Mastering event planning: Insights from a renowned professional

Discover how the Europe's largest all-PPC event, ADworld Experience, utilizes Eventee to enhance attendee engagement.

Roman Mastalir
Roman Mastalir

Learning the best Pay Per Click (PPC) strategies and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) techniques is key for online business success. ADworld Experience stands out in Europe as the go-to event where you can explore the latest trends and tricks in digital advertising.

And now coming to share his event secrets is Gianpaolo Lorusso. A web marketing professional who has been working in the Search Engine Marketing field since the late 90’s. In 2008, Gianpaolo became a freelance professional. Four years later, he created ADworld Experience and in 2019, he became a founding board member of the Paid Search Association.

To step up their game in engaging attendees and running smoother events, ADworld Experience started using Eventee. Explore how they solved various pain points with an event mobile app. How to choose the right speaker. And more in this interview.

Can you tell me about yourself and your event?

I have been working on AdWords and, after, on Google Ads, for more than 20 years now. In 2011 I started to ask myself, 'how can I make PPC campaigns better?' I realized that I could improve my accounts by only knowing what successful advertisers were doing in theirs. Then the basic idea of ADworld Experience was laid. Since then, the event has been an open window for best practices in the paid media market.

What pain points did you face at your events that made you start using an event mobile app?

We wanted all functions an event app can offer that boost engagement. But other than that, we also needed our participants to vote for the best PPC case histories during the event. We needed to choose the “PPC Caesars Award” winners. We made it in a paper form for the first 3 or 4 editions. And it took a lot of effort, it was long, and far from being error-free and cheat-free. Eventee app speech reviews allowed us to solve the problem brilliantly and effortlessly.

A room full of people listens to the current lecture.

Can you share what other tools you use when managing your event? What is your tech stack?

We tested a lot of them during the 12 editions of the event. But only a few of them stuck. I can mention Wordpress Fooevent plugin, Whatsapp groups, messaging facility, Hootsuite social media managing suite and, of course, Eventee.

Running events is an extremely time-consuming profession. How do you find time to implement and manage yet another tool during your event?

We have to. Event managers are basically problem solvers. But when you organize something, problems never end. There is always something you can do better to spend less time and save money.

Do you have any tips on how to make the perfect program for your event?

There would be a lot! But actually, I don't think that program making is the real core problem in event organizing. The real challenge is to find the right people to speak about the right things. This is very challenging. But when you succeed in doing that, the event program schedule is only a matter of optimizing time and giving the platform to relevant speakers. If I could give just one tip, I would say to “bother” your potential speakers as much as you can! In polite manners, of course. You need to understand who is more or less motivated to join, other than wanting to be famous in the industry.

Choosing the right speaker is crucial in event planning. The picture shows a speaker having a lecture in a room full of people listening to him.

What is your thought process behind choosing the right speakers for your event? How do you find the best speakers and how do you motivate them to speak at your event?

Being in the PPC industry myself, it's quite easy for me to notice the best voices on socials. 90% of the time I choose people I would like to hear presenting a case story myself. I love outsiders. They are often ready to share much more interesting things than famous or professional speakers. I often ask for draft presentations and detailed extra information on what they want to present. This filters out serial speakers and self-promoting “geniuses”. The prize for the top PPC case presented was also intended to be an extra motivation factor for the speakers.

What channels are you using to promote your event to make sure you sell enough tickets?

Google Ads, of course. But we are also creating a lot of interesting content for a Paid Media professional on the website and on social media. LinkedIn, in particular, is very effective. We both have a closed group and a newsletter. We also created an informative video series to consistently use YouTube, TikTok and Instagram channels too.

How do you measure the success of your event? What is your major KPI?

Feedback is my real fuel. I’ve always thought that if I succeeded in creating the best all-PPC event in the World, I would have found a way to make real money out of it. And I still believe that excellence in content is the best way to scale an event. The YOY growing number of participants and their internationalization seems to confirm this belief.

Moving on to the business aspect. Some event planners aim to cover costs with sponsorships and view ticket sales as profit. Others don't offer ticket discounts or free passes and rely on ticket sales as their primary revenue source for event expenses. What's your approach?

I am somewhere in the middle 😊. I consider sponsorships an extra value for us as event organizers and for participants. That’s why I will never consider unrelated and self-promoting case stories or workshops, even if pushed by a sponsor. My first concern is to cover all costs with tickets. Then, if someone is smart enough to understand the value of our event in the niche of paid media in Europe, we have a win-win chance to take (both of us).

A picture shows people in a circle listening to Gianpaolo at the Adworld experience, the largest all-PPC event in Europe.

Where (how) do you find the perfect venues for your events? 

I have been using the same venue for the last 11 editions! So, no smart tips on that. I originally found it by searching in Google for event locations in the city hosting my event. It's a natural “hub” for Northern Italy. It's almost in the center of the triangle Milan, Venice & Florence/Rome.

What do you think are the key factors to consider when selecting an ideal venue?

1) Venue’s location (easy to get there, near public transport hubs) – Mine is 200m away from the city central train station (which is linked to the airport by a fast train).

2) Infrastructure (large enough rooms, good connection etc.)

3) Price (the lower, the better, of course)

4) Efficient (& friendly) staff, with low turnover (they are always ready and willing to help & more or less are the same people since the first edition)

5) Good catering (we are in Italy 😉!)

The last question is aimed at our new readers. Is there anything you wish you had known when organizing your first event?

Easy and usable tools are almost as important as content/speakers is to an event organizer.

Choose yours carefully. Never think you are already doing all you can to grant your event a full success. Always keep your eyes open and have a humble approach. Somewhere out there is a new idea you can use to keep your event a step forward from your competitors. The most difficult part of your job is to find it before anyone else in your industry.

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