How to Use Paid Search and Social Advertising to Promote Events

Over the past few years, COVID has changed the way businesses host special events and engage with customers and communities.

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

Raising awareness and gaining engagement through paid search and social advertising is exactly in line with promotions.

Think of business event promotions as a different strategy than an ongoing event, so it has a dedicated budget and setup.

Activities should receive separate and unique targeting and messaging strategies.

Let’s dig deeper!

What types of events can be promoted?

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

  • virtual meeting.
  • Internet Conference.
  • Grand opening or reopening.
  • “Back to normal” business offerings.
  • The company’s booth at the exhibition.
  • Speak at the show.
  • product release.
  • Open house.
  • Sales Activity.
  • Pet adoption.
  • sporting events.
  • Festivals, fairs and farmers markets.
  • Register for classes, whether virtual or in-person.

For “events,” we typically look for special, noteworthy activities outside of normal business, with limited engagement time.

Things to Consider Before Campaign Setup

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

Note that promotion extensions are promotions and require a discounted amount. Both should include the start and end dates set in the extension creation.

Screenshot of Google Ads ad extensions, July 2022

A new campaign should be created for each event to accommodate its settings and track the conversion rate and ROI for each event.

Allocating your own extra budget to campaign activity, rather than diverting it from an ongoing campaign, will help keep the master account stable and maintain volume.

4 Tips for Designing Events Events

After creating a new event for your event and allocating its own budget, there are many other factors to consider to promote the event.

1. Be clear, concise and creative

Event-related responsive search and display ads should follow best practices and provide clear details about the event’s purpose, date, time, and attractive CTA.

Searchers should understand how to participate, sign up or sign up.

As with standard marketing practice, if this is a competitive business venture, you will need to incorporate some features, benefits and any unique selling propositions.

Paid events such as conferences or training sessions often offer “early bird specials” or group discounts. Be sure to include it in your ad copy.

bells and whistles: try countdown timer Can be inserted into ads on Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.Microsoft has a great explain How the countdown function works.

Here’s an example of Google Ads setting this in the header:

Google countdownScreenshot of Google Ads, July 2022

Unfortunately, it’s not all fun and flashy. In today’s post-COVID business environment, it’s important to simply address the following questions in the ad and detail it on the landing page:

  • Virtual or in-person.
  • Relevant government safety guidelines.
  • Activity safety requirements, such as the use of masks, social distancing, etc.
  • Event safety responsibilities or attendee expectations.

2. Timing

The timing of designing an event event is critical, especially if your event only happens for a few days or a day.

  • Do you want to reach your audience on the exact date of your event? Or for days, weeks, months?
  • Does an “accumulate” promotion for an event require a different approach than during the event?

For example, it’s common sense to pitch a few weeks before a webinar or product launch. Some local events may only take a few days, so it’s fresh in the user’s mind.

When setting run dates and ad schedules, pay attention to when the ad ends. Google will end at midnight that day, so you may miss the whole day.

Facebook can set specific times of day. Mind you, this is military time!

3. Location

Geotargeting largely depends on the location of the event, but there are a few things to consider.

Depending on the density of the customer base, each advertiser’s geotargeting will look different. E.g:

  • A city’s local sidewalk sales will have a narrow radius or city target.
  • Larger events, such as trade shows, will have attendees from the local area and travelers to the region.
  • A national goal, such as a webinar, will have the biggest challenge in achieving hyper-targeting to reach your audience.

For country targeting, you may want to prioritize budget allocations over major metropolitan areas. Another way is to look at your customer purchase data by location to see trends in revenue or ROI.

4. Positioning

The targeting of events may differ from the primary ad account targeting.

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

Assuming the ad copy is event-specific, you’ll want to reach people searching on or near the show floor.

Search queries for Google and Bing may fall into keyword groupings, such as:

  • Technology at the show.
  • Exhibiting companies.
  • The name of the exhibition, such as “Tech Expo”.

These possible search terms provide a great opportunity to target individuals who are currently actually attending the event.

As a layer of keywords, or on their own, you can target your market in search engines by using audience lists such as “Technology News and Trends” or “New Technology Products” within your target geographic area.

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

Interests and behaviors will obviously be our primary targeting strategy across Facebook and other paid social media channels.Screenshot of Facebook ad, July 2022

Bonus tip: How to take advantage of events (local or otherwise) even if you’re not participating!

If you’ve been assuming throughout this post that you’re participating in or hosting these events, that’s fine, but you can also piggyback on any events related to your business for extra exposure.

In spring, for example, home improvement shows are in full swing.

Even if you are not at the show, you can use the exposure around the show to promote your local home services or related content on your website.

Given today’s business environment, mastering new skills in advertising business events is critical to success.

Think creatively about how to reach your target audience to participate or sign up in person or online. The key is to focus on location, searcher intent, and relevant interests.

Broken leg!

More resources:

Featured Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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