Cutting Through the Crowds at Festivals: How Advertisers Can Reach Summer Groupies

Let’s talk location.

Get original insights, informed comment, and thought leadership from the team as well as from our partners and customers, as we shape the market together.

Cutting Through the Crowds at Festivals
Mike Buttigieg

From Coachella, to Bonnaroo, to Lollapalooza and Burning Man, music festivals attract some of the biggest artists and crowds all summer long. According to Billboard, over 30 million people attend at least one music festival in the U.S. each year. This gives artists a lot of opportunities to connect with their fans.


It also means festivals themselves and advertisers have plenty of chances to connect with consumers. When fans use their mobile phones to travel to or around the festival, or when contacting their friends on-site, they’re giving brands valuable information about where they are and what they like. And if advertisers know how to capitalize on this data, they’ll be able to identify and reach their ideal audiences.

With festivals offering tons of headline sponsors and hundreds of stalls to choose from, here’s how advertisers can cut through the noise at music festivals and build relationships with fans.

Make Friends at Festivals

With tens of thousands of people gathered in the same place, music festivals are a great chance to make new friends with potential customers. Brands can meet and get to know consumers by recognizing them and introducing themselves to each and every attendee.

One method for this is geo-fencing. This means identifying attendees by collecting device IDs located within the perimeter of the festival grounds. It is important to note that 3/4G GPS data is unreliable at festivals due to their remote locations and bad service. Hence, many festival organizers now routinely offer temporary Wi-Fi to keep their revelers connected. This means the number of mobile devices a marketer can access increases massively when using a location technology provider with the ability to dynamically identify Wi-Fi addresses in real world locations. In a custom study we conducted on this year’s Bonnaroo festival, we proved that any marketer using industry-standard GPS geo-location technology could only ‘see’ 27% of mobile devices at the festival. Dynamically identifying the festival Wi-Fi’s IP Address was needed to discover the missing 73%.

Once advertisers know who’s at the festival, they should strike up a conversation right away. For instance, a beverage brand can deliver an ad inviting fans to enjoy a cold drink when they make their next trip to the bar.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Music festivals are busy places, and consumers are likely to be bombarded with sponsorship logos and advertisements at every turn. So how can brands make sure they stand out from the crowd?

Brands that target consumers using Wi-Fi can more accurately target people thanks to additional behavioral insights. This also means that marketers can advertise using richer media to better engage consumers and stand out among the static ads and logos. For example, brands can offer fans interactive games or videos ads which get higher completion rates on Wi-Fi. These could be tailored based on behavioral location histories, for example showing a clip of the Weekend to someone who recently attended an R&B gig, or a voucher for the vegan food stand to someone regularly seen shopping at organic stores.

They can even get creative. Rather than simply enticing attendees with an image of an ice-cold beverage, a soda brand can offer an ad that’s both useful and inviting: it can give the thirsty consumer a handy map that shows them how they can get to the nearest bar.

Keep in Touch

Festivals like Coachella last a few days and Burning Man a week, but should that mean that an advertiser spending branding dollars on sponsorship should lose touch with those fans and potential customers once they have gone home?  Of course not.  Once brands have identified device IDs at a festival, they can use that data after the event to learn even more about who those fans are, including demographic and geographic details that indicate where they spend time and what they like to do.

Our Bonnaroo study monitored the devices we saw at the festival for a week and a half after its completion. We determined that the demographic makeup of the audience was 28% business professionals with the top industries indexing in technology, advertising and finance. The remaining 72% were college students, mostly from the University of Tennessee, Rutgers then University of SoCal. In terms of the festival attendee behavioral characteristics, they mostly frequented coffee shops such as Starbucks, clothing stores like H&M and electronic stores such as Best Buy. These insights help advertisers paint a much clearer picture of who their festival audience is so they can target appropriate messages at the right place and right time whether it be before or after the event.

