–Ross Gardiner, Intellitix Contributor–

Tracking pixels have quickly become an integral part of the personalized advertising era, and they are playing a particularly crucial role in revolutionizing the festival and event ticketing space. With a myriad of ad options available to event marketers, tracking pixels can not only detail which forms of ads work, but which stage in the sales process your prospective customers are at, and give you a much better understanding of what those customers respond to.

“A tracking pixel is essentially a piece of code that gets placed on the website and can tell you exactly how that user came there,” explains Joe Schlesinger, account director at digital media firm Gupta Media. “So then when any user hits, say, the lineup page, that code is firing, and that code will then determine whether this corresponds back to a Google or Facebook ad, giving us a precise read on how effective our advertising is.”

We got in-depth with Joe about how Gupta uses tracking pixels and refined target marketing in order to help you stretch your dollars as far as possible, and to give you a much better understanding about which buttons to push for every prospective ticket buyer.

Start Broad, and Then Hone In

“At Gupta, we always start out with more broad targeting,” Joe explains. “We’re not going to assume that we know what’s going to work for your event, but as soon as we start running ads, we measure the results and determine what works.”

Gupta’s process involves running a variety of test ads initially, working all of the various selling points of your event and then analyzing the results. This allows the company to get a strong read on your audience, and to start segmenting your fan base into targeting categories based on their interests.

“We definitely think of it as a funnel of awareness. If someone’s further out from the point of sale, the messaging is probably going to be broader. If they click on an ad and come to the website, then we start getting them into our targeting buckets, follow them around and change our messaging based on what they respond to.”

Retargeting Pixels

One of the most common and useful forms of tracking pixel you can use is called Retargeting. This tool allows marketers to know when a lead has interacted with an ad or come to your website, and it retargets the lead based on what they showed interest in.

“Let’s say you go to the lineup, and you don’t buy a ticket. We know that you have an interest in that event, so we might show you more banner ads or retargeted Facebook ads to get you to come back and buy a ticket,” Joe explains. But it’s not as simple as merely hitting your interested fans with the same ad. Gupta encourages its clients to think about what might have interested that customer about your event, and to shape your ad to fit.

“If we know that a customer has been on the section of your website that discusses the family options or children tickets, we can then show them an ad that talks about all the advantages of bringing your family to this festival,” he explains.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

“If we know somebody has put a ticket in their shopping cart but hasn’t yet purchased it, that’s a very powerful audience because they’re 99% of the way there, and we need to get that final mile,” he continues, explaining that this phenomenon called Shopping Cart Abandonment. The e-commerce research organization Baymard Institute found that as many as 69% of all online shopping carts are abandoned, a symptom they put down to window shopping habits translated online.

“If the prospective customer is at that point then we know we can show ads specific to those users—say a special ad that gives them a discount code just to get them over the line,” Joe explains.

But you have to be careful not to drop the price too low as this could aggrieve your most loyal customers that have already purchased a ticket at a higher price.

Using Last Year’s Data

“We also always look at people who have bought tickets in the previous year but haven’t bought this year. So that’s always a good way of targeting users. If you bought last year, there’s a good chance you could buy again this year.” 

You should always be consulting your data from previous years and using it to inform your marketing strategy. Making a priority out of encouraging repeat customers will convert your fans into advocates, and advocates are the fans that bring their friends and market for you. But Joe also suggests things like looking at who RSVP’d to your festival on Facebook last year but fell short of buying a ticket, as this constitutes a warm lead that could slip through the cracks.

Anyone with a fleeting acquaintance to Facebook Ad Manager can successfully implement a tracking pixel system into their event marketing campaign. A heightened amount of data and awareness is going to benefit any company getting serious about its target marketing, but there’s a time honored level of pixel wisdom that comes with a company like Gupta that your marketing manager will take years to acquire.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time with a ton of major festivals, so we’re able to share our experience throughout the team and to try different things on different campaigns. And while we always want to keep innovating, we don’t want to go crazy. So we try something and if it’s working, we roll that out into our campaigns, and if it’s not working, we scrap it. But we always maintain that spirit of experimenting and disrupting, and not just assuming that the tactics that we used in last year’s campaign are going to work again this year.”

To find out more about how Gupta Media and their capabilities, visit their website.