Every now and then a client asks for help to promote an event to get ticket sales. Two years ago, an art festival organizer approached us to promote their event in Vietnam. Below are the results, strategies and observations from running Facebook Ads for their event in 2017 and 2018.
Tickets sold in phases, targeting both Vietnamese and foreigners. Each phase lasted around a month with prices getting more expensive closer to the event. Vietnamese nationals received a special discount with the aim to boost local attendance.
A few caveats to mention before getting into the details:
- The Organizer had never run direct sales ads for any of their events in the past.
- They had boosted posts to generate links on their page
- They had boosted Facebook events to generate interest, but never to drive direct ticket sales.
Step 1 – The Facebook Pixel
This first step to taking on a new Facebook Ad account is to make sure that the setup of the sales funnel is correct. This includes items like the Facebook Business Manager and Facebook Pixel. We made sure that the ticketing provider had configured each page to track Facebook events at every step of the funnel.
When selling tickets online, the sales funnel looks very similar to an ecommerce store. Customers would add their ticket to the cart, confirm their details and then make payment. Tickets were issued via email and as people arrive at the event gates, they could confirm their purchase and be allowed to enter. Tickets were also sold at the gate.
The Facebook Pixel was confirmed to track the following events on the website:
- Page view (on all pages of the website and ticketing platform)
- Add to cart (on the ticketing platform)
- Initiate Checkout (on the ticketing platform)
- Purchase (on the ticketing platform)
The ticketing platform provider was able to map the Facebook Pixel to capture the value of the ticket and extras that were purchased. This was important as you will see as you get further into the case study.
Step 2 – Audiences
Once the Facebook Pixel was correctly configured, it was time to define audiences. Traditionally, Facebook advertisers would define audiences for cold traffic only (Saved Audiences). Meaning that they would immediately start looking for audiences using interest based targeting to find people interested in attending an event like this.
Another one of our basic tenants is that retargeting audiences need to be defined across all platforms and event types. We created Facebook Custom Audiences for the following events:
- Page likes – people who liked the Organizers Facebook Page
- Facebook Page Visits
- Facebook Post Engagement
- Facebook Page Engagement
- Viewed a Video on Facebook to 25%
- Viewed a Video on Facebook to 50%
- Viewed a Video on Facebook to 75%
- Facebook Event Going
- Facebook Event Interested
- Sent a Message on Facebook – people who sent us a message in Messenger to enquire about the event or get information
- Instagram Engagement – people who engaged with posts on the Instagram account
- Instagram Profile Visit – people who visited the Instagram account
- Instagram Message – people who sent us a message in Instagram to enquire about the event or get information.
- Viewed a Video on Instagram to 25%
- Viewed a Video on Instagram to 50%
- Viewed a Video on Instagram to 75%
Website Event Audiences
- Website Visitors – people who visited the Organizers website, tracked using the Facebook Pixel Pageview event
- Add to Cart – people who added a ticket to cart (using the Facebook Pixel Add to cart event)
- Initiate Checkout – people who landed on the page to complete their information and payment details (using the Facebook Pixel Initiate Checkout event)
- Already Purchased – people who already bought a ticket (using the Facebook Pixel Purchase event)
These audiences gave us various ways to retarget and reach people who already heard of or engaged with the Organizer in the past. Remember that the Organizer had run their events in the past, but just not used Facebook Ads to sell tickets. The majority of these audiences were set up using a 1 year window. Website Events tracking was set for shorter time periods.
Step 3 – Campaign Goals
Before creating the ads, a few goals were defined.
- The Organizer wanted to get as many ticket sales as possible,
- At the lowest cost per ticket,
- With a very small budget,
- Using video and images.
Tickets were being sold in Vietnamese Dong (VND) for between $100 and $150 a ticket. Add ons included transport and accomodation at the event, which could be paid for on the ticketing platform directly.
Given that tickets were fairly expensive, relative to the country that they were sold in, we researched information regarding who attended the events in the past. Turned out that festival goers are mainly foreigners (not native Vietnamese) mostly from Europe, Australia, US and Canada.
Also, an interesting fact was that of the people who attended the event in the past, they were either living in Vietnam, or travelling in Vietnam, heard about the festival and showed up at the gate to buy a ticket.
Another one of the Organizer’s goals for the ads was to generate more engagement and interest from Vietnamese people as a way to introduce them to the festival and form connections.
