PPC Week Design: A tailored experience for a unique online event

As marketers, you’re continually looking for new ways to get the attention of your target audience with specialized content they’ll find useful. But — as most of us have realized — these days you can’t slap together an ordinary old webinar to get the results you’d expect or stand out (after all, everyone is running them).

So how do you shake up the status quo to run an innovative online event exceptionally well? (and get outstanding results?)

At Unbounce we’ve found some success translating the uniqueness of our in-person live events (like CTA Conf) into extraordinary online events. Similar to other online summits intended for education, we’ve run co-marketing campaigns including Digital Agency Day, CRO day, and most recently 5,335 registrants signed up to attend PPC Week, a five-day online event organized by topic and skill level, sharing actionable content for PPC marketers.

As a designer, I’m going to share key strategic and design elements that went into PPC week that you can take into account to make your next co-marketing campaign shine.

In Planning: Find Yourself, Solid Partners

PPC Week 2017 Partners

Before I get into design details behind PPC Week, it’s essential I highlight that — in our experience — a proper marketing event must start with meaningful partnerships to curate a high-quality content experience.

Nadia, our Partnerships Marketing Specialist, notes that in the case of PPC Week, in particular, the partnerships aspect was significant for three main reasons. Namely:

  • Building and strengthening relationships. We partnered with thought leaders in the PPC community to better reach our target market. That helped us convey the message that we are friends with the right people in the PPC community and we could offer an event with real value for our audience.
  • Domino networking effect. The group of partners came together organically and naturally, where the one Partner company introduced us to a speaker in another, who in turn recommended another great speaker. This resulted in an impactful content featuring highly regarded thought leaders.
  • Co-marketing promotion. When everyone promotes shared content, it expands everyone’s exposure in front to new audiences that they would otherwise not be able to reach.

Next: Do Your Research to Fuel a Relevant Event

Before you can efficiently plan your content or brand an online event properly, you need to do your research. I.e., What exactly does your target market want from an event in the first place?

When the idea of PPC Week came up, we had already validated our audience in advance — that is, we knew we wanted to speak to PPC marketers. The data, insights and daily motivations we had from PPC Marketers were compiled in an extensive research that Corey Dilley, our Director of Campaign Strategy had done previously.

Additionally, we interviewed companies in the PPC space and got a sense of a PPC-ers daily work. These interviews gave us the following quote that ended up shaping our intent and offerings within the week:

“[As a PPC marketer] I want to stay ahead of the game, learn the latest trends and be able to implement the best tools out there to excel at my job, without having to look for stuff in my own time or waste valuable time in a conference or all day event.”

The quotes from the interviews we held gave us enough information to develop the dynamic of the event and the central concepts behind the branding.

For example, we learned PPC marketers are extremely busy, and can’t spend a full day on webinars. However, they are interested in being challenged and learning actionable tactics. Ultimately, this discovery made in research is why we decided to offer a full week of paid media knowledge divided into five different topics. This way, our audience could learn something valuable once a day for a week, without having to miss a full day of work.

Secondly, because we were addressing a vast audience, we decided to offer three sessions per day tailored to experience level: one for beginners, one for intermediate/advanced and a bonus one. That way, no matter someone’s level of expertise, they’d receive valuable content to improve their skills.

Your Research Can Fuel Your Branding, too

Beyond the week’s structure and content, research also helped define our campaign concept and logo.

First, this involved identifying the character traits of PPC marketers to help me, the designer, define a brand that would resonate. We knew, for example, that paid media managers or search marketers are continually optimizing, looking and finding new ways to look at things and making improvements. This, in addition to our previous data, helped us narrow down the three concepts behind the ideal PPC Week brand. Namely: targeting, performance, and growth.

Having the concepts defined we jumped into the logo ideation. How does the minimum representation of a “target” and a “click” look? After sketching and refining the idea, a shape of a circle came up. We ended up connecting the three main circles on the logo to graphically represent the “growth” that our audience was going to experience throughout the event. Our logo represents how every lesson learned would always end up guiding you to the next one.

Logo was thought to work at different scales, formats, and shades.

Get Clear on Your Online Event’s Mission/Vision

The first thing I do when I get a project brief defines the project’s “Onliness Statement.” This is quick and extremely useful for identifying the core message of your brand. Additionally, the statement will help every single stakeholder to get on the same page in just 2 minutes.

