How to Promote Events on Social Networks | Median ads
We live in an era of summits, workshops, conferences, and many educational events online anf offline. Regardless of their format and size, not only top speakers and a well-thought-out program will help convince people to come but also a competent communication strategy and promotion. In this article, we will talk about how to promote events on social media using our own cases: AdSummit 2018 and 2019, Ad Insight 2019, and Armin Only 2017.
Ad Summit is an annual global digital advertising conference dedicated to mobile & video online advertising, where international industry leaders share strategies, tools, and cases. Conference speakers are experts from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tune, Criteo, inMobi and other companies that are trendsetters in video and mobile advertising. The geographic location of participants includes Europe, USA, Australia as well as other countries.
Median ads promoted the conference in 2018 and 2019. But let’s take it in order.
Ad Summit 2018
The conference was held on May 16-17, 2018 in Kiev. The Median ads team came to the table with the following objectives:
Highlight information about the conference and its benefits on social networks Facebook and Instagram;
Increase event awareness;
Sell 200+ tickets with a CPA >$25.
Geo: CIS, Europe, and the start of advertising campaigns was scheduled for January 2018.
While promoting an event, it’s worthwhile to understand that the standard approach with moving potential costumers through a sales funnel using retargeting, will not work. Well, it will work, but communication and presentation of information should be different. In such cases, time goes in the opposite direction, if we may say so, and you need to work with the user based not on what stage of the funnel he is, but according to a pre-designed “scenario”.
To promote AdSummit 2018, as well as to promote other events, we have developed a unique communication strategy for interacting with the audience within the 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.
For a cold and warm audience, we created a communication strategy and a certain “scenario” of 6 steps, each of which meant replacing 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. All messages were interconnected and told a “story” about the conference. Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps.
Step 1. Early Birds
The first stage from which we started the promotion is a unique offer for the “early birds.” The audience had the opportunity to buy tickets at a special price – $ 99.
Step 2. Details about AdSummit
After the Early Birds, we began to talk about the event in details and what awaits the audience who will visit it, focusing 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.
Step 3. Ad Summit 2017
At this step, we began to talk about Ad Summit 2017 to formulate some knowledge about the event. We used a video about the past event as 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 about all the benefits of the event.
Step 4. About the speakers Ad Summit 2018
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 in an interesting manner, 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. On the same stage with representatives of top international companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., on behalf of Median ads, Evgeni Mokin spoke on the promotion of applications on the Facebook network.
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 time 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.
As a result of the advertising campaign, we have sold twice more tickets than expected, and the total number of tickets sold was 398 with an average ticket price of $ 200. CPA – $ 16.07.
Ad Summit 2019
In 2019, the conference was held on May 16 and was reduced to one day and speakers’ speeches on one stage, and not parallel on two, like last year. This time we had the following objectives:
Remind about the conference and its advantages on the social networks Facebook and Instagram;
sell 500 tickets with a CPA of no more than $ 25.
Geo: Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Israel, Poland, Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Cyprus. The start of advertising campaigns was scheduled for January 2019.
Like last year, we prepared a communication strategy with a breakdown into a scenario plan, which consisted of 8 steps with the substitution of messages and creatives. Let’s consider each of them.
Step 1. Early Birds
At this stage everything is extremely traditional: whoever buys earlier gets a special ticket price, which depends on the selected Basic / Standard / Gold package.
Step 2. How it was in 2018 + CTA Early Birds
To refresh and activate the memories of last year’s conference participants, we used an emotional video about Ad Summit 2018 as a new creative. We focused on a loyal audience who already knows about the event, which means that they may be interested in buying tickets in advance, especially at Early Birds price.
We launched the same video on the acquisition. For a new audience, it worked as evidence of the seriousness and usefulness of the event. Moreover, interviews with last year’s visitors served as an additional motivation for making a purchase decision. This decision worked for a cold audience almost as effectively as it did for a loyal one.
Step 3. Informing about the concept of the event
After the organizers announced the concept of the event and highlighted thematic accents for future speeches, we brought this information to users. But, without mentioning the speakers and line-up, because these anchors were planned to be used in communication later. At this stage, we simply inform about the main idea of the conference.
In parallel, we launched the 1 + 1 = 3 promotion: when buying 2 tickets, the third one is a gift. We launched this offer in parallel impressions not on the funnel, but on all visitors of the page. Yes, we had an audience overlap, but since the offers were different, then the overlap is intentional.
Step 4. Reviews: why it is valuable to participate
This stage can be called the stage of value building. Yes, we already talked about the concept of the event and showed a video from last year, which certainly created some value in the minds of users, but feedback from real visitors can complete this process. It is natural because the opinions of people like you affect the decision to make the purchase more than advertising slogans.
Step 5. About Ad Summit 2019 speakers
Now we come close to the line-up and speaker demonstrations. This year, we also presented each speaker separately, trying to make the story interesting, focusing on the audience, for which this could be key information and the main trigger.
