Growing an artist’s listenership in specific markets or their social following is one part of the equation of nurturing fan bases and driving revenue. But what is often missing, is actually knowing who the fans are and getting a complete picture of how they’re behaving and presenting themselves online, which provides a more strategic approach to marketing.
Tradable Bits’ main goal is to help their clients understand their fans on a 360° level, to capture every slice of a fan’s personality and bring it into a single profile so that their teams have the best available data, can quickly activate that data effectively and use it to drive better marketing decisions.
Tradable Bits was founded 10 years ago, the two founders having backgrounds in engineering and data were looking into how social media was transforming everything we do, specifically for music and sports businesses trying to engage their fans. They also realised how every digital platform was different, almost representing different personas you have but collectively being a digital representation of who you are. What emerged from that was the drive to create a cross-platform fan profile, a single-fan view of an individual, which is predominantly used to understand who’s most likely to buy a product and to create highly-engaged fan audiences that can be used for marketing purposes. Especially now, against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 situation, it has arguably never been more important to strengthen the relationship between artist and fan and to make sure they’re communicating effectively. Tradable Bits’ CEO and Co-Founder Darshan Kaler notes that “now’s the time to take stock of your marketing technology and evaluate if you have the right set up in place to connect and understand your fans – their interactions and their behaviours. Tailoring your data collection and cleaning up how you build your audiences now, will guarantee you can activate and scale your marketing, to ensure you’re set up for success for the future – for the new normal. Do you have the right fuel to light up your marketing engine?”
Tradable Bits was built specifically for music and sports brands, with many large music clients including Live Nation, and professional sports organisations such as the Toronto Raptors and the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and 14 or the 18 teams in the Australian Football League (AFL). Feature-wise, it’s an all-in-one platform that combines fan engagement data collection, advanced segmentation and audience-building tools with in-platform advertisement technology. The platform shares features with companies like Audience Republic, ToneDen and The Appreciation Engine; however, their biggest differentiator is in how the Tradable Bits platform lets you activate your fan data.
One of the most important aspects to understand about Tradable Bits is that they’re a first-party data company – they don’t buy any data, they don’t scrape any data and most importantly they don’t own any data as all of this is owned by the artist, management, label, promoter, etc. The platform only collects data a fan has opted-in to share and is creating extensive fan profiles to understand the person – where they’re coming from and how they engage with the artist in order to personalise messaging and content to them.
Personalisation is one of the biggest buzzwords in marketing and is key to trigger a positive emotional resonance within consumers but can be tricky when it comes to how consumers feel about their own data privacy being impacted. When asked about the fan’s potential reluctance to opt-in to sharing their data, the company highlights that the relationship is happening between the artist and the fan so it’s going to be about trust with the artist and mutual value exchange.
Data collection and segmentation
Their backend is split into three main tabs. “Engage Audience” is where you can run a multitude of different campaigns from and get data authentication. Campaigns are divided into Hot Campaigns, Quizzes, Voting / Polling, User Generated Content, Transactional, Spotify, and
Other – currently offering more than 40+ campaign types for mobile, web, and in-person at events. Some of these are more applicable to festivals, such as the Line-Up Predictor or Personalised Spotify Playlists based on the fan’s listening data and the festival’s line-up. Other campaigns are also applicable for artists and their teams, such as contests, quizzes or coupons. Tradable Bits is also creating new campaign types with partners to integrate with live event broadcasts and virtual events.
Fans can connect via Spotify or Facebook, which will provide you with insights into which other artists they’re interested in, powering the platform’s next section called “Know your Fans”. After having engaged with a campaign and having connected via one of the available platforms, Tradable Bits will cross-reference the fan’s interests and listening behaviour with purchasing and social data to find your most influential, profitable and engaged fans.
Fan profiles within the platform are built over time using data of the various social media accounts that a fan would have used to authenticate with when participating in an engagement campaign. The platform also tracks affinity to ‘Idols’ (brands, musicians, celebrities, athletes etc.) that fans interact and engage with on Spotify, Facebook and Twitter.
This gives a pretty granular look at a fan’s listening behaviour, their interests and where they may be willing to spend their money. Affinity Idols help create incredibly concentrated affinity audiences for marketing and re-marketing purposes. Tradable Bits proprietary ‘Fan CRM’ dynamically ranks all of your connected fans with a 5-Star algorithm based on how much they spent on your tickets and merch, and how much they streamed your music, etc. The Fan CRM profile further features info on how many of your fans’ Facebook friends are also connected to your backend, which allows you to identify fan clusters and market to them in a savvy way. Most of the time, however, you will not spend time looking into a single fan’s profile – rather you will use the available filters within the “Know your Fans” section to super segment the data collected from different sources. It’s important to note that the data is dynamic and updates in real-time, so that these fan lists are always up-to-date ensuring relevant messaging and not advertising to the already-converted. Users can aggregate data sources from multiple integrations such as Active Campaign, Mailchimp, Front Gate Tickets, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, as well as many more.
The final section is where the Tradable Bits differentiates itself from many of their competitors. It builds upon the two previous steps and then activates the data rather than simply collecting it and enabling you to download. Users will be able to leverage all of their segmented data and advertise directly inside the Tradable Bits advertising technology platform, which integrates with Facebook’s Ad Manager, Google Ads, Spotify Ads, Snapchat Ads and Twitter Ads., as well as to send e-mail and SMS messages.
CEO and Co-Founder Darshan Kaler makes clear that where marketing teams would usually need to go into every ad platform individually, Tradable Bits simplifies this process immensely: “Our platform makes sure everything is integrated; it’s a big automation piece to connect data points and to ensure all marketing activities are attributed and tracked.” It’s also interesting from the point of view of how different teams and divisions can use the platform to get a single view on the artist’s fan base. Ultimately, the data collection and segmentation can be used to create custom audiences that can be then targeted across these ad platforms and can be used as powerful sources for lookalike audiences / similar audiences. This means that attracting new fans will be based on the most accurate, valuable data when it comes to building true fandom.
Tradable Bits offers both a self-service and managed service solution and offers annual subscriptions for start-ups to corporations, ranging from $1,000-$5,000/ month (USD). Packages and pricing are based on partner needs, with the company offering fully custom/bespoke fan engagement solutions which are scoped and priced on an ad-hoc basis. The team highlights how their tools can work for artists, promoters and labels of any size and can be especially useful for artists that are at the beginning of their career and trying to establish an initial fan base. Tradable Bits is an enterprise marketing technology platform, so their tools require a certain level of expertise in digital marketing and training to maximise its potential.