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Multiple reports yesterday suggested that Facebook is testing a "Buy Tickets" for events button. Here are the potential implications for event planners and marketers.
Yesterday, while I was enjoying my cup of coffee, I got completely blown away by some potentially disruptive news.
The largest social network on earth is testing a new feature that can potentially revolutionise the event startup ecosystem and event technology in general.
We don't know much yet about what we can do with it, but for sure I can speculate a few scenarios that can impact the industry.
Initially a social media agency vice president spotted the buttons and he took screenshots.
After a while new screenshots surfaced, only to discover that the feature is actually live in the Netherlands. Check it out yourself here.
How Does It Work?
Apparently the way Facebook is testing the service makes us think of the average affiliate model:
User clicks on "Buy Tickets" -> User is redirected to the Ticketing Platform -> User Purchases the ticket.
It looks quite simple at a first glance, or does it?
Truth is that there are a several considerations intervening in this process.
Allow me to speculate on some of the potential scenarios and implications for both event planners and ticketing event startups.
1. Facebook is about to acquire a ticketing startup.
Potentially a large one to then capitalize on ticket sales. Event ticketing is one of the most successful event startups concepts. The first startups who began to operate with event ticketing are now large companies. The level of saturation in the market is incredible. If Facebook steps into the game, they will have an enormous competitive advantage.
In this perspective, the current affiliation model is just a way to prove the concept.
2. Facebook is developing partnerships with some ticketing providers.
In the above example the partner is Ticketmaster. If Facebook picks just a few partners, it will be a big shake to online event ticketing. A likely scenario is that those who manage to get an agreement with Facebook will be a step ahead of the competition. Big times.
Facebook has a history of collaborating with a few ticketing companies, therefore this scenario is not unlikely.
Note that on some other examples (see this Dutch soccer/football team), the third party is the organizer of the event itself, therefore it may not be a ticketing provider-only deal.
3. Facebook is opening "Buy Tickets" to the rest of us. As you may or may not know Facebook is launching new buttons such as "Want". "Buy Tickets" can potentially be the next button we'll add to our site to let users purchase tickets via Facebook.
These of course are just speculations. Meaning that Facebook can decide to discard the feature all of a sudden. Given the behaviour of other social networks in regards to events this is not a remote possibility.
What Should You Do?
As an event professional, you should just be aware of this move. If this article was an email sent by a friend to your Inbox, it would have "FYI" as subject.
Truth is that I would closely watch those event ticketing providers who work together with Facebook. I would also monitor integrations we haven't noticed before. Once again, this is just speculation, so handle it with care.
I would care about this development if Facebook represented an important player in my online marketing mix. Meaning that if you mostly sell tickets via Google Ads, this news may not necessarily have an impact on your event.
One thing for sure, exciting times ahead!
Photo by Viktor Hertz