Step 6. Video invitation from TOP speakers
After we announced the line-up and introduced the speakers, invitation video were launched. The headliners of the conference addressed the users personally, which was a logical continuation of the previous stage and the opportunity to further motivate the audience.
Step 7.Now or never
Two weeks before the event, we launched creatives with a more aggressive CTA message, recalling that very little time remaining till the conference and not many tickets left. At this stage, we can also talk about the availability of a limited number of tickets at a certain price.
Step 8. Countdown
5 days before the start of the conference, we launched a countdown with a daily replacement of creatives. The motivation to buy tickets, along with the time limit for making the final decision, stimulated well the audience “prepared” in advance.
As a result of the advertising campaign, we sold 359 tickets at a price of $ 14.94 and were able to attract many more visitors from foreign countries to the event than the previous year.
The most effective, from the point of conversions, proved to be 5 out of 8 communication messages: Early Birds, How it was, Reviews, Video Invitation and Countdown. The least weak was the stage of informing about the concept of the event, however, it cannot be missed from the communication strategy for obvious reasons. It is best to combine it with other messages and visuals, for example, reviews.
Ad Insight 2019
Ad Insight Conference – an international conference on advertising in social media. In 2019, the event was held for the first time. The organizers were Median ads and NGN agency, as well as SMM Rocks. Three workshops, one panel discussion, 9 speeches, and 13 speakers from 5 countries who talked about their own practical approaches and shared productive cases. We were faced with the tasks:
talk about the conference on social networks Facebook and Instagram, as the event was held for the first time;
make the event recognizable;
create the event value
sell 200 tickets with CPA not more than 15% of the ticket price.
Geo: Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Poland. The start of advertising campaigns was scheduled for August 2019.
To promote Ad Insight Conference 2019, we also developed a communication strategy for interacting with the audience as part of a timeline with scenarios. However, in this case, in addition to creatives, the cost of tickets changed at different stages of promotion. This worked as an incentive to make a purchase earlier at a lower cost, as additional newsbreak, and also allowed to strengthen the motivation. Now let’s look at each of the steps closer.
Step 1. Grand announcement
Due to the fact that the conference was held for the first time, it was necessary to announce it by making a large-scale announcement. To do this, we made an invitation video on behalf of the organizers, in which we talked about the event, announced its date, mentioned speaker from the United States, explained to whom the event would be interesting, and what benefits could be gained as a result of visiting it.
Since there were no tickets on sale yet, we were stimulating customers not on buy, but to leave applications. That’s why we were collecting intentions. Registration was carried out on a landing page with a transition to the Facebook messenger chatbot, where each user was assigned with a specific tag. When user entered chat he received messages according to a pre-prepared flow. Special tag and Manychat made it possible to continue communication and mailings, segmenting the audience.
Step 2. Early Birds
The opportunity to buy tickets at a discounted price among the first lucky ones is a good trigger that can be used to promote any event. In our case, users could purchase one of the first 30 tickets at a cost of 1900 UAH. After two weeks, the cost was supposed to increase to 2300 UAH.
As a result, we managed to sell 25 tickets in the first 2 days after the launch of the campaign, and the remaining 5 in the next few. That’s why we had to increase the cost of tickets earlier than the expected date. The transition to the next stage of communication also had to be accelerated.
After each stage of communication, we increased the cost of tickets, accompanying this with the corresponding creatives: “3 days left before the price increase”, etc.
Step 3, 4, and 5. Line-up
Unlike the previous two events, the announcement of the speakers was divided into 3 stages. This is due to several factors:
the conference was held for the first time, which means we did not have the opportunity to share feedback and impressions of previous events;
the number of speakers disposed of telling more about each of them;
In users’ minds an opinion about Ad Insight has not yet been formed, so the task was to show its value by providing more detailed information about speakers and announced speeches.
As creatives, we used several options for the static presentation of speakers. Firstly, we divided them into groups of 4 people, and later we demonstrated each one separately, supplementing creatives with information about the topic of the speech. In addition, we used video in the format of the Carousel.
Step 6. Video invitation of the top speakers
We selected 4 main speakers of the conference, to whom we recorded the maximum interest of the audience. A small video invitation was made with each of them. These materials formed the basis of an advertising promotion for the next two weeks.
Step 7. Now or never
After we talked about the event and the speakers, shared the schedule, topics of speeches and workshops, it was time to remind the audience that the event was coming soon, and the number of available tickets was limited. At this stage, we used a square 15-second video in the form of animated banners.
Step 8. Countdown
The traditional countdown which we launched 5 days before the start, was supplemented by information that there were almost no tickets. This encouraged users not to procrastinate with their purchase decisions. At this stage, the cost of tickets amounted to 3700 UAH.
