Corporate events are crucial almost wherever business is conducted. But what happens when a global pandemic – one huge enough to prompt $9-17 billion in potential losses among Asia’s events industry – is thrown into the mix?
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual events in the marketing mix of businesses across the globe, it’s still a challenge for most to put one together. Anyone hosting a virtual event today might say it is more scalable, cost-efficient and a boon in times where in-person events are not an option. But there’s often also the question at the top of everyone’s heads: can you make the same impact with a virtual event than you would with an in-person one?
Standing out from the crowd
For global beauty brand Lancôme, part of the L'Oréal Luxury Products division, events are intrinsic to its connection with consumers. The brand frequently hosts physical interactive events to engage their consumers and raise awareness of its iconic skincare products.
With COVID-19 hitting the market hard in early 2020 however, along with strict government restrictions in place around crowd control in event spaces, Lancôme decided to launch its first ever virtual flagship event, the Advanced Génifique Virtual Flagship, to engage consumers online.
But with a plethora of virtual events popping up around the time, Lancôme was challenged to cut through the noise and drive awareness to the virtual flagship event, increase website traffic to the Advanced Génifique Virtual Flagship site, create an unforgettable brand experience and ultimately, drive online sales.
How to approach driving traffic and signups from scratch
With so much riding on its inaugural virtual event, Lancôme turned to programmatic advertising to help boost its live launch efforts and brought on Quantcast to lead the charge.
“When planning for our first ever mega virtual event, we needed to ensure that we drove sufficient traffic to the site and effectively engaged our target audience. Having worked with Quantcast previously, we were confident in their ability to deliver against our media objectives,” said Yin Hong, senior product manager at Lancôme.
With a newly-created microsite hosting the flagship event that lacked any pre-existing site traffic, it was imperative that Lancôme first build awareness (and anticipation) in a pre-launch phase. Lancôme and Quantcast achieved this through a dual-pronged strategy that comprised of:
- Retargeting existing Lancôme brand site visitors
- Prospecting for new users who would be interested in beauty and skincare products centered around Lancôme's flagship product lines.
To understand the online behaviors and intent signals of those interested in beauty products, Lancôme leveraged Quantcast’s Search Powered Audience solution to deliver a teaser video to users that have an expressed interest in this product category. Quantcast then identified predictive behavioral patterns and search intent signals among beauty product buyers and enthusiasts to reach similar users online.
Following the teaser phase, the virtual flagship microsite launched, and the same two-part strategy was executed; Quantcast focused on retargeting users who were already interested in the Lancôme brand while also leveraging a multi-layered Search Powered Audience approach to prospect for new in-market audiences and drive them to the microsite. Underpinning this robust targeting strategy was a creative strategy spanning video, standard display and two rich media display executions.
Specifically, the rich media executions were intended as attention grabbers – drawing users in to interact with elements of the ad unit, i.e. a spinning cube, or panning their mobile devices to view a panoramic ad and find out more about the virtual event.
Cutting through the noise to deliver great outcomes
Despite a few challenges launching what is traditionally an offline brand online, the Quantcast-Lancôme campaign drove outstanding results, including:
- Achieving 6.2% uplift in brand and product awareness, a great outcome considering market conditions and the intense competition from competing beauty brands that were aggressively advertising during the same campaign period.
- Driving over 9,600 site visits to the virtual flagship event at a cost-per-visit that was 21% below Lancôme’s goal.
- Establishing affinity with the right audiences which saw rich media executions delivering an engagement rate of 11.3%.
“We were thrilled with the results that Quantcast delivered for Lancôme. Their brand solution was instrumental in engaging customers and prospects and driving awareness with different user groups. The results that they drove surpassed our targets and expectations, and demonstrated that programmatic advertising can really play a role within brand campaigns,” Ying Hong said.
As digital becomes increasingly dominant in marketing strategies, particularly as a way of circumventing situations that prevent face-to-face engagement, there’s plenty that programmatic advertising (backed by a solid executional strategy) can help you achieve. And with the right tools to help you get the word out, there’s no reason your virtual event can’t land with maximum impact and produce the results you want.
Konrad Feldman is the co-founder and CEO of Quantcast. Launched in 2006, Quantcast empowers brands, agencies, and publishers to know and grow their audiences. In March 2021, Quantcast unveiled the Quantcast Platform, a new and innovative intelligent audience platform for audience planning, activation and measurement on the open internet.