How Social Media Influenced Coachella


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Coachella didn’t start off because the Met Gala for influencers.

The festival was first held in October 1999 and was intended to be an accessible event for alternative music fans. Held just three months after the infamous Woodstock ‘99, the primary Coachella had an audience of just 25,000 people and did not make a profit, costing organizers nearly $1 million.

After taking a yr off, Coachella made its comeback in April 2001. While Coachella began picking up popularity in its first decade, the 2010s ushered in a distinctly recent era for the festival and it became a profitable and style-defining event.

So, what modified?

In its first few years, Coachella featured predominantly alternative artists, with headliners like Beck and Rage Against the Machine. By the 2010s, mainstream artists including Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce began drawing larger crowds.

What began as a single-day event evolved right into a six-day festival spanning over consecutive weekends.  By 2016, there have been over 99,000 attendees at Coachella each weekend — combined to be nearly 10x the attendance of the primary event.

How Influencer Marketing Modified Coachella

The rise of social media also had a serious impact on Coachella’s growth. Influencer culture and “festival fashion” became nearly synonymous with the event.

As content creators and celebrities began attending Coachella in droves, what they wore nearly overshadowed what was happening on stage. Brands, particularly brands that relied on influencer marketing, began leveraging Coachella as a pivotal a part of their business strategies.

In 2015 and 2016 H&M partnered with Coachella organizers to launch #HMLovesCoachella, a clothing collection that captures the boho aesthetic the festival is thought for. H&M also hosted a pop-up shop at the 2016 festival where attendees could purchase the garments on-site.

Perhaps no company has used Coachella as an influencer marketing tool as heavily because the LA-based clothing company Revolve.

How Revolve Uses Influencer Marketing at Coachella to Drive Revenue

It’s reported that just about 70% of the company’s sales come from influencers, and experiential marketing with content creators at events like Coachella is a core revenue driver.

Since 2015, Revolve has hosted Revolve Festival, an invite-only party for celebrities and influencers.

Over time Revolve Festival has made headlines for partnering with celebrity brands like Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila and Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Beauty, and for last yr’s transportation issues that left influencers comparing the party to 2017’s disastrous Fyre Festival.  

Despite the controversy, Revolve Festival, combined with content distributed by influencers wearing Revolve’s clothes, has helped the brand generate an astounding five billion social and media impressions.

Between sponsors throwing money at the chance to have their brands seen on the event, and influencers turning their experiences into content for his or her followers, Coachella has gone from a modest music festival to a $1+ billion marketing machine.

Elsewhere in Marketing

The newest marketing news and strategy insights.

Instagram is now letting users put as much as five links in their bio.

YouTube is ending its in-video shopping feature.

Twitter gives Twitter Blue subscribers the power to monetize their popular tweets.

Google is reportedly working on an AI-powered search engine to compete with Bing and OpenAI.

AI in content marketing: the HubSpot blog recently surveyed a bunch of marketers to learn the way they’re using AI of their processes.


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