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Cancelled/Postponed Events – What Does the Data Tell Us and How Can We Support Our Clients Through Innovative Thinking?

As a company we have been monitoring the data from hundreds of events that have been postponed or cancelled and how our clients can best utilise this data, growing their databases and not missing out on the spend they have committed to media so far.  

What have we seen so far?

There is a lot of intent there from search around events that were scheduled to happen and now are not, so there are various opportunities to utilise this momentum at a much lower than usual cost:

  • There has been a drop in competition. We are seeing a drop in cost per clicks (CPCs). Looking at the last 14 days vs previous from our MCC account, 96% of search campaigns are seeing a drop in CPC’s with an average reduction of 8.47%.
  • 62% of display campaigns have seen an increase in impressions- Average increase of 29.24%

What can you do if not running visprom/exprom campaigns?

  • Content campaigns – sending traffic to latest industry trends, articles, videos, encouraging users to register their interest and build data
  • Webinars – virtual conferences etc and alternatives to physical events. Can run speaker webinar sessions to keep the audience warm during postponement
  • Data acquisition campaigns, Lead gen campaigns using content 
  • Create a dedicated landing page for coronavirus with lead capture form around “keep informed”
  • Use this time to create content e.g. video so there is strong content ready for rebooked events.

Best Practice

We have been evaluating good practice and wanted to share these general tips for events postponed or cancelled:

  1. Add a statement about coronavirus on the website. Preferably this should be visible on all devices and different resolutions, so make sure this is above the fold, so anyone can see it without the need to scroll. It’s better if you set a specific page for your statement and link it from the home page. Setting a specific page with the statement can help you this link to appear as a sitelinks in SERP.
  2. Update your audience with the statement via email and social networks. If you have a contingency plan this might be helpful to share (even if not actioned)
  3. If you use structured data (schema.org) for your event, make sure that you use EventStatusType in your schema structured data (More at https://schema.org/Event)  and change status to cancelled or postponed as well as set the new dates

If you are running marketing campaigns

  • Expand your standard 30 days remarketing list to be 6 months to be sure you will keep all of your audience in the pool. New audience will be with 270 days membership duration.
  • Set a new audience with a membership duration of 30 days. You will need this later to inform this audience.
  • Keep brand campaigns active. It’s very likely your competitors are using the fact that there is intent to your event, and you’re not protecting your brand to “steal” your audience.
  • Keep remarketing campaigns with a new message or change the objective.
  • In case you don’t want your ads to appear around coronavirus content on website we will suggest to use all coronavirus keywords as a negative across your search ads, set them as a negative in Display/remarketing campaigns and use content exclusion categories in GDN like “tragedy and conflicts” and “sensitive social issues”. We also developed 2 negative placement lists that can be applied based on your needs – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) URLs Placement Exclusion List, (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tmmKWexXaqXQYV8hww-P-4WBzPbXkEHWMAt0fNS_Xtk/edit#gid=0) and  News Organisation URLs Placement Exclusion List (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16vC-wLYcahUK_EbIy3E8XsPvclBLvfiHJHzYa8en6zk/edit#gid=0) credit to Zato Marketing
  • Add sitelink to campaigns for information pages related to coronavirus. 
  • Add copy around option to part pay if this is something that you are offering.
  • Add exclusions to targeting any country with travel ban. 


Coronavirus – Campaign Actions

  • Searches for events are still steady… 
  • We ran search query reports at MCC level for last 14 days and last 7 days to work out % of searches relating to cancellations/postponed/coronavirus
  • Less than 1% of search queries are specifically looking for info on disruption to events – brand visprom campaigns have highest share of queries relating to this
  • Caveat that that data doesn’t account for the full picture as most (if not all) campaigns have “Coronavirus” as negative keyword

Let’s use this information to the best of our abilities to support the events in our industry – don’t forget to register to join our webinar