Surprise! It's already Fall. The busiest time of year in live events always arrives before we know it. Whether balancing multiple sports or a constant onslaught of events, it is a challenge across our industry to slow down enough to plan.
Let's explore this year's consumer trends and some of our favorite campaigns from Holidays Past.
Halloween is a great time to engage with fans, have fun, and lean into the spooky season motifs (costumes, pumpkins, and candy are always encouraged). We tend to see this content featured organically, but why stop there? Pushing family-focused items with Halloween messaging is as perfect a match as pumpkin spice and lattes.
The University of Delaware utilized seasonal promo codes and urgent messaging to sell Halloween-themed discounts for their 10/30 Matchup and offered a relevant flash sale.
The Prince George Cougars reached families to promote their annual Halloween game featuring trick or treating on the concourse and pumpkin carving contests. Plus, costume-clad hockey
players make all digital ads better.
And let's not forget our friends at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, who turn their tours into Ghost Tours during October, bringing a whole new group of patrons into their venue and database.
While many marketers skip over Thanksgiving and go straight to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is an opportunity to target local fans returning home for the long weekend. Make sure your ads are set to target those "currently in your locations" and launch a short flight directly around the holiday. Messaging can range from welcoming fans home to escaping their loved ones by attending an event.
You can even use Thanksgiving to thank your fans and patrons for another great year of loyalty. If you're doing this by email, why not hit the same audience with paid ads and fill their feeds with positive content? To take this to the next level, have an audience built to populate your landing page so you can retarget them for the next campaign with a purchase call-to-action.
An oldie but a goodie, The University of Arizona targeted Season Ticket Holders, All Donors, and Capital Campaign Donors with unique videos and messaging from Student Athletes thanking them for their support. There was no further call to action—just gratitude.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Bold Statement: If you are not planning to offer a discount this weekend, we recommend pausing your advertising efforts. CPMs skyrocket as every digital marketer tries to take advantage of the biggest buying weekend of the year. Ad campaigns typically run for 1 to 4 days, depending on the offer. Focus on price, promote the deals, and make those sales. You can even deep link your promo code into the eVenue landing page, making it easier for your fans to unlock their savings. And, please, do yourself and us a favor and plan this campaign in advance; otherwise, you will join us in the annual Black-Friday-Flash-Sale-Ad-Launch-Panic.
48% of people say they are prepared to invest their time and money to support brands that try to do good. This is a perfect kickstart to end-of-year giving while fans are in a spending mindset. Utilize 1st Party data to identify target donors and create lookalike audiences to grow your donor base.
The University of Wisconsin has transformed its Giving Tuesday content from student-athlete imagery with a direct call-to-action to a story-driven ad strategy that conveys why every donation matters. Video assets are ideal for driving the message home.
While there are plenty of important advertising days in December, ultimately, everything leads to the same end: Christmas. Most ad content switches to holiday messaging as soon as Giving Tuesday ends. Whether you're pushing tickets as a present, gift packs, or Holiday events and games, get inspired by the many types of campaigns executed within the Paciolan community.
Bundles of merch and tickets make the perfect gift for fans of all ages! Work with your ticket office to create the bundle, and then target local fans and past purchasers with your unique seasonal offering.
Texas A&M's Annual Gift Guide campaign is a fantastic way to push various items in one place. From merch to big ticket items like Football Season Tickets, the Aggies create engaging carousel ads to inspire Christmas shoppers and drive sales. #GigEm
The phrase "gift card where to buy" grew 80% WoW on Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas) in 2021. Perfect for buyers running out of time for shipping or in-person shopping, make sure your fans know what your gift certificate offerings are.
Cincinnati Arts Association allows its patrons to give the gift of entertainment during the holiday season. Such an appealing and open offering allows them to target a broad audience of those with a performing arts affinity and retarget all recent web traffic.
One of the most frequent marketing pushes that we see is Holiday Deals. This can come in a Holiday Pack or a Promo Code, but we know our fans are looking to save anywhere they can during their holiday spending spree. We recommend calling out the savings (price or percentage—whatever is more appealing) and using that seasonal imagery to drive the most significant impact. There is a lot of competition in the ad space, so target those looking to save and impress.
Tickets As Gifts
So, you aren't offering a discount? And your events aren't holiday related? Who cares! You, too, can still embrace the spirit of Jolly Old Saint Nick this December by utilizing holiday messaging and encouraging tickets as gifts.
Did we mention that mobile tickets make great presents for those last-minute buyers who have missed the express shipping deadline on December 20th? Schedule a campaign early to run for the last week of shopping that emphasizes convenience.
New Years Eve
And exhale! You've made it through Christmas. Many consumers look to wind down and treat themselves after the stressful hubbub of the Holidays. Of course, you can spin your messaging to focus on relaxation, but many in our industry are relatively quiet until the ball drops.
If you, like many of our hockey teams, have an event for New Years, make sure you give your fans enough time to firm up their plans and highlight how they will celebrate with you. Again, awareness is critical but push hard for sales after the 25th.
New Years Day
Congratulations! You've made it to 2023. And it's time to start the spring season of shows, sports, and events. Unsurprisingly, most consumers are tired after the holidays and look for value when they buy. The volume of search terms for "cheap and best" tend to skyrocket this time of year. Be ready to push, but be mindful of your audiences. If they do not want to spend, serve ads with a softer call to action like "learn more" and focus on awareness and education. Prime the pump and drive those sales when your fans are once again ready to buy.
And in the meantime, treat yourself to a job well done, and we'll see you at PACnet '23!