Retargeting For Events: How To Win Your Old Flames Back

Samantha Gilmore

The Situation: You’ve just launched your brand-spankin’ new event site. Reg is live ✔️. Promotions on FB, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are live ✔️.

Now you’re just waiting on the edge of your seat to see those sweet sweet reg alerts pour on in, easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

“Oooooo Jackpot!!!”, or so you think …

The Reality: You check your registration report. Nothing. You check your inbox for registration notifications. Nada, zero. Not one single registration. Panic seeps in, you’re suddenly worried that your prices may be too high or that your content is just not up to par. 

Don’t worry—it’s not you, it’s them (raise your hand if you’ve ever been personalized victimized by this statement.)

The Hard Facts: More often than not, people are just not ready to commit upon their first visit. They come to your site to check out the agenda, speakers, and content. Then they leave. They go somewhere else. They start shopping for outdoor patio furniture. They forget. And sadly—sometimes they never come back.

Here are the stats. Only 4% of people arriving at your site will convert upon their first visit, a whopping 96% won’t. Yikes.

The good news? This percentage covers a range of sites, largely eCommerce, not solely just event sites. But hey! We’re not here to delegitimize your feelings, we think this still sucks, big time. 

The Solution: A kick-butt retargeting strategy compliments the chef (aka your demand generation team.)

How to win your old flames back

Let’s talk retargeting

Simply put—retargeting is the digital version of selling your customers, after they’ve already interacted with your site. 

Already a seasoned marketer? You’re probably aware that there are different types of ways in which you can re-target audiences. For example, you can re-engage with people who’ve already visited your site, or you can (re)target people who haven’t yet visited your site.

Let’s focus first on retargeting those who’ve already interacted with your site. Remember the 96% of visitors who didn’t initially convert? Thanks to the help of a solid retargeting strategy, you can re-engage with that audience later on, long after they’ve already left your site and “moved on”. You can then try to convert those visitors at their own pace, on their terms, whenever they’re ready. 

But let’s try to speed that process up, shall we?

How retargeting actually works

Retargeting works with the superpower help of cookies. No—not those freshly out of the oven, homemade chocolate chip cookies that you might be thinking of right about now.

In tech-talk, cookies are super tiny files that are saved by web browsers when someone visits a site. Identifying those visitors allows for software platforms to display retargeting ads to your audience while they browse on other websites. 

But that’s not all! With the help of smart attendee activity tracking tools like Swoogo Analytics, you can append real-time data to create targeted marketing experiences for your audience.

After all––knowing who interacts with what content is key when it comes to targeting the right messages to the right people to increase your registrations, personalize your marketing, and increase ROI.

So why is retargeting so dang effective?

This is because retargeting focuses your ad spend on people who are already familiar with your event and have demonstrated interest by checking it out.

Someone who’s already perused your keynote speaker and tentative agenda is probably more likely to convert than someone who’s maniacally shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.

Benefits of retargeting to promote your event

With retargeting you’re taking a lot of the guesswork out of the marketing game. You already know who your target audience is based on behavioral data. For example, you can more successfully target people who’ve spent at least 1 minute on your speaker page or people who have checked out 3 pages in total.  

Benefits sexier than unlimited-PTO:

  • Brand Recognition: Once they’ve already visited your event site, throw out your hooks and they’ll start recognizing your brand across different channels—reel ’em in.

  • Increase ROI: Not only will you get more clicks from retargeting, but you’ll also convert more people to attendee status. According to Noah Kagan, your ROI can increase by 200% when using retargeting.

  • Upsell or cross-sell opportunities: Want to convert existing registrants to VIPs? Retargeting allows you to upsell or cross-sell products or services to people who’ve already bought into your event (goodbye general admission—hello bottle service.)

Gimme the stats

We’ve already made the introduction to the benefits of using retargeting ads to help promote your event. So, I bet you’re craving some proper data and stats.

Scouring the web to uncover real-life data, we came up with the following:

  • According to CMO.com, 25% of online viewers actually enjoy seeing retargeted ads.

  • Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are more likely to convert by 70%.

  • Wishpond reports that the click-through rate (CTR) of a retargeted ad is 10x higher than the CTR of a typical display ad.

  • Compared to other placement strategies, retargeting generated the highest lift in business name searches by 1,046%, according to ComScore.

  • 91% of marketers who have used retargeting have found it to perform the same as, or better than search, email, or other display ads, says IAB.

We get it, so what next?

Before you jump the gun and start implementing these retargeting tactics, you’ll need to first determine your objectives and benchmark for success.

Do you want to funnel your money towards optimal brand exposure, or is your end goal to drive ticket sales and attendee registrations?

Different goals require different techniques and you’ll need to find the perfect balance between scale and performance.