Ticketfly adds Fanbase customer analytics platform to help venue owners pack events

By Michael Carney , written on May 15, 2013

From The News Desk

Ticketfly has built a reputation for itself as an ally to small- and medium-sized venue owners by offering technology tools that go well beyond ticket sales. The three-year-old startup leveraged the popularity of its  social marketing and publishing tools to grow its client base by 128 percent in 2012 to 822 event promoters and venues, across 44 US states. Ticket sales grew by 57 percent over the same period to reaching 4.1 million for the year.

Today, Ticketfly is releasing its Fanbase customer analytics suite that will allow venues and promoters to identify, engage, and reward their best customers. The genesis for this new product was the realization that just 7 percent of consumers accounted for 24 percent of ticket orders in 2012, and 30 percent of ticket revenue. In other words, Pareto’s 80/20 law holds true for the value of event goers and Ticketfly would be well served to help its clients better target this market.

Fanbase relies on a proprietary ranking algorithm to combine a dozen factors including attendance, purchase history, and social sharing data to create a dynamic ranking of top fans on a per venue, event, genre, and individual performer basis. With this data, promoters can better target and engage their most valuable customers.

This data can be valuable to create buzz ahead of an upcoming event through exclusive pre-sales or premium seating and merchandise rewards promotions. At the same time, by knowing fan preferences and engagement levels venues can more effectively liquidate otherwise difficult to move ticket inventory – all while rewarding loyalty. Fanbase beta users reported an increase in email marketing open rates from 25 percent – the industry average – to 40 percent with new the customer analytics tools.

Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware venue owner World Cafe Live is one of a select group of customers who have been beta testing the new platform for the last six weeks. With two venues, each with two event spaces and a restaurant, World Cafe holds nearly 1,000 events per year, with 350 nights booked in 2012.

Despite this schedule, the company’s event promotions and marketing team consists of just four full time individuals. Prior to joining Ticketfly, the team was “grasping in the dark,” according to box office manager Sarah Marasco, particularly when hosting a performer for the first time, heaven forbid venturing into a new genre.

“Fanbase gives fans a voice and gives venues new insight into who their best customers are,” s Marasco says. “People will like the interactive nature of Fanbase; they can show how much they love their favorite venue and be rewarded for their loyalty. This is the future of concert promotion.”

Ticketfly has raised $37 million, with the latest of its three financings being a $22 million Series C round completed in July 2012. The company’s backers include SAP Ventures, Northgate Capital, Cross Creek Capital, High Peaks Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Roger Ehrenberg.

As Ticketfly continues to compete against entrenched incumbents like Ticketmaster, particularly in the long tail and remnant inventory categories, its ancillary services provide a point of differentiation. Today’s addition of Fanbase to the existing social analytics and publishing dashboards mean that client venues now have access to a comprehensive marketing optimization platform.

The challenge for the company continues to be expanding beyond its mid-tier and long-tail niche of venues between 200 to 2,000 in capacity to tackle the amphitheaters and arenas where the real money lies. As the company’s tools continue to grow in sophistication, and its client-first reputation grows in parallel, it may have an opportunity to move up market.

In the meantime, Ticketfly can find consolation in the little-discussed fact that the small venues are the best place to take in a show.