Culture Republic – Research report

Connecting Culture: Providing social ticketing via Facebook for Edinburgh’s box offices
Dr Padmini Ray Murray, Lecturer in Publishing Studies, University of Stirling

Executive Summary
Background
Social tic eting, or the use of a third party online platform such as !"itter or #aceboo for tic et sales, is gaining visibility internationally in the cultural sector, and consumer e$pectations around being able to buy tic ets through social net"or s have become more normalised in the last three to four years% !he &udience 'usiness (!&', "hich later became part of Culture Republic), an audience development agency in *dinburgh, "as een to trial social tic eting for their subscribers, "hich consist mainly of performance venues across the city% !he cost of developing such an app can be prohibitive and difficult to bear for a single venue, so !&' used the Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland to create a "hite label app that could be rebranded by their subscribers to meet their re,uirements for a much lo"er cost, as the app could be plugged into Clic et, the bo$ office soft"are used by most venues in the city% !&' partnered "ith -hitespace to develop the app, "hich "ould allo" users to vie" events and buy tic ets "ithout being redirected out to an e$ternal third party payment site% !&' "as a"arded ./0,12/ from the Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland to create, test and launch the app%

The Project
!he aims of the pro3ect "ere to4    Produce an affordable solution allo"ing !he 5ueen6s 7all and others to trial social tic eting Present "ide and varied audiences "ith an opportunity to enhance their transaction e$perience and share their social event plans Provide a revenue stream for the *dinburgh Portal Pro3ect from sales of the "hite label application and pro3ect management fees from each ne" 8sign up9, to reinvest into the pro3ect%

!hese aims "ould be achieved through the "hite label #aceboo tic eting application, "hich "ould utilise the e$isting 8Portal9 technology and the previously established bo$ office system Clic et in order to integrate "ith the &P:% !&'9s subscriber base "ould then be able to purchase and re;s in the application "ith their o"n branding, providing tic eting "ithin their o"n #aceboo page% !he pro3ect "as funded from March 201<, piloted from March;=uly 201<, and the app soft;launched in &ugust 201<%

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Results
&t the end of the pro3ect, !&' and -hitespace have delivered on their original vision, "hich "as the creation of a channel to purchase tic ets for !he 5ueen9s 7all, "ithin #aceboo % !he app has the potential to be "hite labelled and hence have a future life "ith other organisations% !he app has been successful as a tool for recruitment advertising on #aceboo , "hich has been po"erful in terms of boosting general 8li es9 and responses% 7o"ever, "hile the Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland pro3ect "as inspired by the *dinburgh #ringe9s success "ith social tic eting, the e$perience of !he 5ueen9s 7all has been that social tic eting is not "hat their audience need or "ant% !his negative finding, arguably, fulfils the very purpose of a research and development fund – the opportunity to test technologies "hich might not fulfil their promise%

Insights
:nsights derived from the development of the #aceboo app relate in particular to issues arising from "or ing "ith third party technology platforms% !he ey lessons learned from the pro3ect "ere4   !he use of #aceboo as a platform made the pro3ect a ris as the site constantly changes its algorithms "hich determine the visibility of postings and ads :nvestment in social media platforms needs to be carefully considered% &s opposed to direct mar eting, dependency on a third party platform is a in to encouraging fans to li e an organisation there as opposed to 3oining an organisation9s o"n mailing list -hile the social functionality of #aceboo is significant for the tic et buying e$perience, buying tic ets needs to be integrated more seamlessly into the buying process rather than rely on the possibility of users seeing promoted posts

Future
!here is a ,uestion mar over the future of the pro3ect, at least for !he 5ueen9s 7all, largely because of the increasing amount of investment re,uired to ensure the visibility of the app on #aceboo % -hile !he 5ueen9s 7all intends to eep the social tic eting app on and functioning as another sales channel, it "ill no longer earmar funds for promoting the app% &ll three organisations, -hitespace, !&'>Culture Republic and !he 5ueen9s 7all in hindsight feel that the app "ould have been more effective if more funds "ere available for promotion on #aceboo , and if the app had been designed for use on a mobile platform as "ell as for des top% & revie" of the future of Clic et and the Portal under the aegis of Culture Republic is currently under"ay, "ith !&' revie"ing the tic eting system and putting together an options paper on its future in #ebruary 2011% Current considerations are "hether integrated tic eting is the best use of !&'>Culture Republic9s resources% -hile these developments might unfold over the ne$t si$ months or so, #aceboo and social tic eting may or may not be embedded in "hatever form these outputs ultimately ta e%

