Getting and Keeping Millennials In Your Seats

April 25, 2016 AudienceView Staff

                          Photo source

The need to appeal to a younger generation is something that’s at the top of mind for any organization, but especially in the field of performing arts. As lifelong patrons grow in age, some organizations have seen a decline in the number of fresh faces attending their shows. With so many competing methods of entertainment, it can be difficult to stand out to younger fans who prefer at-home options like Netflix, or immersive experiences like music festivals. 

There’s also the struggle of keeping the audience captivated once they finally make it into your venue. But before performing art centers expect to have their audiences meet them in the space, they need to understand how to meet the younger generation in theirs—mainly on social media and on their phones. 

By understanding the ways that millennials use technology to amplify their experiences, you can create a friendlier environment. Through amplifying the in-venue experience for the younger demographic, you could develop a lifelong patron very early and increase the attendance for future shows. This could be as simple as adding Wi-Fi to your venue, but some organizations could benefit from thinking outside the box and taking an extra step.

Every social media channel has its time in the spotlight, but recent user trends suggest that live video streaming is the wave of the future. While Facebook emerged as the king of social media early on, new reports suggest that "original broadcast sharing"—which are posts consisting of a user's own words and images—fell 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, resulting in a 5.5% decrease in total sharing. Part of this could be a result of users understanding the lack of ownership they have over content posted online, but this development poses a big question for social networks: how do they keep audiences engaged? Enter, live video.

Facebook has been rolling out their live video capability, allowing users to broadcast their love moments to their network. They join apps like Veetle, uStream, and Twitter’s Periscope in the race to bring people the video content they want in a real-time fashion. Performing arts centers should consider taking advantage of these features by broadcasting some behind-the-scenes footage, like a dress rehearsal, or the atmosphere in the green room the day of a show, to boost their online profile and entice potential fans.

Snapchat, an app that is quickly becoming the most popular social media network for audiences aged 18-24, relies on users posting short videos online to compile a story that’s available for viewing by their network. One of the features Snapchat offers is the ability to add custom geofilters to images and videos shared on the app, allowing viewers of the content to establish where it’s being recorded without the user recording it to specify.

These geofilters are typically created by the Snapchat team, but a new update allows users to create their own custom geofilters that become available when a Snapchat user is in a specific location. “Using geofilters can add a level of exclusivity to a specific event when they’re used correctly,” says Amanda Wood, Graphic Designer at AudienceView. Amanda notes that while company logos can’t be put on the geofilters without a cost, organizations can still take advantage of geofilters to promote specific shows. “A performing arts venue can add an extra benefit for Snapchat users by using a well-thought out geofilter, while also communicating to anyone viewing the snap that your event is being attended to by their peers, people whose content they’re already engaging with.” If your venue is showing a performance of Kinky Boots, why not create a geofilter that had the red boots applied to it?

Attracting a younger demographic to attend shows doesn’t need to feel like you’re pandering. Implementing any of the tips outlined above can result in an increase your event awareness while earning respect from a hard-to-reach demographic:

  • Add wifi to the venue so users can use their devices during intermissions
  • Consider using live video streaming to show the action behind the scenes
  • Add a Snapchat geofilter for the performance so viewers can learn more




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