Why You Need Social Ads To Sell Out Your Event

February 13, 2020

David Gater

David Gater is the founder and lead strategist of Brown + Blonde Social, a social-media-first ad agency for ticketing and events. With a background in creating branded content for over 15 years, David helps event companies across the world build digital ad campaigns that sell.

If you’re organizing an event, online exposure is critical to sell admission and get people through the door. Social media has quickly emerged as the single most crucial factor in online digital marketing campaigns, with Facebook and Instagram leading the way. While organic social media has been an important force over the years, the potential reach of organic campaigns is often much lower than people think. In order to make a real impact, it’s more important than ever to focus on the paid side of social media. 

Organic growth seems to be diminishing before our eyes, with Facebook recording 16 percent growth in 2012 and just 2.27 percent in 2015. Making waves on Instagram with organic marketing alone is also getting much harder due to multiple algorithm and structural changes. As the platform is tweaked to preference its commercial income, events relying on organic results alone are often left out in the cold. 

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, “Instagram’s organic reach is finished. So just as we figured it out, it’s over.”

Types of Paid Media Ads 

Organic and paid social media campaigns are often easily distinguished, but that doesn’t mean all paid ads are the same. Event organizers can benefit from multiple options across platforms, with each campaign strategy benefiting from an expansive and considered approach. Social platforms often appeal to very different demographics, so it’s important to choose a platform and ad type capable of meeting your target demographic. 

For example, while 37 percent of U.S. adults use Instagram on a regular basis, this number almost doubles to 67 percent in the 18-29 age group, and more than doubles to 75 percent in the 18-24 age group. In this demographic, Instagram is practically as popular as Facebook, which enjoys 76 percent coverage among the 18-24 age group and a much higher reach among all adults at 69 percent. 

Overall, there are 2.41 billion active monthly Facebook users, with Instagram hitting the 1 billion mark earlier this year. 

It’s not all about reach and age brackets, however, with different platforms also offering different ad types, customization options and pricing structures. 

Photo Ads 

Image-based ads are the cornerstone of both Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, you can include 125 characters of text plus a headline and link description in addition to the image. Facebook also includes Boosted posts, which is adding spend behind an already highly engaged organic post, but doesn’t allow for additional customization. Instagram in feed photo ads look just like regular posts, only with the “Sponsored” text in the top right corner. 

Video Ads 

Video ads can be incredibly effective for events because they allow you to showcase past iterations of your event or highlight future assets and artists. Facebook video ads come in all shapes and sizes, from small snippets to huge 240-minute promotional videos. While video ads can be effective on Instagram, the image-based nature of the platform does lead itself to still images in some situations. 

Mixed Ads 

Both Facebook and Instagram include various options that mix and match images with video content. On Facebook, Slideshow ads create videos from several images, Carousel ads combine up to 10 photos or videos with separate links and Collection ads highlight various products directly in your Facebook feed beneath a cover image. Instagram also includes Carousel and Collection ads, with the carousel swiped through by the user and the collection allowing up to 90 characters of text, and multiple pieces of content which allow for authentic storytelling. 

Create stories and make memories 

When organizing an ad campaign for your event, it’s important to create stories for your audience in order to make memories and inspire action. While image and video-based ads can be highly effective, both Facebook and Instagram also include a Stories feature for a more immersive experience. Rather than being specifically selected, Facebook Stories are an option under Automatic Placements. Instagram Stories function in a similar way, with photos or videos up to 120 seconds long displayed between people’s organic stories. 

The trick here is to create highly native, authentic content that looks as if it’s a “friend,” as the consumer is viewing multiple stories rather than over-produced or repurposed content that seems “ad-like.”

Get Personal With Messenger 

In the age of social media, advertising is not all about reach, it’s also about creating conversations and building authentic relationships. Facebook Messenger continues to make waves as a promotional tool, especially for event organizers. With Messenger, you can interact with your audience in real-time, utilize chatbots and answer questions about the event. This allows you to reach out to people on a personal level without the negative associations of some advertising forms. 

People are 3.5 times more likely to open a Facebook message than a regular marketing email, with more conversations leading to greater community engagement and more ticket sales. 

Running a successful event requires a forward-thinking and multi-pronged approach. While organic social marketing and various other avenues can still be highly effective, the paid end of social media is fast becoming a major player. In order to create a real buzz around your event and get more people through the door, it’s important to add social media ads to your arsenal and integrate them carefully with your wider event ecosystem.


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE and engage with us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Just when it seems like Las Vegas can’t get any bigger, brighter or more exciting for groups, MGM Resorts raises the bar again. The company continues to invest and innovate across its portfolio of Las Vegas resorts, with new attractions and upgraded experiences for attendees of all interests.  Remodeled Guest Rooms MGM Grand is the largest single hotel in the world with over 5,000 guest rooms and an 850,000-square-foot conference center. It is home to the newly remodeled MGM Grand Studio Tower—700 reimagined guest rooms with a fun mid-century vibe. Nearby, the iconic New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino recently completed a $63M redesign and remodel of its 1,830 guest rooms and 155 suites. Down the street, Bellagio Las Vegas is sporting renovated rooms in the Spa Tower with sunrise-inspired decor and luxurious soaking tubs in Premier King rooms after a $110-million transformation. Reinvented Luxury Experiences The Luxury Meetings District, made up of Bellagio Las Vegas, ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas, is now more connected than ever before. A new interior walkway opened this October for a seamless attendee experience – connecting Vdara, Bellagio, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, guests can now walk from Park MGM to Bellagio in around 15 minutes. New on the scene in the Luxury Meetings District is Cathedrale at ARIA, TAO Group’s upscale establishment specializing in exquisite French-Mediterranean cuisine offering elevated private dining experiences that opened in May. Heralded by World’s Best 50 Restaurants, GQ and VOGUE, LPM at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is opening this fall and will deliver its signature spontaneity and imaginative celebration of France’s Mediterranean cuisine, art, and culture to the unique luxury resort in impeccable fashion.  A “New Wave  for Mandalay Bay A new wave of enhancements and experiences has arrived at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, including Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar, an 8,445-square-foot restaurant that opened this June, perfect for pre- and post-game eats and drinks. Event planner’s favorite, Chef Michael Mina’s StripSteak, received a full renovation and now includes one of the largest private dining rooms on The Strip. Retro by Voltaggio debuts a one-year residency with a fun take on pop culture of the 80s and 90s with classic American dishes. An exciting addition planned for 2024 is Swingers, a 40,000-square-foot oasis of street food, miniature golf and art at Mandalay Bay. Most exciting for meeting planners, the 2.1 million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center  is undergoing a complete refresh, with lightened space, added eye-catching art, and improved technology infrastructure for even more flexible space. Energy-efficient digital signage now leads the way with faster internet speeds and new AV options. From renovated guest rooms and meeting spaces to celebrated dining options and dedicated teams, MGM Resorts is dedicated to delivering exceptional and innovative meeting experiences.