OFFF Design Festival Soldout through Events on Social Networks

Client and the goal

OFFF is a Barcelona design festival that has been touring the world for 18 years. Art-directors, digital-creators, designers, illustrators, representatives of film and video production studios, ad agencies and studio owners with unique portfolios come here.

The first OFFF started in Barcelona in 2001 as a local initiative of a street artist and designer Hector Ayuso and quickly became the most influential and famous event in the field of digital visual culture.

In 2019, OFFF was held in Russia by Skillbox, an online university of modern digital professions.

Goal of facebook event promotion:
to sell 600 tickets at a price of $185 to $270

Orders statistics (blue bars) and sales statistics (green) from TimePad reports.

Status of the project at the time Event Marketing Toolbox team joined:

  • ready announcements on OFFF and Skillbox Facebook pages;
  • 2.5 months before the festival;
  • little time and resources to promote.

Promotion strategy

The main problem of promoting any event is that few people buy a ticket when they see an ad for the first time. Therefore, it is necessary to warm up interest in the event as soon as possible.

According to Timepad statistics, 25% of tickets should be sold two months prior to such an event, more than 35% – one month prior. When Event Toolbox team joined the project, sales lagged far behind – only 7% sold.

Three-step ticket sales model

The three-step promotion model

The three-step promotion model will help to start selling tickets
a few months before the event.

Step 1: gather the userbase interested in the event

The easiest way to gather a userbase is creating events on Facebook and VK social networks. A user scrolls through the news feed, sees an Event post, and all they need to do is to click “Going” or “Interesting”. So the user confirms interest in the event and subscribes to future notifications.

Step 2: tell the interested audience about the event

Both social networks send notifications to event subscribers. To keep people interested, you should regularly publish information about the event.

Step 3: use a trigger to drive ticket sales

The main triggers that motivate users to buy tickets in advance:

  • announcement of an upcoming price increase,
  • tickets are in demand, only a limited number left,
  • limited time special offer – for example, additional bonuses.

Event Pricing Strategy

After brainstorming with OFFF / Skillbox and Timepad colleagues, it was decided to divide the promotion into periods – marketing sprints. They are based on price increases. Additional purchase motivators were created inside the sprints.

Four stages of price increase

  1. Presale – $190
  2. Early bird – $220
  3. Standard – $240
  4. Standard 2 – $255
  5. Last chance —$270

At the end of each sprint, we expected a sales lift due to the active promotion of ticket price increases. We decided to repeat the three-step model four times over the next two months. This became the basis of our marketing plan.

Marketing sprint implementation

What exactly was done in each of the marketing two-week sprints.

Gathering the userbase

The first posts in the events are not aimed at selling tickets – first you need to gather a loyal userbase. Therefore, first you need to publish posts motivating to join the event. Tell you subscribers the page will give information about the festival and tickets soon, and one needs to subscribe not to miss anything.

Spreading a word about the Event

When the userbase had already started to gather, every two days we published posts about speakers, reports from the last conference and other event content. Besides, we announced the upcoming price increase and reminded that the number of cheap tickets is limited.

Converting subscribers to buyers before the price increase

In the last 3-4 days of each sprint all ad messages changed — now they were not telling about the event, but reminded of the upcoming price increase and that the number of tickets at the current price was limited.

Only posts about price increase were published to Facebook and VK events.

Converting subscribers to buyers after the price increase

Though the upcoming price increase is actively announced, not everyone manages to buy tickets – for example, it takes time to agree on a budget.

Highly motivated audience can be “pushed” with remarketing. It targets at those who are interested in buying a ticket but have not placed an order yet.

Promotion Tools

A few words about tools indispensable for coordination, planning and controlling such a project. In addition to the obvious promotion tools – ticketing systems, web analytics and ad accounts – there are several tools that make life much easier:

  • Google Drive (storage, Docs, Sheets). It is convenient to coordinate texts, share files, calculate your ads budget.
  • Telegram — for group communication. One team chat was sufficient.
  • Figma — a browser design tool. Template approval is always a pain for event organizers. Using a  web-editor makes one forget about exchanging files like“makeet_reklama_final1_1111_super-final.psd”. The web-based tool enables commeninting, team work on templates design and approval.
  • Event Marketing Toolbox —  our social media promotion dashboard. Gathering all promotion metrics, content planning, posting, ads launch and management.

It’s worth mentioning, that we did not use email at all.

Results

All four marketing sprints worked almost as we planned:

Each marketing sprint brought better results.. The third sprint shows most sales coming at the beginning, and a strong decline at the end. Most likely, this is due to the upcoming May holidays.

We had a soldout by the last week. In the middle of the last day of promotion we had to close sales – at the peak time for booking.

The chosen marketing strategy proved effective. Slow sales at the start were compensated with good pre-sales, which lasted until the last week before the event. We did without a large number of channels — Facebook event was the main source of potential audience coverage.

Project Feedback

Sasha Lebedinsky (Skillbox Head of Internet Marketing, Event Digital Marketing Coordinator):
I’d like to thank colleagues (ETB) for their help in promoting OFFF festival. It was the first large event promoted by Skillbox marketing team,  and due to the competence of ETB team we have sold out all tickets. They helped us with the strategy, advertising on social networks and working with Timepad service (technical integrations, page layout, etc.). Thank you for the positive experience!

In the second part of the article we will tell you about the details of ad setting: what channels were chosen and why, what tactics worked and what did not.


If you also want to promote your event with Event Marketing Toolbox, contact us.