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6 Steps to finding the right digital ad platforms for your event business

by | Mar 28, 2024 | Best Practices, Business, Event Marketing, Marketing

Navigating the complexities of paid advertising can be a daunting task for any events business. With all of the different platforms available for experimentation, getting started is often the hardest part. We wrote this article to help you get over that hump so you can use paid ads to effectively support your growing business.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which ad platform is best for your organization, but determining the right places to effectively reach your audience is an essential part of a successful paid advertising strategy. You’ll need to weigh several factors specific to your individual business and target audience. 

Planning Pod’s streamlined event management platform gives you what you need to spend less time working on minute details and more time exploring strategies to grow your business, like paid advertising. Learn more >

1. Define your target audience

If you haven’t already done so, take the time to identify your ideal customers’ demographics and psychographics and use them to build buyer personas. Be sure to consider things like their age, location, interests, and income level. And most importantly, what digital platforms they use the most.

Here are a few methods you can employ to find out what platforms your ideal customer uses:

  • Website traffic analytics: Analyze who visits your website to understand their online behavior and platform preferences.
  • Social media insights: Utilize built-in analytics from platforms like Facebook and Instagram to gain insights into your follower demographics and engagement levels.
  • Competitor analysis: Observe where your competitors are targeting their audience through social media messaging and ad placements.
  • Surveys and polls: Conduct surveys or polls among your existing customer base to get a direct understanding of their online habits.
  • Social listening tools: Utilize social listening tools to monitor online conversations relevant to your industry or event theme, revealing platforms where your target audience might be active.

2. Research popular ad platforms and avenues

Different platforms come with different paid advertising advantages. Do you plan to create ads with compelling, high-quality visuals? Instagram is a great option for that. Or maybe you primarily organize corporate events, in which case LinkedIn could be the perfect B2B avenue. 

NOTE: It’s important to remember that in any case, Google Ads offers the ability for you to reach users searching for specific events, event business types, or other keywords related to the services you provide. We are advocates for incorporating this platform into any paid advertising strategy, and in our experience paid ads through Google offer great potential for business growth in the hospitality industry.

Here’s a quick breakdown of paid advertising platforms and their individual advantages:

  • Facebook ads: Facebook caters to a broad audience and provides powerful targeting options based on demographics and interests. This platform is a great paid advertising option for most businesses and event types. 
  • Instagram ads: Instagram is best for businesses with a strong visual aesthetic, and also provides targeting based on demographics and interests. Though Facebook and Instagram both live under the Meta umbrella, we recommend experimenting with different styles of ads for each in order to take advantage of the different audiences that use these platforms.
  • LinkedIn ads: LinkedIn is ideal for B2B event businesses whose target audience is mostly professionals. This platform offers strong targeting based on job titles, industries, and companies.
  • Google ads: Google is unavoidable for businesses trying to grow through paid or organic marketing initiatives. It reaches users searching for specific events or keywords related to your event business, and is incredibly effective for driving website traffic and/or ticket sales. Google is perfect for finding customers who have strong intent to buy, because those customers are actively using a search engine to find your type of business or services in a certain location.
  • Online directories: Creating listings for your business on a variety of online directories can go a long way in maximizing your online presence and reaching a wider audience within the industry. These listings also often appear in search engine results, making it easier for you to be discovered by your ideal customers. And a presence in established directories signals to potential leads that your event business is a legitimate operation.

3. Optimize your landing pages

In the world of paid advertising, optimized landing pages are like the closer in a sales pitch. They take the initial interest generated by your ad and convert that attention into a desired action, be it a ticket purchase, booking inquiry, registration, or email sign-up.

Whichever landing pages your paid ads lead to, they should directly reflect the ad copy and visuals presented in your ad and have a singular goal with strong calls to action (CTAs). The job of your landing page is to eliminate distractions and guide users toward the desired action. 

Landing page relevance can also impact your quality score on advertising platforms like Google Ads. A higher quality score translates to lower costs-per-click (CPC) for your ads. Ding ding ding!

And don’t forget about search engine optimization. Any landing page your ads lead to should have the following elements for good SEO:

  • Keyword and search term optimization
  • Alt text for any images
  • Title tag and meta description
  • Mobile compatibility
  • Fast loading speed
  • Internal links
  • Clear and concise structure with headings and subheadings

For more detail about how to optimize your landing pages for business growth, check out our article here.

4. Consider cost and return on investment (ROI)

Different platforms have different pricing structures. When it comes to ads, make sure that you understand exactly what you’re paying for, whether it’s CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per thousand impressions). In order to evaluate the success of your spend, use analytics tools provided by each platform to measure clicks, website traffic, lead volume, and/or ticket sales generated from your ads.

To maintain focus on your ROI, be sure that each campaign has a definite goal. If your goal is more web traffic, the platform that generated the most site visits is your winner. If you want your ads to generate more leads, go with the campaign that yielded the most successful contact form submissions. Understanding your goals within the big picture of business growth is crucial to evaluating ROI for paid ad campaigns.

5. Leverage existing analytics

Whether you’re already running paid ads as part of your marketing campaigns or you haven’t yet launched your PPC strategy, the data already available to you can go a long way in determining where to reach your ideal customers.

Tools like Google Analytics can show you where your current website traffic comes from, which can give clues about user behavior and platform preferences. Facebook and Instagram insights also provide data on demographics and engagement levels of your current followers, suggesting potential target audiences on those platforms.

If you’re in the earliest stages of marketing your events business, spin up your website and social profiles to begin gathering some baseline data before you delve into paid ads.

6. Start small and test.

If you’re just starting out with paid ads, now isn’t the time to bite off more than you can chew – you should be smart with how much money, time, and energy you spend on paid initiatives. Right now, think of yourself as a scientist – testing too many variables at once will yield inconclusive results.

Choose 1-2 paid advertising platforms to focus on initially, and be sure to run A/B tests. Create strategic variations of your ad creatives and target audiences to see what performs best, and start with low budget limits ($5 – $10/day) to see which ads give you the best bang for your buck. It’s important to remember that if you set your limit too high, you could waste hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in a short period of time if your ads don’t hit the mark.

If you’ve been running paid ads for a while and feel the need to streamline your initiatives and/or avoid ad decay, focus on changing one element of your campaign at a time to isolate its impact. A/B testing should be a continuous aspect of your marketing strategy once you have any successful campaigns up and running.

By following these steps and continuously making data-driven marketing decisions, you can unlock the immense potential of paid advertising to reach the right audience, generate leads, and drive sales for your events business. 

Planning Pod’s event management platform for businesses and professionals empowers you to streamline your workflows, freeing up valuable time to focus on the big picture. Get started with Planning Pod today and discover how much more you can achieve!