Facebook tries ‘buy tickets’ button on events, but links offsite

Facebook is testing new “buy tickets” buttons on events, but these buttons send users to other sites around the web and do not allow users to conduct transactions directly from an event page.

Previously, event organizers could list a site for users to buy tickets from, but that site would appear on an event page as a small bit.ly link. Facebook tells us that now it is trying more prominent buttons that direct users to wherever event tickets are being sold. These buttons appear in the info section of an event, in a user’s upcoming events section and in News Feed stories about the event, as seen in the screenshots below.

This design change could lead more users to purchase tickets after discovering an event on the social network, making Facebook Events more valuable to event organizers. Some have wondered whether the “buy tickets” button is an indication that Facebook will get into the ticketing business. Although possible, this might not be what the company is looking to do right now. Instead of diverting resources to build an entirely new business, it could make improvements to events that help its existing ad business. If the social network can make events more viral and help them better convert into ticket sales, then businesses and organizations would be more likely to buy Facebook ads to promote them.

By adding the “buy tickets” button to News Feed stories about the event, users will be able to visit a purchase page directly from an ad. Facebook gets paid for the click and advertisers can easily track their conversions.

In addition to the “buy tickets” button, we’ve recently seen Facebook encouraging users to invite their friends or post about an event after they RSVP. Facebook has also been including suggested events in News Feed.

Facebook could also be testing “buy tickets” buttons to gauge user interest and demand for a way to purchase tickets directly from the social network. If a lot of people start clicking the button, it might be an indication that Facebook could offer value — and earn revenue — by getting into the ticketing business. Another option is that down the line, the company could partner with existing ticketing platforms and begin taking a percentage of sales that originate through Facebook Events. In 2010, it seemed Facebook was working on such a partnership with Eventbrite, but that never came to fruition.

Any Facebook page that creates an event can add a link for tickets, which will create a “buy tickets” button on their event page. However, when individual users create an event, they do not have the option to add a ticket link.

Thanks to Blink VP Planning and Media Eti Suruzon for the tip