Ambassador Theatre Group

Ambassador Theatre Group: Growing the Upper Funnel

For those with only 30 seconds, this is what we achieved:

Over the first six months, we:

  • Increased content contribution by 278%
  • Increased order active affiliates by 44%
  • Reduced cashback code and voucher contribution by 37%
  • Reduced CPA by 19%
  • Launched innovative offline activity to boost online performance
  • Saved over £200k in commissions and network fees for the client to reinvest into the channel

Over five years, we:

  • Drove over 30% YoY revenue growth
  • Increased order active affiliates by 228%
  • Increased content contribution by 689%
  • Reduced cashback code and voucher contribution by 78%
  • Reduced CPA by 29%

Who is the client and why did they come to us?

Client: Ambassador Theatre Group

Industry: Theatre, arts and entertainment ticketing

Territory focus: UK

Target customers: Various, based on shows

ATG Tickets is the UK’s leading theatre, arts and entertainment ticketing operations, selling over 10 million tickets per year. They are a division of Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG). Founded in 1992, they have grown to be the largest in the UK with 39 venues across the country, such as The Savoy Theatre, The Apollo Victoria Theatre, LOVEtheatre and The Lyceum Theatre.

Over-reliance on cashback affiliates

Revenue for the ATG Tickets affiliate program was predominantly delivered by end-of-funnel, voucher code and cashback affiliates. These publishers were generating over 85% of the total program revenue, and only a very small number of publishers generated any revenue at all.

The low number of publishers were also reaching low audience numbers; the affiliate channel was only utilised very late in the customer buying journey, often when a customer is ready to convert regardless, and is simply checking for a voucher or cashback offer.

With our experience in the ticketing sector, team Silverbean was perfectly positioned to boost ATG’s affiliate program and nurture long term growth. A geo-targeted strategy was needed to ensure more coverage of regional shows and tours to assist with on-sales. This would build greater awareness of individual productions, their venues across the UK, and of course ATG Tickets themselves.

So, what did we do?

Channel recruitment and engagement

The Silverbean team undertook a critical review of ATG’s affiliate channel to build the correct foundations. This included optimising the program commission structure to ensure ATG were not overpaying commission, removing over 50 publishers who were against brand guidelines, reviewing tracking pixel variables and introducing more stringent criteria for new partners to promote the brand within the program guidelines. Futureproofing, tick.

Setting up for long-term success

Next, we devised a long-term recruitment and engagement plan to maximise publisher growth. This involved continuous evaluation of commission structures to monitor effects of changes across publisher verticals, competitor and influencer research for long-term recruitment, and efficient communication with key regional publishers, providing assets to assist content for major on-sales. A key tactic for this was producing evergreen, long-tail content to inspire audiences to attend shows – and reward affiliates in the process.

The main event: Affiliate Roadshow

Who says affiliate marketing is online-only? The team produced an innovative offline offering to unlock new opportunities in the ATG affiliate program: the Affiliate Roadshow. We developed regional Affiliate Roadshows to build relationships with venue marketing managers and engage with potential and existing customers. This enabled us to focus on certain key regions of the country, such as Birmingham, Sunderland and Glasgow. We forged strong relationships with digital influences within the areas, and each of the events were followed up with a promotional pack and event listings for the region.

Through this, we optimised relationships with both new and existing affiliates. One affiliate saw an 873% increase in revenue when reviewing the 4 months prior to the event and 4 months after.

What outcomes were achieved?

Through our geo-focused approach to ATG’s affiliate program strategy, we recruited and engaged with a more diverse range of publishers. This resulted in a 228% increase in order active affiliates, enabling us to reach more potential customers across all audience demographics. We also moved the program away from its reliance on cashback and voucher code contribution, reducing this by 78%. From this, ATG has seen over 30% YoY growth and a 29% decrease in average cost per acquisition (CPA).

By optimising the commission structure, we saved ATG over £200k in commissions and network fees which the brand could reinvest into the channel and work with more upper-funnel content affiliates to inspire potential theatre-goers. Our work on evergreen, long-tail content saw us featured in a major national newspaper which continues to rank highly in SERPs and most importantly, convert into ticket sales. In addition, key publishers’ content appears as a Google featured snippet, supporting the content contribution increase of 689%.

What the client says

“We’ve been working with Silverbean since the start of 2015 to develop our new Affiliate Marketing Program. The affiliate team working with us really understand the complexities of the ticketing industry and have shaped a growing portfolio of publishers to work with. They’re reliable, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with, and they are constantly striving, achieving and improving. I look forward to our continued work with the Silverbean Affiliate Team.”

Peter Monks — Commercial Director