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1. Background
Recent data from research conducted by the mar et leader in the tic eting sector, !ic etmaster, found that 10? of all entertainment tic ets go unsold and that @0? of an event9s target audience do 1 not attend events due to a lac of a"areness% &s the behaviour of tic et buyers becomes less opa,ue due to the deployment of analytics and availability of data, the industry is considering "ays in "hich it can use social media to find and address audience niches and segments% Social tic eting is one such solution% &s an application integrated into social media platforms such as #aceboo , it allo"s users to buy tic ets via social media sites as "ell as to see "hat events their friends are attending% *dinburgh is a city that offers a "ealth of cultural activities, and this culminates every year during &ugust "hen a number of festivals are held simultaneously, including the *dinburgh :nternational #estival and the *dinburgh #ringe #estival, the largest arts festival in the "orld% :n 201<, the #ringe #estival hosted 1/,1@1 performances across 2A< venues across *dinburgh and used a social 2 tic eting app integrated "ith #aceboo as a sales channel% !he &udience 'usiness (!&') "as inspired by the success of the #ringe9s tic eting app, but "as alert to the fact that the #ringe "as a very different organisation from its subscribing venues, "hose programmes run year round% !&' "as een to create an app that "ould be more relevant to the needs of its subscribers% !&' "as established in 1BBB as an audience development agency, to help *dinburgh9s cultural organisations engage the "idest possible public% Registered as a charity, !&' operates as an < independent, not;for;profit agency supported by the City of *dinburgh Council and Creative Scotland% Prior to its merger in mid;201< "ith Culture Spar s (Clasgo") and its rebranding as Culture Republic, appro$imately forty of *dinburgh9s theatres, galleries, museums, festivals and large scale touring companies "or ed "ith and subscribed to !&'9s services% !hese services included e$traction of data from bo$ office systems in order to profile audiences, loo at mar et penetration and identify hotspots of potential% !he Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland application "as initially developed and implemented by !&', but continued to run under the auspices of Culture Republic after the merger "hich occurred mid;"ay through the pro3ect% Dicola Eenny, "ho "as initially the lead on the !&' application in her capacity as the Portal Pro3ect Manager, left her position to ta e up the role of Digital Mar eting &dministrator at the *dinburgh :nternational #estival% She "as replaced by &dam Matheson, "ho administered the pro3ect until 3ust after the app9s soft launch in &ugust 201<% Subse,uently, it "as overseen by Ros Lamont at !&' and Dianne Creig at Culture Republic% :n response to a sense that *dinburgh9s uni,ue position as a cultural hub "as seriously under; 1 promoted digitally, !&' had previously launched the *dinburgh Portal Pro3ect in 200F% !he *dinburgh Portal Pro3ect ("hich at the outset of the Digital R+D;funded pro3ect "as also overseen by Dicola Eenny) "as a technical platform developed and maintained in partnership "ith :ngresso, and using their !ic etS"itch middle"are% !he Portal "as designed to lin different bo$ office systems across the city and to support a rich content 8hub9 of events information, venues, editorial, images, registered users and boo ing preferences%/ !he Portal 8bac end9 currently po"ers t"o public facing sites –http4>>clic et%co%u > and
https4>>artistbomb%com>blog>201<>12>"ill;social;tic eting;boost;live;music;events;attendance> https4>>"""%edfringe%com>uploads>docs>&boutGUs>#ringe?20&nnual?20Revie"?20201<%pdf < http4>>"""%theaudiencebusiness%org%u >about;the;audience;business%php 1 th :ntervie" "ith Ros Lamont (!&'), / #ebruary 2011% / !he &udience 'usiness, 8Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland &pplication9, #ebruary 201<%
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http4>>"""%edinburghfestivals%co%u > % !he Portal "as a "ay of connecting different bo$ office systems together and producing a single 8tic eting9 &P: (&pplication Protocol :nterface) feed, "hich meant that the data "as compatible "ith a number of bo$ office systems% &n &P: specifies an open architecture "hich allo"s for other soft"are and applications to "or in con3unction "ith it% :n its original manifestation the Portal "as used to provide single shopping bas et transactions, allo"ing customers to purchase tic ets for different events across the city in one place, regardless of venue and the bo$ office system that the venue used% !he Portal also aimed to be a test bed for cultural organisations in *dinburgh to trial the use of technology, a laboratory space that offered support for digital e$perimentation and disseminated their learnings to their subscribers% !his initial offering meant that !&' "as e$cellently positioned to consider ho" they might offer an affordable alternative to the .<0,000;./0,000 social tic eting applications "hich "ere largely out"ith of the budgets of the average *dinburgh cultural @ organisation% !&'9s solution "as to create a "hite label solution (i%e% a template "hich can be customised using branding) for its subscribers "hich could be repurposed for any organisation in the city that could integrate "ith the app through the Portal &P:, at a relatively lo" cost% !he impetus "as that if !&' used public money to fund the creation of such an app, in a managed and controlled "ay to demonstrate success, then it could be repurposed very much more cheaply for individual organisations "ith an added degree of comfort and the ris ta en out% #ollo"ing the success of the *dinburgh #ringe9s social tic eting app, it "as clear that *dinburgh9s cultural venues "ere een to trial a similar application, and !&' responded to its subscribers9 needs A by investigating funding options to ta e such an e$periment for"ard% !he Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland provided a "indo" of ambition and opportunity for !&' to pilot a social tic eting #aceboo app that it could roll out for its subscribers if it "as successful% !he 5ueen9s 7all, one of *dinburgh9s most popular concert venues, partnered "ith !&' to provide content, an arts organisation6s perspective, and promotional support for the pro3ect% &ndy Catlin, the Mar eting Manager of the 5ueen9s 7all, is involved in the *dinburgh Mar eting #orum Croup as "ell as being part of the original steering group involved in the ongoing development of the Portal pro3ect through 200B and 2010% 7e brought his considerable e$pertise and e$perience in digital mar eting to the pro3ect% !&' chose -hitespace, a "ell;respected and established *dinburgh;based design agency recognised for its innovation in the creative mar eting and events space, to lead on the app9s development% -hitespace established the front;end design and bac ;end technical structure as "ell as being responsible for implementing the &P: integration% -hitespace had a proven trac record in developing and delivering the *dinburgh #ringe Society social tic eting application "hich inspired !&'9s research pro3ect% !he middle"are soft"are, !ic etS"itch, "as managed by :ngresso, "hich included bo$ office connections and the tic eting elements and provided the &P: to be integrated "ith #aceboo , and had an already established "or ing relationship "ith !&', and "as thus an e$isting bought;in service% !&' "as a"arded ./0,12/ by the Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland to create, test and launch F the app, "ith the bul of the a"ard being earmar ed for technical development%

