Lollapalooza Tracks Social Media Campaigns with Google Analytics

Friday, May 15, 2009 | 11:13 AM

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Let’s face it: Social media is here to stay, and day by day it continues to encroach on nearly every aspect of our online lives. But to publishers, promoters, advertisers and site owners, there’s one essential question left hanging in the air long after the race to join the social media crowd: “Is it working?”

This year’s Lollapalooza Music Festival is using Event Tracking and Google Analytics to find out.

Social Media Applications

There may not be a more perfect application of social media than promoting a music festival, and C3 Presents, (the folks behind Lollapalooza) came up with some good ways to capitalize. This year’s lineup page alone features a Facebook Connect application to maintain and share personal lineups, MySpace blog, bulletin and site postings, Twitter updates and email sharing, and AddThis social bookmarking.
“You don’t find anyone who thinks social media is a bad idea, but the questions on our minds are, ‘what is this doing for our fans and what kind of return are we getting back on this investment?’” says Michael Feferman of C3 Presents.

Questions to Answer

As with any successful web analytics strategy, this one started out by posing the questions that Google Analytics should answer. Specifically:

  • Who’s using these sharing and social media outlets? Are they benefiting?
  • Which ones are being used the most and what are their applications?
  • Does social media make a visitor more likely to buy a ticket?
  • Are we driving more traffic to our site as a result? Are we driving more sales and revenue?
WebShare, a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant, was brought in to help implement and configure Google Analytics to help answer these questions. Measuring the impact of social media for Lollapalooza has two sides:
  • The impact on those who use social media applications while on the site
  • The impact of those who arrive at the site as a result of social media
The Implementation

Event Tracking and Campaign Tagging were employed in order to provide the data required to answer these questions.

Event Tracking

While a user is on the site, events “fire” as the visitor interacts with the various social media applications. Lollapalooza tracks when sharing applications are clicked, when users log into Facebook accounts via Facebook Connect and perform various actions, and when visitors register or log into their Lollapalooza accounts.


*Actual values have been modified

Drilling down into the event categories, actions and labels reveals even more about user behavior, and coupled with the secondary dimensions and pivot tables that were recently announced, we can answer some very detailed questions, like:

How much revenue and how many transactions resulted from visitors in Chicago that used Facebook Connect and found the site via the keyword “lollapalooza 2009”?

*Actual values have been modified

Campaign Tagging

In order to track visitors arriving at the site as a result of social media, links that are generated and shared are tagged with unique values to define campaign parameters. The reports and segmentation options of Analytics then help us understand these visitors and their value in terms of Goal and Ecommerce conversions.

When visitors share via Twitter, for example, a pre-populated message with a bit.ly compressed link is used that includes Google Analytics campaign tag parameters:


When followers of this user click on the link, Google Analytics attributes the visit to a source of “twitter” and a medium of “share”. This data is then available in our reports, and we can answer questions like:

What kind of revenue and ticket sales resulted from Twitter sharing yesterday?

*Actual values have been modified

The Results

The data continues to roll in, but some impressive insights have been gained so far:
  • Over 2/3 of the traffic referred from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter is a result of sharing applications and Lollapalooza’s messaging to its fans on those platforms.
  • Users of the social media applications on Lollapalooza.com spend twice as much as users that don’t.
  • “Fan Engagement” metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, page views per visit and interaction have seen significant boosts across the board as a result of social media applications.
More details and findings are available on C3's digital marketing blog.

“This kind of data is fantastic,” says Michael. “Not only does it help us give our fans what they want, it let’s us know how they respond to it and tells us that these efforts are worth it.”

Other Resources

To learn more about the reports, configurations and features highlighted in this post, take a look at the following resources:
Posted by David Booth of WebShare, a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant