The Master’s Guide to Facebook Advertising for Events

You can't just create a Facebook ad for an event and hope for the best

Want to use Facebook to help make sure all of those seats are filled? kasto80/iStock

Billions of people use Facebook on a daily basis. This makes it the perfect place to create and launch a targeted ad campaign for an upcoming event. People are already on the social media platform to be social and participate in these types of events.

On Facebook, you’ll find music festivals, rallies and fundraisers. You’ll find the perfect conferences and hackathons. There are so many events that companies and nonprofits enjoy hosting, and each kind provides a way to enhance a brand, draw awareness and create memorable experiences.

Event advertising is more challenging than it seems

Despite this incredible opportunity and the ease of getting in front of such a large audience, it can be a challenge to get the results you want. You can’t just create a Facebook ad for an event and hope for the best.

Fortunately, there are experts out there to help, including Eventbrite, the world’s leading event technology platform. Thanks to its extensive experience in the events industry, the company realizes the critical challenges companies face when trying to use social media sites like Facebook to gain traction for their events.

According to Eventbrite, Facebook is challenging for even the most experienced, battle-tested teams: “First of all, Facebook continually updates its algorithms to surface the most relevant content. You’ll need to produce high-quality ads that draw big engagement. Second, you need to put a budget behind your ads—and spend that budget wisely. On the other hand, the advantages of Facebook extend beyond the size of its audience. The platform allows you, the advertiser, to leverage advanced, granular and highly accurate audience targeting.”

Luckily, you can do more than hope that you can make social media advertising work for your event—you can adopt a proven strategy.

A tactical approach to advertising events on social media

Eventbrite recently published a whitepaper, “How to Master Facebook Advertising and Sell More Tickets.” Here are some of the highlights from the whitepaper, which can serve as a guide for delivering a higher return from your Facebook ads for upcoming events and help more people enjoy incredible live event experiences.

Understand Facebook’s relevance score

As the company notes, this relevance score provides a clearer picture of how Facebook advertising actually works. “This score determines how much Facebook charges you to run your ads. When you run an ad to a given audience, Facebook quickly analyzes how well the audience is responding to your ad—are they clicking on it, liking it, sharing or commenting on it?”

The responses indicate how relevant your audience considers the ad to be. Facebook awards it a score between one and 10, with one being the low end. The higher you can get that relevance score, the less you’ll be charged for the ad.

This is Facebook’s way of rewarding advertisers for coming up with the types of ads that the social network wants to display to its users—ones with relevant content. And by paying less for the ad and getting more attention, your event will also garner more ticket sales at a greater return on investment.

Define your audience and brand ambassadors

Facebook gives you another assist by providing target parameters to pinpoint what your audience looks like. This helps you define who they are, what they are interested in and even what type of information they want and when.

You should also determine who might be a brand ambassador and encourage these customers or attendees to step into this role by asking them to post information about the event on their own pages. This can create further relevancy in the eyes of Facebook, plus you’ll get more return on the advertising investment you are making.

Create a highly relevant Facebook events page and ad

It may strike you as obvious to have a Facebook events page and ad content, but the insight here is how to make both as relevant as possible. Once you understand your audience, this will shape the type of content to use.

It’s important to use relevant graphics and even add a video of previous events or the preparation for your current event. These visuals draw your audience in, plus they’re what Facebook counts as relevant. Use exciting and engaging visuals of the event for the cover photo to your events page.

In addition, include basic event information and benefits your audience will get by attending. While this may seem self-evident, some of this data may be left out. However, it is key because Facebook’s algorithm wants this type of information, including location. This helps the social media site know where to place the ad, as well as where it can recommend the event.

Facebook also encourages you to incorporate other pertinent data, such as the type of event and tags that help your audience find you.

Last, but not least, include a link that makes it as easy as possible to purchase those event tickets.

Cross-promote with your company Facebook page

Facebook likes to see that you take advantage of all of its opportunities. That means having a company page and an event page that cross-promote each other. This lets the audience know that there are additional sources of information to check out.

At some point, the event will be over, and you’ll want to keep in touch with the people who liked it by having them also like your company page. That way, they are connected to you for any future events.

Leverage retargeting

According to Eventbrite’s research, “People are 80 percent more likely to convert through retargeting than through a normal campaign. When someone clicks on your retargeting ad, that click costs you 43 percent less than a regular ad. Custom audiences are what provide this ability to retarget people who have visited your site.”

Use event notifications to initiate audience engagement

When your Facebook event page notifies you that someone has liked it, made a comment or engaged in any other way, this is an opportunity to get more from the page and your Facebook ad by interacting with each person.

Don’t overuse this channel, however. Switch to email marketing or the event application where they have purchased event tickets when you want to update attendees or those interested in your event.

Pay attention to your Facebook ad efforts

You will want to start with a small budget and test an event ad with your targeted ad. Then, you can use Facebook’s analytic tools to measure your performance. This can help you learn the ropes of Facebook event ads and determine how to fine-tune yours.

From there, you can begin to scale up your budget and keep testing different types of ads. Like Rome, the perfect event campaign was not built in a day. Instead, success comes from constant attention to your Facebook ad campaign.

Over time, you will see results from this focus on and management of Facebook event ads. When you find ways to prompt Facebook users to engage with your event while it is happening, and afterward with Facebook Live and other video content, the social network gives you tools to help achieve that deeper engagement so your return reaches new heights.

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.