marketer. But for the same reasons, there’s never been a more challenging or confusing time either. The consumer shift to mobile and cross-device engagement has completely upended decades of accepted wisdom about our audiences — not only who they are and how best to reach them, but the ways in which various media messages can influence an individual’s decision to purchase or ignore.
Live Nation SVP of Digital Media Julia Heiser and Facebook’s David Jakubowski shared the spotlight on the Cannes Lions Inspiration Stage just hours ago to unpack this latest “Marketing Identity Crisis,” and demonstrate how implementing people-based marketing beyond cookies can help solve it.
In many ways, the music industry was the perfect launching pad for this discussion. As Julia and David shared, not only has the prevalence of mobile devices reshaped decades-old consumer consumption habits (e.g., 41% of music fans played a song on their smartphone last year1), it’s also changed the way fans shop for concert tickets. More than 4 in 5 concertgoers now have a smartphone and 93% use it to search for concert tickets. But two-thirds of concert attendees who open a Ticketmaster or Live Nation email on their smartphone still switch to a computer to make their purchase2.
Considering the concert industry hit a record high of $6.2 billion in ticket sales last year3, these consumers represent a vast untapped resource. Fortunately, they also represent a major opportunity for mobile marketers.
The challenge for an industry thought leader like Live Nation is clear: with consumers constantly on the go, engaged across multiple devices on a daily basis and spending more time on mobile than ever before, reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time is imperative for making a sale. And since cookies — the technology currently used to measure digital consumers — aren’t supported on mobile, can’t move across devices, aren’t persistent and often expire or churn, it’s difficult for the company to accurately target concertgoers or measure their engagement without a unifying, people-based key. As David put it, “The cookie just isn’t cutting it anymore.”
Not willing to risk potential ticket sales for one of the most popular live performers of all time, Julia and the team at Live Nation enlisted Atlas’ people-based ad capabilities to promote Madonna’s 2015 “Rebel Heart” concert tour. The decision proved savvy: in the company’s efforts to reach core Madonna fans, they announced the tour with an app and mobile-heavy campaign that included search, social and programmatic/video display channels. Due to Atlas’ targeting and measurement capabilities, Live Nation was not only able to serve the right audience on the right device at the right time, they were able to accurately measure the end result to inform future buys as well. A post-campaign analysis revealed that by using Atlas, Live Nation was able to tie a whopping 66% increase in purchases back to mobile4 — a sales attribution that would’ve otherwise slipped through the cracks using cookies alone.
One buy in particular yielded a fascinating anecdote from Julia: popular dating app Grindr — a 100%-mobile environment with no non-app components — displayed global broadcast messages and banner ads promoting the tour launch and ultimately finished as one of the campaign’s top-performing channels4. If Live Nation had served those ads using a standard third-party platform instead of Atlas, the final analysis would’ve reported zero tickets sold.
While the Madonna campaign was Live Nation’s first global, end-to-end tour launch with Atlas, the company is now using Atlas to measure and analyze the rest of its tours. As Julia shared, Atlas has helped Live Nation leverage its vast consumer data on over 80 million fans5 by providing accurate measurement of their essential mobile campaign efforts and empowering the company to understand which publishers are most beneficial for promoting specific tours.
David then closed by outlining the vast untapped resource mobile still represents for marketers by reiterating the ineffectiveness of using cookies alone.
“People-based marketing is the future,” he said. “Given the changes in the advertising industry, it’s important for brands and agencies to always consider mobile in their media strategy and not rely solely on cookies — which only tell half the story — for insights into consumer behavior. Only people-based measurement can deliver real insights and real results.”
1. Nielsen, “2014 Year End Music Report.” Jan 2015
2. Live Nation Mobile Behavioral Study (source provided by Live Nation)
3. Pollstar, “2014 Year End Business Analysis.” Jan 2015
4. Atlas Internal Data, Mar 2015
5. Live Nation Internal Data