It’s always exciting when new ways to buy and sell tickets emerge, both from the potential revenue impact they can have on properties to the ever-changing consumer experience. As these new sales and marketing channels appear, teams have to decide if they should spend their time and resources to pursue those options. When two fairly new options rise up around the same time, teams may have to choose between them.
So, I thought it would be fun to do a “Tale of the Tape” between the two most recent and buzz-generating sales options: ReplyBuy and Twitter’s Buy Button.
Round 1 – Reach: Twitter
Teams already have hundreds of thousands (and sometimes millions) of followers on their official Twitter accounts. Meanwhile, ReplyBuy for most teams requires building a new audience audience of text message opt-ins from scratch. There’s no question that Twitter gives you the biggest audience in the shortest time.
Round 2 – Conversion: ReplyBuy
The immediate counter to the reach difference is the level of direct impact. With Twitter, a large percentage of the audience is non-local and therefore unlikely to buy. Additionally, it’s dependent on the team’s followers choice to look at their Twitter feed when the ticket buying messages are available, which may or may not happen. However, with a text message from ReplyBuy, you are essentially guaranteed to have your message received and engaged with by those that have opted-in.
Round 3 – Immediacy: ReplyBuy
ReplyBuy has the shortest and most direct path from message to sale by transacting through a simple text message reply. The ease of purchase is great for maximizing impulse buys. Twitter is still dependent on the message first being seen in a fan’s feed and then completing a traditional e-commerce style purchase.
Round 4 – Flexibility: Twitter
The flipside to the immediacy of ReplyBuy is the flexibility of Twitter. Their Buy button could theoretically be used for any type of ticket sale, from exclusive pre-sales to last-minute released seats (not to mention merchandise or other items). ReplyBuy is very specific in its focus on last-minute ticket purchases.
Round 5 – Adoption: ReplyBuy
Sports teams tend to wait and see what other teams have success with before jumping in. While Twitter itself has universal adoption, the use of the Buy button has only been leveraged by a couple of teams to date. Meanwhile ReplyBuy has seen a real spike in adoption and press coverage over the past couple of months. (Update: I learned that Twitter’s Buy option is not universally available yet, so that definitely has an effect.)
Round 6 – Brand Fit: ReplyBuy
Even though executives love to talk about how to monetize social, there still seems to be a general resistance to direct sales messages vs. the long-term goal of fan engagement (side note: these things to me do NOT need to conflicting concepts, but that’s an article for another time). As a result, I think there is more comfort in the use of ReplyBuy since the fans are specifically opting in for a sales message.
Round 7 – Compliance: Twitter
Text messaging can be a dangerous place when it comes to legal compliance and teams have been burned by lawsuits in the past. I’m sure ReplyBuy as a third-party provider is following all the appropriate rules and regulations, but I could see some teams deciding the risk isn’t worth the return. Twitter has no such legal concerns, at least as of now.
Round 8 – Long Term Revenue: Twitter
I’m hypothesizing here a bit since neither of these have “long-term” anything right now, but when you consider the reach and flexibility of Twitter, I feel it will provide more revenue generating opportunities to more audiences than ReplyBuy. Simply, would you rather spend time figuring out how to sell multiple products to an existing, large audience or sell a small subset of tickets to a new, smaller audience.
So after eight intense rounds (well, at least as intense as Mayweather/Pacquiao), we have a dead heat! What does that mean for teams? To me, if your needs are tied to short-term, single game sales, jump in to ReplyBuy now and keep an eye on what people start doing with Twitter Buy over the next few months as they extend past their current beta phase.