Driving Event registrations
Note: Our client asked us to withhold their name and specifics from this Case Study
One of our clients, a leading UK supply chain event, asked us to lend a hand in the promotion of Trade Show Attendee Registrations for their 2017 show. We wanted to smash our performance from 2016, and the prospect of helping them build on the previous year’s success with new strategies and techniques excited us. Our success was to be measured on two key deliverables: Growth in Registrations and Brand Awareness of the event.
How did we fare? 2017 Registration data tells the story
- 535 Direct Social Media Registrations
- 608 Registered directly but had first heard of the event via Social Media
- 761 Registered directly but had first heard of the event via Social Media (of which 133 were attributed as a direct social registration)
- Total 1163 (Registrations from Social)
7.6% of total registrations in 2017 came from social!
The Social Media Event Marketing Strategy
Building on the success of the 2016 event and the Social Media foundation we’ve built for the Trade Show, we decided on a strategy that would mix all the Social media and digital channels at our disposal as well as effective analytics and measurement tools:
- LinkedIn groups
- Facebook Ads
- Location Based Mobile Marketing
- Social Listening
- A Content Strategy that accounted for each of these channels
- Analytics that included bit.ly, Google UTM codes, Facebook Ads Manager, Google Analytics and LiveControl, the event registration management system.
It’s important to note that we were working with the same budget as 2016.
The Key Results
Our Strategy worked and we were able to increase the key metrics across the board. Social media driven registrations were up 77.74% from 2016 with a Cost-Per-Lead (Defined as a Registration) of £27.24. This was down from our CPL of £46.51 for the 2016 event.
Brand Name and Brand Hashtag mentions skyrocketed in 2017, up from 418K impressions to 600K impressions for the week of the event.
How Did 2017 compare to 2016?
Our LinkedIn Strategy
A LinkedIn Group, grown and positioned around the event’s target market is usually the foundation of our Social Media Event Marketing strategy. Our approach to this Trade Show was no different, and the LinkedIn Group’s content strategy was based on an adapted 4:1:1 principle, where most content would seek to educate, inform and add value around industry related topics in the form of discussion posts, bi-weekly posts would champion the benefits and highlights of attending the Trade Show and the Weekly Announcements (Sent straight to Group Members’ Email Inboxes) would remind and ask Group Members to register for the event.
Facebook Ad Strategy
For Paid Facebook Advertising we took a mixed approach with various ad formats, including Video, Image and Carousels – each mapped to the different stages of the buyer’s funnel:
- Reach Ads to build Awareness
- Page Like Ads
- Promoted Post (Boost) Ads of strategically selected content
- Website Click (Traffic) Ads
- Website Conversion Ads
- Lead Generation Ads
These Ad formats were A/B Split tested, refined and applied to different Audience segments:
- ABSA Audiences for each Target Market
- Facebook Page Fans
- Website Visitors (Of both the Event Website and the Registration website)
- Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike Audiences proved to be very valuable, driving 24.19% of all clicks to the Registration Site from our Paid Campaigns. The experiment with Facebook Lead Gen Ads shed more light on the effectiveness of using Facebook Lookalike Audiences to discover prospects that might not be on the radar. For this Trade Show, we saw this manifest in our reaching independent businesses and entrepreneurs from two of the Target Markets that were difficult to pin down on LinkedIn.
Our Facebook Ad Strategy kicked off in January 2017, once Registrations opened. We started slowly, with Awareness Ads trumpeting the benefits of the event to the various target market segments. Although the aim was awareness, the ads all carried a link to the Registration Page.
Despite the early start and focused attention, Registrations only began trickling in from March. At this stage we were able to retarget website visitors with a much lower cost per conversion than anticipated. B2B Trade Shows are often free to attend after Registration. As such, prospective attendees might not feel the urge to register or be at the point to make the commitment to attend 6, 5 or even 4 months ahead of the event. Most Registrations happen in the final stretch, the 6 weeks before the event, but to hit the numbers you need in those 6 weeks it’s essential to have already built the required brand awareness and consideration to be able to push prospects over the registration line.
Lead Generation Ads
The Trade Show’s Registration form was very long, with 8 pages of data to complete. We trialled Facebook’s Lead Generation Ads to a Lookalike Audience to see if we could generate Registrations that were otherwise put off by the long registration process on the registration site. The Lead Gen Ads proved a great success, generating 32 Leads in three days. Of these, 21 were unique new Registrations from people who had not been reached before by other marketing channels. We ran this test very late in the campaign and will incorporate Lead Gen ads much earlier for the next.
We employed our content strategy on Twitter throughout the campaign, engaging with news outlets, influencers, Exhibitors, Sponsors, Partners and other stakeholders. The real power of Twitter as a Live event promotion channel was on full display as mentions of the event skyrocketed the week of the event, growing from 439K impression s for the campaign period of 1 January – 3 June 2017, to 600K for the week of 4 – 10 June 2017.
We used Location-Based Marketing to target two competing Shows with similar audience segments with Mobile Ads promoting the Automechanika Birmingham website. These ads were displayed on mobile websites and apps to people within the Geo-fences Target Locations – the exhibition centres – during these events.
Google Analytics gave us even deeper insight into Social media’s influence on Registrations. According to Google Analytic’s Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer, Social Media attributed to 9.34% of all Event Registrations.
On the Event Registration Page, Social Media was the third largest referral channel, following Referral Links (Affiliates) and Direct Traffic and Social Media traffic to the Event Site was also up from the previous year.
|Registration Page Top Web Traffic Channels||Sessions||Percentage of total|
What our client said:
The Social Effect team are an extension of our own team, providing year round communications with our audience, giving us engagement, thought leadership and reach. The world of social media is constantly changing and The Social Effect are always on hand to advise us of the latest tools we can use, along with taking our ideas and making them happen.Anonymous
Our work on this event conclusively proves the ROI of Social Media marketing for B2B Events and Trade Shows. Social Media is not just a fluff channel. Social Media can contribute to brand awareness, and it’s an excellent B2C channel, but if your agency is advising you that Social Media has no place in your B2B marketing plan, cannot convert or should be restricted to LinkedIn…well, then it’s time to start a conversation with a team that knows what they are talking about.