:ntervie" "ith &ndy Catlin, 5ueens 7all, 2A September, 201<% th :ntervie" "ith Ros Lamont (!&'), / #ebruary 2011% F http4>>"""%nesta%org%u >ne"s>national;theatre;scotland;open;eyes;and;ears;ne";audiences;after;innovation;a"ard
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2. The project
!he aims, as articulated in !&'9s application to the #und, "ere to4    Produce an affordable solution allo"ing !he 5ueen6s 7all and others to trial social tic eting Present "ide and varied audiences "ith an opportunity to enhance their transaction e$perience and share their social event plans Provide a revenue stream for the *dinburgh Portal Pro3ect from sales of the "hite label application and pro3ect management fees from each ne" 8sign up9, to reinvest into the pro3ect%B

!hese aims "ould be achieved through the pro3ect outcome, "hich "as to produce the "hite label #aceboo tic eting application% !he #aceboo app "ould utilise the Portal technology and the previously established bo$ office system connections in order to integrate "ith the &P: to provide tic eting in a similar "ay to its current manifestation on Clic et%co%u and edinburghfestivals%co%u % !&'9s subscriber base "ould then be able to purchase and re;s in the application "ith their o"n branding, providing tic eting "ithin their o"n #aceboo page% Conse,uently, the intention "as that the fully tested application "ould be available to them for a significantly lo"er cost than if they "ere to commission the "or independently% #aceboo users "ould be able to purchase tic ets for events "ithout leaving the site, and to share events that they "ere interested in attending>had bought tic ets for "ith their #aceboo friends% !he principle research ,uestion "as therefore to e$plore ho" social tic eting might enhance and optimise audience numbers by reaching arts organisations9 target demographics and niche audiences using peer net"or s% !he 5ueen9s 7all "as brought in to road;test the app, its diverse programme of over 200 individual events every year (from the *dinburgh :nternational #estival chamber music recitals to cabaret, fol music to stand;up comedy) ma ing it an ideal candidate to measure the reach and potential of such an application% Hther contributing factors included the scale of its bo$ office function, "hich "as very compatible "ith the bac end tic eting technologyI the range of its visiting artists9 e$isting #aceboo 10 fan basesI and its o"n digital strategy9s imperative to enhance its #aceboo presence% 'y incorporating the notification of events of interest and events attended by peers "ithin #aceboo , fans could more easily become a"are of, and boo , an event% #urthermore, by boo ing using the app and 8li ing9 !he 5ueen9s 7all on #aceboo , audience members "ould ideally see events on their timeline "hich "ould help them to become a"are of other events and help drive ne" attendees and repeat attendances% !he 5ueen9s 7all9s funding structure also meant that they had a much more commercial imperative compared to other venues in the city% !he 5ueen9s 7all needs earned revenue to stay open, and thus has a definite interest in optimising their presence online%11 &t the first full team meeting in &pril 201<, !&' representatives "ere presented "ith initial "ireframes "hich had been created by -hitespace based on previous conversations and also the specification "ritten in preparation for the Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland application% -hile !&' "as happy "ith the "or produced by -hitespace, it "as as ed to reconsider a fe" of the features that it had included in the "ireframes, due to limitations in the !ic etS"itch &P: and some concerns about data protection of customer information%

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!he &udience 'usiness, 8Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland &pplication9, #ebruary, 201<% !he &udience 'usiness, 8Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland &pplication9, #ebruary, 201<% th :ntervie" "ith &ndy Catlin, !he 5ueen9s 7all, 2A September, 201<%

