Founder’s Corner – Eventbrite’s Misguided Marketplace Strategy

We are embracing the opportunity to build the premier marketplace for live events

Eventbrite Q4 2022 Shareholder Letter

Eventbrite has doubled down on a strategy to be the Marketplace for events. In their quarterly call Julia and Lanny mentioned the word “marketplace” 37 times.

Before I get into a bunch of numbers and previous experience, let’s start with a simple question:

When you go to an event, what made you decide to go? Was it going to Eventbrite to search for an event? I’ve never been bored on a Saturday night and said to Marlise – “Hey, let’s check out what we can do on Eventbrite”.

What Does Influence Mean?

“Eventbrite influenced 30% of paid tickets in 2022, which is a record.”

One of the proof points that Eventbrite uses is their “influence”. But what does that mean? Here are some stats from TicketSignup and RunSignup:

  • Google Analytics reports that 35% of traffic is direct
  • Google Analytics reports that 19% of traffic is from organic search
  • We track that 13% of signups are from our free email platform
  • We track that 17% of signups come from Affiliates and our “Find An Event” pages
  • We track that 6% of signups come from our Referral Rewards program

These stats make the 30% number from Eventbrite sound not all that impressive. Certainly not impressive enough to say they are The Marketplace for events.

Costs for That Influence

Eventbrite just raised their prices to $1.79 per ticket plus 6.6% (TicketSignup is only $1 per transaction (not per ticket) plus 6% with 20% discounts for over 5,000 tickets per year). Now event organizers who are counting on Eventbrite for “influence” will have to pay more.

That is because Eventbrite keeps adding more “surfaces” to put ads on. This means events who do not pay more for ads will get substandard visibility. And still have to pay for email.

Eventbrite Doubling Down on Promoting (and Paying) Themselves

It is obvious where they are putting a lot of effort – “I’m excited about the opportunity ahead and appreciate the team’s work transforming Eventbrite into the top events marketplace.”

Their motives are driven by self interest – “Accelerating our marketplace model means boosting high margin revenue from ads and monetizing pre-event. This will build value and drive profitable growth toward our long-term targets.” and “We continue to have confidence in the long-term adjusted EBITDA margin targets, up 20% or greater, especially as we pursue our marketplace strategy and increased monetization.”

Ads and Boost paid email marketing revenue is driving this focus – “As we move forward toward a marketplace model and amplify our demand generation, we believe that the importance of products like Boost and Eventbrite Ads will continue to grow, both for creators and for Eventbrite.”

TicketSignup is different. We only make money when our customers grow. That is why all our promotion tools are free. It is why we provide full websites and not just a ticket page for your event with ads from your competitors. We provide a welcome home for Eventbrite refugees.

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