The events platform posted a solid quarter, with self sign-ups growing both in the United States and internationally. Still, if the company can't keep its larger Ticketfly clients, investors aren't going to stay happy for long.
Eventbrite recently celebrated its one-year anniversary as a public company, and so far the outlook is mixed. While its core business has grown, the event platform continues its seemingly never-ending endeavor to integrate Ticketfly.
Eventbrite’s Self Sign-On channel, which allows smaller companies to sign up for the service, was the main driver of growth in the third quarter of 2019, boosting revenue 11 percent to $82 million. International sign-ons, which previously were low for the company, also grew. The results seemed to appease investors, and stock jumped nearly 10 percent after market open Friday.
With that said, the company still grapples with migrating larger Ticketfly customers over to the platform and keeping those that have made the switch. On an earnings call Thursday, many of the questions revolved around churn, and the company admitted it was cautious.
“As we look into the fourth quarter, we have a cautious outlook about retention in the very near term,” said Charles Baker, chief financial officer at Eventbrite. “There’s a large number of Ticketfly customers that have been migrated over to the Eventbrite platform just in the last couple of months, and we’re hard at work in earning those creators’ loyalty as they establish themselves on this new platform. It’s a big change for many of these creators to switch from one platform to another. We’ve done very well with prior transitions and migrations, but we’re calling that out as something to be cautious about in the fourth quarter.”
Over the past year, the company has been adding features for event creators. It hopes that these features will help retain customers and even win some back that have left the platform. For example, it recently released an add-on feature, allowing clients to sell extras — such as merchandise or parking — along with tickets.
This feature is a big moneymaker for event planners, and the company is optimistic about the feature’s potential to keep clients.
“We’ve seen some really nice adoption from this feature in both our channels, in Self Sign-On and sales,” said Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz. “What we see is a clear indication that when we add these adjacent functionalities to the ticketing product, it really helps open up not only more revenue but greater efficiency for event creators because they don’t have to use another solution or integrate a solution to be able to sell more merchandise or experiences around the ticket. And so we’ll be watching it closely, and continue to refine it with our event creators’ feedback. But so far, so good.”
At the same time, these new features are costly to develop, and the company’s operating expenses grew 30 percent year-over-year. Some of these expenses were related to consolidating its business in Europe, where the company reported a significant jump in Self Sign-On ticket sales, proving it’s making progress in its international expansion.
The company’s Self-Sign On channel accounts for about half of its paid ticket volume, but it’s mostly made up of small businesses. While growth in that arena is important, its larger corporate clients hold the potential for more substantial revenue growth. Ultimately, Eventbrite’s ability to keep those clients will decide its future.
“We absolutely believe that we’ll be winning back customers over time, but that will take time,” Hartz said. “We are focused on engendering the trust and loyalty that is so important with these venue customers and helping them grow their businesses, so that they see the benefit of the Eventbrite platform. And from there, we’ll take steps to continue to expand.”
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Photo Credit: Eventbrite co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz speaks at the 2015 Traction conference in San Francisco. JD Lasica / Flickr
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