At this point, we all know how to use Facebook. We’ve all liked a million posts and shared thousands of thoughts. Facebook’s use as a communication tool is practically unparalleled, but there is a whole side to it that few understand. That side is what makes the wheels of Facebook turn: the advertisements. Ads are important to Facebook, and their 1.4 billion users make it worth any event marketer’s time to figure out how to use them to their advantage.
Facebook ads can especially do wonders when building audiences for events. Facebook is already a platform where people expect to discover events and invite their friends. This makes the barriers to engagement low, and the opportunities prime. Here’s how you can set up a great ad campaign.
Choose your Objective
Facebook has tons of options for objectives you can design into your campaign, and they add new ones all the time. See below for the list of objective options at the time of writing this article.
The objective you choose will determine how Facebook’s algorithms will present your ad to the target audience. This algorithm is a bit too complex for a blog post. In short it analyzes each opportunity to present the ad and shows it if there is a likely outcome of achieving your desired result.
Selecting the best objective for your event is highly dependent on what your goals are. If you are simply trying to sell more tickets, you can combine the “conversions” objective with a Facebook Pixel in your website to have Facebook drive people to purchase tickets. If you are trying to build the Facebook presence for your page in the off season for your events, you can use the engagement function to boost your page and its content.
Making the Budget
One of the best things about Facebook Ads is that they let you name your budget and do their best with what you have. This makes the system useful to both large events with huge advertising budgets and a small bar crawl with only a couple hundred to spend. Facebook gives you the choice between giving a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Which budget you choose determines how Facebook will pace their spending. Either continuously throughout the day every day, or over the span of a set amount of time.
The way Facebook spends the budget is by making bids on instances that your ad could appear in front of a member of your defined target audience. The highest bid runs their ad, and the lower bids move on to bid on another opportunity. Facebook automates this process and bases bids on the likelihood of that instance accomplishing desired results. The more money that is in your budget, the more that Facebook algorithms will be able to bid. You have the option to set a cap on how high you are willing to bid, but we recommend letting the Facebook algorithms do the work. They are very good at it.
Selecting the Audience
Facebook knows a lot about people. Like, a lot. They know what users have written into their profiles and what pages they’ve interacted with. They know where people live and where they’ve been. All that they know (or at least most of it), you can use to define who will see your advertisement.
Creating a well targeted audience allows you to customize your ad or the people who will see it, and maximizes the efficiency of your budget. You want your ad in front of people who want to go to your event, so define your audience to fit that. Throwing an EDM music festival? Set your audience to EDM fans who live within fifty miles of your city. Putting on a conference? Target people working in the relevant professional fields.
Facebook also lets you define specific emails and people who you want to target with their “custom audience” function. This is an incredibly useful tool for events looking to encourage their previous attendees to come back for another round of fun. You can use the emails that they gave you to purchase their tickets and directly target them with future events.
You can also use Facebook’s “look alike audiences.” This feature utilizes another complicated algorithm to take a custom audience and makes another one based on similarities between profiles. Essentially, you can enter in your current custom audience and Facebook finds a similarly great crowd for you to target. This function is great for touring events. They can use their audience from their most successful stop on the tour to create a look alike audience for future stops.
Designing the Ad
A successful Facebook Ad will blend seamlessly into the reader’s news feed. Facebook ads do well because we take down our iron-forged barriers against advertising while we’re scrolling Facebook. When we see a post, we first think t it comes from a page we follow. If you’ve targeted your audience right, then you can keep your reader thinking that. Make an ad that seems like an invitation to a fun event from a friend. No mental alarms will go off, and the viewer will click to learn more about this well recommended good time.
Making such unobtrusive ads is simpler than you think. It isn’t all that different than the posts you make all the time for your personal account. Know who you are reaching out to, and meld the tone of your post to speak to them.
Your ad also needs compelling visuals that will give a viewer reason to stop scrolling. What that visual will be depends on your scenario. A good note for event advertising though: smiles are infectious. When trying to sell fun, it never hurts to show others having fun.
Facebook gives some good options for making your ad dynamic and interactive. Video ads are frequently found to be the most compelling option. Facebook automatically plays videos, which does a phenomenal job grabbing attention. You can also set up a carousel, which will let readers flip through several images. Or, you can go the old fashion way and just use one image. Remember, your ad will appear on the mobile and desktop version of Facebook, as well as Instagram. You need to ensure that it looks and works great across these platforms.
There isn’t a singular best option that will make the perfect Facebook ad. If there was, marketing would be far less interesting. The best way to figure out the perfect ad for your events is to start running them. After a couple of ads have had time to run their course, compare the results and use what worked in your next campaign. As an additional pointer, Facebook recommends incorporating as little text as possible into your images.
Want to know more about how you can use Facebook to market your events? Check out this article!