Ticketmaster decided to mix up its typical marketing email routine of hard sells and throw in some fun.

The results? An above-average open rate—with 60% of those emails opened on a mobile device—and not a single unsubscribe with the new email campaign, says Mitch Rotter, senior vice president of brand marketing for Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster sent the email to just more than 1 million of its email subscribers who had recently purchased tickets to a concert for an artist who was nominated in the MTV Video Music Awards or who had favorited a nominated artist on Ticketmaster’s website. Ticketmaster has more than 100 million consumers on its email list, so this was an especially targeted email, Rotter says.

Ticketmaster sent the email on Aug. 27, three days before the awards show on Aug. 30. The email contained four poll questions, asking consumers who they thought would win the best female video, best male video, best rock video and video of the year.

Consumers voted in the email and once they made a selection, they were were taken to a results page to see how other fans voted. Consumers enjoyed voting for their favorite artist so much that 80% of consumers who voted once voted again, Rotter says. Consumers could open the email as many times as they wanted vote more than once.


The open rate of the email exceeded Ticketmaster’s average open rate by 182%, Rotter says. And while Ticketmaster’s un-subscription rate is generally a small .08% per send, 0.00% is even better, he adds.

“Frankly we were shocked,” Rotter says. “I don’t think we thought it would be worse (than other marketing emails). It was like, ‘Hey, guess what? When you give people value and context, they are more than willing to engage.’”

The email also had buttons for consumers to easily share how they voted on social media.  A low, single-digit percentage of consumers tweeted how they voted. Rotter is happy with that metric saying it shows that at least a portion of email subscribers viewed Ticketmaster’s email content worthy to share on social media.

60% of traffic to Ticketmaster.com stems from a mobile device, Rotter says. Because of this, Ticketmaster has had responsive emails for the past two years, meaning the text of the emails formats to the screen the consumer is viewing.


The purpose of the email was not only to interact with its customers but also to gather more data on them. Now, Ticketmaster knows at least one artist preference for consumers who voted and can retarget those fans with emails about upcoming shows and events for that artist. This type of personalized marketing is one that Ticketmaster customers now expect, Rotter says.

“In 2015 and 2016 it’s all about what you can do for me as your consumer and if I let you take some of my information, the agreement is going to be that the marketing is relevant to me. And, if not, I’m severing that relationship and never talking to you again,” Rotter says.

After the video music awards, Ticketmaster retargeted the consumers who voted with a relevant email, Rotter says. Like the first email, the subject line wasn’t about selling, such as “Your event guide.” Instead, it read “The MTV Video Music Awards results are in.” Then the messaging was personalized to how the consumer voted, such as “You called it! Taylor Swift won video of the year. You are a genius.”  Under the main message, Ticketmaster included information on upcoming concerts for that artist, but selling wasn’t the focus, he says. That email also performed well in terms of open rates, Rotter says, although he declined to give specifics.

“Historically, Ticketmaster has been transactional-focused. Over the past few years, we really want to be part of conversation,” Rotter says.


Contextual email vendor Movable Ink implemented the polling in the email for Ticketmaster, working with Ticketmaster’s internal email campaign team. Ticketmaster hopes to send similar marketing emails in the future, Rotter says.

Sign up for a free subscription to Mobile Strategies 360, a newsletter reporting on how businesses in all industries use mobile technologies to communicate with and market and sell to their consumers. Mobile Strategies 360 is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes Internet Retailer, a business publication on e-retailing.