Turning App Installs into Valuable Customers: Secrets from Mobile Ticketing Leader SeatGeek

By: Kahuna | March 25, 2015 | Customer Spotlight

Getting users to download your app is only the start of a valuable customer relationship. It’s what happens after the install that counts, and no one knows this better than SeatGeek, the world’s largest ticket search engine. New fans were pouring in to try out the SeatGeek app, and with user acquisition marketing becoming increasingly expensive, SeatGeek needed to make the most of every install.

Could SeatGeek ensure that people were continuing to use their app rather than abandoning it? Could they increase the lifetime value of their users as they scaled their acquisition efforts?

The answer was a resounding “yes,” with the help of a sophisticated mobile messaging strategy. “We’ve created a push notification strategy that nicely complements our paid user acquisition and organic growth, especially as acquisition marketing is getting more expensive,” said Sam Arnold, mobile marketing manager at SeatGeek. “It’s a really good way to increase the average value of our users so we can increase our scale.”

Sam and his team built a comprehensive strategy from the ground up, leveraging a three-pronged approach to usher users from discovery to activity to purchase. At every stage, the ability to experiment and iterate was the key to its effectiveness, ensuring their many push notification campaigns worked together to drive results while preserving their famously seamless user experience. Here’s how they did it:

Goal 1: Bring People to the Party

The first goal of push was simply to engage and re-engage their new and dormant users by reminding them of the vast and wonderful world of live events. “We have a lot of features that revolve around event discovery, so a big piece of push for us is getting people who have maybe not bought a ticket or opened the app in a while to come back and think of us as a place to discover things to do,” Sam said.

Below is one of their campaigns:

SeatGeek campaign

As SeatGeek learned in this campaign, a dash of forwardness can drive great results. Each of the three messages (A, B, C) strongly urged dormant SeatGeek users to check out the app. Each call-to-action performed much better than the control group (G), demonstrating that a little audacity can make dormant users spring to action. “We tested this strategy using a significantly sized control group, because we thought it might be risky,” Sam said. With 40% of eligible users not receiving any message, Sam controlled the breadth of the campaign until he could be confident in the results. And upon realizing that the campaign was not triggering a higher numbers of uninstalls, Sam increased its reach.

Goal 2: Drive Users Down the Conversion Funnel

SeatGeek knew they could increase their lifetime user value dramatically if they could guide each user to take several important actions within the app. These key actions: registering, tracking an event, and tracking a performer. These activities were crucial because they provided SeatGeek with valuable information about each user — information that could be used to better personalize future communications and offers.

Below is an example of a campaign that prompted users to take the key action of tracking an event.

SeatGeek campaign

Both Message A and Message B saw similar rates of engagement and performed better than the control group (G). However, campaign reporting revealed that Message A received a significantly higher uplift in driving users to take the key action — tracking an event. The reason: Message A communicated the value proposition of tracking an event (“we can help you find the right deal”), sparking the user’s interest and persuading them to take the desired action.

Goal 3: Seal the Deal

Once users share their preferences, you have a better picture of what they’re looking for and can tailor your messages for the most impact and value. Below is an example of a campaign Sam and his team created based off a user’s known artist preference. The result: more bookings and a better user experience.

SeatGeek push

This personalized message encourages the user to check out their favorite artist, referencing a newly announced concert in their area. With the personal information that SeatGeek had inspired their users to share with them, SeatGeek was able to deploy a highly personalized call-to-action that drove ticket purchases through the roof. By learning about their users, SeatGeek could authentically incorporate these user preferences in a way that inspired many more conversions.

In Conclusion

From beginning to end, SeatGeek’s push notification strategy hinged on defining goals and testing their assumptions through experimental pushes powered by Kahuna. As a result, SeatGeek had a clear idea of what their users would want at key moments and sent them strong calls-to-action. Through push, users became more invested with SeatGeek on mobile, volunteered to share more of themselves and received a better value in exchange. SeatGeek’s intelligent approach to customer communication is quickly securing their throne as the go-to app for mobile ticketing.

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