Case Study

How Sierra Nevada Uses Social Media to Sell Out Events with Eventbrite

Facebook event promotion is happening in a big way at Sierra Nevada, but that’s not interfering with priorities. The third-largest craft brewer in America started with a repurposed cheese vat and a five-barrel production of Stout. Sierra Nevada has revolutionized how Americans drink  —  and think about  —  beer. But founder Ken Grossman’s vision predates his bottling: He opened The Home Brew Shop in Chico, California in 1976 because beer-making and beer-drinking should bring people together.


Now, four decades later, Sierra Nevada is following through on that vision with breweries in Chico, California and Mills River, North Carolina.


“We have event sites at both of those facilities, and we also have two separate experience teams,” says David Herman, Social and Media Manager for Sierra Nevada. “The field marketing team does partnership events with other programs, and our experiential marketing team does on-site and off-site major experience events for consumers, things like Beer Camp Festival and our Oktoberfest Festival.”


Sierra Nevada’s experiential offerings draw major crowds. Oktoberfest is particularly popular. Thousands of beer lovers don their dirndls and come to both brewery locations for a two-weekend celebration of beer. And one thing that’s helped Sierra Nevada’s social reach in a big way: Eventbrite Boost.


“We’re constantly selling tickets on Eventbrite,” says Herman. “Now, with Eventbrite Boost, advertising those tickets is easier than ever.”

SoMa StrEat Food Park/ Avocado Con / San Francisco, CA

The challenge: Getting the word out to beer lovers

Herman has the enormous task of managing Sierra Nevada’s robust events program. From overseeing community management and content performance on social media to working directly with partners in national media, Herman’s workday orbits around advertising strategies that support the brewery’s major sales and event initiatives.


With a packed calendar of events, Herman found himself looking for a way to improve Sierra Nevada’s advertising flexibility and efficiency. He also wanted to increase access to advertising for events at both the brewery’s sites.


With Boost, he saw a chance to diversify Sierra Nevada’s remarketing and revolutionize the brewery’s social media advertising strategy. “Eventbrite Boost supports awareness and ticket sales for upcoming events throughout our entire organization,” says Herman.


Making it easy to run complex advertising campaigns

Like many marketers, Herman had been running campaigns on Facebook Ads Manager, which he found useful but “tedious,” since he had to log into Facebook and create each campaign himself.


Boost simplified the ad creation process. It let him create campaigns from a dashboard right in Eventbrite, using data from previous events. Boost also lets Herman A/B test ads within the app, split testing ads for different audiences. The budget automation technology then reallocates his budget to the ad that’s performing best.


Finally, Sierra Nevada is able to pinpoint the power of its campaigns: “We’ve been able to expand the complexity of our advertising with less effort than we had to use before,” says Herman.



Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular / Australia

Accessing data that tells company leaders a story

Accessible data is the key to complex advertising, and Eventbrite’s Paid Social Ads dashboard gives Sierra Nevada just that with a clear, shareable experience.

Multiple social ad campaigns are complicated to run — especially when you need to present your work to company leaders. Herman needed to be able to explain ticket sales and ads to his colleagues quickly, and Eventbrite’s Paid Social Ads dashboard displays all of Sierra Nevada’s social advertising data in one place.

“It’s a quick and easy story to tell to anyone in leadership,” Herman says.



Targeting the right beer lovers for Oktoberfest

Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest Festival is one of the highlights of the brewery’s fall event season. This Mills River happening includes live music, all the autumn feels, and (of course) beer.

Using Eventbrite, Sierra Nevada built a conversion campaign that ran on Facebook and Instagram. The campaign ran for three weeks, with a budget of $1,875. Its targets: attendees of past Mills River events, along with website visitors, lookalike audiences, and more.

More than 100,000 people viewed the ads and almost 4% of those people engaged. 220 orders resulted from the campaign. Sierra Nevada’s saw a 10 times return on ad spend, bringing in $18,667 and selling out the event early.

“Eventbrite and ToneDen helped us to sell out our Oktoberfest festival at Mills River a month and a half before we had expected to sell out,” says Herman.

The campaign was so successful, Herman had to renegotiate his ads with print and radio to let them know the event had sold out.

“It was a good problem to have,” he says. “Anyone who’s doing social media advertising for events could benefit from this, but primarily it’s going to be people who are operating lean and mean: high-level focus on budget, spend, and efficiency.”

“This is the correct way to be marketing and advertising,” Herman says. “It’s working.”



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