Eventbrite | Case Study

How Two Event Creators Increased Ticket Sales with Eventbrite + Facebook Events

At first glance, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Secret Movie Club seem nothing alike. Lewis Ginter is home to 50 acres of gardens and special exhibits in Richmond, Virginia. Secret Movie Club hosts midnight movie screenings in an old 1920’s theatre in Los Angeles, California. While these businesses appear to operate in different worlds, both share a common goal — to build a community and help people with shared interests come together at live events.

The Challenge:

In addition to hosting visitors at its gardens year-round, Lewis Ginter also throws special events for their community. Jonah Holland, who coordinates PR and Marketing on the team responsible for planning these special events, was challenged to grow their community and attract first time visitors to their Garden Soiree event.

Secret Movie Club was founded by Craig Hammill, who turned his love for the cinematic arts into an event that brings movie lovers together to enjoy great movies the classic way — on 35mm film. Hammill launched with just one event a month, but wanted to grow his business to unite even more movie-buffs. To do this, he would need to uplevel his operations — and as a one-man show, this was no easy feat.

Holland and Hammill work in different industries, supported by teams with different resources, and host different events on opposite sides of the country. But despite all of their differences, they were really trying to accomplish the same thing — sell out their events. To do this they needed the right event technology, so they both turned to Eventbrite and Facebook Events.

“Before Eventbrite and Facebook, I was really bootstrapping it. The business was plateauing, but it really took off when we started using Eventbrite and Facebook.”

– Craig Hammill, Founder, Secret Movie Club

How Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Grew Attendance

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden had a history of success in throwing events for their garden members and major donors. But Jonah Holland was facing a fresh challenge with the upcoming Garden Soiree event: attracting the next generation of garden members with a fun-filled agenda of live music, dancing, craft beer, and hors d'oeuvres. She partnered with Eventbrite to accomplish two main goals:

– Reach a new audience — without going over budget

– Turn more interest into sales with a native checkout

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden by the numbers

  • 61x

    ROI from Facebook ad spend

  • 19.58%

    conversion rate on Facebook

  • 27%

    of tickets sold directly on Facebook

Reaching a new audience — without going over budget

Holland knew that social media was a great way to reach a new demographic for their event. Specifically, Lewis Ginter targeted their event to people who had expressed an interest in similar after-hours social events. Facebook helped Lewis Ginter find people looking for things to do — who wanted to attend an outdoors event just like they were hosting.

Holland turned to Eventbrite, attracted by the seamless Facebook integration that would allow her to automatically publish their Eventbrite listing to Facebook to reach their community of over 47,000 followers, in addition to this highly targeted audience.

She wanted to stretch their reach on Facebook, but with the small advertising budget typical of nonprofit businesses, she knew she had to be strategic with her spend. Holland set up a highly targeted ad campaign using Facebook’s advertising tools and saw stellar results — by spending only $50 to boost their event, they saw a 61X return on their investment.

Turning interest into sales

The final piece of the puzzle was making it easy for interested event-goers to purchase tickets. Thanks to Eventbrite’s integration with Facebook, attendees were able to purchase tickets without ever leaving Facebook. No redirects meant that fewer attendees dropped off before completing their purchase (especially on mobile), increasing their conversion rate to nearly 20%.

As a result, Lewis Ginter reached more than 15,000 people, including countless first-time visitors to the gardens — and they sold out in ⅔ the time. What’s more, over 25% of all tickets to the sold-out event were purchased directly through Facebook. “We weren’t at all surprised the event sold out — that’s what we were going for — but we were surprised at how quickly it sold out,” shares Holland. “By selling out early, it allowed me to direct my time to promoting other Garden events.”

“Reaching a new and younger audience was one of our goals for this event and Eventbrite’s integration with Facebook helped us do that. The majority of our attendees were not members of our garden. For many, it was their first time visiting Lewis Ginter...and they learned about the event through Facebook.”

– Jonah Holland , PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

How Secret Movie Club Scaled their Business

When Craig Hammill launched Secret Movie Club he would print out flyers and post them in local coffee shops and record stores. Fans would email him for a reservation and pay via Venmo the night of the movie screening. But Hammill quickly recognized that fans were hesitant to purchase tickets through the peer-to-peer platform — and that he’d never be able to scale his business with the current process. Hammill needed a event management technology that would help him:

– Improve his promotion strategy — and provide a trusted way to purchase

– Scale his operations with limited resources

“I knew that I had to innovate, and Eventbrite helped me do that.”

– Craig Hammill, Founder, Secret Movie Club

Secret Movie Club by the numbers

  • 2x

    growth in attendance

  • 18.52%

    conversion rate on Facebook

  • 12

    hours saved per week

Promoting to a wider community of movie lovers

The first challenge Hammill had to tackle was improving his promotion strategy. He knew his fans were on social media — so he began to advertise his shows on Facebook. He used Eventbrite’s integration to sell tickets directly on his Facebook event page, which now accounts for 90% of ticket sales. Hammill also saw a 20% increase in Facebook followers, and a steady acceleration in likes and engagement with the online community.

Not only was Hammill able to reach interested movie lovers, but the native checkout on Facebook also gave them a trusted way to purchase tickets. In fact, both Eventbrite and Facebook consistently rank in the top 100 of most the trusted sites on the web. “I was able to build trust and be seen as more of a legitimate business,” says Hammill. This led attendance to double — and the increased demand encouraged Hammill to grow from one show per month to one per week.

Scaling operations to meet the demand for 4x the shows

Not only did Hammill begin selling out 4x the shows using Eventbrite and Facebook’s marketing tools, but the intuitive features and seamless integration cut his work time down by 80%. Today, Hammill is able to save 12 hours each week by using the integrations — and the increased professionalism of his operation has lead to a decrease in support calls and customer complaints.

“Not only did we sell out by selling tickets directly on Facebook, working with Eventbrite cut down on the amount of time that I had to devote to organizing the event.”

– Craig Hammill, Founder, Secret Movie Club

How they Built a Community Through Eventbrite + Facebook Events

Holland and Hammill set out to bring people together to celebrate their shared interests at live events. While the challenges they faced along the way were unique, the technology that they leveraged to overcome them were the same.

“Being able to target the exact audience that we were after through Facebook and make it easy for them to buy tickets directly with Eventbrite was a game-changer. We’ve continued with this strategy for following events and have seen huge success — especially for our bigger events.”

– Jonah Holland , PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Using Eventbrite’s seamless integration with Facebook, they were able to reach more people, scale their operations, and sell out their events. The impact of this on their businesses were tremendous:

  • 2/3

    Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden sold out their event in ⅔ the time

  • 4x

    Secret Movie Club doubled attendance at their shows and grew their business four-fold