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-hitespace then "ent on to develop three versions of the "ireframes for the app by =une 201<% -hile -hitespace staff did dra" on their e$perience "ith the #ringe app, they also too care to address the uni,ue characteristics of !he 5ueen9s 7all, a single venue "ith a consistent personality and brand and a very diverse music programme% During the pilot period (March;=uly 201<) !&' attended various meetings "ith -hitespace and !he 5ueen9s 7all to more clearly define both the technical and aesthetic development of the social tic eting app, providing timely feedbac on both the user 3ourney and loo and feel of the app% !&' also provided these comments first to !he 5ueen9s 7all for additional feedbac , and then sent a collated set of responses to -hitespace% !his allo"ed the rapid development of both the "ireframes and final design over the period May;=une% !&' also acted as technical advisor on the integration possibilities presented by their technical platform, the Portal% :n addition, "hen necessary, !&' provided more detailed information from the Portal middle"are suppliers, :ngresso, to -hitespace to further the technical development of the app% -hitespace continued to "or directly "ith :ngresso (!ic etS"itch) "ith regards to the &P: integration% :n response to the re,uirement for a "hite;labelling facility, -hitespace developed a basic and a bespo e version, the latter of "hich -hitespace "ould be paid to implement by any organisation een to set up its o"n version% !he level to "hich the app could be customised "ould vary according to "hat an organisation "as "illing to invest in developing and s inning the e$isting "hite;label application% !he lo"est level of customisation "ould allo" changes in logo, colour theme, one or t"o font sets, and the header te$tI the mid;level customisation "ould allo" for these as "ell as changes in the header bac ground image, hidden copy that "ould be revealed "ith mouse hover, and additional button styling, "ith a "ider choice of fontsI and the highest level of customisation "ould permit all of the previous plus different page layouts for promoted events and other customised options as 12 re,uired% 7o"ever, if a venue "ished to install the application itself as "ell as host and re;s in it using the organisation9s o"n branding, the intention "as that it could do that as !&' o"ned the rights to all the code, in accordance to -hitespace9s policy of ensuring that its clients o"n the intellectual property on "hatever is commissioned% *arly on in the process, an issue relating to the &P: meant that some of the contingency budget "as spent on the creation of a CMS (content management system)% -hitespace "as as ed to build a CMS for the app that "ould allo" a bo$ office to more clearly define the events on offer based on a list of artforms provided by the venue% !his "ould also allo" for individual organisations to be able to control the tagging of events by ey"ords, and to edit the copy% !he CMS "ould also serve as the method for uploading images for the events as it "as agreed that pulling images directly from the organisations9 "ebsite or a hosted image folder "as potentially problematic due to the different "ay each organisation serves images% :t "as decided that, as the summer festival period "ould be a good time to pilot the application "ith !he 5ueen9s 7all, it "ould be useful to bring in a focus group to test the usability of the app% !he test users "ere recruited via through !he 5ueen9s 7all social media channels and "ere chosen for having familiarity "ith using digital technologies ("ithout necessarily being e$perts) and "ere familiar "ith !he 5ueen9s 7all and "hat they "ere doing, as that "ould be the initial target audience% !his user testing "as conducted at the -hitespace offices "ith four users assigned seven short tas s that they had to e$ecute using the social tic eting app% During the test the users "ere encouraged to tal through "hat they "ere doing and their thought process "hile using the application, as this "ould yield valuable information about the user interaction "ith the app%

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Desta Update – Milestone 2, Dicola Eenny, 21 May 201<%

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:n terms of mar eting, nine campaigns "ere designed to increase audience engagement and drive traffic to the social tic eting app on #aceboo as "ell as to !he 5ueen9s 7all "ebsite% *ach campaign had either one or t"o specific ob3ectives such as app engagement, clic s to "ebsite, page post engagement, and page li es – all had specific target audiences% !he overarching ob3ectives of the mar eting campaign "ere as follo"s4     &pp engagement (Des top)4 *ngage users to install app through "hich to purchase tic ets for events Clic s to "ebsite4 *ncourage users to clic on !he 5ueen9s 7all "ebsite Page post engagement4 *ngage users to interact on page through li ing page posts, sharing photos, videos Page li es4 *ncourage users to li e the adverts > build audience on #aceboo

!he campaigns "ere targeted at specific audiences% &>' testing, "hich is a method used to measure the effectiveness of a ne"ly introduced feature (such as an app), "as used to target different adverts to the same target audiences% !he audience "as segmented into the follo"ing categories4     Loo ali e audience4 De" people "ho are li ely to be interested in your business because they are similar to a customer list you care about% Custom audience4 Let advertisers find their e$isting audiences among people "ho are on #aceboo % Don;fans4 Dot connected to !he 5ueen6s 7all, *dinburgh%, but might be friends of people "ho posted via the application 5ueen6s 7all social tic eting #ans4 & user "ho engages "ith a #aceboo page by li ing it

