Ticketmaster, the event ticketing property of Live Nation, is enhancing its interactive seat maps Tuesday so that ticket buyers and event-goers can see where their Facebook friends are sitting, and tag themselves into their seats.
With the upgrade, Facebook members can now connect their accounts to view a Facebook-infused event seat map that highlights where friends at sitting with miniature Facebook flags.
The feature is live for more than 9,000 events on Ticketmaster and Live Nation sites.
The idea, says Ticketmaster executive vice president of ecommerce Kip Levin, is to return the ticket-buying experience to its pre-web social origins. “Online took away from the old experience of going down to the record store to purchase tickets,” he says. “This is a way to go back to that.”
The interactive seat maps experience is now designed to help Facebook users see where their friends are sitting, purchase nearby tickets, tag themselves into their seats, nudge their Facebook friends to do the same and share their seats with friends on Facebook.
A filter on the left-hand side of the map populates with friends attending the event in question. Facebook friend flags are situated on the map to denote their seats. Users can click on names to zoom into a friend’s seat location, or hover over flags to view who is sitting where.
Ticketmaster rolled out the first iteration of interactive seat maps, minus Facebook seat-tagging, roughly one year ago. The first release, says Levin, was one of the company’s most significant product launches in the past five years.
“We studied the way people bought tickets,” he says. “People said they would buy tickets … because they knew where their friends were sitting,” he says.
Ticketmaster’s research suggests that every time a ticket buyer shares his purchase with friends online, the activity converts to $5 in additional ticket sales. The hope, says Levin, is that Facebook seat-tagging will encourage ticket buyers to more frequently share that they’re attending events, and drive up ticket sales as a result.