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Event marketing | 27 June 2016

The Event Marketer’s Google Adwords Crash Course

David Epstein

A pioneer of online ads, Google is one of the biggest and best examples of the ever growing importance of digital advertising.

In Q4 of 2015, Google’s ad revenue was $19.8 billion, compared to the previous year, it represents a 60% increase. Moving forward, Google expects ad revenue to continue to grow.

For event planners and event marketers, it means they must invest in digital advertising in order to keep up with competitors who are already doing just that.

Managing Google Adwords is often a job dedicated to an Adwords expert because it can be challenging to successfully run a campaign with little, or no expertise. That said, this blog post will give those unfamiliar with the platform a basic understand of what to consider when creating an Adwords campaign.

For those unwilling to try Adwords themselves, qualified freelancers can be found on platforms like Upwork, or Guru. Be prepared to pay about 10% of total ad spend per month on a qualified Adwords consultant.

Without further delay, here are three main types of adwords ads that event marketing and event planners must be familiar with.

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Text-based Ads

The original Google ads were text based, and they remain one of the platform’s most popular and most successful ad formats. As the name implies, text-based ads rely solely on text to encourage Google searchers to click on a link to a website.

Google text based ads

Above: An example of a text-based ad in the red rectangle

In the scenario above, a potential attendee searches “content marketing conference” and sees Rev Marketer’s ad sitting at the top of the search. Note that ads in Google searches are marked with the subtle green or yellow “Ad” box.

In some cases, savvy searchers will avoid Google ads, though research reported by Wordstream indicates that over 64% of searchers will click on a Google ad when they are ready to make a purchase.


Ad Extensions

In addition to regular text based ads, Google Adwords users have the ability to create enhanced advertisements using a series of different extensions designed to better capture searchers’ attention.

The extension types are outlined below:

Link Extensions

With link extensions, advertisers have the ability to list several different links to various parts of an event website within a single ad.

Googe Adwords Link Extension

Above: An example of a Link Extension

In the example above, Skyword added four different link extensions to the bottom of their ad. The links are designed to bring searchers exactly where they want to be depending on the intent of the search. Some will want to learn how Skyword works, while others will want to read case studies or contact the company directly.

Call Extensions

Marketing outlet, eMarketer projects that in 2016, Google’s revenue from mobile ads will grow by 40%. In 2017 and 2018, revenue from mobile is expected to grow even more. This means that an increasing number of users are turning to mobile to search for products to buy.

But as anyone who has used a smartphone can tell, the buying experience on a smaller screen is very different. To accommodate mobile buyers, Google rolled out the “call extension” in 2011.

Now, it is used by marketers who want to provide mobile, and also desktop, shoppers the ability to contact the company via phone.

Adwords call extensions

Above: Microsoft uses the call extension on mobile search

In the example above, we see how tantalizing the call extension can be on mobile search. While this example is from the ecommerce industry, it can be successfully applied to the events industry as well.

Often event attendees will want to speak to a real person before purchasing a ticket or registering for an event. This is especially true if the registration cost is in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Including an attention grabbing call extension is a great way for event marketers to accelerate the registration process.

Review Extensions

One way to bring increased credibility to an ad is by associating it with user reviews. According to a study from Trustpilot, ads with a review extension saw a 17% increase in clicks compared to ads that did not.

Usually, ads that use the review extension are usually found in e-commerce, software or service industries However, event organizers interested in building a long-lasting event brand could collect attendee reviews and display them in paid ads using Google My Business.

Google adwords review extension

Above: uses the reviews ad extension to draw attention to their ad.

Location Extensions 

This is a particularly powerful extension when trying to target users in a specific geographical area. For example, if an event is based in San Francisco, it may be wise to add a location extension that lists the event address in order to make the event more attractive to San Francisco natives.

In the example below, a local event planning company used the location extension to draw increased attention to their ad when searchers conduct a location dependent search like “New York Event Planners.”

Adwords Location addon

Above: An example of an ad using the location extensions feature.

Callout Extensions

One of the last, but most popular extensions is the “callout” extension. Here, advertisers are provided additional room to feature a particular message they want searchers to see.

This is a particularly effective place for event organizers to promote a specific benefit of attending an event, or to share a discount code in hopes of encourage viewers to register for an event.

Google callout extension

Above: Witi Summit uses the callout extension to share a discount with searchers.

In the example above, organizers chose to use a number of different extensions including the link extension and the call extension. Most notably though, they used the callout extension to share a discount code with searchers in hopes of driving event registrations straight from search.


Google Ad Rank

Some readers might be wondering how the order of ads displayed is determined by Google. The answer is Ad Rank which is Google’s two variable formula for determining when and where an ad is placed.

Quality Score

This is the first factor that influences where an ad is placed. Since Google wants searchers to have a great experience using their product, Google’s algorithm will not highly rank ads that lead to spammy websites.

Furthermore, Ad Rank will avoid highly ranking ads that seem unrelated to the website being promoted. For example, if an ad promoting an upcoming tech event leads to a website dedicated to Southern barbeque, the ad won’t be highly placed. This is because Google’s algorithm will assume the searcher’s experience will be poor if they click on the ad.

Google incentivises advertisers to develop high-quality ads, by placing ads with a high quality score, but lower cost per click bid above ads with lower quality scores but higher bids.

Creating high-quality ads can help to save advertisers money when working with Adwords.

Cost Per Click Bid

The other factor that determines where an ad is placed is how much the advertiser is willing to spend when a searcher clicks on an ad. Google’s Adwords platform will tell advertisers the minimum amount that must be bid for the ad to be served.

Many advertisers will choose to pay more than the minimum bid in order to ensure an ad ranks highly (often ads that are placed closer to the top of the search page receive more clicks).

The exact cost per click will vary greatly depending on the keyword that is being targeted. Currently, Google lists the follow estimated bid amounts for the keywords below.

Keyword Research Tool

Above: The estimated search volume, competition score and suggest bid of event keywords.

Using Keyword Planner (a free component of Google Adwords), readers can see the vast difference in keywords with small variations. For example, marketing events has 480 monthly searches and is listed as a Medium level of competition (meaning some, but not many, companies are paying to display ads that target this keyword) the cost per click is over $14.

In comparison, “Marketing events New York” has only 10 monthly searches and a very low suggested bid, so low that it isn’t listed in the table above.


The Next Step

Google Adwords is only going to become increasingly popular among event marketers as the platform continues to expand to new markets. For those interested in trying Google Adwords, Google often offers $100-$300 discounts to get started.

Remember that the type of Google ad best suited to your events will vary depending on your event goals. Also keep in mind that Google will reward you for creating high quality ads by lowering the amount needed to place the ad prominently.

For more information on event advertising strategies, click the button below to download a free ebook!

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