Faced with the challenge of organising a dance music event for 10,000 fans of electronic act Above & Beyond, Anjunabeats‘ former digital marketing manager Lucy Blair had to pull out all the stops both on- and offline. Here’s how she and her team did it!
#ABGT050 was the landmark 50th episode of Above & Beyond’s weekly radio show, Group Therapy – otherwise known as ABGT – which has 30m listeners worldwide. The event was a sold-out, 10,000 capacity live radio show and headline event at Alexandra Palace on 26th October 2013 – Above & Beyond’s biggest show of 2013, and the biggest Group Therapy show to date.
In order to drive online hype and fan excitement around the show, we launched a countdown via the Above & Beyond website & social networks from 50 days to go, ran a guest mix special where fans had to vote online for their favourite ABGT guest mix and held back a key announcement of a special addition to the lineup until 7 days before the show.
2) #MYABGT050 competition & Google+ hangout
We ran a competition for fans to take part in Above & Beyond’s first ever Google+ hangout by creating ABGT050 photo & video content on Instagram and tagging entries with the hashtag #MYABGT050. Entries were displayed & could be shared via an interactive competition page, built by We Make Awesome Sh.it.
The Google+ hangout was held in the ABGT050 radio studio at Alexandra Palace the night before the show; 5 fans participated in a live Q&A with Above & Beyond, while fans worldwide tuned in via Google+ and YouTube and posted questions via social networks, which the band answered live during the hangout.
– Over 800 #MYABGT050 competition entries
– Above & Beyond Instagram followers grew by +657% during the competition
– Over 500 concurrent viewers tuned in live
– Hangout has had 20k views on Above & Beyond’s YouTube since transmission
– Above & Beyond Google+ followers grew by 3k
– Above & Beyond YouTube subscribers grew by 190% and minutes watched by 160% due to the hangout
PRE-EVENT KEY LEARNINGS
1) Keep it simple
Make your competition mechanic as simple as possible and make sure that it will enable as many fans as possible to enter.
2) Timing is key
Give yourself double the amount of time you think you’ll need to plan and implement a competition like this – each phase was very time-consuming, particularly the hangout.
3) The devil is in the detail
– Mix up questions from hangout winners with ones submitted via socials from other fans in order to keep the hangout interesting for non-winners and give them an incentive to watch the hangout live.
– Pick an interesting location for your hangout – we held ours in the radio studio at Alexandra Palace in order to give fans a sneak peek at the show location.
– Include artist exclusives in your hangout wherever possible, e.g. clips or performances of new music, to give fans an extra incentive to tune in live.
1) Online hub
We designed & developed a brand new online hub (photo) in partnership with Less Than 3. The hub not only broadcast the live radio show, but was also the key to all of our in-event digital activity, providing fans with a multi-functional site where they could access exclusive content and engage with both Above & Beyond and other fans worldwide.
2) Websites / email / social
Key website banner changes, eflyers and social posts took place at the beginning and end of the live broadcast; there was constant activity on Twitter and Instagram throughout the show; key tweets were curated & pulled into a live Twitter display in front of the DJ booth; fan messages were harvested & curated from social networks and included in the live radio broadcast; key Facebook posts were spaced out throughout the night and promoted; set tracklistings were live tweeted; at the end of the show, an instant audio replay went live via the online hub and artist interviews went live on YouTube.
Generated over 30k visits from over 130 countries, over 20k chat messages, 3.5k tweets, 2.5k FB shares, 150k image / photo impressions
#ABGT050 trended on Twitter globally as well as in India, Mexico, USA, Argentina, London, Dubai, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, South Africa, Lagos, El Salvador, UK
Above & Beyond Facebook page saw a spike in likes of 260% and a spike in post reach of 156% during the show
IN-EVENT KEY LEARNINGS
1) The power of your own platforms
We had tens of thousands more chat messages via the online hub than FB or Twitter shares – invest in the power of your own platforms and engage fans via your website and mailing list instead of just focusing on social networks. For a headline event like this in particular, you can generate far greater engagement by creating a community on your own platforms.
