2.4x ROAS & most successful ticket sale effort in 10 years for the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus

The Main Result

2.4x ROAS (return on ad spend) and most successful ticket sale effort in 10 years for their spring show.


The Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus had one primary goal in mind: ticket sales. New audience testing and exploration a secondary goal. 

The spring show has historically underperformed in terms of attendance. On the other hand, the winter show almost always sells out completely.

The scope of work I was handed had some roadblocks:

  • No creative production/editing; limited to two static images
  • Limited time allocated hands-on ad management and optimizations
  • While setting up the campaign, I was with them in person training and walking them through how to do Facebook Ads!

New industry, new scope, new challenges. 

Let’s dive into it.

Step 1: Planning and Launch

Before we even touched the Facebook Ads Manager, I opened up a blank word doc.

I made SURE we went over all the details of the event, the historical context, messaging, audiences, and assets available.

The budget was pretty tight like I mentioned. Not just with my time, but the ad budget as well. With the show five weeks away, we had to make each moment and dollar count.

We identified their core audience of past event attendees, friends and supporters on social, a different age demo different than their current core fans, and then a broad audience of people around the Sacramento region.

I crafted fun and unique ad copy and headlines with the clients in the chairs next to me. Especially with the limited time and training component of the scope, this was key to leverage their expertise of how to speak about their brand and shows. I guided them in the right way with best practices in terms of styles of ads ranging from length, emoji use, and intensity of calls to action.

We matched a couple different unique messages to each of the audiences and divided up the budget. 

I learned that most of their sales typically came from 2-4 weeks out so we were going to start with a heavy push in the beginning and then again in the last week leading up to the first show on Friday night (the second was Saturday afternoon).

Running out of time, I set up the campaign as an event response campaign as I thought this might be the best bang for their buck, walked through how to translate all the work we did in the word doc to the Ads Manager and launched we went.

Step 2: Ad Management and Optimizations

We agreed to spend 70% of the budget in the first two weeks with the final 30% coming in that last seven to ten days leading up to the show.

We received HUNDREDS of event responses, but not many ticket sales. 

Floating right below 1x ROAS. 


Once that two week flight ended, I asked my clients if I could move some hours around in the contract so I could be more hands on with this last flight of ads.

They agreed.

I got to work in reviewing the data; we received really cost effective clicks and a higher than average CTR but the event response campaign wasn’t immediately translating to ticket sales.

Optimizations I made:

  • I cut back significantly on the new audience they wanted to test and focused on what was working the best, a lookalike audience of their past event responders. 
  • I updated the ad copy to add a sense of urgency ex “only two weeks left to get your tickets!..” and narrowed down the ad variations that performed the best. Depending on the audience, it varied between the short and long versions of the ad.
  • I also switched objectives and sent traffic directly to the ticket sales page and implemented Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO). This was new and scary to many advertisers in 2019 as ad set budget optimization has been the way things worked for the last decade. CBO has been declared as mandatory in late 2019 and now shifted to 2020 for some users – I figured now was a good time to give it a shot.

I usually don’t like making so many changes at once but with limited time and budget, it was go time.

Step 3: Results and Takeaways

Based on the changes I made, the timing of the show approaching, and even potentially some of the event responders from flight #1 getting notified the day before/day of the show… 

…we ended up being at a 6.4x ROAS during flight #2!

I was beyond stoked and my clients were, too.

2.4x ROAS overall and the most successful ticket sale effort in 10 years.

A few takeaways:

  • Listen/plan before you act. Had I just went nose deep into Facebook Ads Manager before laying everything out in the word doc, it probably would have been a mess. I would’ve forgotten to ask some important questions AND the information translating to navigating the Ads Manager wouldn’t have been as smooth.
  • Work WITH your clients, not on your own. They have knowledge and expertise just like you do, just in different ways.
  • A plan is just a baseline of expectations. Things don’t always go according to plan. Don’t freak out, take a step back and remember your past experiences of success and trust your skills.

Really successful project.

Clients were engaged and trusting. I was able to provide immense value by training the basics of Facebook ads WHILE delivering a profitable ad campaign at the same time despite pretty clear constraints with assets, time and budget.

Wins all around!

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Here is a quote from John about working with me (he also talks about our successful recruitment campaign for the chorus which was phase 2 of the project): 

I worked with Matt in these Spring and Summer months this year in my capacity as the Membership Chairman for the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus. He had previously been working with our Executive Director on marketing our Spring show, which was our most successful ticket sale effort in ten years, Matt was very patient and super easy to work with, especially as I am not the most technically savvy person I know.

Together we created a mini-plan for marketing the Chorus to potential new singers through online ads using social media platforms. His advice on creating content (creating three distinct ad flavors) and timing, as well as how best to target the right audiences, proved to be quite successful. We had our biggest class of newcomers ever this season and most were the result of his expertise. Matt kept me informed of our results (even teaching me how to interpret them) throughout the campaign and was always available when I had questions.

John Kraynak, Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus

Next Steps

Liked what John had to say? Enjoyed reading the case study? Contact me and let’s talk about how we can work together!

DM or email matt@mattladydigital.com.

Thanks for reading!


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