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How much should you budget for event PPC and digital advertising in 2020?

Guidelines for planning your event PPC and digital advertising campaign budgets based on macro trends and Tag Digital benchmark data.

With just a few months left in this decade, many event organisers and marketers have their sights firmly set on 2020.

One popular question we are frequently asked is “how much should we budget for event PPC campaigns or digital advertising next year?”

To shed light on the question, we examined overall marketing/advertising macro budget trends as well as Tag Digital benchmark data.

Global Advertising Spend

Research paints an interesting picture of global advertising spend, especially as it comes to event PPC and digital campaigns:

  • Magna Advertising Forecasts expect U.S. ad sales to grow by 3 percent in 2019, reaching an all-time high of $220 billion. Digital will rise 13 percent to 126 billion and account for 57 percent of total ad sales.
  • Figures from eMarketer forecast total US digital ad spend hitting $129.34 billion for 2019, making up some 54.2 percent of the estimated total ad spend for this year.
  • The “This Year, Next Year” prediction report from GroupM predicts a slow in overall global ad spend but notes that digital investment will remain buoyant – capturing 50 percent of budgets by 2020. This percentage increase marks a near doubling, with digital steadily increasing from 25 percent in 2014.

Other reports from Forrester Research and eMarketer show the estimated allocation of marketing funds offline vs. online and across the digital channels:

  • In 2018, the average firm allocated 42 percent of its marketing budget to online, with this rate expected to grow to 45 percent by 2020.
  • Digital marketing is pacing at an 11 percent compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 2021 with the biggest growth occurring in online video.
  • Search engine marketing will capture the largest share of online spend with online display (banner ads, online video, etc.), taking the second-largest share.
  • Online video will represent the highest growth category, with the anticipated investment more than doubling 2016 numbers by 2021.
  • Social media advertising investments will continue to grow, with a 17 percent compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2021.

Social Media Channels to Invest In

One of the key trends that emerged from Social Networks 2020: Where to Invest Time and Resources report from Trust Insights, is the dominance of YouTube:

“Already, a giant property with multiple functions, [YouTube] is slated to become even more powerful in 2020 as users engage with more and more video content. For marketers, YouTube provides detailed, robust analytics which makes managing and growing channels easier. Any brand seeking social media effectiveness in 2020 must have a solid YouTube strategy as part of an overall social media strategy.”

What Does This All Mean for Event Organisers and Marketers?

With this data providing context, let’s go back to the original question: “how much should we budget for event PPC campaigns or digital advertising next year?”

When working with event organisers, our initial recommendation is to start with an initial budget of approximately $2,000. It’s beneficial to start with a small investment, and then once the campaign begins delivering desired results, add additional budget.

As a benchmark guideline, about 30 percent of results, like visitor registrations or exhibitor leads, should come from your digital advertising or event PPC campaigns.

Then, over time as results approach this benchmark, the overall event marketing budget should start to reflect about 20 percent of your total show marketing budget. Keep in mind, with digital advertising and event PPC campaigns, budget increases as the end of the campaign approaches.

When planning for digital advertising or event PPC in 2020, starting small allows you or your event PPC agency to determine what’s working for your specific audience and objectives, and build on those results.

If you aren’t seeing typical results from your digital spend or are looking for recommendations to improve your campaign effectiveness, talk to the Tag Digital team.