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Adding digital ads into a traditional marketing mix

Design-2-Part has always acquired customers and attendees for their regional shows through traditional channels. See how I incorporated digital media ads to reach untapped audiences.

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Industry: Manufacturing Events

Location: Prospect, CT

Size: 25 - 50 employees

For over 40 years, Design-2-Part Trade Shows have provided American job shops and contract manufacturers the opportunity to meet face-to-face with OEM engineers and buyers who need their services and expertise.


Design-2-Part has been very successful in getting a large showing of attendees for all their regional trade shows; however, they recognized that there were opportunities to reach potential attendees on new digital channels rather than relying solely on traditional marketing.


D2P hired me to work with their marketing team to explore various digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AdRoll, YouTube, Google Display & AdWords. We focused on cost per registration, number of registrations, verification rate, and cost per attendee as measures of success. 

"Lynelle has surpassed our expectations. Her knowledge of Google AdWords, AdRoll and Facebook has helped our company improve bottom line results." 

- Chris Davis

Vice President, Trade Shows


↑ 10%

increase in overall show attendance year-over-year since launching digital ads


percentage of total show attendance now attributed

to digital ads 


brand new leads generated from digital ads in one year


The goal of this exercise was to identify the digital channels that would attract the most registrations at the lowest ultimate cost per attendee. D2P's primary demographic consisted of manufacturing and design engineers that were within driving distance of their regional shows (usually 90 miles or less). 


When looking at all the available digital channels, I recommended that we started with Google Adwords, Retargeting via AdRoll, and LinkedIn. I setup all of these channels utilizing best practices based on my experience with each platform. We soon discovered that Google AdWords was one of our strongest channels, but AdRoll and LinkedIn were not performing nearly as well. 

We continued our efforts with AdWords and expanded into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube ads. From here we discovered that our three best digital channels were, 1) Google AdWords, 2) Facebook & Instagram ads, and 3) YouTube ads. Within all three channels we were able to reach a $60 or less cost per registration, and a $120 or less cost per attendee, which satisfied our original goal. 

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Facebook & Instagram Ads

Facebook was a channel that we had almost immediate success with after launch. We tested a number of different targeting groups, but found that the most successful demographic targets were engineers, retargeting audiences, and list match backs from D2P's database. We also excluded sales professionals from seeing the ads and other similar jobs that would indicate poor quality registrations. 

After finding the core targeting groups that delivered the most registrations at the lowest cost, we then tested many different aspects of the ads, including creative, ad copy, headlines, CTA buttons, emojis, etc. We learned that slideshow, carousel and video ads converted the best for D2P, and certain static images seemed to resonate very well with the audience. We also noticed that 90% of the Facebook impressions were coming from mobile devices, so we optimized the ads to look best on mobile and made changes to the landing page experience. 

With the success of Facebook, we then turned on Instagram placements to test this channel as well. We were surprised to find that Instagram performed even better than the Facebook ads. I then made sure each of the ads were optimized on Instagram, and it continues to be a very strong channel for D2P. 

Google AdWords

Google AdWords has been one of the best channels for D2P because of the quality that it brings in from relevant search terms. Each of the individual shows were structured in their own campaigns, and within those campaigns, I placed various ad groups related to different topics and categories relevant to the show. 

After some trial and error, the addition of negative keywords, and keyword adjustments, we are now at a place with the D2P AdWords account where the ads are serving to relevant, high quality search terms. Our click-through rate continues to climb and cost-per-click lowers as we continue to make optimizations. We also pay close attention to the radiuses and cities surrounding each show, days of the week, holidays, and devices to see if we need to add any bid adjustments along the way. 

YouTube Ads

YouTube Advertising is the newest channel we have explored for D2P. Because D2P already had very strong and compelling video footage, they were able to easily create high quality videos for each of the regional shows. 

I set up YouTube ads for the shows with videos ranging from 30 - 90 seconds. These were set to be in-stream (non skippable) ads, and I chose various targeting audiences to test, including "manufacturing" topics and keywords as well as retargeting and list based targeting audiences. 

We found that the 1 minute variation performed the best for D2P, and we've had success with almost every targeting group we have tried so far. I set up many different observation audiences to see how we can expand our targeting, and we've chosen to bid up on radiuses closer to the shows for better quality results. 

YouTube is the fastest and best performing channel yet, and we will continue to explore and optimize the campaigns to take advantage of all this channel has to offer. 

Are you interested in having me audit your digital channels or manage them? I'll help you optimize your budget to find the lowest cost per acquisition!

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