2) Direct artist to fan engagement
– Exclusive content from artists to fans was the key to our in-event engagement. Every time we sent out a custom message from Above & Beyond to fans via the online hub, there was a huge spike in chat activity as a direct result.
– Fans really responded to the intimate, emotional experience offered by the chat functionality and the exclusive messages from the band.
3) Look ahead
– Forward planning is the key to running campaigns for headline events – take however much time you think you’ll need and double it at least. If we’d more time to plan the show, I would have liked to have implemented additional digital activity, including RFID wristbands, YouTube live streaming, Google search advertising and more.
– Forward plan during the event itself, tying in-event activity in with what’s coming up next. For example, we posted a video of ‘Sun & Moon’ – a track taken from Above & Beyond’s forthcoming Acoustic album – on the Above & Beyond Facebook page at the end of the show, resulting in one of the most engaging pieces of content of the whole event.
iTunes podcasts of all artist sets went live the day after the show; we launched an Above & Beyond SoundCloud partner profile (photo) at the same time as uploading the band’s ABGT050 set, which contained 16 brand new exclusive tracks ; the official photo album was uploaded to Facebook, as well as a fan photo booth album where fans were encouraged to tag themselves; a brand new Above & Beyond track, ‘Mariana Trench’, which had its first play at ABGT050, was uploaded to the Above & Beyond YouTube channel; ABGT050 artist interviews were put live on YouTube straight after the show ended; the official ABGT050 aftermovie premiered on YouTube.
A thank you eflyer containing message from Above & Beyond plus links to official photo album, iTunes podcast, Above & Beyond SoundCloud set, artist interviews on YouTube, video of Sun & Moon acoustic was sent to the full Above & Beyond database; thank you posts went out across all social networks during the two days after the show – both official Above & Beyond channels and those of the individual band members.
3) Promotion of upcoming album
A video of a track from Above & Beyond’s forthcoming Acoustic album being played at ABGT050 was uploaded to Facebook at the end of the show, then YouTube 2 days after the show.
– Above & Beyond’s ABGT050 set has had over 200k plays since 28th October and drove a huge spike in Soundcloud listens, with over 15k plays in the first 24 hours alone
– The ABGT050 set also drove huge listening spikes on other Above & Beyond SoundCloud content on the same day, as well as a huge spike in SoundCloud followers for a full 2 weeks
– ‘Mariana Trench’ has had over 100k views on YouTube since 1st November, and drove spikes in both video views and subscribers after upload
POST-EVENT KEY LEARNINGS
1) Maintain the momentum
Maintain the momentum from the event, capitalise on its success and use that to your advantage to keep driving follower growth and engagement by implementing a key initiative after the show (for example the Soundcloud partner profile).
2) Give fans what they want
Sometimes keeping it simple and giving the fans what they want is one of the most engaging things you can do! After a headline show where lots of new tracks were given exclusive plays, what the fans want most is audio. Accordingly, audio content from ABGT050 on SoundCloud and YouTube has driven far higher engagement than any other online content.
3) Make the most of event impact
– Use the impact of a key event to promote what’s coming up next for your artist – after ABGT050, we began uploading weekly episodes of ABGT to the Above & Beyond SoundCloud in order to drive fans there on a regular basis and give them great audio content in preparation for launching their new Acoustic album campaign.
– We uploaded new Above & Beyond releases ‘Sun & Moon’ to SoundCloud and ‘Mariana Trench’ to YouTube respectively to tie in with the Acoustic album campaign.
– In addition, the ABGT050 SoundCloud set contained exclusive new material which is coming out on Above & Beyond’s label, Anjunabeats, over the next few months.
This presentation was originally given to AIM’s Indie-Con 2013 conference, in November. Lucy Blair is Anjunabeats’ former digital marketing manager and is now a freelance music digital marketer. Blair is a frequent contributor to midemblog, and will speak at Midem 2014’s wrap panel (February 4, 14.00: full Midem programme here). Be sure to follow her on Twitter here!