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Event Marketing
3 July 2018 

How to Massively Boost Event Registrations with Event Retargeting

Daniel Mendelson
How to Massively Boost Event Registrations with Event Retargeting

In this post, you’ll discover how to leverage retargeting to boost your event marketing strategy through tips, examples and case studies.

Most sources agree that around 97% of visitors to an event website leave without converting to actual ticket sales. This statistic does not include just websites relevant to events, but includes most e-commerce sites altogether. Luckily, retargeting allows you to build awareness and bring back this ‘lost’ 97% so that you don’t need to rely solely on the 3% of actual converts.

What Is Event Retargeting?

Retargeting, or remarketing, has a number of different forms. In essence, it is an online ad campaign that uses cookie-based, data driven technology to target ads to the right people and ultimately boost ROI.

With site retargeting or pixel-based retargeting, marketers place a pixel on their website that tracks its visitors and then targets them with display ads while they are online. That way, although these visitors did not convert on their initial visit to the site, they may convert later on after having been exposed to the brand elsewhere on the web.

Therefore, the ads are targeting people who have already expressed an interest in the first place, heightening the potential for conversion.

How event retargeting ads work

Retargeting responds to many buyers’ nonlinear conversion paths. As HubSpot details, for most buyers, conversions do not usually start from an organic visit to the site and end with a purchase right then and there.

Instead, potential leads often need to be nurtured and exposed to the brand a number of times before they are convinced to make a purchase.

Similarly, retargeting can reach out to contacts already in your database, but who have not yet followed through with a purchase. This is called list-based retargeting or CRM retargeting, which is particularly useful for event organizers who can utilize the lists of attendees from past events, as many event planners use a CRM platform to manage their contacts.

Through this type of direct event marketing, you can implement display ads that reach your existing customers. Retargeting thus maximizes the potential of reaching these nonlinear leads and site visitors by building a relationship off of their initial interest.

How To Implement Event Retargeting Ads

Retargeting is basically a JavaScript code that is inserted into the footer of your webpage. This code then tracks visitors to the page by putting a cookie or “pixel” in their browser. Then, the retargeting provider will target these visitors with ads anywhere else on the web. Here is a list of some retargeting providers and platforms, each with a different strategy:

Fetchback AdRoll Triggit
Boostable Chango

Perfect Audience


The proven success in ROI of retargeting derives from its data driven identity. If you are a seasoned event organizer who plans numerous events each year, then you surely have a plethora of useful data. List-based retargeting is a great way of utilizing this data, such as previous event attendees, to maximize the number of registered attendees to your next event.

Having an organized and detailed understanding of your event data also lets you know which type of retargeting to implement. For example, if you notice through your event website metrics that you have very high traffic to your event site, then site retargeting is your best option. 

Although site retargeting generally produces more conversions than list-based retargeting, both increase ROI and utilize attendees who have a connection to your event in some way.

Altogether, through analyzing data you can tailor your retargeting campaign to maximize ROI. This also highlights the importance of event planning software, which gives you the data to know what type of retargeting campaign to utilize. 

Integrating Retargeting with Event Software

All forms of event promotion, including retargeting, should be integrated with your event management platform. This way you’re able to maintain all of your digital marketing initiatives in one place. The more holistic of a view you’re able to gain from your campaign efforts, the more effective they will be. Because retargeting ads can get complicated, having them be integrated with your event software can make the tracking and reporting process much simpler.

Advanced event management softwares allow you to enable tracking pixels across your event website which then allows you to monitor key website behavior such as clicks or form submissions. Below you can see an example of Bizzabo’s tracking pixel feature.  

Tracking pixels for event retargeting ads

Once a website visitor takes the particular action you are tracking for, the pixel is triggered and the intended advertising platform, such as Facebook or Google Display Network, shows your advertisement to that specific user. Having this feature enabled within your event management software makes for a much smoother and more efficient advertising process. 

In addition to tracking pixels, the aforementioned list-based retargeting is also possible within certain event management softwares. As long as the software is able to collect email addresses of visitors who did not complete the registration, you can use this list of emails to remarket them on different platforms as well as to send retargeted email campaigns.  

Event retargeting for unfinished registrations

With this list of email addresses, you can create personalized campaigns that directly refer to their unfinished registration, encouraging them to complete the process. As mentioned before, attendees’ ticket purchasing journey is anything but linear. By having these types of retargeting capabilities within your event management software, you’ll be able to better convert those who do not immediately register for the event. 

Keep in mind that list-based remarketing campaigns, or all retargeting campaigns for that matter, should always be GDPR compliant. Website visitors who do not finish event registration should be aware that the information they filled out thus far may be used for further advertising campaigns. Discuss the details of the opt-in process with your legal team to decide how to best conduct retargeting campaigns while adhering to GDPR guidelines.

For more on data security and responsible use of third-party data, check out our 2018 Guide on Event Data Security

Examples of Event Retargeting Ads
1) Facebook Newsfeed Ad 

Event retargeting ad on Facebook

This ad for AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O Conference event, highlights one of the event speakers and emphasizes her credentials. These Facebook retargeting ads can be served through tracking pixels on your event website or through list-based remarketing.

2) Display Ads

Examples of event retargeting adsfrom: http://johncopponex.com

These ads are the most common form of retargeting. These display ads for Mobile World Congress of Barcelona were most likely served to individuals who visited the event website and did not register. Common display ads such as these can be found on websites that provide advertising space on their pages.

3) Email Retargeting

Example of event registration retargeting emailSource: raceroster.com

Emails such as these help to push people across the finish line, no pun intended. This example email is specifically meant to encourage runners to finish registering for the race. These types of emails can prove to be very effective when sent at the right time and targeted to the relevant individuals.

Other Ways To Use Remarketing Ads

Search Retargeting

Using search retargeting is a bit different than the other ways of using retargeting to maximize the potential of your next event’s marketing campaign. This is primarily because search retargeting reaches out to users that have not necessarily expressed a direct interest in your event. With search retargeting, your ads will be shown to users who have searched for keywords related to your event.

Although these users have not actually visited your event site, it is still a targeted advertising campaign in that it reaches users who have expressed an interest in the industry of your event or a particular facet of the industry that relates to your event through keywords or other online activity like browsing other related industry sites.

Social Media Remarketing – Facebook Exchange

Of all the socia media remarketing platforms, Facebook is perhaps the most significant social media retargeting platform out there. Facebook retargeting, through Facebook Exchange, is similar to site retargeting in that you are targeting visitors to your event site. With Facebook retargeting, a Facebook tracking code or “pixel” is placed on the event website and takes information on the visitor. Facebook retargeting also utilizes list-based retargeting in facilitating reaching out to your existing contacts or email lists.

Facebook Exchange also allows you to target users who have not visited your site but have searched using relevant keywords related to your event. Facebook Exchange is a platform all about expansion. In other words, with Facebook Exchange, you have the potential to reach a targeted and global audience of over 1 billion users.

Here are the steps to using Facebook Exchange’s retargeting program:

1. Create The Pixel

2. Add The Pixel To Your Event Site

3. Optimize The Ad

4. Measure The Conversion

How To Maximize The Success Of Retargeting Ads

So you’ve analyzed your event data, decided on a platform and launched your retargeting campaign. You still need to make sure that these potential attendees are clicking on your ads.

Like with any ads, you need to follow advertising best practices for your retargeting campaign. Here are some tips to maximize the success and click-through rates of your target ads:

1. Be creative. Users are constantly bombarded with ads throughout the web. With retargeting, you have a leg up in that users have already been exposed to your event. However, you should come up with a clever and bold banner ad in order to maximize the potential of a click.

2. The ad should be relevant. Take advantage of the leg up you have with retargeting by making sure the ad reflects upon your event in a clear way. Retargeted ads are meant to keep your brand on the top of mind, so an ambiguous ad will not ring the bells in your potential attendees’ mind that they had already visited your event’s website beforehand. You’re aiming for the “Oh yeah, I remember this event!” rather than starting from scratch.

3. There should be a clear CTA. Building off the importance of relevance and clarity, you should make sure that your ad has a clear CTA, or call-to-action. Although building awareness is an important facet of retargeted ads, usually the point of these ads is to get the user to click the CTA.

4. Be sure to highlight event dates. As mentioned previously, retargeted ads are meant to act as a reminder of your event. This is because users have already shown an interest in your event by visiting their site, having been an attendee previously, or are on your email list. Since these are reminder ads, it is important to highlight the dates of your event.

Of course, in order to have a successful site retargeting campaign, you need to have visitors actually come to your site organically in the first place. Here is where advertising beyond retargeting, like Facebook Ads and Google Adwords, would come in handy as tools to boost traffic to your event site. 

Interested in learning more about marketing and advertising for your event? Check out The CMO’s eBook On Event Advertising by clicking the button below!

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published on June 5, 2016, but has since been updated to reflect the latest event retargeting best practices.

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