Founder’s Corner – Eventbrite’s Weakness is Ad Strategy

Part of Bob’s continued ramblings.

Eventbrite has had a history of overstating things a bit too much. This blog digs into the details of how Eventbrite is:

  • Overstating their impact on ticket sales stating repeatedly “Eventbrite-driven demand was once again roughly 25% of total ticket volume for the quarter”.
  • Promoting events that use their Ads Product in their app and on their website – “have already doubled the available advertising surface area since the beginning of October with much opportunity ahead for expansion.”
  • Locking customers into long term contracts where they will have to buy the Eventbrite Ads product or be burried under events that do buy it.

There are plenty of customers who will begin to understand these impacts in the coming years and why they will move to TicketSignup for our free websites that they can control to only promote their own event, and to enjoy our free email, referral rewards, integrated ROI analytics, and more marketing tools that will help their events control their own destiny and success. So we selfishly hope Eventbrite keeps going down this long term self-destructive path.

Overstating “Eventbrite-Driven” Demand

This is a bit of an educated guess on my part, but since we are in a similar business and we know how web traffic is capable of being measured, here are some numbers and analysis from the TicketSignup/RunSignup system.

Most websites use Google Analytics to track traffic. Here are the Top 3 sources of traffic on our system in October:

TicketSignup/RunSignup account for 33% of traffic

Our guess is that Eventbrite is doing something similar to take credit for 25% of traffic. There is no other way to measure it. But the truth is that many, many events point to our website with their promotional material – including email, posters, word of mouth, etc. So this is really our customer’s traffic – not ours.

And Eventbrite traffic is actually a lot lower than you would imagine in comparison with other vendors like ourselves. In Q3 2022 Eventbrite had 71 Million free and paid tickets sold on their platform (22 Million paid compared with our 2.1M paid – so they are about 10X our size in paid events). Using the traffic estimator, Similarweb for RunSignup / TicketSignup and Eventbrite, here are some comparisons:

September, 2022EventbriteTicketSignup / RunSignup
Total Visits57.7M7.4M
Pages per Visit2.733.13
Average Duration2:192:41

Eventbrite has an 8X traffic advantage to TicketSignup / RunSignup. This is kind of surprising given the 10X multiple on paid tickets sold on the platform It may be caused by the estimates that Similar has to do on traffic. In any case, this is another indicator that Eventbrite might be stretching the truth on the impact their platform has on sales.

Eventbrite Ads

Eventbrite has always had an annoying habit of promoting other events on event pages:

Eventbrite Promotes Other Events

While some events may see this as “you win some, you lose some” type of impact, some events will want to control their own brand and gain the full impact of their marketing efforts.

With the new Eventbrite Ads product, this will become even worse. As we wrote about earlier, Eventbrite is advertising their own app more than the events on their platform on mobile:

Imagine a future where the general Eventbrite search is dominated by events that pay Eventbrite for ads. Or a future where Ad paying events are not shown at the bottom of your even page, but as a banner ad advertising another beer festival or Halloween Haunt rather than yours.

Even if you dismiss the claim above and believe that Eventbrite does indeed drive 25% of your sales, the other 75% that you drive is at least put at some risk with Eventbrite’s ad strategy.

Locked In

We have talked with an increasing number of events over the past month or two that have told us that Eventbrite has “locked them into a contract”. Sometimes this is one year and sometimes 3 years. This is the opposite of our strategy – our contracts are non-exclusive so you can leave us at any time. We do not want unhappy customers – bad karma…

Imagine a future where your event is basically forced into the Ads product to get visibility even on your own event page.

This is not far fetched given Eventbrite’s need to drive growth. Ticket sales are still down 20%+ post pandemic from 29 Million paid tickets in Q3 2019 to 22 Million in Q3 2022. And they spend a huge amount of time on their quarterly earnings call talking about how to get events to pay them for Boost (email, which we provide for free since we want to help our customers be successful) and Ads (which is why we provide you a free website, including hosting your URL Domain for free and build your own brand, not Eventbrite’s).

We Can Help

If you are already locked into an Eventbrite contract – remember to check us out when you finish your lock-in period. If Eventbrite is trying to get you to sign a contract, show them this blog and ask if they will make the contract non-exclusive. Or better yet, give us a try – we are less expensive, have better features, and are moving faster than they are into the future.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Customize Lists...