Facebook marketing can help events of all sizes raise awareness, boost word-of-mouth, and sell more tickets. In fact, data shows that you can use Facebook Ads to sell more tickets to your events and do it more effectively than you can with many other marketing channel.
To help event organizers understand the power of Facebook for event marketing, I spoke with Corey Hill, Director of Digital Advertising for Altitude Social Media, to get insights into what Facebook advertising tactics and strategies are currently working best for events, particularly large outdoor events like fairs, air shows, concerts, and more.
Altitude Social Media is an AttendStar certified partner agency specializing in event marketing via Facebook Ads Manager. Corey and his team have helped a number of AttendStar’s event ticketing clients increase ticket sales using cost-effective Facebook advertising campaigns.
“Just to clarify, says Corey, “we’re not talking about creating Facebook events and posts when we refer to ‘Facebook advertising’ but rather about building high-conversion marketing funnels using the tools available in Facebook Ads Manager.” With that in mind, following are Corey’s insights for event organizers.
The ROI of Facebook Event Marketing
Despite the reach and power of Facebook advertising, many events aren’t using it or are under-utilizing it. Instead, they continue to spend significant portions of their marketing budgets on traditional channels like billboards and radio.
Corey says, “Event marketing budgets are consistently spent inefficiently. The cost per conversion is so much higher with radio and billboards. You can get such better results with Facebook advertising, including Instagram advertising, when you know how to use the powerful backend of Facebook Ads Manager to run and track campaigns.”
One of the biggest problems that event organizers have is using their marketing budgets inefficiently. Corey believes that Facebook marketing helps to solve that problem. He explains, “Facebook Ads are so much more efficient than traditional media. If you put up a billboard, you have no control over who sees it, but you’re paying for everyone who passes by to see it. With Facebook Ads, you can use things like lookalike audiences, so only the people who fall in your target audience see your ad.”
As a result, Corey explains that the return on investment (ROI) for Facebook advertising is much higher than other marketing channels. “The cost per thousand impressions that we’re seeing for an event’s Facebook ad is typically between $4.50 and $6.50 per impression, which averages to $5.00 per impression. That means for 100,000 impressions, an event spends only $500. In other words, they can reach 100,000 people for $500. No other marketing channel is that cheap.”
Altitude Social Media has helped dozens of events ticketed through AttendStar by strategizing and implementing cost-effective Facebook advertising programs that deliver positive results. “We’ve been working with a monster truck show that sells tickets through AttendStar’s ticketing platform for about 10 months, and we’ve helped them promote about 20 shows across the country during that time,” Corey says. “With a budget of $3,500 to $4,000 per show, the client is consistently generating 7.5x more revenue.”
Based on the results Corey’s team is able to get for its event clients, you can imagine how the numbers translate into sales. Corey explains, “We achieve an average ROI for AttendStar’s event clients of 7.5x ROI, so if an event spends $5,000 on Facebook advertising through Altitude Social Media, they’ll generate a $37,500 return on average.”
The Proof is in the Results (A Case Study)
Facebook advertising is so effective for event marketing because it provides a cost-effective way to expand an event’s reach to targeted audiences in an efficient way. When Pikes Peak Regional Air Show wasn’t reaching the ticket sales numbers it needed to through TV, radio, and newspaper advertising as well as through posting on the event’s Facebook Page, AttendStar and Altitude Social Media stepped in just seven days before the show weekend to help.
Within 24 hours, Corey’s team at Altitude Social Media launched multiple digital marketing campaigns using lookalike, demographic, and interest-based targeting to significantly extend the show’s reach. In addition, the team used retargeting to convert potential customers into ticket buyers. The results speak for themselves:
- Ticket sales exceeded the forecast by 30%.
- $1,420 ad spend resulted in 100,000 people reached through 220,000 impressions.
- Cost-per-click of $0.06 and a click-through-rate of 9.9% (significantly higher than the industry average)
- Tripled event responses with just a $700 investment.
- 45% cost reduction per event response ($0.17 per response).
- Drove 23,000 clicks, including over 5,000 clicks to the ticket sales page ($0.15 per click to the website).
“Significant credit to AttendStar for their sure-footed response to an unanticipated shortfall by a major media sponsor. In a matter of hours, AttendStar and their strategic partner, Altitude Social Media, executed a social media campaign. AttendStar’s experience and deep understanding of social media marketing are essential ingredients to the Pikes Peak Regional Air Show’s success.” – John Henry, Owner of John Henry Consulting and Pikes Peak Regional Air Show Organizer
Leveraging Tools and Integrations to Improve Results
If you’re not deep into Facebook Ads Manager using all of the tools, reports, and integrations on a daily basis, you’re advertising results will be limited. The true power of advertising on Facebook (and Instagram, which is also managed through the Facebook Ads Manager), comes from truly understanding the technology and how to make the technology work for your event goals.
Corey cites several ways technology can improve results: sharing, social proof, remarketing, AttendStar ticketing software integrations, and reporting.
“As people share the ad about your event, it gains momentum,” explains Corey. “Facebook shows your ad to more people, and it snowballs exponentially with more and more people seeing your ad. You don’t see that happen anywhere else. It’s impossible to see a billboard and then send it to your friends. Facebook advertising helps you reach all kinds of people.”
