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Visualizing brand differentiation between Ticketmaster and other ticket sites

A green filter applied to two consumers looking at a stadium with tickets in their back pockets.

In sectors where consumers are getting an almost identical service, brand differentiation is vital. Take ticket buyers in the live entertainment industry as an example. Their end goal is the same, but they want to use the best ticketing site to get there.

At present, there’s one site to rule them all in the live entertainment industry — Ticketmaster. However, with its dominant position subject to Senate investigations following ticket buyers’ frustrations surrounding Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, other vendors have an opportunity to claim the title of best ticketing site for consumers.

To find out how competitors can make the most of this opening, Relative Insight conducted social media competitor benchmarking to determine how consumers talk about the different sellers.

Knowing how consumers discuss your company in comparison to competitors aids brand differentiation efforts in a crowded, commoditized market. To do this, we gathered social media conversations about five different sites: Ticketmaster, StubHub, SeatGeek, See Tickets and Viagogo.

Traditionally, social media posts about polarizing brands have been tough to analyze, with analysis skewed by consumer complaints. However, Relative Insight’s comparative methodology highlights what’s different within each data set — eliminating the obvious and allowing you to focus on the elements of conversations that matter.

The Relative Insight platform analyzes, quantifies and visualizes text data. To determine the ticket sites most aligned with Ticketmaster users, we turned to one of the tool’s intuitive visualizations: Heatmaps.

Visualizing brand differentiation using Heatmaps

When undertaking social media competitor benchmarking or any other form competitor analysis within the Relative Insight platform, creating a Heatmap is an excellent starting point for your research.

This visualization provides an overview of the similarities and differences between text data sets. It uses color coding to illustrate this, with lighter colors denoting bigger differences between each pair of brands. This means you can quickly see the data sets that are most similar and most different.

In this scenario, identifying who ticket buyers talk about most similarly indicates these brand attract comparable audiences. The chart shows that conversations about Ticketmaster are most similar to discussions around SeatGeek and StubHub. The deep blue colors of these pairs denotes this.

A Heatmap showing brand differentiation between See Tickets, StubHub, Ticketmaster, Viagogo and SeatGeek, with the visualization showing SeatGeek and Ticketmaster are most similar while StubHub and See Tickets are most different.

In terms of brand differentiation, SeatGeek and StubHub have different MOs. The latter only operates as a resale site, with the former selling both primary and secondary tickets. This means SeatGeek has the greater opportunity to make a dent in Ticketmaster’s live entertainment industry dominance as a primary seller.

With the comparison defined, we used Relative Insight’s Explore function to uncover and quantify the nuances in discussions about the two brands.

Try text data visualizations for yourself

Ticket buyers tired of Ticketmaster

Relative Insight’s comparative methodology enables you to identify and quantify what’s more prevalent in text data sets. In practice, this means that using the platform for social media competitor benchmarking doesn’t just identify sentiment i.e. that people are complaining about ticket sites. It highlights why they’re complaining — in an unbiased way.

It’s clear there are two elements of the Ticketmaster experience that ticket buyers have grown to dislike. The first is the platform’s features. They were 12.8x more likely to express frustration with ‘dynamic pricing’, complained about being ‘waitlisted’ 8.0x more and argued that ‘platinum tickets’ were ‘overpriced’ 5.5x more.

Additionally the exuberant official platinum prices, staggering of ticketing so that second tier releases of tickets are dynamically priced at higher “face” value rates & the idea that Ticketmaster acts as a large ticket reseller underpin the reality of LN / TM antitrust violations.

Fans are less willing to accept these features because they’re unable to get tickets. Overall they were 4.2x more likely to highlight this lack of access. Purchasers were 4.5x more likely to describe buying tickets as ‘impossible’, blaming this on ‘scalpers’ (2.0x) and ‘bots’ (7.4x).

People talking about Ticketmaster were infinitely more likely to say that ‘real fans’ were unable to obtain tickets due to these factors, leading to calls for reform. Online conversations about the site were 5.2x more likely to argue it operated a ‘monopoly’ and 12.3x more likely to say Ticketmaster is a failure of ‘capitalism’. Fans were also 3.7x more likely to reference ‘Congress’, imploring lawmakers to act.

Hey Congress, time to break up the ticket monopoly.

Trust overindexes 6.7x more in SeatGeek ticket buyer discussions

Judging by the overall conversation and coverage surrounding Ticketmaster, other live entertainment industry ticket vendors have a great competitive opportunity. However, for companies like SeatGeek to benefit, they need to hone their brand differentiation.

SeatGeek needs to build ‘trust’ — fans were 6.7x more likely to talk about this in relation to SeatGeek. However, this was an expression of uncertainty, rather than saying they trusted/distrusted the company. In a market where fakes are an issue, fans don’t yet know whether the brand is a trustworthy source or a site selling counterfeit tickets.

Does anyone trust or have used Seatgeek for concerts / shows?

This is common obstacle for insurgent brands challenging a deep-rooted incumbent, however, there are signs SeatGeek is gaining a growing following. The phrase ‘try SeatGeek’ overindexed 15.8x in these conversations, while fans were also 3.2x more likely to describe the site as ‘reliable’.

You should try SeatGeek. My friend and I couldn’t secure tickets today for Oakland and we did SeatGeek and we actually got the tickets right away to our Ticketmaster account.

Consumers are also more likely to talk about SeatGeek’s pricing. While this primarily applies to its resale market, fans are pleased with what’s available — they use the word ‘cheap’ 3.2x more and are 2.1x more likely to describe prices as ‘cheaper’ than on competitor sites.

Anyone need another Rosemont Agust D ticket for Friday the 5th? It was cheaper for our trio to buy 4 tickets on SeatGeek than 3 or even 1 🙄 so we’re reselling it for the $270 we paid for it.

At present, SeatGeek is seen as cheaper for resales than other sites, but as yet doesn’t have consumers’ full trust. However, the site is generating positive word of mouth from its users.

Social media competitor benchmarking highlights possible live entertainment industry shift

Analyzing online conversations has pinpointed a clear shift in ticket buyers’ mindsets. Using text analytics to perform an unbiased analysis of online conversations highlights that fans are now actively looking for alternative ways to get tickets. Competitor sites need to ensure clear brand differentiation to make the most of this opportunity. Relative Insight’s analysis identifies a clear path for SeatGeek to do this.

The ticketing vendor needs to maintain its reputation for competitive pricing. This can be difficult in the primary ticketing market, where vendors have less control over pricing, but keeping fees as low as possible will help it to stand out.

Low prices also feed into the brand’s biggest challenge — developing consumer trust. SeatGeek is still an unknown commodity to many, however, this gives the company the opportunity to shape fans’ opinions as it becomes better known. By positioning itself as a trustworthy, price conscious vendor that takes action against scalpers and bots, it’ll maintain positive ticker buyer sentiment as brand awareness grows.

Actioning these insights will help SeatGeek to differentiate itself from other ticket sales sites. Plus, these actions counter the pain points ticket buyers feel when using Ticketmaster — whose market share SeatGeek is targeting.

Looking to hone your brand differentiation but don’t know where to start? Concerned that you don’t have the capacity to manually analyze text data in an unbiased way? Trial Relative Insight to see how a combination of quantified text analysis and data visualization improves your competitor benchmarking.

Understand how audiences talk about your brand – and your competitors