In July of 2018, “Google AdWords” was changed to “Google Ads” for a simple reason. Advertising through Google isn’t just about words anymore.
In addition to traditional text ads that appear in Google search results, you can advertise in YouTube videos. You can advertise through Gmail. You can advertise on Google Maps. You can run display ads on websites across the Google Display Network that cater to your audience. You can advertise on mobile.
Long story short, Google Ads more accurately reflects the full scope of Google advertising services, all of which are managed through the same platform. Google Ads is a paid advertising platform that uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model. In other words, you pay when users click your ads, which take them to a landing page that highlights a specific show, event, or program.
We at Adventix have had tremendous success helping performing arts organizations sell tickets and promote programs through Google Ads. Here are a few reasons why.
1) Everyone Is a Prospect
With most other forms of advertising, only a fraction of the people you reach are interested in what you’re selling, much less ready to buy. With Google, everyone is a prospect, whether they’re prepared to make a purchase at that moment or they’re just starting the research process. And people go to Google multiple times per day looking for things to do, places to go, and stuff to buy.
If you’re relying solely on organic search engine optimization (SEO) to get found on Google, you’re probably not selling nearly as many tickets to your events as you could be. According to Google, paid ads get 65 percent of clicks on Google.
2) A Discovery Tool for the Arts Community
It’s important for performing arts organizations and cultural institutions to purchase their own names and keywords. When people search for your organization, you control the message people see instead of leaving it up to organic search results.
It’s just as important to be discovered by people who have never heard of your organization or recognize your name but never considered seeing one of your shows. This is how you expand your customer base beyond the core group of people who regularly buy tickets.
“Children’s plays in NJ”. “Family musical theatre near me”. “Kids concerts in Princeton”. Google Ads campaigns that feature these keywords are geared towards people who have a general idea of what they want to see but aren’t searching for a specific show or venue. This is one example of what makes Google a powerful discovery tool that can improve top-of-mind awareness and drive ticket sales.
3) Precise Location-Based Targeting
Suppose you know which zip codes generate the most ticket sales and which ones generate the least ticket sales. You’ve also identified key zip codes where you’d like to build your brand and grow your customer base, and you know how far people will travel to see one of your performances.
Google Ads allows you to precisely target the areas you want to reach and set your budget accordingly to maximize ROI and minimize waste. The narrower your targeting, the lower the budget. Many advertisers make the mistake of using broad geographic targeting and blowing through their budget to reach people who aren’t good prospects.
4) Cost-Effective Advertising
Imagine advertising in the newspaper but only paying when someone calls you or visits your website. That’s how PPC advertising works. You only pay when the user clicks on your ad. The cost of Google Ads campaigns is typically far less than other media but still produces, on average, $8 for every $1 spent. In fact, a campaign we recently managed for a client generated $26,000 in ticket sales from a $500 Google Ads investment.
Did you sell out a show? Are sales slow for a certain performance? Are you reaching your daily budget cap by lunchtime, preventing users from seeing your ads later in the day? You can monitor the progress of your campaigns, test different approaches, and make adjustments to your budget and targeting on the fly.
In the next article, we’ll discuss how performing arts organizations can set realistic goals, expectations, and budgets for Google Ads campaigns.