Mar 8, 2022

Tour planning? Your ultimate guide to optimizing revenue with hybrid experiences

Post by 
Jordan Ehrlich

At last artists are back on the road—this time for real. But after a two year hiatus from consistent in-person concerts and stable ticket revenue, it’s time to make our time on the road count. That’s why we’ve compiled a few concert planning best practices to increase 2022 tour revenue and get closer to fans than ever before.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through—step-by-step—how to make the most of this touring season, from long before artists hit the stage to after the tour’s over. 

Whether you’re a venue, label, sponsor, artist manager or anything in between, stay tuned. 

Preparing for artist tours

Every good marketing strategy starts with knowing your audience and reaching them in the moments that matter. Questions you’re already asking yourself to prepare for their tours, no doubt, are “Where are our fans?” and “How will we sell the most tickets?”

But when digital experiences enter the mix, you can ask the questions—and actually find answers to—“Who are my fans?”, “Which one’s are the most loyal or engaged?” and “How do I reach them?”

It just takes the right approach and technology. But here’s how.

Identifying loyal fans

To get to know your loyal fans through data, you’ve gotta bridge the gap between yourself and the ticket buyer. In the context of a tour, that means doing a ticketed livestream or virtual event at some point along the journey (preferably pre-tour). This could be a tour kick-off teaser session, album release livestream, collaboration across multiple artists performing at a festival, you name it.

With the right platform, you’ll know who’s actually willing to pay money to see their favorite artists live, where they’re tuning in from, how they’re engaging with the set, whether they buy merch or not, the list goes on (but check out Fan Navigator to learn more about that data). 

Engaging loyal fans

Now that you have a sample set of loyal fans, you know exactly how to reach them—efficiently targeting the one’s most likely to show up, and creating better marketing content from the insights you gleaned from the livestream (we’ll get to that in a minute).

With platforms like Mandolin, each event gives you a robust set of data & analytics on your ticket buyers. But most important is the fact that fans opt in to marketing communications from you upon ticket purchase. That means, you can send a personalized email or targeted social ad directly to the most highly engaged, thanking them for tuning in, and letting them know how to show up in person soon.

Creating marketing collateral

What was that about making better content earlier? The answer’s in the livestream data. Take a peek at the reactions and fan engagement over time. There, you’ll find the exact moments of the show that fans loved best. 

Livestream data
Livestream Data, Fan Reactions Over Time

Create clips of that exact moment from the livestream recording, then use it in social posts, ads, and general marketing collateral. Now that you can say quantifiably what the show highlights were, you can be confident that other fans will love it too.

Getting brands involved

Livestreams and virtual meet & greets act as virtual extensions of any venue. But what does this mean for brand partnerships? It means new, targeted experiences for companies to reach known (and highly engaged) audiences. So take advantage of the opportunity to offset tour costs!

With the data collected by platforms like Mandolin, brands can comb through a list of upcoming shows, select the most relevant audiences to engage with, sponsor the show and walk away with measurable performance.

So, whether you’re an artist looking to offset tour costs or a brand looking to connect with the right audience, plan to take advantage of this new digital real estate with livestreams & digital experiences on the road.

How to do more with less come showtime

Adding a virtual layer (i.e. livestreams, virtual meet & greets, etc.) to any tour is an easy way to increase revenue and keep your global fanbase engaged. We’ll get to the hidden benefits of doing so later, but first, let’s address an elephant in the room…

Do livestreams cannibalize in-person sales?

Contrary to some speculation, we’ve observed that livestream ticket purchases do not cannibalize in-person ticket sales.

Take a recent Punch Brothers show for example, where they increased total ticket sales by 56% simply by adding livestream. 

And who were those livestreamers? Largely folks who couldn’t attend in-person anyways—with 77% of tickets purchased from states not included in their spring tour.

Get creative with your virtual experiences

Fans want unique experiences though. If it’s just another virtual concert, you’ll still see a nice bump in revenue, but not as much as if you put some creative spin on the event. 

If you need some creative inspiration, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of ways to engage your global audience with in-person events here.

How to increase in-person ticket revenue

Here’s our secret—and it’s quite simple if you’re already livestreaming the show…

For in-person fans, at checkout, offer access to the concert recording as a memento or digital collectible—where fans can watch the replay for a short window (or forever) via your livestream partner (at Mandolin, we call this Rewatch). 

Not only is it a no-brainer for fans to pay an additional $5 to relive the magic—after the show, they’ll go home, share it with friends and inspire a new crowd to attend night 2 or at the next stop… “because seeing it live was just so good.”

The benefits of concert replays are two-fold

First and most obvious, this generates a lift in revenue without any effort. Second, this action—giving in-person fans the ability to tune in online—bridges that gap between you and the ticket buyer we discussed earlier. Now you know who your loyal fans are through data. 

In other words, by upselling that in-person attendee to the digital experience, you grow your known universe of loyal fans—which allows you to remarket to them and help them discover more events or merch they’ll love.

The tour’s over. Now what?

If you’ve followed steps one through… well… any of them, you’ve added virtual experiences to your arsenal—and now have more fan data to guide your decision making. Sit down with it. Find out what your fans care about, and start brainstorming experiences from what you know has worked before.

Re-use tour content to grow your fanbase

If you livestreamed any of your shows on the tour. Find the one that was most special, and offer it up exclusively to loyal fans. If you’re looking to grow an online fan community you’re already investing in, like Substack for example, make the recording available only to subscribers in that channel like Patti Smith did with her exclusive Mandolin livestream. Or, simply put it behind a paywall for purchase on-demand. It’s your content, time to get creative with it!

Ready to hybridize your next show or tour?

Schedule a call with us via the form below. A member of our Industry relations team will be more than happy to share best practices and find a solution that works for you!