This is the strategy personal care brand Gillette employed to boost sales for a range of Venus products. First, they collected data from female festivalgoers aged 18 to 34. They then delivered ads when the women were near a drugstore that stocks Venus products (compared to at the festival), or when they were at home and could browse Venus’ full product range online. The stores targeted saw a net footfall rate increase of 1.42%.

This targeting strategy to reach the festival-going audiences at the opportune moment drives high engagement rates, in-store traffic, and extends the life of the brand dollars spent on the festival branding campaign.

Assess Your Performance

The last part of our Bonnaroo study tested the impact of a sponsor’s brand awareness campaign to see if it ultimately drove in-store foot traffic and sales. We monitored their retail locations in the United States for 10 days following the festival and found that only 1% of the festivalgoers visited a store location within the time frame. While low, this begs the question: Could the sponsor have made their Bonnaroo sponsorship work harder for them? We wanted to see what the difference would be if we expanded our geo-fence to a two-mile radius around the thousands of store locations. This revealed that while only 1% of Bonnaroo festivalers made it through the restaurant door, 30% of them came within two miles of the sponsors store location during those ten-days. A small budget dedicated to sequentially targeting them with a mobile ad would have capitalized on the initial sponsor branding at Bonnaroo and provided that final nudge to convert to store, greatly increasing that 1% foot-traffic rate.

So in conclusion? Festivals don’t just provide advertisers with a way to reach music lovers while they’re enjoying the event; festivals also give them the time and place to begin forging what will become long and ongoing relationships with this key audience.

Tags: , , ,

Mike Buttigieg Michael Buttigieg is Senior Sales Director at Blis, the global pioneer in location data. Having been at Blis since 2013, Buttigieg moved out to New York in 2016 to help establish Blis’ New York office where he specialises in the sales of Blis’ proprietary technology and platform.

Leave a comment

Most recent blog posts
Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa


Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa

Question 1: How long have you been at RSi and what is your role?
For the past three years, I have been responsible for creating and scaling Ansa, a web-based solution from RSi – Retail Solutions, Inc., that has enabled over 75 of the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies to build, measure and maximize the performance of their shopper marketing campaigns running in support of the nation’s leading retailers. I am responsible for all aspects of business development, partner and agency relationships and the overall revenue growth of Ansa.

Question 2: How does RSi help solve marketer challenges?
Shopper marketers’ biggest challenge is to connect their online campaigns to in-store results. RSi’s Ansa solution provides the intelligence they need, based on daily, store-level POS-data from the largest US retailers in order to plan, target, and measure the impact of their shopper marketing campaigns. Retail Solutions Inc. has partnered with the leading ad networks in Shopper Marketing, such as Blis, to make Ansa’s automated analytics available for the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies. To measure and maximize their digital ad campaigns, all they need to do is ask for Ansa inside their next campaign.

Question 3: What benefits does the partnership with Blis bring to buyers as well as the adtech ecosystem?
With RSi’s Ansa solution, building, dynamically optimizing, and reviewing attribution measures for every digital ad campaign has never been so simple. Here is how it works:
1. STORE-LEVEL TARGETING: automatically get from Ansa your store targeting data as store addresses, lat/longs or by Ansa Digital ZIPs to identify stores with the greatest sales potential prior to launching hyper-local media.
2. IN-FLIGHT OPTIMIZATION: see in real-time how sales are trending in your targeted stores vs. a 52-week historical average, and get access to dynamic optimization lists that can guide budget reallocation.
3. MEASUREMENT & INSIGHTS: get access via the online portal to end of campaign analysis just days after the media campaign is over. Visualizations give you a standardized set of analytics, such as sales lift, incremental dollars and units, confidence level, weekly lift, characteristics of high performing stores, etc. Prove and improve your media to help you fine-tune strategies for your future campaigns.

Question 4: What are use cases for the Blis + RSi partnership? (Please provide a few examples from different verticals).
If you are a shopper marketer, maximizing your budgets, understanding performance of your marketing tactics and generating key learnings from those marketing tactics are tasks that are essential to your business.

