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Live Nation exec: Mobile traffic is up 156pc year-over-year

The Live Nation Android app

NEW YORK – A Live Nation executive at the 2012 IAB Mobile Marketplace said that as the company sees an increase in mobile traffic, the opportunities for advertising revenue and commerce will increase.

During the “Going Mobile at Live Events” session, the executive spoke about findings from a new study that looked at how mobile is used at live events. Additionally, the session presented a look at the opportunities for brands to drive engagement and the role that social media plays at live events.

“Both the increase in smartphones and tablets are creating more opportunities for our product, which at the end of the day is going to be the driver for our business long-term,” said Russell Wallach, president of Live Nation Network, Los Angeles.

“We look at this trend as something that is going to be moving quickly as we continue to see more smartphone adoption,” he said.

“Our challenge is with these numbers increasing, we see huge opportunities for revenue, but we have to figure out how to create that experience to make it impactful.”

Engaged users
Live Nation recently conducted a study with its data arm Live Analytics to better understand the mobile habits of consumers at live events.

According to Mr. Wallach, consumers at live events tend to be highly engaged on mobile. For example, 63 percent of respondents surveyed by the company own a smartphone and 34 percent own a tablet.

To compare, other research has found that 48 percent of the population in the United States own a smartphone and 16 percent own a tablet.

For Live Nation, the company looks at how to sell products to consumers before, during and after a show to help sell more tickets, engage with them both during and after a show. This research can also be used to help partners and brands integrate themselves into the live event experience.

In January 2011, Live Nation was seeing a small number of transactions being made via mobile. Now mobile makes up approximately 5.9 percent of transactions coming from mobile from the company’s applications and mobile site.

Mobile users tend to be younger and have smaller incomes, but they are also spending more frequently and buying more, per Mr. Wallach.

Live Nation also looked at which types of mobile devices its customers are using in its study.

Fifty-four percent of mobile owners surveyed owned an iPhone with Android following with 39 percent. BlackBerry devices round out the top three devices with 18 percent of mobile ownership.

When it comes to tablet owners, 68 percent of the survey’s respondents own an iPad, and 16 percent own a Kindle Fire. Other devices made up the remaining 16 percent of tablets.

Additionally, social media and mobile go hand-in-hand for concert goers, especially with Facebook. For instance, Live Nation’s study found that approximately 40 percent of consumers at concert events share their experience on Facebook. To compare, roughly 10 percent of consumers use Twitter to share a live event experience.

Seventy-five percent of users take photos and 63 percent text during a live event, per the study’s findings.

Search also presents both a huge opportunity and challenge for Live Nation. According to the executive, 40 percent of consumers surveyed did not go to a show because they did not know that it was happening. However, with technology such as geo-targeting, it makes it easier for Live Nation to serve relevant content to users.

Brand opportunity
For brands, being able to communicate with concert goers can be especially powerful.

The key for brands to communicate with consumers at live events is to create a simple message, instant gratification and experience, per the exec.

For instance, Coca-Cola’s Vitamin Water used a mobile promotion to encourage users to check-in to foursquare at an event to upgrade their tickets. Although the initiative was simple, it was effective because it gave consumers an instant gratification.

Taking advantage of an artist to amplify a promotion can help grow engagement with fans as well. Toby Keith for instance used an SMS program with Dunkin’ Donuts to engage with consumers while at a concert.

Going forward, Live Nation is looking to explore Near Field Communication for ticket payment and content distribution.

Live Nation is also looking into how to use augmented reality and geo-fencing to help consumers connect at live events with targeted offers and messages.

“We’re convinced that this is the absolute future for us in terms of the purchase of the ticket on the device,” Mr. Wallach said.

“The bottom line is that people have it with them 24/7, we want them to be transacting while they have that device,” he said.

Final Take
Russell Wallach is president of Live Nation Network, Los Angeles