New research by Project Simply has found that festivals should be wary of over-reliance on social media in their marketing.

The Festival Insights Report 2019 found that 75% of small festival organisers feel they rely too heavily on social media, and 63% of festival organisers only use basic data tracking.

It sourced the opinions of 145 festival organisers on their marketing and brand experience.

It found many were split on the effectiveness of social media to promote festivals, with marketing budgets spiralling upwards.

Brand partnerships, meanwhile, were found to be an effective method of marketing. Here festivals have the potential to reduce marketing spend via a shared brand audience and marketing channels. Strong management of these relationships, with clear objectives, can help save on spending.

The overriding concern for almost 22% of festival organisers was ever increasing costs. This is being caused by a combination of factors including social competitiveness and a lack of detailed market performance tracking. This is all adding extra pressure to festivals with tight budgets and slim profit margins.

The majority of festival owners believe that a positive digital experience is required to make their event a success, with only 8% of festival owners believing otherwise. The festival insight report offers advice on developing a website that performs, whilst remaining easy to use by both customers and festival marketing teams.

The report saw encouraging positivity in the sector with 71% of festivals hoping to grow by 25% over the next year. This dedication to growth requires festival owners to adopt an objective led approach to their marketing and engagement with third parties.

Project Simply founder Christian Hill commented on the report; “It’s wonderful to see so many festivals predicting great times ahead, but equally concerning to see a shared uncertainty around how to forecast this success.

“This seems to be mainly due to marketing under-performance and escalating associated costs. From a digital perspective it’s important that festivals really get to grips with how they can grow, through better targeting and engagement of their customers.

“Festivals must start tracking more thoroughly so that money isn’t wasted and the cost of acquisition reduces. We look forward to working with festivals to improve their profitability.”

To read the full report, click here.