Events are a great way for businesses to meet and build relationships with customers. But the events and experiential marketing space is growing and changing rapidly, making it difficult for marketers to manage their events across all of the maps, apps, and other AI-powered discovery services consumers use to find information.
Taking note of this shift, Google announced a new event discovery experience in 2017. This update gave users the ability to search on Google for, "events near me," when using a mobile device, and see a structured list of things happening in the area — from yoga classes, to tastings at local breweries, and more. Google recently expanded on this effort, and now displays these results both in mobile search and on mobile Google Maps, allowing users to see an overview of key facts about an event, like its start time, location, and ticketing information, without having to navigate to the event page. Users can also now save and share that information, and see personalized recommendations of upcoming events.
So why does this matter for my business?
It's important that the information about your events shows up everywhere attendees are looking for it. Particularly as Google continues to broaden its definition of what it considers an "event," you have an opportunity to get creative, and help more consumers discover what's going on at your physical locations.
According to Google, "In the month following implementation of the new search experience, [Eventbrite] saw roughly a 100-percent increase in the typical year-over-year growth of traffic from Google Search to [their] event listing pages, according to Google Analytics."
Essentially, if it matters to Google, it should matter to your business.
Not only does appearing in these local results help build awareness, it also ensures that customers have the information they need to attend your event — and that they have the best experience possible before ever stepping through your doors. Understandably, a lot of would-be attendees drop off with each extra step that's required (like having to research which location is closest, finding the address, having to download driving directions, etc.). For every click a business adds to the process, they see a 10% reduction in completed registrations.
Here are three best practices that make it easy to participate in these new event discovery experiences on Google:
To appear in Google's search experience, each event needs its own URL — for every location where the event is taking place. That means you need event pages on your website for every event, at every location. Google will not accept one page that has all the locations listed. These pages must also contain the right markup, following the latest Schema.org best practices. You should also list your events for each location on other discovery sites, like Facebook and Eventbrite, so more people in your local communities can find out about them.
Everything that can be considered an event, should be. In its updated event experience, Google accepts tastings, grand openings, classes, community events, sponsorships, customer appreciation days, partnerships with other local businesses, and more (check out the Google developer portal for restrictions). These are activities your locations are probably already hosting — all you have to do is make it easier for attendees to find out about them on Google or other event discovery sites.
Give attendees all the details. Your event page should contain all the facts that someone would need to attend your event, and they should include all the keywords you think they would search against to find your event. These Google experiences in maps and mobile search display information like event title, start and end time, descriptions, ticketing information, and more — so all of this information needs to be present and up to date. You should also include eye-catching photos that set the mood for your event, and help you stand out.