How to Use Twitter Ads for Event Marketing

I can’t remember the last time I watched or attended an event without tweeting about it. At each event, I also follow the event organizer and save a search for the official event hashtag. The benefit to me is real time information—the benefit to the event marketer is a captive audience.

The savvy marketer will take advantage of this captive audience by creating a twitter strategy to maximize engagement among event goers, and even those not attending but simply following along via twitter. In this post, I’ll show you how to organize Promoted Tweet campaigns to squeeze every bit of engagement possible out of your budget. I’m going to use examples from our recent work at the Natural Products Expo West.

Here’s what you’ll need to create a successful twitter events campaign:

  • A twitter account
  • Credit card
  • Tweet copy and photos
  • A marketing goal

Let’s get started.

Setting up Twitter Ads

Twitter already has some info on how to set up your Twitter Ads account, so I’m not going to go through that. If for some reason you do not see the option for Twitter Ads in this menu, just make sure you’re logged into your account and go here:

Establish Your Marketing Goal and Determine Your Metrics for Succes

Are you looking for more followers, website traffic or engagement? Twitter asks you to decide right away, so make sure you know what you want out of your campaign. For this example, we’ll use tweet engagements, which appear on a dropdown menu when you click “Create a new campaign.”

For Expo West, our client wanted to tease an announcement they would be making at their booth. They were looking for awareness and engagement, especially among members of the media and bloggers.

Name your campaign, then add a dash and put the hashtag you’re going to target

We’ll discuss the naming convention a little later.

Change the default setting to “Customize start and end dates” and use the event schedule. 

These targeting settings are things like geography, gender, locations and even device type. For our purposes, we chose “United States” and left it at that. I like to start the campaigns a few days before, to generate awareness among people doing their research, but it depends on your goal.

Set up creative rotation

Choose existing tweets, or write new ones, but make sure to use around five per campaign. You have the option to tweet as “promoted-only,” which I usually select because the content may not be relevant to our followers, but is hyper-relevant to the event-goers. Make sure to use good photos.

Select your interest targeting

This is the fun part, the part that can make or break your campaign. Remember the title of this campaign? Click “+ Add keywords” and type in the official event hashtag and select “Phrase Match” and “Broad Match.” That’s it—don’t add any more targeting.

Set your budget

Set a budget, then set a daily budget so things don’t get out of control if you have a popular hashtag. I usually set a max bid at $4 or under, although if everything goes right you should only be paying around $.50 CPE (cost per engagement).

And you’re done with the first campaign. Save the campaign and input your credit card.

Now navigate back into the campaign from the Analytics dashboard by clicking the title. In the right corner of the screen, click “Copy this campaign” and name this campaign the same as the first, only put the event organizer’s twitter handle after the dash.

Unfortunately, the cloned campaign doesn’t save many of the settings and you’ll have to re-do those, and also upload the exact same set of creative. But this time, instead of adding keywords, select “+ Add followers” and input the handle of the event. Uncheck the two boxes “Also target your followers” and “Also target users like your followers” below.

Edit your budget information to be equal to the amount of the previous campaign, and roughly half the total campaign budget.

A/B testing with Twitter Ads

By setting up your campaigns this way, you’re A/B testing between the event hashtag and the event’s followers. You may be surprised at the results. I saw engagement rates up to 6 percent, much higher than twitter’s stated average of 1–2 percent, and although the two campaigns were comparable in terms of engagement rates, one was performing at a far more efficient CPE. Since the creative rotation was exactly the same, I shifted much of the budget from the follower campaign into the official event hashtag campaign, helping me squeeze every bit of engagement out of the budget.

Feel free to use this campaign structure as your basic setup, then experiment with the different targeting options available. Test different creative rotations—try using Vines! 

So what do you think, can you use this strategy to market at your next event? Let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed reading, consider following us on Twitter or Facebook—actionable marketing advice on your favorite social media platform. Right next to baby pictures and cat videos.

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