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To reach the immense, relatively-affluent, mostly-millennial audiences that flock to multi-day music festivals like Coachella, innovative companies are now spending more than ever on event marketing—according to IEG, music event-related ad spending totaled $1.4 billion in 2015, up 4.8% from the previous year. For brands, the strategy seems to be working. A recent survey conducted by Momentum Worldwide, a music marketing firm, and concert promoter AEG Live found that 93% of festival-goers said they like brands that sponsor music events, 80% said they were more likely to recommend a brand on social media if they saw it at a festival, and 55% said that they would be more likely to purchase a product after seeing it at Coachella or a similar music festival.
Because millennial audiences now rely on social media platforms to capture their experiences, communicate with others, and find information used to make purchasing decisions (among other things), marketing with social media influencers at Coachella is one of the most cost-effective and powerful ways that brands can reach millions of consumers on Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.
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Coachella, along with South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and other massive music and culture festivals, are attended by thousands of young consumers who increasingly want marketing campaigns to be integrated into their event experiences, not distractions from it. As CNBC’s Alan Sartirana points out, millennial audiences aren’t impressed by a branded banners hanging behind stages; today’s young festival-goers (and those experiencing the event vicariously through social media stars’ Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube channels) desire marketing campaigns that offer something of value.
In addition to brand-sponsored “activations” like Sephora’s Coachella beauty bar (which was featured at Coachella 2015) and social media marketing integrations like Sonic Drive-In’s Instagram campaign with square milkshakes, influencer marketing campaigns that feature trendy products or useful services (like Amanda Steele’s Boohoo Coachella Lookbook on YouTube below), give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at parties or concerts, or drive followers to a brand’s social media channel (via strategies like Snapchat Takeovers, for example) are becoming the best way to achieve far-reaching, high-ROI campaign results at large music and culture festivals.
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Music festivals like Coachella represent a powerful marketing opportunity for brands, especially through influencer marketing partnerships. Because the followers of social media stars who attend Coachella will likely see every photo, video, or Snapchat Story that digital stars post during the festival, campaigns at Coachella are guaranteed to be seen by millions of consumers, liked, and shared within followers’ own social media circles. Marketing with social media influencers has proven especially effective for fashion brands and clothing retailers (see our article about how retail brands are driving sales with social media influencers here); according to a Live Nation report covered by the Wall Street Journal, 80% of festival attendees purchased something in preparation for Coachella.
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The following are the best examples of how brands collaborated with social media influencers for Coachella 2016. For a more in-depth look at brand influencer marketing campaigns at Coachella, see our resource guide:
By posting glamorous, H&M-styled Instagram shots for her 5.3 million followers to see, Instagrammer and model Hailey Baldwin was able to generate high levels of engagement (the above photo received nearly 300K likes in under a week) and spread the word about sponsor H&M’s Coachella-inspired clothing line and accompanying hashtag campaign (#HMLovesCoachella).
Because Coachella is a fashion event as well as a music and arts festival, targeting consumers through “Coachella Style”-inspired YouTube lookbook videos is one of the best ways to drive sales and expand brand awareness. For this influencer marketing campaign, fashion retailer Boohoo partnered with YouTube star Amanda Steele to reach her nearly 3 million subscribers.
To capitalize on Coachella’s health and wellness-concerned audiences, consumer packaged goods brand Dole hosted a perfectly “Instagrammable” pre-Coachella brunch with Gina Ybarra, curator of the popular fashion blog Hunt For Styles, and other social media influencers. Hunt For Styles also collaborated with Levi’s to produce a dedicated post on Ybarra’s blog.