Running a digital marketing campaign with Blis, and Ansa’s daily, store-level sales intelligence helps make that extremely for the CPG community and shopper marketers specifically.

For existing products, Blis campaigns using Ansa targeting can reach a targeting efficiency of 2:1 vs. campaigns that do not use Ansa store-level targeting thereby ensuring that every dollar is spent driving sales to your most important retailer locations.

Blis campaigns optimized with Ansa typically identify and heavy up investment around 16% of stores that are trending significantly ahead of the average store during a campaign and identify and decrease investment around 14% of stores that are trending significantly behind the average store, therefore ensuring that your budget is being optimized surrounding stores that are over-performing during a given campaign.

After each Blis campaign, Ansa automatically generates measurement of Featured Item Lift and Halo Item Lift at both the total event and week levels. Results are completed 5 business days after the end of each campaign and allow you to learn quickly and improve continuously, all at an amazingly affordable price.

Question 5: What shopper marketing measurement trends do you predict for 2018?
Optimization in-flight based on store sales trends during campaign. Optimizing on engagement, intent and / or clicks may be ok for some campaigns but more and more frequently shopper marketers are tasked with driving sales at their most important retailers. And understanding how their marketing tactics performed 5-6 weeks after a campaign has finished is just not fast enough anymore in today’s fast paced world and puts media providers at a severe disadvantage. By utilizing automated reporting that allows Ansa partners like Blis to understand and optimize their media in-flight based on daily, store-level POS sales data you now empower your media partner to act on supporting the stores that are driving your product sales which can ultimately provide a powerful boost to a shopper marketing campaign.

Question 6: If there was one piece of content you think every marketer should read, what is it?
(Other than this blog post of course!)

Think with Google and Facebook IQ are two fantastic sources of resources. Articles, trends, case studies, POVs, insights, etc… pretty much everything you need to read to keep you up-to-speed in this very fast-paced environment.

Read more

3 Ways Retailers Can Use Mobile for Effective One-to-one Marketing


3 Ways Retailers Can Use Mobile for Effective One-to-one...

Today, mobile devices are like mini retail stores we carry around in our pockets: places where consumers can browse merchandise or place orders almost instantly.

But mobile devices also give consumers something they can’t get in stores: personalized marketing. Collecting data like shopping histories and browsing patterns, mmobile devices provide retailers with detailed insight into individual consumers and a means of communicating with them directly.

How can retailers use mobile insights and capabilities to craft effective, one-to-one messaging?

1. Get personal.

Today, consumers want—and expect—ads to speak directly to them. In fact, 74% of customers feel frustrated when their online experiences aren’t personalized.

The easiest way for retailers to personalize content is by harnessing their first-party data. If a customer purchases a dress online, the brand can use what they know about her (her fashion interests, browsing history and email address) to customize subsequent content. For example, the brand can serve an ad via email that suggests a pair of shoes to go along with the new dress.

With CRM data, the retailer can see what the woman bought online, but do they know what she’s purchased elsewhere? Or what she does when she’s not shopping? This is where location data comes in. Retailers that layer location-based insights on to other sources of data can get to know where and when consumers shop at brick and mortar stores. They can also identify other behavioral patterns, including which day of the week and time of day they like to go shopping—data can enables greater levels of personalization.

Let’s say a CPG brand wants to reach out to a previous customer who hasn’t been seen in store lately. The marketers can use their knowledge of the consumer’s daily commute to deliver the ad just before he leaves work, suggesting he stop by on his way home. They may even offer him a discount on the product he previously purchased.

2. Market to individuals, not devices.

Once retailer marketers have identified their ideal audiences on mobile, they shouldn’t see phones as the only means of communication. Consumers own an average of 3.6 connected devices, so retailers should communicate with consumers across the devices they use, including tablets, laptops, desktops and addressable TV.

