Fact: we all want to have a good time. The only issue is occasionally we need a little convincing… This is true for most of us and it’s especially true for event marketing.

I often need my friends to ask me several times to go to a festival or concert, but every time I cave I always have fun. Classically introverted, I keep my social walls partially up, appreciating the friends who keep inviting me to shows despite my resistance. I know there are plenty of you holding out on replying to summer event invites (or waiting for that one friend to answer).

From the consumer side, there’s a common perception that ads are annoying. The truth is, it’s only the ads that aren’t relevant to you that are annoying. Remarketing can seem creepy (seeing ads based on your previous online activity), but those reminders can be enough to convince you to make a purchase you won’t regret.

That’s why a mix of optimal content, the right channels, and specific targeting is vital to advertising events online through social media and banner ads.

My friends know what I like and know what shows to recommend (and they also know they need to bug me a few times to get a yes). This is the same case for advertising through Facebook, Instagram, and Google. You need to know your audience and what they like. But, it’s more than just if they’d like your event, you also need to be in tune with what kind of content or messages they’ll respond to.

At AntiSocial we live and breath this. And by this, I mean both understanding event marketing and hitting up as many events as we can get away with. For the Hopscotch Festival, this is how we executed a successful digital advertising campaign – and also had a blast at their events.

We know the Hopscotch audience received the advertising and remarketing well from the metrics. And we know they enjoyed their purchase from joining them at the fall Vancouver event and filming the summer Kelowna event, making a recap video and photos/video to use in our ads. Check out our post: Hopscotch Festival Kelowna: Behind the Scenes.

Digital ad and remarketing success

We’re proud we were able to contribute to such an awesome local event selling out earlier than expected through Google Adwords, Facebook and Instagram ads.

  • In total, we drove over $40,000 in direct sales, resulting in an overall return on ad spend of 7.5X.
  • Our overall digital ad campaign brought in almost 700 direct sales and 70 indirect sales (bought after viewing ads, but without clicking).
  • Direct sales were closely split between Google Adwords and Facebook/Instagram.
  • Facebook/Instagram remarketing was a strong success, driving almost ¾ of direct sales through those platforms.
  • We served up over 1.12 million ad impressions, increasing awareness and driving over 16,000 users to the to the Hopscotch website.

Digital ad and remarketing insights

The results of remarketing and ad-testing will ensure better results for the next Hopscotch Festival, with all following events set to improve each time. Insights from our remarketing campaign give us an idea of what worked best and who our target audience was. The most popular age group proved to be 25-34 years, with women slightly out-purchasing men.

The ads were updated to show a ‘sold-out level’ which was effective in promoting a sense of urgency, increasing ticket sales. No one wants to be left behind, we all get a little FOMO sometimes, aka “fear of missing out”.

We used ad formats that had a mix of video, animations, graphics and images, including the relatively new paid Instagram Stories. These multimedia formats were more engaging for the 25 to 34-year-old audience.

Ad creative focused on either the whisky or beer aspects of the festival. While Hopscotch is a whisky-focused event, the popularity of craft beer was a big draw. This was reflected in the results, with beer-focused ads performing better than whisky-focused ads.

Importance of Facebook/Instagram remarketing for events

Remarketing lets you reach an audience already familiar with your brand or event, letting you skip the primary introduction and move deeper through the sales funnel to purchase. With this already narrowed and interested audience, you can further segment them according to their behaviours or demographics, then match them with more relevant ads. The more creepily-specific advertising, the better chance you’ll have for the audience to click and purchase. Or, a better chance of them putting masking tape over their webcam because the ads seem to know they drink more beer than whisky.

Boiling down to smaller sets of interested audiences also means you’ll have better cost-per-acquisition when compared to wider ad campaigns that target people not familiar with your event or brand. Casting your net too wide will only cost more per sale, when you could fishing in an audience already interesting in your bait.

This knowledge is especially valuable with repeat events, letting you better tune your message and audience each time. This goes for previous attendees, people familiar with the previous events and people just learning about your event or brand.

“Our event marketing approach is efficient because we track micro-conversions/indicators of interest when segmenting our remarketing audiences. By identifying the groups of users who have shown curiosity, we ensure our event stays top of mind, for the right people at the right time. Another important consideration is to avoid being annoying by keeping a close watch on ad frequency. Data informs the ideal ad frequency and can have a significant impact on conversion rates.” – Matt Ciniello, Advertisment Placement Strategist

Is your friend annoying or convincing?

The same way you don’t want to be the friend who keeps asking people to an event they’re not interested in, you don’t want to be the bothersome ad that people keep seeing but won’t be convinced to click. Focus on the people who are showing interest in your event, sign up for your newsletter, or follow your social accounts.