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How To Use Paid Search & Social Ads For Promoting Events

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How To Use Paid Search & Social Ads For Promoting Events

In the last few years, COVID has changed how businesses host special events and interact with customers and the community.

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

Generating awareness and earning participation perfectly aligns with promotion through paid search and social advertising.

Consider business events promotion as a separate strategy from your ongoing campaigns, so it has a dedicated budget and set-up.

The event should receive a separate and unique targeting and messaging strategy.

Let’s dig in!

What Types Of Events Can Be Promoted?

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

  • Virtual conferences.
  • Webinars.
  • Grand openings or re-openings.
  • “Return-to-normal” business offerings.
  • Company’s booth at tradeshows.
  • Speaking at tradeshows.
  • Product launches.
  • Open houses.
  • Sales events.
  • Pet adoptions.
  • Sports events.
  • Festivals, fairs, and farmer’s markets.
  • Registration for classes, either virtual or in-person.

For an “event,” we generally look for a special, notable activity outside of normal business, with a limited time for engagement.

What To Consider Before Campaign Setup

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

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

Screenshot from Google Ads Ad Extensions, July 2022

A new campaign should be created for each event to accommodate its settings and to track conversions and ROI per event.

Allotting event campaigns their own additional budget, instead of shifting from the ongoing campaigns, will help to keep the main account stable and retain volume.

4 Tips For Designing Event Campaigns

After creating a new campaign for your event and allotting its own budget, there are many other factors to consider unique to promoting events.

1. Be Clear, Concise, And Creative

Responsive search and display ads related to the event should follow the best practices with clear details on the event purpose, date, time, and an enticing CTA.

Searchers should see how to participate, sign-up, or register.

As with standard marketing practices, you’ll want to throw in some features, benefits, and any unique selling proposition if it’s a competitive business event.

Paid events such as conferences or training courses often offer “early-bird specials” or team discounts. Be sure to include this in the ad copy.

Bells and whistles: Try a countdown timer that can be inserted into ads on Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. Microsoft has a great explanation of how the countdown feature works.

Below is the Google Ads example of setting this up in a headline:

google countdown timerScreenshot from Google Ads, July 2022

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

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

2. Timing

Timing on designing event campaigns is mission-critical, especially if your event is only occurring for a few days or one day.

  • Do you want to reach your audience on the exact days the event is running? Or build up to it for days, weeks, months?
  • Does the “build-up” promotion to the event require a different approach than during the event?

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

When setting the run dates and ad schedule, pay attention to the time of the day the ads will end. Google will end at midnight that day, so you could miss an entire day.

Facebook has the ability to set a specific time of the day. Please note this is in military hours!

3. Locations

The geotargeting will be largely dictated by the event’s location, but there are a few things to consider.

Depending on the density of the customer base, the geotargeting will look different for each advertiser. For example:

  • A local sidewalk sale in the city will have a narrow radius or city target.
  • A large event, like a tradeshow, will have attendees from the local area and travelers to the area.
  • A national target, such as a webinar, will present the most challenges to hyper-target it to reach your audience.

With national targeting, you may want to prioritize budget allocation to major metro areas. Another approach is to review your customer purchase data for trends in revenue or ROI by location.

4. Targeting

Targeting for events will likely be different from the main ad account targeting.

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

Assuming that the ad copy is specific to the event, you will want to reach people searching at or near the show while they are physically at it.

The search queries used for Google and Bing could fall into keyword groupings such as:

  • Technologies at the show.
  • Companies at the show.
  • The name of the show, such as “tech expo.”

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

As a layer to the keywords, or on its own, you could target your market in the search engines by using audience lists such as “technology news and trends” or “new technology products” within your target geography.

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 in Facebook and other paid social media channels.Screenshot from Facebook Ads, July 2022

Bonus Tip: How To Leverage Events (Local Or Otherwise) Even If You Are Not Participating In Them!

If you have been assuming during this post that you are participating in or hosting the events, that’s great, but you can also piggyback off of any events that are related to your business to get extra exposure.

For example, in the spring, home shows are in full swing.

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

Considering today’s business environment, being armed with new tips on promoting your business event will be critical to success.

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

Break a leg!

More Resources:


Featured Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock



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What Does Chip-Making Demand Tell Us About Search Demand?

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What Does Chip-Making Demand Tell Us About Search Demand?

While so many elements of product demand have fluctuated since the pandemic in 2020, one of the more significant known issues has been mobile chip demand

If you’re unsure of what that means, consider the automobile industry as an example.

Most newer vehicles rely on chip technology. During the pandemic, there has been an unprecedented shortage of chips, leaving consumers waiting months – if not years – for their new vehicle.