However, if a retailer sees a user reading political news on the tablet all day but watching cartoons in the evening, it might not be the same same person. With families and partners sharing devices at home, marketers need to make sure they are constructing nuanced consumer profiles across devices in order to reach out to individuals, not just devices.

3. Don’t be creepy.

Personalized, cross-device marketing is on the rise in part because consumers are increasingly willing to disclose their data to retailers. After all, purchase histories and location data are essential for useful or interesting ads.

But how retailers use that data is key. Consumers want to feel understood, but they don’t want to feel like ads are invasive or drawing on data that’s simply too personal and private. Marketers need to make sure they aren’t crossing any personal boundaries or making consumers feel uncomfortable.

If marketers want to turn heads or, more importantly, turn consumers into buyers, they’ll need to do more than blast out generic ads to the masses. When retailers personalize ads with these three tips, they’ll see huge improvements in campaign performance.

But how, exactly, do they measure these improvements? Find out next week when we assess the best metrics for retailers.

Read more

Embracing the Retailer’s Dream Metric: Cost Per Visit


Embracing the Retailer’s Dream Metric: Cost Per Visit

The twentieth-century American engineer and statistician W. Edwards Deming once said, “Just because you can measure everything, doesn’t mean that you should.”

This applies to retailer struggles today as marketing executives need to decide what they should measure and how. Do they care about impressions, views or click-through rates? And once they figure that out, how can they make sure their ad dollars are really working? The Partnership predicts that ad fraud will cost brands over $16 billion this year alone, while Infectious Media suggests that over half of all digital ads aren’t seen at all.

Fortunately for retailers, there’s a new metric in town—one designed to eliminate waste and increase sales. With a cost-per-visit (CPV) model, retailers pay only when a consumer sees an ad and visits a specific location. Here are four ways retailers are benefiting from this cutting-edge new metric.

1) Increased Foot Traffic

With the National Retail Federation predicting eight to 12 percent e-commerce growth this year alone, no one can deny the rapid rise of online sales. However, 85 percent of consumers still prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, where 94 percent of all sales are generated. That’s why it’s vital for retailers to keep their physical stores alive and continue to enhance their in-store experiences.

With the explicit goal of bringing visitors into physical store locations, CPV is a metric for retailers wanting to increase foot traffic—and pay only for successful conversions. While there are many ways to boost in-store visits, today’s leading location data solutions use predictive location modeling. With Blis Futures, we choose to charge on a CPV-basis because we are completely confident in this approach.

2) Greater In-store Sales

Driving consumers into brick-and-mortar locations may also encourage consumers to buy more than they anticipated. It gives retailers the opportunity to upsell consumers so they need to make sure they clearly advertise their promotional pricing, point-of-purchase displays and loyalty programs. Once you have a potential customer in the store, you can push tailored messaging in real-time and create personalized promotions. As anyone that has ever been into a Target retail location can attest – you may go in for one specific item but end up unable to leave the store for less than $100! So only paying when a consumer sees an ad and then visits a physical location reaps multiples rewards for a marketer.

3) Branding Opportunities

When retailers buy ads on a cost-per-visit basis, they don’t pay if the consumer sees the ad but doesn’t come into the store. That means the retailer also benefits from ad views and branding. In fact, a consumer may see the ad and make a purchase online rather than in-store, but the marketer still pays nothing for that conversion. At Blis, we are willing to take that risk and allow marketers “free” branding messages. Our confidence in the technology behind our CPV metric allows us to think of marketers first.

4) Risk-free Investing

CPV transfers the risk from buyer to partner, so retailers don’t have to worry about wasted ad spend: They’re making a completely risk-free investment. With free branding and zero downside, retailers have nothing to lose.

When Blis became one of the first tech partners to offer the CPV model earlier this year, we sent a critical message to both retailers and the wider industry: We’re ushering in a new era of transparency and accountability in advertising.

Check back again next week when we switch gears to discuss how retailers can use mobile to boost engagement, retention and acquisition.

Read more