Vivid Sydney: Light, Music & Ideas
Vivid Sydney is the largest event in Australia, bringing together light artists, music makers and brilliant minds across 400 events for three weeks in May.
Vivid Sydney has been integral in cementing Sydney's position as the creative capital of Asia-Pacific, and instrumental in stimulating the city's visitor economy. In its 11th year, we needed to work with Destination NSW to re-invigorate this spectacular festival, and give it the brilliant digital experience it deserves.User research helped us to reimagine how users interact with Vivid Sydney’s touchpoints, and continuing our work from 2018, in 2019 we pulled the site apart, re-imagined the UX and design and overhauled the tech stack.
14% increase in site visits26% increase in leads48% increase ‘buy tickets’159% increase in events added to ‘My Vivid’137% increase in personalise 'My Vivid’41% increase in database signups22% increase in ‘My Vivid’ profile creation29% site traffic visited ‘Vivid Live’ programs pageAll major events sold out
How could we create a personalised and immersive digital experience that excites, engages, and encourages repeat visitation throughout the festival?
Vivid Sydney is a huge festival of over 400 events and can be overwhelming for people to find a music gig, an inspiring talk, or a light installation that will suit their needs. Confusing navigation meant large drop-offs, and search was not being used to its full potential. How could we create a personalised and immersive digital experience that excites, engages, and encourages repeat visitation throughout the festival?
Having started the personalisation journey with the Vivid Sydney ecosystem in 2018, we wanted to take it to the next level in 2019. Our challenge was making the Vivid Sydney festival meaningful to a target that is extremely broad and varied in their tastes, needs, and budgets.
For the first time ever, we also had the opportunity to integrate ticket sales on the platform, which would keep users on the site after transacting, encouraging further exploration.
A website that personalises the user’s experience based on their preferences, and guides them to uncover new interests, plan visits, track events and puchase tickets.
Always seeking improvement, 2019 preparations started in late 2018 with a team retrospective, to reflect upon our successes in the previous year, and what could be improved. A tough act to follow, seeing as 2018’s results featured a 95% decrease in bounce rate, an 81% increase in engagement, a 40% increase in leads and 37% growth of database.
Kicking off with a workshop bringing together marketing, UX, design, and development from Nightjar and Destination NSW, we agreed objectives for 2019.
We first tackled the IA of the site, adding more context and ensuring the ideas and music programs were allowed to shine as brightly as the light program of the festival.
Accelerated search for dazzling speed and relevance
From user research, we understood that the 400-strong event festival was overwhelming in its breadth, so a strong emphasis was placed on upgrading search. We created filters to guide the user by topic of interest, location, price and accessibility. We also decoupled search from the backend for lightning speed, knowing that users will leave a site if they don’t find what they’re looking for almost instantaneously.
To overcome some of Drupal’s limitations, we delivered a React-powered frontend and the DestinationNSW’s developers delivering API-driven backend, all with an upgrade from Drupal 7 to 8 at the same time. (We love a challenge!).
Polishing the Vivid Sydney gem
Now in its 11th year, and with research showing people are tiring of Vivid, thinking it ‘same same’, we refreshed the iconography and visual language, taking inspiration from the logo. This digital-first branding was applied across all Vivid touchpoints.
We refreshed the iconography and visual language, taking inspiration from the logo.
Delivering a personalised homepage experience, every time
In 2018 we introduced a preference centre and onboarding process, where users selected topic areas of interest, music genres, and locations to be served relevant content, as well as save favourites. In 2019, personalisation was increased by integrating these preferences into the live site for users, giving them a unique homepage and suggesting events they might enjoy.
Users selected topic areas of interest, music genres, and locations to be served relevant content, as well as save favourites.
Embedded checkout to maintain momentum and drive ticket sales
After an audit of ticketing partners, we selected Eventbrite due to their API, which allowed us to access real time ticket sales so we could alert users to events sold out, or when their favourites were selling fast. We also had the ability to embed their checkout directly into the page, creating a seamless transaction for users and increasing sales for Ideas events.
Migrating our user data to Salesforce, we were able to close the loop with our comms, and form a more complete picture of our user.
“Show me all the light installations in The Rocks”
Knowing that many users hit the site looking to plan their trip route prior to attending Vivid, we focussed on a clean map experience - the user could toggle their search results which would then show each installation and event in a map view, with cards for each event popping up on the map, to encourage further exploration.
Main precincts were shown on the map, and then the user could zoom out to understand context, and zoom back in to specific program or event pages.
Streamlining the total Vivid experience, from planning through to on-ground attendance
The website is now a valuable tool to guide users to uncover new interests, plan their visit (from choosing events to transport and logistics), keep track of favourite events, purchase tickets, personalise the site based on preferences they’ve set, and find their way around on the ground when visiting Vivid Sydney.
Nightjar’s innovative approach to tech ensures we are continually delivering results that exceed our KPIs.
Janine Hutton, General Manager, Marketing, Destination NSW