Given the fact that Vietnamese people were also going to be targeted, ads needed to be written and created in Vietnamese alongside English ads.
Step 4 – Insights
Given the goals and audiences mentioned above we created campaigns focussing on Conversions and Event Responses.
A member of the the Organizer’s team translated ad copy from English to Vietnamese.
Images were created by a very creative graphic designer.
Videos and images were edited and formatted to suite Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Stories formats.
Given that the Organizer had a fairly large following, over 30,000 fans, taking a look at their Page insights we noticed that the majority of their audience were Vietnamese locals. The foreign component to the page was very low. This meant that we would be marketing to foreigners in Vietnam who may never of heard or seen a video by the Organizer.
We knew that getting the word out to Vietnamese people would be relatively easy. Vietnamese people have a high level of engagement on Facebook and Instagram. They comment, voice their opinion and share the word when they see something interesting, fun and controversial. Getting them to pay the price of the ticket was going to be difficult. The average monthly salary of a Vietnamese worker is around $150 as reported online.
Step 5 – Facebook Ad Campaign Stack
There were two main target groups – Foreigners and Locals
We set out to build the audience of foreigners using video ads. These videos would have a soft call to action to just view the the Organizer website. The video was entertaining, had music native to the event and well edited. Videos were edited to between 15 seconds and 3 minutes depending on the platform where they would be shown.
Based on the level of engagement, and length that they watched videos, we would retarget this audience with ads which were a little more direct, promoting the event and asking to buy a ticket.
Targeting for the videos used interest based groups based on similar events that are held around the world as well as music genres which may interest foreigners living or travelling in Vietnam.
We generate interest by showing Facebook Event ads too. For people who clicked the event saying they were Going or Interested, we showed a retargeting ad if they had not yet bought a ticket.
For locals, we used a similar approach using video. The main difference was that the majority of campaigns focussed on past engagement or interaction. A series of testimonial and influencer ads were created. The Organizer interviewed local influencers and asked for their opinion about the event. These videos were edited and shown to Vietnamese people who knew about the event as well as those who did not. These ads proved quite successful in promoting the event to locals.
Ad copy was tested on each audience, with each video over a series of weeks to identify the winning headlines, winning text copy, winning videos, winning video thumbnails, winning call to actions and winning Facebook ad CTA button. Lower performing ads were turned off if they did not perform as well or better than the winning ad in the ad set.
A contest was held to generate interest locally in Vietnam too. All people needed to do was comment on a post on the Facebook Page, and tag other people who may be interested in the event. Winners were notified via messenger. We were not surprised to see that people who entered the contest, did also buy tickets after the contest.
2018 Festival Campaign Results
Observations and Key Takeaways
- Higher ticket sales were achieved because of retargeting efforts.
- Top of the sales funnel got traffic throughout the sales cycle which allowed for consistent sales.
- Ticket sales peaked about one month before the Festival. Unfortunately, the ads were paused during November 2018, and we are sure that we would have attained at least an extra 200-300 tickets sold.
- Despite testing various versions of Ad copy, headlines and videos throughout the campaign, winning ads still performed throughout the duration of the campaign.
- There were concerns regarding frequency of the ads, however we felt that the frequency of the ads were not high enough to justify a complete change in strategy. Contingencies were put in place to limit frequency for the duration of the campaign i.e. excluding audiences who had already engaged or viewed or purchased tickets.
- Influencer videos used in ads proved to be a very successful approach to use locally.
Planned and executed correctly, a sales strategy supported by Facebook Ads can be more successful year on year. Building a history on your Facebook Account and Pixel helps Facebook understand your goals allowing for improved performance and conversions.
For businesses who wish to create or grow an existing business or event, the basics to get right include a well developed sales funnel and well executed and managed Facebook Ads.
If you would like to know more about our Facebook Ad services or have questions regarding your campaigns feel free to book a free 30 minute consultation.
Post a comment below and let us know what you think of the performance of this campaign. Thank you.
- TicketBox – Ticketing platform in Vietnam
- Facebook Business Manager
- Facebook Ads Manager
- WordPress Website
- Mailchimp – Email lists imported from previous events
- ManyChat – Contest ad for locals to enter and win tickets
- Messenger – to chat to people who had enquiries
Disclaimer: Client names have been removed to protect the identity of the client. All data are factually correct. Performance of this campaign may not be representative of all Facebook Ad campaigns run. Your results will vary.