Edinburgh Fringe

One more ticket

Challenge

Audience Planning

Summary

Edinburgh Fringe needed to strike a balance between overcrowding in Edinburgh, maximising ticket sales and still making it a Fringe to remember for all involved.

Background

As the world’s biggest arts festival, the Fringe audience has grown by 1.25 million in the space of a decade. It is the perfect combination of local and global with over 3,500 shows in over 317 venues and over 55,000 performances. We have been working with the Fringe for over 5 years, helping support their continued growth.

The Challenge

The Fringe transforms Edinburgh into a magical world where anything is possible. It is a completely uncurated festival where anything goes, performers choose what they want to showcase, and consumers get to choose what they want to see. As the custodians, the role of the Fringe is completely neutral, so it can't recommend one show over another.

In previous years we'd focussed on increasing awareness and building anticipation around a specific theme. We were also very focussed on bringing people into the city using a mixture of targeted digital display and high impact out of home. This approach was successful with our 2018 campaign reaching over 20m people and driving a 6% increase in sales.

2019 was different. With an increasing amount of negative publicity around overcrowding in Edinburgh during the festival, we needed to change things up. Rather than focus on encouraging people to come to the city in August we would instead get those people that live in the city or were already here to go to more shows.

How could we help them buy one more ticket or visit one more show when they are already in the city?

Strategy

Often the best ideas are the simplest. Our media budget had traditionally been focussed on the run-up to the festival. In 2019 we switched this round and focussed on reaching people in Edinburgh. With so many shows on offer, how do you encourage people to go to that “one more show”?

We believed everyone’s Fringe was unique to them, everyone who goes has that one memory, one show, one joke that helped make the Fringe special and memorable. This is where #MakeYourFringe was born and we needed to show festival-goers that whatever they chose their experience would be unique. To facilitate this, we worked with the creative agency, Bright Signals, to build the Inspiration Machine that randomly generated shows for them to consider. This would not only provide a place to direct people to but would also encourage them to tell people about it.

Whilst the Fringe had to be neutral our audience (performers and customers) did not.

Implementation

We worked on developing a media plan that was as flexible and fluid as the Fringe itself. Built on three key pillars of Awareness, Conversions and Flexibility. We selected channels that were more engaging, dynamic and flexible as well as those that had delivered in the past. Ensuring we utilised the entire communications system for the Fringe across paid, owned and earned channels.

Awareness

We brokered a unique partnership with the Guardian, raising the profile of the Fringe through a content partnership on guardian.com running in two bursts during June that would sweep up anyone considering coming to the Fringe. This was supported with engaging video formats across premium publisher sites placed alongside relevant arts and culture content.

Conversions

We used proven conversion platforms to drive ticket sales which were supported through re-targeting tactics to convert those most likely to buy a ticket. This was delivered through the Google Display network to actively target those who had engaged with our awareness ads and anyone whohad visited the site. To drive our strategy of “one more ticket” we also delivered targeted and relevant messaging to those who had purchased on-site with a gentle nudge to try another show to help #MakeYourFringe. We also utilised video to acquire new ticket purchasers and drive quality traffic to the site. Doing this tactically meant we were only charged when a new customer landed on the site. Dynamic digital display and paid social enabled us to target our audience in key cities across the UK. Driving not only ticket sales but also app downloads.

Flexibility

We closely monitored all channels throughout the campaign to ensure our budget was being spent efficiently and effectively. This enabled us to make quick decisions and reallocate budget to the best performing channels or formats. It also meant that our message was not fixed and we could utilise user-generated content in the run-up to the Fringe to make the campaign more authentic and engaging with our Fringe audience.

Results

Our campaign was a huge success making 2019 one of the best yet.

+3m
tickets sold
285k
uses of #edfringe or #MakeYourFringe
+100k
spins on the inspiration machine
856,541
tickets sold to Edinburgh residents, a new record

Marketing Society Star Awards 2020 | Scotland
Media
Gold

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