Using Facebook Event Ads to Promote Events

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One of my favorite accounts to run strategy for is one where we market job fair events to a specific type of qualified job-seeker. The job fairs occur in target cities throughout the U.S. and we run 3-week flight campaigns in the lead up to every event with a registration form as the conversion goal. Typically, we’re launching 2-4 campaigns a week due to the rolling nature of the event schedule. After testing and data analyzing for over a year, we’ve gathered some valuable insights for marketing events through Facebook.

Image of Facebook screen

Cost Effective & Scalable

The most cost-effective and scalable engine for these campaigns has been Facebook. CPCs are 10% cheaper than Google, and CPLs are 57% lower.  One huge feather in the cap of Facebook for Event Marketing is the ability to track offline conversions. In this case, offline-conversions are counted as the number of people that attended the event after registering from a Facebook ad. We get this data by aligning email addresses from Facebook with those gathered when a job-seeker signs in on the day of the event. One caveat is that the email address a person uses to sign into Facebook may be different than what they use elsewhere. In this case, we wouldn’t be able to track that person back to an ad per se. You can learn more about Offline Conversion tracking here. Given the imperfect nature of offline conversion tracking, we don’t use this as a primary success metric, however, we do like to see the impact of our strategy on attendance to events.

Audience Targeting

The target audience for these events is very specific, and through testing, we’ve found a high-converting prospecting audience using only Demographic targeting. We also tested Interest only targeting in addition to targeting that combines relevant Interest and Demographics in one ad set, shown in the table below as “General Audience.” As an aside, I advise anyone to split test their interest vs. their demographic targeting. An easy detail to overlook when creating detailed targeting in Facebook is this bolded message:

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This means an ad can be shown to a person who falls into any individual interest or demographic category.  They do not have to meet all of the audience criteria simultaneously. Be choosy here. Remarketing also plays a huge role in event success. We use recent website visitors as well as a vast email list with additional “job seeking” interest criteria added on:

Campaign Objectives

Conversion Campaigns

Calibrated to optimize for registrations, the Conversion campaign objective is the most successful at driving registration volume for our campaigns at a cost-effective CPL. However, attendance metrics are not as efficient or high-volume using this campaign type. Enter: Event Campaigns.

Event Campaigns

In the least mind-blowing news you’ll hear all day, Event campaigns are helpful when trying to gain attendance at an event. The goal for event campaigns is event responses, not conversions.  The algorithm is looking for folks to click “interested.” The beauty of this click is the continual reminder of the event throughout a person’s Facebook experience. This reminder is likely why attendance rates for Event campaigns are 3X higher than conversion campaigns. With a Cost/attendance that is 24% lower. However, registration volume is lower with more than double the CPL of conversion campaigns.

Creating two campaigns for the same event with different objectives allows us to achieve our primary goal of getting pre-registrations to the event, but also allows us to drive efficiencies for CPL with some assurance that job-seekers will attend the job fair.

Ad Copy & Creative

We’ve gone through several rounds of creative testing and have some obvious and not so obvious insights:

  • Include the date and location of the event in the Text as well as in the Headline
  • Use quantitative information in the text where possible over qualitative. IE: “Over 1,000 Candidates Got Their Start At Our Job Fairs.” vs. “Land Your Next Successful Career At Our Job Fair.”
  • Have a clear call to action in your text as well as on your CTA button.
  • Test Images that include the venue where the event is to be held. These had the highest conversion rates vs. images with people in them.
  • Carousel creative garnered sub-par registration results throughout several test phases
  • Create & Test Instagram-specific ads for events. We found that these had remarkably high conversion rates. Note that these can’t be created in an Event campaign objective.
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The one-two punch for successful event marketing in Facebook will include refined audience specificity gained through split testing, effective campaign objectives, as well as ad copy that multiplies its messaging throughout the ad. Build it, and they will come.





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