Now three years into the pandemic, chip-making demand has taken a sharp turn for the worse – and quickly.

So, what does this sudden change in chip demand have to do with search demand? A lot.

Leading Chipmakers Release Bleak Forecasts

According to The Financial Times, Qualcomm slashed 25% of its revenue forecasts for the current quarter due to slow customer spending. Specifically, this affects smartphone sales.

Mobile chip makers aren’t the only ones making changes. It’s estimated that sales of personal computer processors will decline 40% year-over-year.

These projections were a stark change from a year ago when stock prices were, at times, sky-high. Demand was there for these technology chips in all sectors: auto, smartphones, virtual reality, etc.

In addition to demand, supply chain issues caused a domino effect of worldwide shortages.

The Supply and Demand Dance

As marketers, you’ve likely taken an Economics 101 class before your career.

The premise of supply and demand, simply put:

  • “Supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in the marketplace.”

The theory further states that the price of a good is directly affected by its availability (supply) and the buyer’s demand.

At the right price, a manufacturer will produce more of a particular product to maximize profit.

Now, bringing this theory back to the mobile-chip demand decrease. How did this market plummet in such a short time?

In 2020, demand skyrocketed for various industries, such as automobiles. Because the consumer demand was so high, suppliers (brands/manufacturers) capitalized on the market by supplying more of this product. A win-win, right?

When the complexities of economic challenges are factored in, such as supply chain interruptions or a recession, this throws a wrench into the supply/demand curve. 

When the manufacturers couldn’t keep up with the increase in demand, consumers had to wait longer for their products. This is where widespread interruptions can influence a consumer’s demand for the worse. A consumer knows they’d have to wait so long to receive their product and then may decide not to purchase.

The second complexity that affects this trend so suddenly is economic uncertainty. With a highly volatile stock market, mortgage interest rates, job layoffs, and more – the demand for certain products and industries can be affected almost overnight.

If a consumer’s disposable income is affected by any of the scenarios above, their priorities of consumer goods shift higher to necessities. New cars, phones, or computers can be seen as luxury items to some. So when disposable income declines, demand is likely to follow.

How Can Advertisers Strategize Around Demand (Or Lack Of)?

Returning to a marketer’s standpoint – how can advertisers shift their strategy around changing consumer demand?

#1: Be proactive in analyzing market conditions.

You may think as an advertiser, this shouldn’t apply to your role.

Think again.

Staying current on economic conditions and the fluctuations in demand enables you to be proactive and fluid in your marketing efforts.

#2: When demand falls, capitalize on the decreased competition.

Typically in Search campaigns, the lower the competition, the lower your CPC.

If you see this trend happening on the keywords you bid on, you have an opportunity for lower click costs.

But before you say, “I can reduce my budget this month” because of it, here’s where a strategy shift can come in.

If you can estimate or project the potential CPC savings in a decreased demand, try running an awareness campaign on another platform.

Awareness campaigns typically have low CPMs since you’re reaching a wider audience. In this scenario, you’re able to see potential savings on Search campaigns to then run an awareness campaign, which can help spark new demand.

#3: Be aggressive when demand is at its peak.

I acknowledge that this is easier said than done.

If your marketing budget is not strained, be prepared to see higher CPCs when demand is high.

When demand is high, typically, more competitors come out of the woodwork in an attempt to maximize profits.

If CPCs increase, you must ensure that your campaigns are tip-top. 

  • Is your ad copy enticing enough for a user to notice?
  • Are users getting a great user experience on your website or app? If you’ve spent all this money on a click but send them to a poor or slow experience, you’ve wasted that opportunity for a sale.
  • Is your negative keyword strategy aligned with your intentions? Nothing is worse than broad keywords going rogue due to a lack of negative keywords.

Now, if your marketing budget is already limited and you’re dealing with high competition, all hope is not lost.

Try using targeted audiences on your search campaigns to target your most qualified users. 

This makes you more aggressive in your bids to a smaller audience. So while CPCs may still be high, you have a greater chance of a sale if the targeting is narrow.

Even further, you could shift your search strategy to use RLSAs on expensive keywords.

This strategy combines some awareness to build large enough remarketing lists to target them specifically by searching later.

Summary

Search does not create demand. Search captures demand. As internal and external factors affect brand performance, marketers must be proactive and pivot strategies depending on the situation.

When demand falls, the search volume will likely follow. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed. Use this as an opportunity to test new campaign types, platforms, or audiences, to maximize your reach and retain as much profit as possible.


Featured Image: Andrey Suslov/Shutterstock



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