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a common emotional trigger that sales and marketing professionals exploit. In the online world, the more people who like and share something – such as a Facebook ad promoting your event – the more social proof it gathers, which tells people it’s something worth noticing. As a result, FOMO increases, and ticket sales go up.
Corey says, “We use strategies to get the most likes and shares on each event that we promote so the event gets credibility.” Without the knowledge of how to get the most likes and shares on specific posts, you won’t be able to build the social proof that leads to more ticket sales.
Remarketing is one of the most powerful features of Facebook Ads. In simplest terms, when someone engages with your Facebook Ad, visits your ticket sales page, or engages in another behavior that you specify and track, Facebook will show your ad to them again. This is all tracked using a piece of code referred to as the Facebook pixel.
The assumption is if someone clicks on your event ad, shares or likes one of your Facebook posts, visits your event’s Facebook Page, or visits your ticket sales page, they must be interested in your event. Therefore, it makes sense to show them your ad again in the future because people rarely make a purchase the first time they see an ad. This is particularly true for events where people often wait until shortly before the event to buy tickets. By showing people your ad multiple times, the chances that they’ll buy tickets and tell other people about the event go up.
“Event marketers need strategies to remarket because the ROI can be 10-15-times higher than cold marketing,” notes Corey.
To improve your Facebook marketing results, make sure your ticketing software integrates with Facebook. Corey explains, “All ads and behaviors are tracked with the Facebook pixel. It’s easy to add the pixel into an event’s AttendStar account with the AttendStar and Facebook integration, so it’s always synced with Facebook Ads Manager. Once it’s set up, we can see exactly where ticket sales come from and the cost of each ticket sold. The integration gives granular data of how a person behaved on the advertiser’s website and ticket sales page, so we can maximize ROI.”
Another essential integration with your ticketing platform is Google Analytics for tracking web traffic. “The AttendStar and Google Analytics integration allows us to see how much traffic and sales are generated by each marketing channel,” explains Corey. “We can see the average cost per purchase from paid Facebook ads, organic Facebook traffic, Google, organic web traffic, and more. It’s even possible to set it up so we can get a good estimate of radio ad spend returns.”
Not only are the reports in Facebook Ads Manager and Google Analytics key to tracking, analyzing, and optimizing Facebook marketing investments, but also, the reports available in your event ticketing platform can play a critical role in boosting ROI.
“The team at Altitude Social Media frequently uses the Attendalytics data in the AttendStar platform to monitor website conversion rates, traffic volumes, and other key metrics,” Corey shares. “This allows us to determine the effectiveness of our Facebook targeting and how we can adjust our targeting to improve ROI.
“Another AttendStar feature we use is the list of past ticket buyers. If we’re promoting an event in a market where the client has run an event before, AttendStar will provide us with a list of past ticket buyers. We upload this list to Facebook and remarket to those people who have bought tickets before. This is a very effective feature since we’re able to capture those people who are likely to be interested in attending the event again.
“Even if a client hasn’t run an event in a particular market in the past, we can still use an email list of customers from a different market by leveraging the Facebook Lookalike Audiences feature.
“For example, if an air show that typically runs events in San Diego is launching a new air show in Sacramento, we can use the past San Diego ticket buyers list from the client’s AttendStar account with the Facebook Lookalike Audiences feature to find people living in Sacramento who are similar to those past San Diego attendees. This is the most powerful targeting tool on the internet – taking your current customer profile and allowing Facebook to find hundreds of thousands of other people who are exactly like them.”
There is a lot to learn about using Facebook Ads Manager effectively, so Corey shared four tips to help event organizers get started successfully:
1. Shift More of Your Marketing Budget into Digital
“Ideally, the majority of your budget should go to digital because it’s so much more efficient than traditional marketing, but at least, start experimenting,” Corey advises. “You can reach many more people in your target market and for less money digitally than you can through any other channel.”
2. Invest in Video
“The number one medium for online marketing right now is video,” says Corey. “Facebook prioritizes video over images, so you can reach a higher quality target audience by publishing video content.”
3. Have a Solid Remarketing Strategy
“Don’t reach people once and assume they’ll buy tickets to your event because most don’t buy the first time they hear about an event,” explains Corey. “Make sure you have a remarketing strategy in place from the beginning.”
4. Understand the Difference between a Boosted Facebook Post and a Facebook Ad
There is a big difference between publishing a post on your Facebook Page and paying to boost that post versus investing Facebook Ads. Corey warns, “Focus on using the power of Facebook Ads Manager to develop advertising and sales campaigns rather than just publishing posts on your event’s Facebook Page or boosting posts published on your Facebook Page because your results will be very different.”
Facebook Ads Manager is a powerful tool that can be used as the lead marketing channel for your future events. When used effectively, Ads Manager can be used to sell out your events faster, for less. There are many ways you can use Facebook marketing to sell tickets to your events. By focusing efforts on increasing Facebook likes and boosting Facebook engagement, you can organically get people talking about your event and buying tickets.
Interested in learning how Facebook advertising can sell out your next event? Contact AttendStar’s partner, Altitude Social Media, to get started.