The sentence includes the What, How, Who, Why, When and Where of your project — in this case, your online event. It identifies what makes you different to competitors. This is what ours looked like for PPC Week:

  • What: (category) The only free online Unbounce PPC event organized by skill level
  • How: (differentiation) that teaches actionable content
  • Who: (customer) for seasoned and novice PPC marketers
  • Why: (customer’s need) who want to stay ahead of the game
  • When: (underlying trend) in the times when the PPC landscape is ever-evolving

Complete Onliness Statement: The only free online Unbounce PPC event organized by skill level that teaches actionable content for seasoned and novice PPC marketers who want to stay ahead of the game in the times when the PPC landscape is ever-evolving.

If you want to learn more about the onliness statement, check out Marty Neumeier’s book “Zag! Be Different. No, Really Different.”

Make Your Landing Page Experience Richer

At Unbounce, the design team is always creating marketing campaigns within our platform, and PPC Week was no exception. For me, as a personal goal, I wanted to push the builder’s limits to create a richer interactive experience. This means I wanted to incorporate scripts to enhance what the builder can already do, and luckily what I tried might be useful to you too!

1. Match Your Branding Perfectly With Adobe Typekit Fonts

Want to try it out? Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to implement your type kits.

If you have an Adobe Creative Cloud account, I would highly recommend you explore the massive library Typekit has. It offers quality fonts from the world’s best foundries, no need to worry about licensing and you can use their fonts on the web and in desktop applications. By putting together a kit, publishing it and adding the link to your landing page, you will be able to use their fonts and edit it them anytime.

2. Add some visual Interest with Javascript Animations

As I mentioned previously, we wanted to represent the concept of growth in PPC Week, so we decided to experiment with animations that would directly express the idea of growth & evolution. After some quick tests, we decided to explore the possibilities with Javascript animations. These provide higher quality than any video or gif, they render faster, and they’re highly customizable.

For our PPC Week landing page (where we collected registrations for the event) we used Codepen, a place where people write and share front-end code that you can quickly grab and modify as you need. Above is an example of an animation that we personalized by changing colors and customizing settings such as speed, size, and depth.

3. Improve Navigation With Secondary Menus or Tabbed Section

We offered five different topics and 15 sessions defined by skill level in PPC Week’s agenda so — to be as clear as possible — we avoided putting all the information on one long landing page and implemented a secondary menu instead. It looked like this:

Responsive Secondary Menu

Some of the details that we kept in mind and that you could also consider if you implement tabs in your next landing page are:

  • Stick to only one row of tabs.
  • Be clear and highlight the currently selected section.
  • Have visible menu’s options to help remind the user of the additional choices.
  • Use short title-case-labels to provide easily scannable and readable content.

In addition to adding customized tabbed sections, we also implemented smooth scroll, a mobile menu, and lightboxes which can all be found in the Tips and Scripts category in our online community. This resource is where Unbounce customers can submit custom scripts to enhance their landing pages and overlays with features that aren’t native to the builder. Check it out here!

Don’t be Afraid to Experiment

Now, maybe you’ve noticed it (or perhaps not) but PPC Week looks quite different than the Unbounce website, and this was on purpose. Creating individual brandings in the past had brought incredible results, and by individual brands, I mean that within the same company (Unbounce), we have had unique names, identities, and images, for our online educational events. All of them have been successful and PPC Week wasn’t the exception.

We believe that a brand goes way further than a color or a font. A project’s essence is what ends up representing a company and what we always try to do inside our team is to work closely with top-notch digital marketing companies that at the end will help us offer high-quality content to our audience.

Experimentation is key to generate tailored experiences like this, so to wrap up this case study I’m sharing some of the questions you could consider before you start designing your next online event:

  • Do I have enough data to make an informed design decision? Understanding your audience’s interests, motivations and needs will guide your art direction.
  • What are our partners’ role? If one or more of them are co-producing it with you considering a neutral look and feel will represent both of you evenly. Also, remember to always include their logos in your events material.
  • How am I going to promote it? Having a specific name and brand might have a stronger presence. It will be easier for your audience to remember and to identify it.

In case you’re still curious about this project, you can click here to check out the detailed design case study. :)