How to Master Facebook Advertising for Events - AMA with Nick Lawson

Eventbrite’s Nick Lawson is taking the EventTribe ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) hot seat to answer your questions and provide some top tips on how to use Facebook advertising to sell out your events.

Fed up of not seeing results from social media? Or maybe you’re looking for a better way to spend your marketing budget? Then this is the AMA for you!

Facebook has around 2 billion active users. If your target audience (potential ticket buyers) is to be found anywhere online, the chances are they’re on Facebook – and therefore you need to be there too and know how to reach them

Aside from founding the EventTribe community, Nick is an experienced digital marketer for all stages of both the B2C and B2B customer acquisition lifecycles. His core areas of expertise include paid media strategy & analytics - in particular Facebook Advertising.

Nick will be ready to answer all your Facebook-related questions from Monday, June 11th to Friday, June 15th. Simply post your question on this thread and Nick will bring the answers! You can ask him about things such as:

  • How to find and target your ideal audience - whether that’s B2B or B2C - and convert them into ticket buyers.
  • How to use retargeting to speak to potential ticket buyers at the right time.
  • How to track ticket sales and improve the ROI of your ads.
  • How to get started with Facebook ads for events.

Get asking!

Hi Nick, I’m going to get things started here. So, in terms of the different engagement goals/actions Facebook offers is it best for event promoters to choose ‘ticket purchase’?

@Top_Members Do you have any questions to get us going?

As someone who doesn’t use Facebook full stop, let alone use Facebook for events and marketing etc, I’d be a total newbie to all this.

I’ve heard that with FB you can target your chosen demographic to ridonculous detail, really narrowing the margin of your ideal customer. Is that the case?

If selling tickets for a seminar or workshop via FB, what are the best routes to go down? Can it work well for certain price points of event types than others?

Are FB ads as effective for targeting B2B customers as well as B2C? I’ve often thought (quite possibly wrongly) that things like Facebook ads can be great if you’re selling B2C and selling an actual tangible product, as opposed to a service/event/workshop/seminar?

What are the kind of costs involved in setting up a simple test campaign, in a kind of test and measure scenario?

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Hey Nick Im Trae, Im just breaking into throwing events for the many artist i represent and come into contact with. We have a huge Artist showcase/ Polooza type event in Chicago Oct 20th. My question is. When would be the tight time to start our Facebook campaign to get the anticipation flowing. We have some great artist and some really fun and innovative ideas for marketing so any tips you have would be greatly appreciated

Hi Bel!

When you go to set up a campaign in the Ad Manager you’ll get to screen which allows you to choose your goal:

For each option you choose, FB will run your campaign differently to try and achieve the most of that specific result for the cheapest. In terms of choosing the best one for event promoters, it reallllyyyy depends on what you’re trying to do and who you’re targeting.

If you’re goal is to sell tickets, then choose “Conversions” (and at the next step choose Purchase) as this will tell FB to optimise towards driving ticket sales for the lowest cost.

Choosing Conversions as a goal is great if you know you’re advertising to a well defined target market who are ready to buy your tickets, but if you’re targeting a more broad or less engaged audience it’s worth thinking about driving engagement or traffic to your site first, and then retargeting these people with “Conversion” ads, so that you build trust and familiarity before ‘going in for the kill’.

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What is your opinion on the boosted post button? Does Facebook ads reach a better audience, conversions etc?

Hi Richard, great questions.

Ok so…

Targeting - Yes! The targeting functionality you get from Facebook is, in my opinion, unrivalled in online marketing. You can use FB’s built in targeting criteria, which span location, demographics, interests, behaviours, to be incredibly precise. This infographic, although 2 years old so it’s even more advanced today, only really scratches the surface of the targeting capability:

You can also use your own data to targetable audiences, either through using cookies (where FB tracks people on your site) or for example uploading a list of emails (where FB will match these emails with the correct FB profiles of people). I’ll spare you Lookalike audiences, but these two are incredibly powerful!

Price points - It can work for all price points, but you probably need to change your tactics a bit depending on price. Generally, the higher the price point, the more you afford to spend on acquiring a customer. However, people may need more touchpoints to convert for a £150 workshop than a £20 gig, which can make things harder on FB since you’re starting from a point where people aren’t even in a ‘buying’ mindset (they’re just on the platform to socialise/view content. So if you’re selling £20 tickets, doing a conversion campaign to drive sales will be effective, but if it’s the £150 workshop you may need to start by doing an engagement/traffic campaign to get people interested, before retargeting them and getting them to convert.

B2B vs B2C - In my opinion, they’re as effective for both. Most of you B2B audience will be on Facebook, just not in a professional capacity, so it’s both knowing how to find them and having great ads/content that’s the trick.

Costs - You can really spend as little (£5) or much as you want. In general you either pay for every click on your ad (CPC) or for every 1000 times your ad is shown (CPM). Your costs will depend on 3 factors - 1. How good your targeting and ads are (i.e. how well the audience responds to your ads) - this is called relevance score. 2. How much you bid. FB is an auction where you bid against all other advertisers to have you ad shown. 3. How competitive/in demand the audience you’re targeting is. It’s very hard to give an idea of cost without knowing the specifics of your campaign, but for decently performing campaign you could expect to see a cost per click of approx £0.50-£1.00.


Hi Trae, really good question.

So it depends slightly on ticket price. People are more generally more inclined to make bigger purchases further in advance, and leave smaller ones closer to the time. If you can create an expectation that the price will rise or there’s limited supply of tickets (e.g. early bird -> general admission), then this is a good way to bring forward purchases.

In terms of FB ads, if you want to generate early interest then it’s never to early to do this. Just make sure you know what your goal is at this stage in relation to people’s purchase behaviour. Essentially, it may be worth doing an engagement campaign very early one, rather than focusing on sales, to build interest and an audience that you can later retarget and convert. Picture it as a funnel, where right at the top you are starting by creating awareness, interest and engagement (using things like videos of previous events or other exciting content). Then you can start retargeting this engaged audience with more direct ticket sales ads, and you ROI will be better as they’re a more engaged and ready to buy at this time. I’ve written more on this funnel concept in this guide if it helps:

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Hi Dewi

I personally dislike the boost button a lot. You get very limited access to the targeting features and reporting that are available in Ad Manager, which makes it really difficult to test/optimise and build well structured campaigns with good ROI. TBH I see it as a way for FB to make a quick buck off page admins, by dangling the prospect for extra likes and shares in front of them!


Really good info, thanks @nick_lawson!

That’s a very good point. I just wonder how Facebook can actually influence an audience to either engage, visit your site or convert - surely that’s down to your ad creative?

A big thanks to @nick_lawson for his insight into advertising events on Facebook. If any of you go on to run subsequent campaigns, do please let us know how you get on.