How to Promote an Event Online Successfully: Ad Summit Kyiv 2018 Case

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In the era of summits, conferences and a variety of educational events, you have to invite not only top speakers, offer quality information and organize everything on the high level, but also to promote an event effectively. In this article, we describe how to promote an event online successfully by showing one of our case which is an international conference Ad Summit 2018.

What is Ad Summit?

Ad Summit is a global digital advertising conference dedicated to mobile & video online advertising. The conference brings together 700+ professionals to lead the conversation on mobile user acquisition and monetization, and video advertising. Conference speakers are experts from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tune, Criteo, inMobi, and other companies that are trendsetters in video and mobile advertising. The geography of participants includes Europe, USA, Australia and other countries.

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The Task

The conference was held on May 16-17, 2018 in Kiev. The Median ads team had the following objectives:

  1. To highlight information about the conference and its benefits on social networks Facebook and Instagram;
  2. To increase event awareness;
  3. To sell 200+ tickets with a CPA >$25.

Geo: CIS, Europe.

The start of advertising campaigns was scheduled for January 2018.


To promote AdSummit 2018, we developed a unique communication strategy for interacting with the audience within the specified timeline. “Facts tell, but stories sell,” said Bryan Eisenbergone, who is one of the creators of so-called method “Persuasion Architecture,” which helps to enhance conversions.

Separately for a cold and warm audience, we created a communication strategy and some kind of “scenario”, which was consisted of 6 steps. Each step meant the substitution of messages and creatives for the target audience. We warmed up the audience and stimulated demand with the help of the change of communication at every step of the scenario. Moreover, it has an impact on the gradual formation of audience knowledge about the event.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps of our “scenario”.

Step 1. Early Birds

The first step was the promotion of a unique offer “early birds”. The audience had the limited opportunity to purchase tickets at a special price — only $99.

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Step 2. Details about AdSummit

After special offer, we began to talk about the event in details and focused user’s  attention on its main advantages:

  • the biggest digital conference in the CIS;
  • top speakers from international companies;
  • insights and cases from the world of mobile and video advertising;
  • professional environment and networking.

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Step 3. Ad Summit 2017

At this step, we began to talk about the Ad Summit 2017 to form knowledge about the event. We used a video about the past event as a creative.

The creatives included interesting facts and figures to attract the audience’s attention: for example, there were 350 participants from 18 countries at the conference, 10 top speakers. And again we reminded all the benefits of the event.

Step 4. About the speakers

After the story about the last conference, we moved to the line-up demonstration of Ad Summit 2018 and a presentation of each of them.

It is necessary to speak about speakers interestingly, using all facts. After all, a certain number of conference participants buys a ticket because they are eager to hear a particular person or some specific information. For the acquisition campaign, we used banner galleries, which differed among themselves by the specialization of speakers (social media, programmatic, etc.). We launched video invitations from each of the speakers for retargeting.

Step 5. Now or never

After the presentation of the event and speakers, it was the turn to remind the audience that the start date of AdSummit is already very close and there are fewer tickets on sale.

In this step, we replaced the videos with static banners and used a strong CTA to make a purchase.

Step 6. Countdown

Countdowns work very well as a part of stimulating demand for hot audience. 5 days before the start of the conference, we began to launch a countdown to motivate the audience to buy tickets. Every day there was a substitution of creatives with the countdown to the beginning of the summit: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 to go!”, which helped heat the audience and exceed KPI. We will talk about our results later.

Ad Campaign Structure

The cost of Ad Summit ticket was $99-$399.

We have created separate campaigns for targeting in Ukraine and in Europe:

  • Acquisition campaign for cold traffic.
  • Retargeting campaign for a warm audience that was already on the site.
  • First-party data: all leads from the last event Ad Summit 2017.

As we mentioned in the last section, the communication strategy for each campaign was different and was developed for the entire promotion period. Such an approach is essential for raising the awareness of the project and building the audience’s knowledge of it. According to a Curalate survey, only 11% of users make an online purchase immediately after seeing an advertisement, while 44% are not in a hurry to get a credit card.

Ultimately, we proved it with achieved results.


  • SOLD OUT — results exceeded the goal in 2 times.
  • The goal was 200 purchases with CPA <$25.
  • We’ve sold 398 tickets with CPA $16,07.
  • Average ticket cost = $200.

3 content packs were created:

  • for the acquisition campaigns: personalized banners for each speaker, gallery for every direction (mobile ads, programmatic);
  • for retargeting campaigns: personalized video invitations.

We sold 59 tickets during the acquisition campaign and 339 tickets — during retargeting.

The peculiarity of promoting events is that it’s necessary to form the audience’s need to attend the event. During developing a communication strategy, we didn’t consider the number of days that a person was on the retargeting list. We took into account the number of remaining days before the event. In the case of the promotion of events, it’s important to create the complete substitution of messages correctly and gradually in order to be logical and clear for users.

To Sum Up

We always state that the targeting settings do not determine the results, but only correlate them. The most important part is the communication strategy. In the Ad Summit case, we created it for each audience separately: cold, warm and hot ones.

It’s important not to forget to indicate the facts and figures in the messages: how many people attended past events, how many participants have already registered, how many free tickets are left. The countdown works very well as well, what we proved at the 6th step of our “scenario”.

After we decided what approach to use, we built a model and used it to promote in different markets. By adopting these rules, you will improve your communication strategy, but no one will tell you what you have to talk about. There is no universal approach. Only you know the uniqueness of your offer and the characteristics of your audience, which allow you to promote your event successfully. If you need help with promoting online or offline events, just contact us.

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