If you’re wondering how it is already 2023…we are too. And if you work in marketing, you know Q1 is ramp-up time for Q2 — AKA trade show and event season. For the past few years during the pandemic, in-person events were limited, but in the post-pandemic world, we need to be more strategic than ever. Without proper strategy and promotion, your otherwise great event may be a flop. We’ve curated a few of our favorite paid advertising channels for event marketing that have been successful for our clients.
Start Your Planning
First things first: let’s think about strategy. A simple strategy can make a huge difference and align which platforms you promote your event on. Here is how we recommend thinking about platform selection for your event in 2023:
1) On what channels does your target audience spend their time?
2) Does the platform have favorable reach?
3) Does the event budget align on-platform for what outcome you want to receive for attendance?
4) What other companies are attending and did they promote on the same channels on your team’s radar last year?
5) What are your team’s creative abilities or limitations? Can you outsource creative initiatives if your team isn’t well versed in some areas to expand your advertising efforts? Dedicated landing pages and proper creative assets will be key in promoting in-person events.
6) Is your legal and finance team in line with your promotional efforts and able to offer any incentives for early bird registration or promo codes to push sign-ups?
After narrowing down the previously mentioned criteria, it’s time to decide on what channels you want to promote. We’ve listed some that have played out favorably for our clients in the past.
Typically an underrated channel for in-person events, PPC such as Google Ads or MSFT Ads, call outs on your ads “meet us at our Booth X,” adding the date of your event, as well as the ability to upload prospect lists allows for effective marketing from your digital to in-person presence.
Custom landing pages that can offer potential discounts for early-bird, group, and individual registration may entice attendance.
Display advertising on both Google and MSFT also allows for a more visual approach to call out promotional offers for Remarketing to drive past visitors who haven’t quite committed yet to do so.
We’d recommend advertising on these channels at a minimum of 3-4 weeks prior to the event, longer if budget permits.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and, depending on your audience, Reddit, may come to mind as good options for in-person event marketing.
Facebook advertising has been a great channel for attendance for our clients in the past due to its ability to customize audiences with list uploads, geo-fencing on the ad group level, heavier creative than text ads and more.
Facebook helps drive pre-event attendance as well as at the time of attendance traffic to your team. For instance, Facebook’s geofencing is one of the more strategic ways to capture prospects while already in attendance by narrowing down your advertising efforts to the exact location of the in-person event, you can call out your booth # or offer a promotional giveaway or incentive like a gift card to a coffee shop nearby if they visit your team at the event.
Considering LinkedIn is the biggest professional network in the world, it is a great way to generate buzz with decision-makers within your ICP.
LinkedIn is not limited to but offers event ad campaigns for events that allow you to promote to a target audience to drive more registrations. Simple, but effective advertising tools such as notifying your page followers of your event, and even the way the event ads look on your prospects feed page are all just subtle, yet effective ways to increase attendance. LinkedIn typically yields a higher CPC, but also a higher ROI.
Quickly discover and plan for events on this social media platform. Twitter allows you to target events up to 2 weeks prior to the event happening to allow for optimal reach and attendance as well as generate buzz for the event up to three weeks after.
This channel allows you to layer any targeting you’d normally include: interest, keyword, or demographic (but not a combination). However, we’d recommend keeping it simple and utilizing geo-location targeting with strategic creative and dedicated landing pages.
We’ve found Twitter to be a great traffic driver with high impressions as well as a low-cost channel overall.
Programmatic Advertising is a great channel to promote an event with its extensive creative forms for top-of-funnel marketing as well as the ability to remarket at a low cost.
We’d recommend programmatic alongside other channels for promotion since it is typically less expensive and a great traffic driver, allows to finely target geographies, and utilize a dedicated landing page alongside Remarketing efforts with promotional call outs to help drive attendance.
Planning an event takes a lot of strategy, time, budget, and headspace for your marketing team or agency.
No matter what channels your team decides are best for advertising your event, your paid advertising investments will be sure to help your event’s success. Be sure to capture all highlights and data that you can with your promotional efforts to make next year even more streamlined for your audience.