Display Advertising for Venues | Patch Academy

Display Advertising for Venues

byAndy Marchant
display ads for venues

You’ve probably already seen a bunch of display adverts today, they’re all over the web on different types of sites and they target a site’s visitors based on the things they’ve been searching for lately. One of the largest networks is the Google display network, which includes websites, apps, YouTube – almost everywhere Google can buy ad space.

Website and app owners sell space directly to Google and provide information on the site or apps’ users (Google can also collect this from user data). Google sells the space to advertisers and serves different ads in the space, depending on who is viewing it.   

Example of display advertising on Event Industry News
Screenshot of display advertising on the web

It means Google and other display networks can serve advertising that is targeted (and more useful) to the user and app and website owners can sell advertising space and monetise their users without having an advertising sales and administration team.

What does display advertising look like?​

You might have heard a similar story to this before, a man is using the laptop he shares with his partner to research engagement rings, he clears his browsing history, closes the laptop, and leaves the house.

His partner then arrives home, opens the laptop, checks the news and there, in the Google Ad network space, are engagement ring adverts. His partner works in marketing, and they know what their boyfriend has been searching for recently and what’s about to happen.

There are more nefarious and damaging examples (see picture), but there are also methods to reduce the risk of this happening through blocking of certain types of sites and keywords within article titles to ensure these mishaps are avoided.

This type of marketing is powerful for venues that hire their space out to event organisers. It means they can serve adverts to people that’ve been actively looking for venues like theirs, on sites they are likely to frequent.

Conventional advertising vs display advertising

Aligning yourself with industry media is still impactful, but conventional advertising tends to offer targeting centred around demographics. Categorisations such as job title, company function, or company turnover. If they’re advertising in a conventional way, a venue assumes that their typical buyer profile is part of the magazine’s readership. Conventional publishers also sell display advertising, you’ll see the graphical banners all over their site. Usually, display advertising directly with publishers can be aligned with certain types of content to increase the potential of reaching your target market within their entire readership.

An example of Google Display Advertising

Display advertising with search engines uses demographics such as location, age, or industry, but it’s combined with psychographics, the things people have been thinking lately.

Search engines tend to know what people have been thinking – for a long time people have been turning to search engines to find the things they need and solutions to their problems.

Display advertising allows you to build an audience based on demographics, interests (such as an interest in organising events) and if the search volume is high enough – keyword searches. It allows a venue to build an audience that contains people that are actively organising events like the ones they can host at their venue. This type of targeted advertising allows venues to create a demand for certain types of events, it can be useful to fill gaps in occupancy for event types that are under occupancy.

Display advertising horror stories

If you’ve seen display advertising in the news, you may have heard about the big brands that have, unknowingly, advertised next to inappropriate content and how it damaged the brand. If you know anyone that’s done display, they may have experienced wasted budget and warn you the display network is so vast, it can be difficult to know what to do.

These two pitfalls are easily avoided, you can select the types of websites that your brand will appear on.

If you don’t think you’ll engage with your target market on apps you can exclude them or anything else. In addition, you can select the types of content you want your ads to appear next to.

Display advertising performance is enhanced significantly when ads are only displayed on websites that publish the type of content that aligns with the brand and product. If managed well – it’s a cost-effective way to put your advert in front of your audience, in an appropriate setting, in media that would otherwise be unattainable.

An example of inappropriate display advertising

How much does display advertising cost?

Display advertising is on the CPM charge model, CPM stands for (cost per mille) and it’s the cost per thousand views of an ad. Because brands bid for space, and demand increases and decreases for different audiences, CPMs will vary throughout the year but it’s not unusual for us to achieve a CPM of £20-£30 for a very targeted audience, that engages well with the advertising we serve.

In addition to the cost of space with Google, you’ll need to budget for time in your team so somebody can set up, manage, review, and optimise your ads for maximum performance. When compared to conventional advertising, it offers very good value per view.

Why does display advertising work so well for venues?

Venues sell visually, when an event organiser is looking at a venue, they care about its technical stats but if the venue doesn’t look right, it’s not going to be chosen. Venues are a ‘considered purchase’. When people start looking for a venue for their event, they research and tend to spend some time in the market before they commit to who to work with.

This type of behaviour makes display advertising suited to venue sales. Event organisers rarely search for and confirm a venue in a short period of time. Once they begin their search and go into an audience, there’s a window of opportunity for a venue to advertise and hopefully capture their attention.

Before you spend all your budget on display advertising…

It probably sounds a bit too good to be true and used in isolation, it is. The difficulty with marketing, especially marketing a considered purchase, is that nothing works in isolation. It’s rare that somebody sees an advert, clicks, and acts straight away. Therefore, brands spread their marketing budget across varying activities, so their target market has an opportunity to engage with a brand again and again at different stages of the venue search and customer journey.

Display advertising is useful for putting a venue in front of event organisers that are already in the market. Other channels, like search PPC or SEO, are much better at capturing people at the moment they perform the initial search for a venue.

You’ve probably searched for something, looked at several websites and forgotten half of those that you looked at. To avoid that happening to your brand, retargeting can be used. Re-targeting is when adverts are served, on the display network, to people that have recently visited a website. In Google Analytics you can build custom audiences based on channels visitors acquired, the content they consumed, and their behaviour on a site.

We’re not trying to give you a crash course in multichannel marketing, this guide was meant to be about display advertising for venues, what we want to clarify is – display advertising sounds wonderful, and great value for money, but alone, it may not be impactful and it’s just a single part of a multichannel campaign.

What does a venue need to start display advertising?

The fastest and easiest way to get a display advertising campaign launched is to come to an agency like us. It’s possible to DIY if you want to though.

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a Google Ads account. For better tracking connect your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics property, doing this will also allow you to create audiences for retargeting.

Once you have your Google Ads account you can start building your campaign if you’re new to this, it has a campaign wizard. While you’re building your campaign, you’ll have an opportunity to build your audience and it will ask whether you want to build that around interest or search keywords.

It will ask you the types of websites you want it to appear on as well as the types of content you want your ads to appear alongside. You’ll need to add graphics or copy, images, and brand assets if you’re using responsive ads.

You also get the opportunity to set your bids, maximum budgets, and the landing page you want people who click on your ad to land on. Your landing page should match your advertising and you should use what you know about your audience to create ads designed to engage them. The outcome should be an ad that captures their interest and encourages them to visit your landing page for more information.


  • Research keywords that apply to the types of events your venue can host, and look out for high volume keywords so they have enough searches to create an audience
  • If you can’t find keywords with enough volume create an audience based on interests
  • Create a Google Ads account, if you’ve used Google Ads before or had some training, you could use the advanced mode. If not, we recommend using the campaign builder
  • Prepare suitable copy and graphics (or images and brand assets if you’re using responsive ads) for your audiences
  • Prepare landing pages that match your ads and audience interests and use them as landing pages for the campaign
  • Create re-targeting audiences of users acquired by this channel who engage and behave in a positive way
  • Launch your campaign and start getting your retargeting campaign ready

If you need help with your venue advertising campaign, contact us. We’re an events industry marketing agency, and we’ve been doing this since 2010. We have proven methodologies, processes, and a track record of helping venues achieve target occupancy.