&fter the app "as soft;launched in the last "ee of &ugust, it "as available on !he 5ueen9s 7all main #aceboo page as a clic able option, and made the most of cross;mar eting% Hne e$ample of this is "hen Laura Mvula played at !he 5ueen9s 7all, advertisements for her concert "ere sho"n on her #aceboo page, thus reaching a fanbase of 10,000, "ho might then clic through to !he 5ueen9s 7all app to buy tic ets, increasing its visibility%

#igure 1% Hne of the 7ogmanay advertisements !he range of campaigns "as as follo"s4   11 advertisements promoting the social tic eting app itself on #aceboo ; to drive traffic and sales to the social tic eting app on !he 5ueen9s 7all #aceboo page 12 advertisements to build audience engagement to increase #aceboo page li es and gro" the potential audience siJe from a highly relevant target audience

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10 advertisements aiming to increase audience engagement from users not connected to !he 5ueen9s 7all as "ell as driving traffic to the social tic eting app% !his "as done by means of advertising a 7ogmanay event being held at the 5ueen9s 7all @ advertisements using a different graphic to engage audiences to boost and increase li e, page posts and photos on !he 5ueen9s 7all #aceboo and to increase the potential audience siJe, using the 7ogmanay event as a driver (see #igure 1) 1 advertisements featuring an upcoming sho" by =ulian and =ia$in Lloyd -ebber and 1 advertisements featuring an upcoming sho" by #airport Convention to drive traffic to !he 5ueen9s 7all "ebsite and also to the social tic eting app on #aceboo %

!he analytics for the #aceboo campaigns "ere collected from Dovember 201< – #ebruary 2011% Data "as measured via Coogle &nalytics in order to trac registrations, clic ;throughs, and "hich parts of the app customers "ere using and "hat they "ere searching for% !he 11 advertisements for the app itself (Campaign a in !able 1) "ere positioned on the right hand column of #aceboo and succeeded in generating the most traction (A2?) "ith the 8Don;#ans &ged 10K9 demographic% 'eyond the 8clic s9 recorded in !able 1, Campaign b (857 Page Li es9) resulted in AB0 user interactions "ith the app, as compared "ith 1<F for Campaign a (857 !ic eting &pp &ds9)% Hut of Campaign a9s 1<F interactions, 111 installed the app, but only 2A actually used it% Possible reasons could be lac of mobile optimisation, or lac of satisfaction "ith the interface% 7o"ever, these reasons have not been follo"ed up "ith any empirical e$plorations% Campaign b resulted in AB0 users interacting "ith the app, but there "ere no installations or usage of the app as a conse,uence, although the 5ueen9s 7all page attracted 11F ne" page li es as a conse,uence of the campaign, "hich might demonstrate that users are happier to 3ust clic 8li e9 rather than install a ne" app to their profiles% Possibly surprisingly, the most engagement "ith the campaigns overall "as from the 10K demographic% !his might be a conse,uence of the sort of audience !he 5ueen9s 7all attracts% :t might also point to"ards more general user trends, such as younger users 8fleeing9 #aceboo , due to their parents using the service, and ma ing it less 8cool%91< Hverall, analysis of the mar eting campaigns demonstrates that investment and duration is not necessarily proportionate to the number of actions generated% !he 8:nsights9 section offers further elaboration on "hy the unpredictability of #aceboo 9s algorithms means that performance of such campaigns are not predictable, and are thus not a reliable platform for investment%

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8!eenagers migrate from #aceboo as parents send them friend re,uests9, =emima Eiss, T he Guardian, 2A December 201< (http4>>"""%theguardian%com>technology>201<>dec>2A>faceboo ;dead;and;buried;to;teens;research;finds)%

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Campaigns

No. of Total adverts cost

Duration Potential campaign reach

Actual campaign reach

Total number of clicks across all adverts 587 1,311 & 671 138 790 n/a 560 page p"st engage#ents~ n/a 443 89 & 111 0 n/a n/a

Total number of app engagements

Total number of new page likes

Total installations of app

Total uses of the app†

a. b. c. d. 6 £92.60 51 Days 360,000 21,325

QH Ticketing App Ads QH Page Likes QH E ent! H"g#anay n"n$%ans QH P"st $ H"g#anay

14 12 10

£196.39 £238.66 £84.48

86 Days 57 Days 51 Days

360,000 1,040,000 1,040,000

120,334 55,054 29,844

27 0 n/a n/a

L Data unavailable † !hese are not necessarily purchases, but users using the other functions such as the 8-hat9s 7ot9 or 8:nvite #riends9 feature ~ &lludes to a page post lin ad that appears in ne"s feeds, and user engagement might mean li es, comments, or clic throughs

!able 14 & comparison of the different mar eting campaigns

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3. Results
!he parameters of success set out at the beginning of the pro3ect "ere the creation of4     &n app that "or s &n app that !he 5ueen6s 7all endorses & steady increase in social transactions Cro"th in ne" customers for !he 5ueen6s 7all (trac able using !&'9s Mital Statistics bo$ office analysis soft"are)%

