How to Reduce Conversion Cost from $300 to $51 for Growth Marketing Conf with $1311 Average Ticket Price

Business conference organizers doubt whether to opt for Facebook promotion. They wonder if this channel can provide audience who are ready to purchase $1000 tickets. Organizers usually go for classic channels: PPC and SEO. However, Facebook has audience interested in conferences, but it requires proper approach and message. This has been proven by our experience with Growth Marketing Conf. This article shows 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 reaches 2000 people. In 2019 the organizers decided to entrust Facebook promotion to Tendee team. 

Goal

Get orders (conversions) from Facebook under $300 (up to 30% of the ticket price).

Results: 

  • 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.

  1. Formulate a hypothesis regarding the targeting and creatives. Allocate test budget.
  2. Get first conversions (the starting point).
  3. Adjust targeting settings.
  4. Keep the optimal audience settings with the lowest cost.
  5. Test creatives.
  6. Find the best combination of creatives and the audience.
  7. Launch ads with the best set of targetings and creatives with the bulk of the marketing budget.

Hypothesis

A brainstorm session helped us single out two targeting groups and pick up creatives for them.

AudienceDescriptionCreatives
ColdFacebook 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.
Website visitors.
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 several speakers.

Results

Ads got dead response — the audience turned out to be too narrow. Conversion cost fell within the range from $39 to $160. 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.

Wider location

The audience targeted by interests was initially limited to The Bay Area, CA. We extended the location to include the US and Canada.

Adding hot audience

First several weeks that we tested our ads provided the hottest audience — people who visited the website of the conference. People seldom make purchase decisions on the first try, therefore it is very important to reach out to the interested audience again and to return them to the website. We achieved this with a remarketing campaign. 

Tuning age limits

We studied attendee profiles from last year’s conference and tuned the age limits. The default age setting of 18-65 years gave way to 25-55 years.

Plain banners featuring speakers

We got creatives featuring separate speakers and indicating the numbers 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.

Results

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 Facebook ad optimization algorithms. The two main optimization principles are:

  1. Allocate time and budget for ads to learn. Read more on the learning phase.
  2. 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. The same creatives annoy people. Read more on Ad Fatigue. It is essential to test enough marketing messages persuading people to purchase.

Price increase announcement

Notifications on the upcoming price increases are a great means to motivate people make purchases and consequently to get cheap conversions. An approaching price increase has always been a great sales trigger. Read how ad messages focused on price increases helped get a soldout for a 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 cost.

However, such campaigns can only run for a limited time. We chose a 5 days’ 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 creatives.

Running out of tickets

Another effective purchase trigger is announcing the limited number of tickets left on sale. Such creatives also proved effective: the conversion price dropped to $17.

Speakers carousel

Carousel is a popular ad format. In many eCommerce cases it dramatically lowered CPC and conversion cost.

In the end they showed a higher registration cost as compared to standard creatives – $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 the 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 equaled $75

Conclusions

Proper analysis of results relies upon giving credit to the combination of the following factors: targeting settings (audience, age, location) and creative.

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 decrease with time.  

Graph of conversion cost behavior throughout the promotion period.

The average cost per ticket purchase in 2019 is $51. It is 5 times lower than the estimate ($300).

Close

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 several clicks, schedule posts with automated ticket links, and analyse results on a single page. Let’s get started!

⭐️ Want to promote your events? Contact us!