Event Marketing
April 29, 2015  •  by Sean Burke

Basic Google AdWords for Event Planners

You’ll notice, of course, right off the bat, that the first two results past the pictures are ads, and then there after all this are the “organic” (this means unpaid) results. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Ads are extremely powerful in this scenario, as people are statistically much more likely to click on the first 1-3 results and then much more sparingly after that. So now that you know this, let’s look into utilizing Google Adwords for your event!

Also, before we go any further, I should note that Adwords is not right for everyone, especially depending on your ticket price and your location. I only recommend you use Adwords if you are located in an urban center or area with a large population, and if your ticket prices are at least $10-15. 

For New Users
In this section, I’m going to walk you through the account creation and first ad creation. It’s quite simple, however there are always things to watch out for! The first thing you’ll need to do before anything is create an Adwords account if you haven’t already. Simply go to https://www.google.com/adwords/ and click the blue “Start Now” button. If you already have an Adwords account/have used Adwords before, you can skip this portion and head down to “Optimizing Your Ads”.

  • First, you’ll need to create a Google account if you haven’t already. If you have, you can sign into it and you’ll use that account for you Adwords
  • Setting your location: Ignore the default location settings and click on the little pencil icon to the right. Then, go to “Let me choose…” and enter in the city you’re in. For my example, I’m trying to market “concerts in Austin” so I’d obviously want to add in Austin, TX. I’d also add in cities that are nearby Austin because I’m sure people will want to go them during the weekends! Use your judgment here.
  • Search Networks: Next, you’ll see the area that says Networks. Click on the Pencil to edit, and uncheck “Display”. Display ads aren’t very popular and I’ve never seen good results with them. Now onto the meat!
  • Keywords: Keywords are things that people search for in search engines. They can range from “where to buy coffee” to “what is that one song that goes i’m blue da ba dee da ba die”. This part can be difficult to determine- you’ll need to think about what people could be searching for that would make them want to go to your event. If you’re doing an event for home decorators, you could choose keywords like “home decorator tips” or “home decoration”. The nice thing about adwords is it will tell you how popular those search terms are, as well as giving you other ideas.
  • Bids: Bids are a little tricky, and this is one portion where I recommend setting your own bid to start off with. Doing $1.00 is good enough to start with, but you’ll need to think about ticket prices. Don’t go bidding $1.00 if your tickets are only $3.00! Go into the bidding process thinking that you’ll need at least 2-3 clicks before someone buys. You can always edit your bid later. After you’ve decided on your bid, now you can go back to your budget and set it. Don’t worry if your clicks or impressions are lower.
  • Writing a Text Ad: If you’ve never done a Google Ad before, here’s a few things to keep in mind. First off all, you have Character limits. Your headline has a limit of 25 characters, and then you have two lines of ad text, each of which are 35 characters each. My most basic recommendation is this: Have a clear connection between your keyword choices and the headline for maximum interest. Then, in your first line of ad text, have a benefit. Why do they want to come to your concert? The second line of ad text should have a call to action, such as “buy your tickets now!” or “5 early bird tickets left, save $5!”. These are always the most effective ads. 

After all that, you’re all set! Be sure your landing page is the actual website for people to see your event, and set that green URL as your website as well. Click “Save”, then go to Billing and Review. You’re finished!
Note: We are not affiliated with empireatx, but they are pretty cool so I wanted to use them as my example.

Optimizing Your Ads
Here’s a few tips for optimizing your ads for not only the highest CTR (click through rate, which is calculated as Clicks/Impressions) but also for saving your money.

  • SPLIT TEST!!!: Although it’s incredibly basic, you’d be surprised at how many people fail to do it. Split testing involves creating two (not 3, not 4, not 1) ads for each group of keywords, and then seeing which one has a higher CTR. The higher the CTR, the better! After a couple weeks or at your discretion, look at your campaign manager and see which of your two ads has a better CTR. Delete the loser, and create a new ad based off your “winner” and see if you can boost it even higher. Over time, your CTR will increase even higher. The higher the CTR, the lower your costs are going to be since Google wants people to click on your ads. I recommend rotating out the loser every 1000 impressions.
  • +Modified +Broad +Match +Rules: Remember when you picked keywords? Choose an ad group, such as “concerts in Austin”, and then take all keywords that you want to look similar. For example, you’d want to add a + in front of Austin and also +concerts. This means that your ad will only ever show up if someone types both “concerts” and “Austin” into the search bar. This will help increase your CTR dramatically. It’s really the best of all types of keyword matching.
  • dn’t misspell wrds: Character limits suck, but you can’t get around them. Acronyms are one thing (like ATX), but you need to be using the full word. Google judges the quality of your ad, and that affects where it’s placed.
  • Bid Slightly Higher: Very rarely will you pay exactly what you bid. This means that you should try to bid a little bit higher than what you’d want to pay, as this will get you higher spots. Higher spots means more people click, which means higher CTR, which means that your costs can go down…seems counterintuitive but that’s the way the bidding software works.
  • Use -Negative Keywords: Are you doing a Baroque concert in Austin but it seems that everyone is searching for “neopsychelectro funk concerts in Austin”? Help raise your CTR by using negative keywords. In your campaign manager, you can choose to put in negative keywords. This means that if someone searches for “neopsychelectro funk”, your ad won’t show up for that keyword.

There you have it- you now have all the basic knowledge to run a successful Google Ad campaign! As always, be willing to learn new information and you’ll also want to stay up to date on new happenings in the ad space to make the most out of your budget. You’ll find that this takes very little of your time but can have drastic results. I’ll be writing more about Search Engine Marketing for Event Marketers and Planners, so stay tuned and thanks again for reading!