Case Study: How Outside Lands Earned Over 1000X ROAS with Only 38 Hours

OSL Stats by Tradable Bits

Goal: Sell Tickets in a Short Timeframe

The goal of any major music festival is to sell tickets as fast as possible, and Outside Lands is no different. Their team needed to generate awareness prior to their on sale to ensure every relevant lead knew to buy the moment they could. The challenge? We only had 38 hours before the on-sale to get everyone's attention.

Solution: Flip the Funnel and Find Friends

Traditional advertising begins with super broad demographic audiences, and aims to drive leads down "the funnel". This is expensive, time consuming and results in frustrating 98% of your audience to make 2% conversion rates. Social networks changed the game, but many agencies and ad providers still approach targeting on social media the same as any other ad placement. Outside Lands - especially given the time crunch - needed to think differently.

By starting with who we know (fans and past buyers) and then strategically expanding outwards, we took advantage of the network effect. After only targeting a small subset of Outside Lands' most loyal fans, we were able to get the social lift snowball rolling so all the right people knew that the festival was about to go on sale.

Combining retargeting (past ticket buyers and other "people we know") with affinity and relational targeting (friends and fans connected to artists on the lineup) guaranteed we only paid to reach about 200,000 relevant leads. As soon as tickets went on sale, it only took a small nudge of the most relevant fans to send ticket sales flying. Given our efficient spend and dramatic conversion rate, our on sale ad run earned an incredible 1,115X return on ad spend (ROAS), after only essentially one day of paid lead time. Our conversion rate was so high, Outside Lands was paying mere pennies to sell a GA weekend pass worth hundreds of dollars.

It's safe to say that paid social is here to stay. Just like any other ad placement, you have to pay to reach the right people. But that doesn't mean organic is dead. In fact, being smart about who you pay to target so you can start that viral trend is the perfect way to pair paid and earned media.

Outside Lands Tradable Bits Testimonial quote

Tradable Bits works with music festivals and sports teams to help them build better fan experiences. By facilitating data exchange between fans and brands, we assist festivals in activating their fan data to personalize their event experience and improve their marketing ROI.

Outside Lands in partnership with Superfly Presents congregates hundreds of thousands of music lovers to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for three days of fun. Join the party:


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