Tech Bound #46: A look at Eventbrite’s Growth Model

5 min read

A warm welcome to all new subscribers and happy Humpday. Hope last week wasn’t too crammed for you. That’s the curse of short weeks: you got a long weekend, but have to get everything done in 4 days after that #ohthedrama.

I was featured in Reforge Brief with my article “User Intent on Steroids” and have to say I’m a bit proud of that ;-).

This episode has a special featured guest: Brendan Baker, Global SEO Lead @ Eventbrite! Brendan has been a friend of mine for quite a while and he’s a very smart guy. When I heard of Eventbrite’s IPO, it was a no-brainer to reach out to him for a little “behind the scenes”.

How Growth is done at Eventbrite

Eventbrite filed for IPO on August 23rd, 2018. The company has been around for about 12 years, raised about $330m, and is valued at almost $2bn.

Eventbrite is a technology platform for event organizers, allowing them to plan, promote, and produce events. As it says in the S-1: “We believe live experiences are fundamental to fulfilling a human desire to connect.” The monetization is a simple revenue share: Eventbrite takes a share of every ticket sold. It can be used through the web or mobile app and integrates with Salesforce, Facebook, Hubspot, and Co.

Eventbrite has quite a few attractive Growth levers. If I were to write down their Growth Equation (factoring in all the levers they have) it would look something like this:

Growth = organizers X attendees X events X countries X landing pages X created events X app installs X free-to-paid-conversions

You could definitely add more factors to the equation. Where I’m trying to get at is to show that Eventbrite has many levers to grow, which is usually a good thing. The freemium model reduces initial friction to a minimum and the universal application makes it low frequency / high engagement product – all good prerequisites for growth.

There’s a viral growth component in the dynamics of the two market sides: organizers and attendees. As an attendee, you’re automatically exposed to Eventbrite when you want to sign up for an event. That’s very similar to UBER, which gets attention and awareness simply because their cars drive around or riders taking their friends on a ride. Those network effects are crucial when scaling a company because they add to compounding growth and making a business defensible.

Second, Eventbrite is heavily driven by SEO and ranks for all variations of keywords like “events in {city}”, “create event”, and the event names, too. As we know, SEO is a very scalable channel and most of the big startups leverage SEO to a significant degree.

With that being said, let me hand the Mic over to Brendan:
One of our biggest areas of focus as an SEO team over the last year has been international. For me it’s not just translating our content from English to German, for example, but truly localizing and optimizing the content as well. Not only have we seen ranking improvements by better optimizing our landing pages, but the conversion rates have increased as well. We’re still not perfect, but we’re moving in the right direction.

Another area of focus has been around domain management and hygiene. How do we efficiently get high quality URLs in front of Google while steering them away from the content that is not (yet) ready to be surfaced to them? It’s first an exercise in defining what we think qualifies as quality content, and then matching indexation rules and internal linking practices against that to ensure Google is only seeing the best stuff at the right time. This will be an endless routine and we still have a long way to go, but again, we’re moving in the right direction.

Lastly, we have adopted an ethos around continually testing. If you’re not testing, you’re falling behind. While I can’t say everything we’ve tested has been a success, we have learned a lot in those failures.

Your weekly dosis of awesome content

Marketing Experiments: “Online Testing: How To Use A/A Testing To Break Through The Noise” 
A/A tests can be super valuable to figure out how much time, traffic, conversions, and treatments you need to run experiments.

Youtube: “Do You Have Product Market Fit? It’s All About Retention” 
No idea why I haven’t shared that earlier. Casey is the man! In the video he talks about the importance of retention for product/market fit and how to improve it.

Medium: “Three Articles That Never Expire and When to Share Them” 
The consulting and creative arm of The Atlantic shares lessons around resurfacing and resharing content.

Hackernoon: “Data-Driven? Think again” 
Being “data-inspired” vs. “data-driven” is a big difference. Cassie Kozyrkov makes some really important points that are highly relevant for Growth. It’s a piece about confirmation bias and how to handle it.

BuzzSumo: “20 Examples Of Truly Engaging Interactive Content (Updated)” 

McKinsey: “The new battleground for marketing-led growth
A study by McKinsey revealed that 58% of consumers are showing signs of low loyalty to a brand in certain verticals.
That means that it’s crucial nowadays to be in the set of considered brands when a consumer makes a decision, which can only happen when you’re top of mind before a decision comes up.
Basically the impact of the Top of the Funnel on the Bottom becomes bigger.

After an interview with Paul Graham last week, here’s a story from his wife, Jessica Livingston.