&t the end of the pro3ect, !&' and -hitespace have delivered on their original vision, "hich "as the creation of a channel to purchase tic ets for !he 5ueen9s 7all, "ithin #aceboo % !he app has the potential to be "hite labelled, and hence have a future life "ith other organisations% !he app has provided yet another channel to ease purchase by providing a simplified sales process "ithin #aceboo , "hich, !&' assumed, is a trusted platform for some consumers% !he app has been successful as a tool for recruitment advertising on #aceboo , "hich has been po"erful in terms of boosting general 8li es9 and responses% !he app thus resulted in an increase of around <0? in users 8li ing9 !he 5ueen9s 7all on #aceboo % Conse,uently this success has meant that !he 5ueen9s 7all has been able to save on its advertising spend in papers such as The Scotsman, "hich might cost thousands of pounds rather than the hundreds spent in #aceboo advertising% !his advertising e$penditure on #aceboo optimised the visibility of a promoted post in user timelines% 7o"ever, "hile the Digital R+D #und for the &rts in Scotland pro3ect "as inspired by the *dinburgh #ringe9s success "ith social tic eting, it is "orth bearing in mind that #ringe is unli e any other tic eting scenario any"here in *dinburgh, given it sells tic ets for a limited period of time during the festival season, for a large number of venues% Conse,uently, the e$perience of !he 5ueen9s 7all has been that social tic eting is not "hat its audience need or "ant% !his negative finding, arguably, fulfils the very purpose of a research and development fund – the opportunity to test technologies "hich might not fulfil their promise% &lthough the social tic eting app serves to provide yet another channel to ease purchase, sales have been very lo", thus demonstrating that this mode of social tic eting is not successful "ith consumers% !he focus on tic eting systems that this pro3ect necessitates has led !he 5ueen9s 7all, along "ith a number of other large scale venues in the city, to re;evaluate its use of the tic eting portal platform, Clic et% :ndeed, there is a ,uestion mar over the future of Clic et and the Portal as Culture Republic 11 ta es over from !&'% Currently as it stands, #aceboo is integrated "ith Clic et, but should a ne" tic eting system be adopted, there is no guarantee that it "ill have the same sort of social tic eting functionality% 7o"ever, the "hite;label application remains available to any Scottish cultural organisation as long as they are subscribers to Culture Republic%

4. Insights
Working with third part technolog platforms

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:ntervie" "ith Ros Lamont (!&'), / #ebruary 2011%

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*ven at the outset, !&' "as a"are of the potential dangers of using #aceboo as a third party platform, as the site is no"n for changing their !erms of Service as pertaining to privacy, 1/ permissions and content sharing "ithout "arning their user base% #aceboo 9s proprietary algorithm, *dgeran , determines "hether a post appears in a user9s timeline, based on the level of engagement "ith that post%1@ 'y using 8Promoted Posts9 the visibility of posts increases, reaching users "ho have 8li ed9 a page, as "ell as their friends% 7o"ever, even though a page has been 8li ed9 by a user, in order to ensure that user sees posts, the page;o"ner must pay for the privilege, in effect renting bac its o"n audiences% &t the time of launching, #aceboo applications ran in the des top bro"ser version on mobile but not as standalone apps, "hich is no" the direction #aceboo founder Nuc erberg9s strategy is heading%1A !his affected the potential of the app as it "or ed moderately "ell "ithin the bro"ser environment on mobile and on tablets but "as not as optimised an e$perience as a bespo e app might provide% !he surge in the tablet mar et coincided "ith the timeline of the creation of the app, "hich meant it "as not possible to ta e such a development into account% #urthermore, the up;front permissions re,uired by #aceboo on logging into the app might interfere "ith the user e$perience on mobile% Conse,uently the app might have succeeded better a fe" years ago "hen there "as a much higher use of social media on des top machines compared to the current 1F reliance of users on mobile phones and tablets to access #aceboo and similar net"or ing sites% Hn reflection it appears that the decision to build for des top rather than mobile has been less productive than desired because the app is aspiring to be more spontaneous and agile and those ,ualities can be more productively optimised on a mobile compatible platform% 7o"ever, this "ould be a costly underta ing, and not "ithin the financial scope of the current pro3ect, though should future funds be available, !&' is "illing to loo into creating such an app% Despite the evident correlation bet"een the promotion of the app and increase of around <0? in users 8li ing9 !he 5ueen9s 7all on #aceboo , such an outcome does not necessarily translate into desirable results% Paying for the fre,uency of ho" often an advert is featured on a user9s page or ne"s stream is compromised by user settings and #aceboo 9s opa,ue algorithmic design, "hich means that a paid;for advert might not be seen at all% & closer loo at the people "ho have 8li ed9 !he 5ueen9s 7all page reveals that some of them are not local, "hich is of limited use to !he 5ueen9s 7all "ho is invested primarily in the *dinburgh 1B audience% &dded to this is the problem of fa e profiles "hich act as spammers% #a e profiles can also s e" analytics, presenting a less than reliable picture of the 8success9 of the app% Consumer habits also have an impact on innovation% &ndy Catlin from !he 5ueen9s 7all posited a hypothetical e$ample of an organisation abandoning all other sales activity and spending ./,000 on promoted posts on #aceboo % :n this scenario, many people might still choose to either purchase via !he 5ueen9s 7all "ebsite, by phone, or person to person over the counter due to the multiple channels used for selling tic ets – and thus it "ould be impossible to trac the effectiveness of such advertising% Lessons learned

