Mobile Ticket Buyers
In the early days of online ticketing, phones weren’t a big factor for event organizers. The assumption was that most people were signing up for events on laptops and desktop computers. But the retail industry experienced a tipping point in 2013, when more consumers started to interact with online retailers on smartphones and tablets than from traditional computers.
The word interact is important. You may or may not buy tickets on your phone or tablet, but chances are, the moments leading up to the ticket purchase occur on mobile. For instance, a potential ticket buyer might follow a pattern like this:
- While scrolling through Facebook in line at the post office, you see a friend’s post mentioning our event.
- The next day, at the grocery store, you are standing in line again when you see a sponsored Instagram post about our event. Remembering her friend’s post, this grabs your attention.
- Now you’re curious, so later on that evening, you make an effort to watch a YouTube video featuring one of our entertainers. But your wallet is downstairs and you’re cozy in bed, so you don’t buy a ticket… yet. You do, however, sign up for email notifications from our website — easy to get to from our YouTube page.
- The next day, you’re on the bus when you get an email on your smartphone reminding you that tickets are almost sold out. Inspired by all her research over the past few days, you click to buy from her phone.
This is just one of many potential scenarios that could unfold on an attendee’s journey to commit. Any interaction with our event and our brand could lead to a ticket purchase, so every mobile interaction needs to be seamless.
In late 2016, Nielsen counted how many people in the US had smartphones. Not surprisingly, Millennials won this competition: 98% do. But even 68% of people 65 and older have smartphones these days. And research has proven that mobile users are more likely to buy tickets. The reality is that we can no longer ignore the mobile experience.
As an event organizer, here are a few ways we are capitalizing on the mobile movement to boost ticket sales and elevate our attendees’ path to purchase:
Optimize for mobile search
75% of Facebook ad traffic comes from mobile users, and Google reports that more people use their phones for search than their computers. Think about it — you’re out with friends when someone mentions a band that’s coming to town: You probably whip out your phone to get details before you forget.
But all searches are not created equal. People tend to search for things on mobile when they are near or looking for a physical location. Mobile search prioritizes proximity as a ranking factor. To optimize our event website for local mobile, use geographic terms like “Northern California” and “New York City” frequently in your content.
Also, keep in mind that it’s harder to type on a mobile device than on a desktop or laptop. So if you’re using keywords strategically, keep them short and easy to type. And mobile searchers tend to take advantage of “predictive search,” when the device guesses what a user is trying to type. Using keywords that come up easily in a predictive search will help you. To test your keywords, enter a search term from your smartphone to make sure it shows up in Google’s predictive search results.
Build a responsive website
When mobile users land on our page, we don’t frustrate them with a website that’s hard to view and use on a small screen. It’s crucial that our website displays well and can be navigated without a keyboard, mouse, or trackpad. Potential attendees shouldn’t have to pinch and zoom to buy a ticket on our site, and they shouldn’t have to scroll sideways to see all the fields in a form. This is called responsive design.
Responsive design isn’t just about the look, though. Studies have shown a 160% increase in purchase completion with mobile-optimized payments. If you’re using an innovative ticketing partner, they should be able to help you build a responsive site with streamlined, mobile-optimized payments.
Don’t make buyers download an app
“It’s statistically more likely for customers to interact with your website on a mobile device than on a desktop.” — Neil Patel on Kissmetrics
7 out of 10 customers are turned off by having to download an app in order to conduct a transaction. They want to do it right from our website, whether they’re on a mobile phone, a desktop, or a tablet. Another reason to make sure our website is mobile responsive and has a smooth, easy checkout process.
But apps still have their place. Devoted shoppers who tend to buy from the same places over and over again find apps useful, and the most popular apps are mainly social media platforms: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, and Instagram are all in the top ten. Social media is a crucial touch point for event ticket buyers, so we make sure our social ads look great on the small screen.
Be wherever your buyers are
“The fewer clicks it takes to get a ticket, the better.” — James Moody, the owner of Mohawk in Austin
Our website is important, but it’s hard to predict at which point a customer will press “buy.” The more steps it takes to buy a ticket, the higher the possibility the user will change her mind, get distracted, or get frustrated and give up. In fact, every time you add a step to the checkout process, you lose up to 10% of your potential ticket buyers. And when you force someone to log in to buy a ticket you lose 23% of potential buyers.
More and more, event organizers are interesting in making sure their customers can buy tickets from wherever they are. This is called “distributed commerce.” Nearly all the venues Eventbrite has interviewed (98%) agree that enabling ticket sales on social media and other platforms could be big growth drivers. Imagine a music-lover on Spotify discovering a new band, realizing that band is playing live locally soon, and instantly buying tickets to that show — all without leaving Spotify.
To capture buyers the moment they are ready to purchase, we make mobile ticket purchasing easy. We don’t make them navigate to our website or to an online ticketing app. If they see an ad or a post for our event on social media, the “buy now” button needs to be right there.*
*Reprinted from EVENTBRITE March 20, 2017
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