How To Use Paid Search & Social Ads For Promoting Events

In the past few years, COVID has changed how businesses host private events and interact with customers and the community.

Special events have changed, and time-sensitive activities have a more flexible virtual perspective.

Generating awareness and gaining engagement goes perfectly with promoting through paid search and social advertising.

Consider promoting business events as a separate strategy from your ongoing campaigns, so have a dedicated budget and set up.

The event should receive a separate and unique targeting strategy and messaging.

Let’s dig in!

What types of events can be promoted?

First, let’s look at some examples of possible “events”:

  • Virtual conferences.
  • Webinars.
  • Major openings or re-openings.
  • Business shows “back to normal”.
  • Company booth at trade fairs.
  • Speaking at trade shows.
  • Product launch.
  • Open houses.
  • Sales events.
  • Pet adoption.
  • Sports Events.
  • Festivals, fairs and farmer’s markets.
  • Register for classes, either virtually or in person.

For an Event, we’re generally looking for a special activity that’s notable outside of the normal business, with limited time to participate.

What to consider before setting up a campaign

You can add any special event to your campaigns as an ad extension, such as a sitelink or promotion extension.

Please note that promotion add-ons are sales promotions and require a discounted amount. Both must include the start and end dates that were set up in the addon build.

Screenshot from Google Ads ad extensions July 2022

You must create a new campaign for each event to understand its settings and to track conversions and ROI for each event.

Allocating event campaigns to their own incremental budget, rather than diverting from running campaigns, will help keep the main account stable and retain its size.

4 tips for designing event campaigns

After creating a new campaign for your event and allocating its own budget, there are many other factors that should be considered unique to event promotion.

1. Be clear, concise and creative

Responsive search and display ads related to the event should follow best practices with clear details of the purpose, date and time of the event and an engaging call-to-action.

Researchers must know how to participate, sign up, or sign up.

As with standard marketing practices, you’ll want to come up with some features, benefits, and any unique selling proposition if it’s a competitive business event.

Paid events such as conferences or courses often offer “early advance specials” or group discounts. Make sure to include this in your ad copy.

Bells and whistles: Try a countdown It can be included in ads on Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. Microsoft owns the Explanation About how the countdown feature works.

Here is a Google Ads example of setting this up in the header:

Google countdownScreenshot from Google Ads, July 2022

Unfortunately, not everything is so fun and joyful. In today’s post-COVID business environment, it will be important to address the following simply in the ad and in detail on the landing page:

  • virtual or personal.
  • Relevant government safety guidelines.
  • Event safety requirements, such as the use of masks, social distancing, etc.
  • Responsibility for event security or attendee expectations.

2. Timing

The timing of designing event campaigns is crucial, especially if your event is only happening for a few days or for a single day.

  • Do you want to reach your audience on the specific days of the event? Or build on it for days, weeks or months?
  • Does event “prep” promotion require a different approach than during the event?

For example, promoting weeks before a webinar or product launch makes sense. Some local events may only require a few days, so they are fresh in the user’s mind.

When setting run dates and ad schedule, pay attention to what time of day the ads end. Google will end at midnight that day, so you could miss an entire day.

Facebook has the ability to set a specific time of day. Please note that this is in military hours!

3. Websites

Geo-targeting will largely be determined by the location of the event, but there are a few things to consider.

Depending on the density of your customer base, geographic targeting will look different for each advertiser. For example:

  • The local sidewalk sale in the city will have a narrow radius or target city.
  • A large event, such as a trade fair, will have attendance from the local area and travelers to the area.
  • A national goal, like a webinar, will present the biggest challenges to over-targeting to reach your audience.

With national targeting, you may want to prioritize budget allocation to major metro areas. Another method is to review customer purchase data for revenue trends or ROI by location.

4. Targeting

Your event targeting may be different than your main ad account targeting.

Let’s take the example of a tech trade show because this applies to many scenarios where the event is in a physical location.

Assuming your ad copy is event specific, you’ll need to reach people who are looking at or near the show while they’re physically at it.

Search queries used in Google and Bing can fall into keyword combinations such as:

  • Technologies on show.
  • companies at the fair.
  • Display name, such as “Technology Expo”.

These potential search terms provide a great opportunity to target individuals who are currently at the event.

As a keyword layer, or on its own, you can target your market in search engines using audience lists such as “technology news and trends” or “new technology products” within your target geography.

Interests and behaviors will be our primary targeting strategy on Facebook and other paid social media channels.

Obviously, interests and behaviors will be our primary targeting strategy on Facebook and other paid social media channels.Screenshot from Facebook Ads, July 2022

Bonus tip: How to cash in on events (local or otherwise) even if you don’t participate in them!

If you assume throughout this post that you participate in or host events, that’s great, but you can also eliminate any events related to your business to get more exposure.

For example, in the spring, home performances are in full swing.

Even if you don’t participate in the show, you can take advantage of the show about the show to promote your local home services or related content on your website.

Given today’s business environment, being armed with fresh tips on promoting your business event will be paramount to achieving success.

Think creatively about how you can reach your target audience to participate or sign up in person or online. The key is to laser focus on the site, the researcher’s intent, and related interests.

good luck!

More resources:

  • Succeeding in the Age of Pay-Per-Click Automation: The Paid Search Marketing Roadmap
  • SEO for Events: 5 Tips to Increase Visibility and Increase Attendance
  • Pay-per-click trends 2022

Featured image: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

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