O#aceboo 6s De" !erms Hf Service4 P-e Can Do &nything -e -ant -ith Qour Content% #orever,P c"alters, 1/ #ebruary, 200B, consumerist%com (http4>>bit%ly>1ga!Q':)% 1@ OShould Qou Leave #aceboo R *dgeRan Confusion, Promoted Posts, and -hy Small 'usiness H"ners &re nd *$ceedingly #rustrated,S Stephanie Chandler, 22 &pril, 201<, """%forbes%com (http4>>onforb%es>1bvTp3h)% 1A th O#aceboo 9s Plot !o Con,uer Mobile4 Shatter :tself :nto Pieces,S =osh Constine, 2B =anuary, 2011, techcrunch%com (http4>>tcrn%ch>1dFN377)% 1F th OMar Nuc erberg4 #aceboo 6s future is to reach billions of mobile users,S Samuel Cibbs, 21 #ebruary, 2011, guardian%com (http4>>bit%ly>1cg5g#$)% 1B rd :ntervie" "ith &ndy Catlin, !he 5ueen9s 7all, < #ebruary, 2011%

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!he use of #aceboo as a platform made the pro3ect a ris as the site constantly changes its algorithms "hich determine the visibility of postings and ads% !his ris endangers the traction of an app so dependent on #aceboo % :n order to combat this, much closer attention needs to be paid to increasing the visibility of any such application "hen investing in a mar eting budget% -hile the #und facilitated the creation of the app, it has also meant that one of the unintended conse,uences has been a complete re;evaluation of ho" social platforms can be used for arts and cultural organisations in the future% Lessons have been learnt regarding ho" investment in social media platforms needs to be carefully considered% &s opposed to direct mar eting, dependency on a third party platform such as #aceboo is a in to encouraging fans to li e an organisation there as opposed to 3oining an organisation9s o"n mailing list% #aceboo , therefore, is li e a "alled garden, as compared to an organisation9s o"n "ebsite "ith no controls or restrictions on visibility% -hile the social functionality of #aceboo is significant for the tic et buying e$perience, buying tic ets needs to be integrated more seamlessly into the buying process rather than relying on the possibility of users seeing these promoted posts% &lternatives might be having a #aceboo plug;in on the venue9s "ebsite, for e$ample, or completely buying into a third party service such as SitDearMe or &udience Mie"9s &M !i i%

5. Future
!here is a ,uestion mar over the future of the pro3ect, at least for !he 5ueen9s 7all, largely because of the increasing amount of investment re,uired to ensure the visibility of the app on #aceboo % &s #aceboo 9s current iteration no longer supports sho"ing posts by organisations in timelines "ithout paying for the service, appro$imately only 2/0 people of the <,/00 people 8li ing9 !he 5ueen9s 7all on #aceboo "ill see an average unpromoted post% !his number amounts to under 10?, on average, "ho "ill have seen any given post% -hile !he 5ueen9s 7all intends to eep the social tic eting app on and functioning as another sales channel, it "ill no longer earmar funds for promoting the app% &ll three organisations, -hitespace, !&'>Culture Republic and !he 5ueen9s 7all in hindsight feel that the app "ould have been more effective if more funds "ere available for promotion on #aceboo % :f the #aceboo app ceases to "or for !he 5ueen9s 7all, the organisation "ould be unli ely to reinvest in modifying it "ithout a full summary of the financial return on the app, and a detailed sales analysis, as it currently serves as a sales channel alongside many others that !he 5ueen9s 7all use effectively% Should a number of Scottish venues opt in to buy the app, this "ould reduce the price of maintaining such an app to an affordable price "hich can be balanced "ith returns on investment% :n this case, !he 5ueen9s 7all "ould be happy to eep supporting such an endeavour% 7o"ever, such a decision "ould still be based on ho" successful it has been in terms of selling additional tic ets% :n order for the future of the app to be sustainable, the !ic etS"itch portal soft"are "ould have to remain central to the tic eting system across *dinburgh9s venuesI as any sort of change "ould mean that the app "ould have to be rebuilt from scratch% 7o"ever, there are conversations currently under"ay regarding the future of the Portal under the aegis of Culture Republic% !&' has been revie"ing the tic eting system and putting together an options paper on its future in #ebruary 2011% Current considerations are "hether integrated tic eting is the best use of !&'>Culture Republic9s resources% -hile these developments might unfold over the ne$t si$ months or so, #aceboo and social tic eting may or may not be embedded in "hatever form these outputs ultimately ta e% !he documentation (and recommendations) from the pro3ect "ill be shared by !&' "ith other performing arts venues in *dinburgh% !he "hite label app is available to those organisations should they "ish to adopt it and !&' is on hand to support them to ta e that for"ard% !&' "ould be een to 12

trac the sales impact for those organisations so that it could added to the body of information that it already has%

