How Ticketek is using a DMP to not only target audiences, but pivot its business

Australian ticketing company shares how its Krux DMP capabilities and ad tech investments will open up new commercial opportunities thanks to better audience targeting

Ticketek has gone live with a new data management platform (DMP) that not only gives the marketing team a single customer view, it also opens up the opportunity to become a digital agency to event promoters and partners.

Speaking exclusively to CMO, Ticketek managing director, Cameron Hoy, said the group has a wealth of data about its audience, stretching from their passions and intent to purchase through to age, gender, address and preferred device. Stitching together those insights to better interact with customers across all devices was crucial for driving better sales and engagement.

Ticketek has just under 11 million members and an average online audience of 1.9 million unique visitors per month.

“In our business, people signal their interest and intent everyday by the way they engage with our platform,” Hoy said. “If we are not capturing this and repurposing the content we playback to them as a result, we’re missing the opportunity to be tailored and personalised.”

Karen Chapple, head of digital and programmatic media at Ticketek, said the business had been sitting on valuable data sets but wasn’t sure how to unlock them. That objective led to investing in Krux’s DMP offering.

“It’s not just how we view our audience, but the way they interact with our channels,” she said. “We have an incredibly varied audience across multiple genres. The insights we are pulling out, for example, around the types of people interacting with sporting content, what channels they are most likely to be on, and what channels they are most likely to convert in, has opened a whole new view on our audience.”

Hoy said this granular detail goes as far as determining whether an email is opened on a mobile, whether that person is also likely to transact via a mobile, and if they’re most likely to do that within 10 days of the event.

“Stitching and tracing marketing activity to that level at the transactional end is very valuable,” he continued. “Not only does it change the way we go to market as a retailer of tickets, it also helps inform the decisions the inventory owners make, and changes the way they are allocating their marketing budgets.”

Krux was chosen as the preferred partner because of the vendor’s understanding of the local marketplace, its real-time, cross-platform analytics and its local development team, which have been interacting directly with Ticketek’s developers, Hoy said.

The initial priority has been integrating Krux’s technology into Ticketek’s Web-based components for website engagement, email marketing and advertising touchpoints, content consumption and purchase cycle. Having achieved this in August and September, Ticketek is now working to integrate DMP capabilities with its mobile apps and back-office business analytics solution by January, gaining a complete view of all audience data.

However, personalising content and remarketing to customers across owned assets is just one pillar of a much wider data-driven business investment, Hoy said.

“Collecting all that data, as you can image, adds great value for us as a ticketing business, but it also means we are well positioned to provide digital marketing solutions for the likes of AFL, NRL, event producers and promoters,” he said.

“This is part of a broader play that includes a move to a 100 per cent programmatic ad trading platform of our owned media assets. Having data from Krux sitting at the back of that is helping to fuel and improve yield of that inventory across our sites.”

In addition, Hoy said Ticketek has “effectively built an in-house digital agency” that can deliver audience-driven advertising campaign opportunities owned assets as well as the wider Web.

To support this, the company has put in place an end-to-end ad tech stack, largely based on Google’s ad platform offering, establishing capabilities on both the buy and sell sides as well as connecting to a range of buying platforms that help it reach 95 per cent of the Australian population, Chapple said.

“Our internal agency uses our data, the Krux platform and the trading platform we have built to fulfil digital campaigns for NRL and other partners,” Hoy said.

As an example of work, Hoy said Ticketek can find customers that have sent a clear signal of intent and interest in a particular event series by either viewing or partially completing transactions for a ticket to one of these events.

“We can then remarket to them across all our channels, as well as the Web,” he said, claiming early results already showed much more effective cost per conversion.

Hoy saw its investment as illustrative of the way big brands are pivoting their businesses off the back of audience data.

“In many respects, pure reach is being commoditised and it’s the data fuelling the intelligence behind reach that has value,” he commented. “There are big brands and businesses using their own data, acquiring inventory themselves and bringing these [publishing] capabilities in-house.

“The first step for us is being a more efficient marketing organisation for onsite monetisation. The second step is activating this digital agency, bringing us closer to partners in the live entertainment and sports industries. Thirdly, there is an incredible opportunity for us as a live entertainment and sports intelligence and analytics business now that we have stitched together both our offline and online data.”

Such a significant investment in technology required the buy-in of the whole management team, and Hoy said an accelerated path to return on investment was a clear goal and requirement.

“We agreed early on the strategic opportunities and they’re largest revenue-based. Those tie in closely into the investment required,” he said. “In the very early stages, we’re seeing a positive return and everyone has put forward a business case with an ROI requirement.

“As technology makes more data available, stitching all of that together, particularly when you have a highly transactional business like ours, presents significant challenges. But the opportunities it unlocks are so vast, you need to make the investment in getting the data sets unified and actionable.”

Related: How Carsales is improving audience targeting with a data management platform
How the Guardian is set to leverage broader audience insights
Rakuten partners with Krux to manage data for audience targeting
Ticketek: Modern marketing strategy is about treating customers as people

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