Google Searches the Ticketing Industry

Last month I had the opportunity to hear Michal Lorenc, Head of Industry for Ticketing & Live Events at Google, give a keynote talk at the INTIX conference in Baltimore. (Who knew Google even had someone thinking about the ticketing industry?)

Google analyzed the behavior of its customers related to the ticketing industry, and the findings reaffirm many things I’ve been writing about for years. However, hearing this directly from the source was inspiring, and the presentation provided a wealth of interesting (and often staggeringly surprising) data that is relevant for all of us. Here are a few highlights:

Video Motivates: Google found that people who engage with a sports team on YouTube, and watch five or more of that team’s videos, are four times more likely to buy tickets to one of the team’s games. I’ve long been advocating the increased use of video as a driver of interest, and this 400 percent increase is a data point worth paying attention to!  

Digital Advertising at a Tipping Point: Lorenc shared data from eMarketer predicting there will be some $219 billion of ad spending in the United States in 2018, of which digital will be $94 billion. That number dwarfs advertising spending on television, which is dwindling and now projected to be just $72 billion. How much digital advertising does your organization do?

The March to Mobile: Lorenc offered these data points to emphasize the continued importance of mobile:

  1. Mobile searches on Google for terms related to ticketing exceed the number of those searches made from a home or office computer.   
  2. Of the digital advertising referred to above, 66% percent of it will be spent on digital mobile advertising in ‘18 rising to 87% in ‘19.
  3. The performance of your organization’s website on mobile devices is critical. According to Lorenc, more than half of visits to websites are abandoned if the site takes more than three seconds to load on a mobile device.

Computers as Helpers: Lorenc described a concept he called “the age of assistance.” He said that more and more, consumers are expecting technology to help them, much as a human assistant might have done in the past. If you are noticing an increase in chat bots, better and more frequent human-like voice-assisted phone calls, and interactive audio such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, this is what he’s talking about.

To validate this claim, Google found that that search terms related to recommendations are skyrocketing. For instance, search with the phrase “ best” increased by 80 percent on mobile in the past two years. And in that same time frame, videos with the word “review” in the title had 50,000 years’ worth of watch time!     

Gratification That’s More Instant: Consumers are impatient — once they have experienced a technology advance, the bar is immediately raised. Lorenc mused that once you have had Wi-Fi on a plane and get used to it, the next time Wi-Fi is not there you are frustrated. (I have found this to be true myself.) This means that whatever level of service you were providing last year or the year before may no longer be enough.

Do these pointers from Google validate your own experience, or what you’re seeing in your patrons? Can they motivate new thinking about how you offer ticketing and service at your organization?  

Hearing someone from Google talk about our industry reminded me that data has always driven the ticketing world. The difference is that today there’s a lot more data that can validate your suppositions — and a lot more technology to help you build your audiences as never before.

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One response to “Google Searches the Ticketing Industry

  1. Thank you for sharing these insights. I was very interested to hear more about AI, but was not able to make INTIX this year. Speaking of digital thought – more and more customers want to just show their tickets from their phone, but they have to pull up each ticket individually and it takes twice as long as someone who printed their attachment. Is there a way to streamline this and make mobile friendly scanning something we can do more efficiently?

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