The Las Vegas show company is shifting money away from traditional channels to social, and plans to run most of its fall campaign on Facebook, replicating similar promotions and discounts for early purchases.
Social media is beginning to guide how one of the most famous shows in Las Vegas targets fans and sells them tickets well before they ever set foot in the Capital of Second Chances.
"Most people book tickets when they're here in Vegas or when they're a few days out," said Andy Levey, senior manager of new media and analytics at Cirque du Soleil. His social media team of four is now outperforming more traditional advertising and marketing channels with simple "book in advance and save" campaigns on Facebook.
After running its "Cirque du Soleil Summer of Cirque" campaign on Facebook, the company experienced a month-over-month increase in sales of 271 percent. Complementary campaigns for its Beatles LOVE and Mystère shows garnered month-over-month sales increases of 250 percent and 150 percent, respectively. Along with three other resident shows it manages in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil aimed to drive overall brand awareness with the campaign but it also embarked on the first pre-booking promotions of its kind for the company.
Over this past summer, Cirque du Soleil saw an 18-fold increase in its return on investment in the first week of the campaign. Page post photo ads were particularly strong in terms of driving engagement and sales, he said. Meanwhile sponsored stories proved to be the most effective tool to gain new fans. "We're very lucky to be working at Cirque. We have a lot of great content and engaging pictures," Levey said.
This latest experience in social media, and Facebook in particular, is leading to a noticeable shift in strategy. It now plans to run most of its fall campaign on Facebook, replicating similar promotions and discounts for early purchases. The premise is simple: the earlier a ticket is purchased, the greater the discount.
"Facebook outperformed some of the more traditional channels probably for the first time," Levey said of the summer run. "The big granular data, and the ability to geo-target or interest-target, and the use of the products out there, have been more beneficial to us than the other platforms."
Cirque du Soleil is investing more in social, and in some cases - budgets are being shifted away from traditional channels that aren’t performing. Levey has been with Cirque du Soleil for two years now and said, "It's exponentially shifting year over year." He describes weekly cross-team meetings and a more "symbiotic" working relationship with the much larger traditional marketing team within the company.
In order to attribute sales growth to specific campaigns, Levey is adamant about tracking. "We track and code everything. For us, we truly believe that if you can't track it, there's no benefit to doing it," he said.
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at email@example.com.
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