6. Further resources
Further project information
!he &pp and further information about !he 5ueen9s 7all can be found at4 https4>>apps%faceboo %com>socialtic etingapp!he 5ueen9s 7all> !he &udience 'usiness has been renamed Culture Republic4 http4>>"""%theaudiencebusiness%org%u > and http4>>"""%culturerepublic%co%u > :nformation about the pro3ect9s !echnical Partner can be found at4 http4>>"hitespacers%com> & central listing site offered by Clic et that aims to ta e the ease out of no"ing "hat is on in *dinburgh can be found at4 http4>>clic et%co%u > !he official "ebsite of the *dinburgh #estivals4 http4>>"""%edinburghfestivals%co%u >

Tools and guidance

Hther organisations "ishing to utilise the Social !ic eting should consider4 https4>>apps%faceboo %com>social;tic eting>% !here are a number of reasons "hy theatres should employ Social !ic eting% #urther information is available via http4>>"""%prne"s"ire%com>ne"s;releases>should;more;theatres;use;faceboo ;to;sell; tic ets;1BBF<A201%html, http4>>evento%cc>article>1<, and http4>>"""%cro"dtorch%com>features>social%shtml% !hese are supported by figures and statistics that demonstrate the po"er of social e;commerce and ho" consumers are influenced by their friends9, colleagues9 and families9 consumerism, available via http4>>"""%businessinsider%com>the;rise;of;social;commerce;dec ;2012;2RopU1 and http4>>"""%eventindustryne"s%co%u >2012>0/>21>the;rise;of;mobile;tic eting;in;the;events;industry>

Further reading

8!ic etfly launches !ic ets *very"here, "ith better social sharing, purchase flo" and &pple Passboo th support9, Matthe" PanJarino, <0 Hctober, 2012, http4>>thene$t"eb%com> (http4>>tn"%to>t2CQH)% 8!he Scarlets 4 Scarlets launch social tic eting app,9 1Ath Hctober, 201<% http4>>"""%scarlets%co%u >eng>ne"s>@1F/%php

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!he !essitura Det"or is comprised of more than 100 of the "orld9s premiere arts and cultural organiJations united by a common technology in order to achieve operational e$cellence4 http4>>"""%tessituranet"or %com> 8!ic etmaster6s Social !ic eting Deal -ith #aceboo Radically Shifts Competitive !errain,9 Clyde th Smith, 2/ &ugust 2011, """%hypebot%com (http4>>"""%hypebot%com>hypebot>2011>0F>; tic etmasters;social;tic eting;deal;"ith;faceboo ;radically;shifts;the;competitive;terrain%html)% System and method for performing social net"or ing and loyalty program functions at a venue http4>>"""%google%com>patents>US2012021/@<A&1 8Dearly 2 million tic ets sold at *dinburgh #ringe,9 'rian #erguson, 2A &ugust 201<, """%scotsman%com (http4>>"""%scotsman%com>lifestyle>arts>ne"s>nearly;2;million;tic ets;sold;at; edinburgh;fringe;1;<0@2/A0)% 8SitDearMe4 Can Social !ic et Sales !hrough #aceboo Really !a e HffR9 Dan McLaren, /th #ebruary 2011, """%theu sportsnet"or %com (http4>>"""%theu sportsnet"or %com>sitnearme;can;social;tic et; sales;through;faceboo ;really;ta e;off)% 8Social *vent !ic eting Platform Re"ards #ans for :nfluencing Sales9 !onia Ries, 2< Dovember 2011, therealtimereport%com (http4>>therealtimereport%com>2011>11>2<>social;event;tic eting;platform; re"ards;fans;for;influencing;sales>)% 8&udienceMie" !i i Dominates -orld"ide Social !ic eting Mar et,9 Christine Payne, 2<rd May 2012, business"ire%com (http4>>bit%ly>1duthdT)%
rd th

Other examples

Hther pro3ects, organisations or activities related to !he Culture Republic pro3ect include4 !he *dinburgh #ringe also utilise Social !ic eting% !he app is seasonal so is not al"ays populated "ith content4 https4>>apps%faceboo %com>fringetic ets> !he &udience Mie" offer an interesting ta e on the Social !ic eting "here their app allo"s users to ma e tic et reservations and then share the lin "ith their friends "ho can purchase the seats ne$t to them4 http4>>"""%audiencevie"%com>pricing>avpro>schedulea;avt> SitDearMe4 https4>>apps%faceboo %com>tic etsGnearGme>

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