Should Google get into the ticketing industry?

business unit strategy Corporate Strategy growth strategy
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
4 Answers
PK asked on Apr 07, 2020
Director of Product at PayPal. Based in SF. Worked at Twitter, Yelp, Salesforce, Houzz in the past.

Clarifying questions:

By ticketing here we are referring to the concerts, events, gaming ticket industry and not airline tickets.

This is US specific for this exercise.

Structuring my thoughts:

  1. Google Mission and Biz Model - It requires that it gets access to access as many users and as many data points about them so it can serve the most relevant ads for them and monetize. Getting more specific ticketing data about a user’s intent will only help google with their overall ads business better and provide better UX in search.

Typical user journey for ticketing:

  1. Persona - Event Organizer - Setup an event page with event details and publish it on Ticketmaster etc to help people buy tickets.

  2. Persona - Consumer - Search for event or artist name via Google, click on events URL, go to the event page explore and buy ticket.

Strategic Analysis for Google to enter:

  1. Customer

  2. Competition

  3. Cost

  4. Company/Capability

Customer: Great access to the customer base since the majority of the users come and search for an artist via Google or Youtube. So huge access to the users which are growing. Also access to them via Android and Chrome browsers that will help Google target them better.

Competition: Google search engine competes with Bing, but Bing has a small presence as a search engine and offers similar capability to current Google experience. Also competes with Instagram and FB, artists have fan pages and followers who post a lot of content which leads fans to become leads/tickets. Capturing this ticket industry creatively may mean that there is more reason for the celebs to post content via Google and thus Google can get more users. Other key competitors are Ticketmaster, stubhub, gametime etc. Ticketing is a huge industry but all of these companies are not as strong in terms of tech as Google and rely heavily on Google to capture users via ads or SEO. Market cap for stubhub, livenation/ticketmaster is over 10B and the ticketing industry is still growing in all areas including e-sports, thus the upside is huge.

Company Capability: Google as a tech company already has access to advertisers and event organizers (via Youtube) that publish events on Google search (SEM) or youtube. Technically Google is also very strong so it can quickly build an MVP to launch a product to capture the consumer side of the user journey and then expand into the event organizer platform

Cost: The technical cost of implementation isn’t that high here. There may be other operational expenses involved here such as customer support etc. However, since we are talking about building a huge scalable product, if we capture the market the ROI will be really high.

Summary - The overall recommendation is to launch a product to capture this market. And then expand into other areas of ticketing.


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 08, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi PK,

Very interesting problem to solve! Sharing some of my thoughts below based on your approach.

1) Unless the objective is totally not about making it a profitable vertical but only about data, you should look into the overall ticketing market attractiveness, e.g. size of market, growth rate, online penetration, current profitability and expected upside. This is to establish the base that ticketing is a good business to enter.

2) Customer: you should also look into what is the customer pain or passion point, what do they want more from the current ticketing market?

3) Competitors: beside those listed, are there also mobile ticketing platforms rising up? I am not familiar with the US market so pls ignore if it is already covered; in Asian market (China, SEA etc), there are a lot of rising startups providing ticketing services on mobile App.

4) You might want to think about the positive externalities on other business verticals of Google too.



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updated an answer on Apr 08, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi PK,

at the core, the strategic analysis should seek answers to three questions:

1. Can we achieve our objective by entering ticketing? (the objective has to be verified beforehand - usually it is earning money, i.e., profits)

2. Are we able to execute this move (operationally and funding-wise)?

3. Can we manage the potential risks that might be related to this move?

The first question is the most important one. So here we need to understand, whether this strategic move will allow us to generate significant additional profit (since this is our objective!).

For this, we first need to subdivide the prospective ticketing business into the different income streams (if there are more than one), and subsequently quantify each of them in terms of profits that can be realistically expected per year. The sum of these profits then gives us the total annual value creation, which needs to be compared to the initial investments needed to get going with the ticketing business.

If the profits exceed the investment costs within Googles investment horizon, then it makes sense financially (so the answer to 1. above is "yes"). In order to quantify the profits that can be achieved, we need to understand the numerical drivers of profits, and how they are influenced by qualitative factors, such as the ones you outlined above (Customer Preferences, Competition, Market Outlook, Operations & costs attached, etc.)

Once you have verified that we are able to meet our objective, the remaining two conditions regarding required capabilities and potential risks can be checked (in case interviews these are usually embedded into the "next steps proposed to solidify the recommendation")

Cheers, Sidi


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I think it is a good approach. Always try to stay in 20 minutes and - if needed - accelerate some estimations by asking to the interviewer


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 08, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


An important thing not remarket is how Google already has the customer base and confidence -which is the deal breaker for most companies trying to achieve this market entry- and they can leverage it!


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Emily gave the best answer


Content Creator
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University
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