PPC for Events. Questions Asked and Answered.

Event Tech Brief

PPC for Events. Questions Asked and Answered.



By Michelle Bruno

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a key digital marketing tactic for many exhibition and event marketers. It is transparent, attributable, and very effective. With the appropriate attention, PPC can help organizers increase attendance and secure leads, sponsors and more. PPC also allows organizers to understand their potential prospects better by gathering essential online behavioral and demographic metrics.

However, not every organization has in-house digital marketing expertise, and even when they do, digital marketers don’t always focus exclusively on PPC. As a result, some organizers limit or forgo their use of the tactic. Outsourcing PPC advertising to a specialized digital marketing agency like Tag Digital is a great way to reap ample benefits with less effort and risk.

What is pay-per-click advertising?

PPC is a digital marketing model used to drive traffic to websites. Advertisers pay each time an ad is clicked. The ads, which are linked to the advertiser’s website, registration page, or landing page, are “triggered” when platform visitors display certain behaviors (search on a keyword) or demographics (job title, geographic location, past event registrant).

Why use PPC in the event marketing mix?

Event organizers turn to PPC for several reasons. It's becoming more challenging to rank in search engine results and leading social media platforms have systematically reduced the reach of organic posts. So, while there is still a place for earned and owned media, organizers are discovering they also have to “pay to play.”

PPC works differently than the traditional tactics organizers use to market their events, including email, direct mail, print media, search engine optimization, and organic social media. Rather than hope the right person gets the message, PPC technology endeavors to serve up the message only to the right person. 

Why use a PPC agency?

Pay-per-click isn’t a “set and forget” tactic. It requires expertise (or at least tolerance for a continuous learning curve) and oversight. More of both are necessary with every new platform (Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, for example) a marketer deploys. So, rather than remove PPC from the marketing mix, some organizers turn to agencies. 

It’s not just that agencies (good ones) know what they’re doing, they have other clients from whom they learn new tactics and what works vs. what doesn’t. Besides building and optimizing PPC campaigns, they provide advice on how much to spend and which platforms to use—an always-moving target as campaigns and objectives ebb and flow. They also monitor the platforms as they roll out new ad products, remove old ones, and change specifications.  

Why use a PPC agency for events?

PPC is agnostic in terms of the types of ads, advertisers, and objectives it serves. However, not all digital marketing agencies are as noncommittal. Tag Digital, for instance, is a PPC advertising agency specializing in the event industry. Its customers are primarily event organizers. Its work focuses on event-related objectives, such as brand awareness; attendee, exhibitor, and sponsor acquisition; or reducing no-shows.

When Tag Digital builds and monitors PPC campaigns, it leverages an understanding of the event space and experience with event organizers. It can say, “PPC increases event registration by 10 to 30 percent based on the results we’ve achieved in the past,” says Francesca Fraser, senior account manager at Tag Digital. 

Tag Digital, which charges a flat percentage of the client’s overall media budget, develops ad copy and creative, campaign strategy, and media plans (proposed allocation of ad spend). It also builds out the campaigns on each platform. All clients get access to their own real-time campaign performance dashboards. Tag’s PPC strategists continuously monitor campaign performance and reallocate spending to boost results and lower the cost per conversion.

Last year, Tag Digital built an in-house benchmarking tool that informs client recommendations and expectations. “We can now say, this is how much you should be looking to pay for one visitor registration in Europe in the retail sector, for example,” Fraser explains. 

Pay-per-click advertising for events is effective, measurable, and flexible. A small but strategic investment is enough to test the waters, and campaigns can be expanded or terminated with a click. Digital agencies, especially those with specific expertise in PPC and the event industry, can fast-track PPC results, lower the risk associated with dabbling in new technology, and add the marketing muscle and precision event marketers crave.

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