Business conference organizers have doubts about opting for Facebook promotion. They wonder whether this channel can provide an audience who are ready to purchase $1000 tickets. Organizers usually go for classic channels: PPC and SEO. However, Facebook has an audience interested in conferences, but it requires the proper approach and message. This has been proved by our experience with Growth Marketing Conf. This article explains how we reduced the conversion cost for the event by 5 times.
About the project
Growth Marketing Conf is a marketing conference held annually in San Francisco with speakers representing world-leading companies.
Tickets cost around $1311, and the average number of attendees is 2000 people. In 2019, the organizers decided to entrust Facebook promotion to the Tendee team.
Get orders (conversions) from Facebook under $300 (up to 30% of the ticket price).
- Completed order cost reduced from $300 to $51 (just 5% of the ticket cost).
Conversion cost reduction plan
We have two leverages for conversion cost: targeting settings (who sees ads) and creatives (what ads offer). The conversion cost reduction plan rests upon these two variables.
- Formulate a hypothesis regarding the targeting and creatives. Allocate test budget.
- Get first conversions (the starting point).
- Adjust targeting settings.
- Keep the optimal audience settings with the lowest cost.
- Test creatives.
- Find the best combination of creatives and the audience.
- Launch ads with the best set of targetings and creatives with the bulk of the marketing budget.
A brainstorm session helped us single out two targeting groups and pick up creatives for them.
|Cold||Facebook interests: Product Management, E-commerce, Marketplace, Data Analytics & Attribution.|
People similar to those who visited the website.
People similar to those who purchased tickets to the previous conference.
People similar to those who purchased tickets to the event.
|General banners with the conference topics.|
Banners with speakers.
Video about the previous conference.
|Warm||Attendees of the previous conference.|
People who clicked Follow or Interested on the page.
|General banners with the conference theme.|
Banners with speakers.
Carousel format creatives.
Dynamic creatives with the speakers and video ads.
Photos from the previous conference. Video ads.
Step 1. Defining the starting point
To figure out the right path, we should first find the start — we need a reference point to count conversions at the beginning of an ad campaign.
We chose three targeting settings:
- Cold audience interested in the conference topics
Settings of an ad campaign targeted at interests.
- Warm audience — attendees of the previous conference
Settings of an ad campaign targeted at last year’s attendees.
- Event page subscribers
Settings of an ad campaign targeted at event page subscribers.
Plain banners with the conference topics
We started promotion with some general information about the topics of the conference and some of the speakers.
Ads got a dead response — the audience turned out to be too narrow. Conversion cost fell within the range of $39 to $160. The good news was that the average conversion cost was below $300 right from the start.
Step 2: Updating the targetings and creatives
We needed to cover a wider potential audience and to explain the topic of the conference in more detail.
The initial target audience was limited to the Bay Area, CA. We extended the location to include the US and Canada.
Re-engaging a hot audience
After the first testing weeks, we managed to gather the hottest audience — people who visited the website of the conference. People seldom make purchase decisions on the first visit, therefore it is very important to reach out to the interested audience again and get them to return to the website. We achieved this with a re-marketing campaign.
Adjusting age ranges
We studied attendee profiles from last year’s conference and adjusted the age range. The default age setting of 18-65 years was updated to 25-55 years.
Plain banners featuring speakers
We got creatives featuring separate speakers and indicating the number of tickets left.
Example of banners used in the middle and to the end of the advertising campaign.
Read more on efficiency of creatives in promotion of conferences in our blog.
People started registering for the conference. The average conversion cost dropped to $53.
Further audience tuning
Once the targeting got adjusted, the settings remained unchanged till the end of the campaign. We entrusted our campaign to the Facebook ad optimization algorithms. The two main optimization principles were:
- Allocate time and budget for ads to learn. Read more on the learning phase.
- Do not breed AdSets. Read more on the optimal AdSets number.
Step 3: Choosing the best marketing message
It is wise to test different creatives, provided you’ve got sufficient advertising budget. Repetitive creatives annoy people. Read more on Ad Fatigue. It is essential to test enough marketing messages to find the ones that effectively persuade people to purchase.
Price increase announcement
Notifications on upcoming price increases are a great means to motivate people to make purchases and consequently to get cheap conversions.Read how ad messages focused on price increases helped get a sold out conference.
Our campaign used photos from the previous conference.
Example of an ad for our price increase campaign.
The experiment was a success and brought conversions at $45.
However, such campaigns can only run for a limited time. We chose a 5 day period. It is essential to plan the campaign according to the actual price increases. To make sure your budget is only used for the right cause and you are not misleading anyone, launch ads right away or schedule them with Tendee.
It’s clear you cannot run such ads constantly. In the meantime, we used other appealing ads.
Running out of tickets
Another effective purchase trigger is announcing the limited number of tickets left on sale. Such messages also proved effective: the conversion price dropped to $17.
Carousel is a popular ad format. In many eCommerce cases, it dramatically lowered the CPC and conversion cost.
In the end, they had a higher registration cost as compared to standard approaches – $88, so we dropped the format and continued to work on cost reduction with other formats.
Dynamic creatives with plain banners
Dynamic creatives showed the best results with the same ad settings. This ad format enables using up to 10 different pictures, up to 5 variants of texts, descriptions, and calls to action in a single ad. Facebook algorithms display all combinations of these elements to the audience and determine the most efficient one.
Example of dynamic creative settings in Facebook ads manager.
We reached an average conversion cost of $14, while the best combination cost just $8 per conversion.
Dynamic creatives with video and standard video ads
Unfortunately, video ads with dynamic creatives failed to repeat this success, and the resulting cost per conversion was $75.
Proper analysis of the results relies upon giving credit to the combination of the following factors: targeting settings (audience, age, location) and creatives.
The maximum cost per ticket purchase — $160.
The minimum cost per ticket purchase — $8.
Promotion went on for 3.5 months. The graph below shows the dynamics of cost per ticket purchase decreased with time.
The average cost per ticket purchase in 2019 is $51. It is 5 times lower than the estimate ($300).
Promotion of large-scale business conferences on Facebook is profitable if started in advance (2-3 months before the event), supplied with suitable creatives and ad audience settings, and having a price increase plan approved. Test targeting settings and creatives to reduce the average conversion cost. Engage the audience and forestall ad fatigue.
Tendee enables launching ads in just a few clicks, cheduling posts with automated ticket links, and analysing results on a single page. Let’s get started!