As a result of the advertising campaign, which lasted two and a half months, we sold 250 tickets overfulfilling the plan, the cost of which at different stages of the strategy ranged from 1900 to 3700 UAH. We reached 19% of the average ticket price per sale.
As we have already mentioned more than once, Ad Insight 2019 was held for the first time, which set us some additional tasks in comparison with the promotion of a well-known event, with history and reputation. We thoroughly prepared for the first stage of promotion, informing and arousing interest at the same time, thanks to which at the Early Birds step we were able to sell all 30 announced tickets at a low cost.
The steps related to the lineup weren’t that successful, but this, according to feedback, could be related to the content. The topics of the speeches were prepared for specialists who already have some experience and expertise, which is why many users could not evaluate the usefulness of this content for themselves. But in the end, in the later stages of the promotion, the majority of “doubters” nevertheless made a purchase.
After completing stage 6 (invitation videos), we did not reach the set KPIs, however, the sharp increase in the number of transactions in the Now or Never and Countdown stages allowed us not only to achieve our goals but also to exceed our sales plan.
If in the process of promoting Ad Summit 2018 the number of sales grew evenly with each subsequent step, then the Ad Insight Conference 2019 case showed a jump-like sales chart, when after the first rise there was a long decline, culminating in a sharp increase. But this, again, is explained quite simply – the event was held for the first time.
Armin Only Embrace 2017
It should not be thought that such methods of promotion and the development of communication strategies with scenarios we began to apply only recently. Working on earlier projects, we also implemented similar principles. But depending on the characteristics of each individual project, it is important to make relevant changes. An example of this is the Armin Only Embrace 2017 case, the promotion scheme of which is a little bit different from the ones described above.
Armin Only Embrace is a six-hour non-stop performance of the legendary DJ and musician Armin van Buren, which was held in Kiev on February 25, 2017. The program was based on the tracks of his at that time new album Embrace. Our task was to inform about the event, create demand and sell 12,500 tickets on all channels, the cost of which ranged from $ 50 to $ 300.
We segmented the audience depending on the stages of the funnel, changing communication accordingly. If the user left the site at the stage of choosing a place or buying a ticket, we caught him up with the “choose a place” and “complete the checkout” messages accordingly.
If a person was just viewing the event but did not go further, he was led according to the scenario described in previous cases. The same rule applied to work with a cold audience.
For each stage of the script, we developed a creative with a specific communication message, which was launched on the selected audience for a period of 1-2-3 weeks, depending on how much time we have for the advertising campaign as a whole. After some creatives have worked, the following are launched. Here you can go in two ways: stop the creatives in the existing ad set and start new ones there, or duplicate the set and work with new creatives in it. Which option to choose? It depends on your goals and the results of the previous step.
Keeping the old set, we also keep optimization, thanks to which the system understands to whom to show ads, regardless of the novelty of the advertisement. In the new group, optimization starts from the beginning, and the system looks for an audience to show. If you record a good level of sales and see that optimization works in your favor, it’s better to change your creative, but not your ad set. If the optimization does not work very well or you need to convey an important message to the audience, for example, about a new headliner, it’s better to show the announcement to as many people as possible, including a new audience. In this case it is worth giving the system the opportunity to re-learn, so creating a new ad group would be a better solution.
We are convinced that targeting settings correlate results, not determine them, because the main part of the promotion strategy is communication. By promoting events it will be hard for you to achieve high results if you only accompany users in the sales funnel, changing communication. It is worth focusing on the PR component of the promotion, cultivating value first, rather than trying to sell right away.
Cases such as AdSummit and Ad Insight demonstrate that different things affect the decision to buy tickets: someone focuses on speakers, someone focuses on topics of speeches, someone focuses on potential networking, etc. All this is a newsbreak and a trigger that can be used both in communication and in purchase stimulating, without forgetting to develop different messages and creatives for a warm and cold audience. Each user will respond differently to messages from different stages of the script, and in total we will get the desired sales result.
Moreover, each of the steps should be regulated by the budget with its constant revision, if necessary. At the beginning of the campaign, you should focus on acquisition, and towards the end – reallocate the budget in favor of retargeting. To understand when it is best to do this, you need to monitor the dynamics in analytics.
If we see that a certain communication works well, we increase budget expenditures accordingly, if on the contrary, creatives work worse than expected, we reduce the cost of acquisitions or turn off unsuccessful communication earlier. Instead, we launch the next, potentially more effective, and follow the indicators so that, if it is successful, increase the budget and extend the delivery time.
It is important to remember that a universal approach does not exist, and each individual case has its own unique offer and features of the target audience. Taking into account our experience and advices, you can work out and improve your own communication strategy, increasing the effectiveness of the advertising campaign as a whole.
If you need help promoting an online or offline event, you can always contact us for the development of an individual strategy and the implementation of advertising campaigns.