Not everyone is ready to buy tickets the first time they hear about your event. Potential attendees might need to check schedules, coordinate with friends, or figure out transportation before they commit. This leaves organisers wondering how they can you help attendees remember to return and buy tickets, rather than forgetting about the event the moment they close their browser.

Luckily, there is a way to capture that interest and remind potential attendees at the right time and place with retargeting. If you’ve ever looked at a pair of shoes online, only to see them pop up later in your Facebook feed, you’re already familiar with the concept. Event retargeting uses pixels and cookies to target event-goers who have already checked out your page. It’s a great way to catch people at the right time: when they’re actually ready to buy. And as you know from your own experience (admit it — you bought the shoes), retargeting works.

To find out how you can turn page views into purchases, we sat down with Andy Hayes from AdRoll, a retargeting and display advertising platform. Andy works with businesses in the media/entertainment industry to help promote products and events.

What does retargeting enable event organisers to achieve that other marketing platforms don’t?

Gone are the days of guessing who your audience may be based on demographic data. Retargeting gives you the ability to target only people who have raised their hand and expressed interest in purchasing a ticket.

What are the most effective methods for event organisers to use retargeting?

Display advertising allows organisers to retarget past visitors across the entire web and Facebook. These custom ads allow you to decide how much you’re willing to spend per click in real time. For instance, you may want to spend more on past website visitors when you know they’re most likely to make a purchase.

Another effective method is email or “Customer Relations Management” (CRM) retargeting. Typically we see annual event organisers use this to re-engage past attendees. By using your email lists, you can show ads to previous attendees as soon as next year’s tickets go on sale.

What is the best way for an organiser to customise their creative for display retargeting ads?

Ads with a strong call to action typically perform best for event organisers. It’s important to highlight lineups, event dates, discounts, and shows that are selling out soon. We usually recommend starting the campaign with a variety of ad types. That way we can separate performance to A/B test the different variations.

For anyone who’s never set up a retargeting ad campaign before, what are the basic steps?

The first step is to determine your personal benchmark for success. Do you want the most people to see your ad for exposure, or do you want to pay as little as possible per actual ticket sale? There are different optimisation techniques to find the balance between scale and performance.

From there, you should set up a variety of user segments to include in the campaign. You can then gear the campaign to highlight the best performing ads by using A/B testing. Just make sure to track which campaigns are driving incremental sales.

After someone interacts with your event, what’s the right period of time to retarget them?

This totally depends on the advertiser’s sales cycle. In typical retail, an advertiser would target visitors for a few weeks after an initial visit. On the other hand, an auto dealership advertiser would want to consider a much longer window. For an event organiser, it depends on how frequent your event is and how far in advance people plan to attend. AdRoll uses pixels to analyse visitor trends and then optimise the length of the retargeting campaign.

Want to learn more about retargeting in action? Check out the ROI of retargeting for events, or simply contact us — one of our experts will reach out to help you get started.