Eventbrite Reduces SXSW Overcrowding, Says Facebook Connect Doubled its Sales

Eventbrite shared data at its South By Southwest Interactive panel on social commerce showing that when the site integrated Facebook Connect at the start of 2009, it hit its inflection point and doubled gross ticket sales that year. The data could inspire more ecommerce sites to consider significant Facebook integration.

The site has also become an even more crucial tool for organizers of SXSW events this year, since the conference reportedly grew 33% to 20,000 registered attendants from 15,000 in 2010. Eventbrite’s ability to cap or cease RSVPs while leaving an event’s page up helps party sponsors avoid negative sentiment by reducing overcrowding and the number of people they have to turn away at the door.

Facebook Events, which experienced a surge of popularity at SXSW 2010, doesn’t offer this function, allowing thousands to RSVP to a party with a capacity of 300. This limits the feature’s value to organizers of popular or exclusive events. Facebook should consider adding RSVP cap or suspension functionality to expand the scope of the gatherings the feature can be used promote.

Eventbrite has previously indicated that Facebook is its top source of referral traffic, but today co-founder Julia Hartz also noted that it ranks Google search at number two, Twitter at number three. and LinkedIn at five or six.

Prior to the Facebook integration, Eventbrite’s referral sources in 2008 ranked:

  1. Direct traffic
  2. Google /organic
  3. Eventbrite.com / referral
  4. Yahoo / organic
  5. Google / cost per click advertising
  6. Facebook / referral

The self-service event promotion and ticketing service website has deepened its Facebook integration since 2009, now allowing users to see events their Facebook friends are attending. The average Facebook share of one its events drives 11 clicks and $2.52 in sales, compared to $2.34 via email share, $0.90 via LinkedIn, and only $0.43 via Twitter.

Last year it looked as if Facebook might partner with Eventbrite to let Facebook users earn affilate fees from ticket buyers who they referred. However, the system never went live and Hartz confirmed the sites have no official partnership at this time.

Post-Purchase Shares and Music Generate More Revenue

Hartz explained that 40% of Facebook shares from the site occur pre-purchase, but that the 60% occurring post-purchase generate 20% more sales per share. This indicates that ecommerce sites should focus more on driving post-purchase shares.

Another new data set Eventbrite revealed was the breakdown of average revenue generated per Facebook share of different event categories. Music events drove an enormous $12 per share, suggesting that musicians have a lot to gain from selling their own concert tickets via EventBrite, especially those with existing Facebook followings.

The rough breakdown of revenue per share by category is:

  1. $12 – Music
  2. $11 – Fundraising / Charity / Giving
  3. $6.75 – Social Events / Mixers
  4. $5.75 – Food / Wine
  5. $2.10 – Classes / Workshops
  6. $1.90 Conferences / Seminars
  7. $1.10 – Networking / Clubs / Associations
  8. $0.90 – Business / Finance / Sales

These figures could be slightly confounded by total number of events in each category and the quality of the event’s page. Still, they demonstrate serious revenue potential from promoting fundraising, food and wine, and social events through a combination of Eventbrite and Facebook.