Web Summit

Scaling Up for Success

The Story

When organizers for the global technology event consulted with Facebook’s Solutions Engineering on the best way to implement automated ads, they came away with the knowledge, tools and support to transform their advertising.

The de facto Event in Tech

Since its inaugural gathering in Dublin in 2010, the annual Web Summit has become one of the world’s most popular tech events, bringing together some of the most high-profile names in the technology, startup, business, media and culture worlds. Web Summit attracts over 42,000 attendees from 134 countries across 21 specialist summits. Its formula has been successfully applied to other events across the U.S. and Asia, including Collision and RISE.

The Goal

Attracting Quality Attendees

Web Summit tickets are sold entirely online through a staged model, with prices increasing as the event draws nearer, so the company must constantly evolve how its tickets are advertised online. It often runs multiple trials simultaneously to create new approaches to targeting and bidding, and scales up its activity in the best-performing areas to get optimal results in the most cost-effective way.

Ticket sales are always open for one or more Web Summit events, and Facebook marketing is an ongoing activity. The digital team was manually managing ad campaigns across events, but to effectively run, test and scale concurrent campaigns for multiple audiences and events, it needed to automate this process.

By successfully integrating the API to automate our advertising, we’re finding that we’re able to achieve so much more, even with a small team of two. We’re ambitious for our events and our goals reflect that—now that we’re able to run concurrent optimised campaigns, we’re well on our way to meeting those goals.

Dr. Aaron Meagher, Senior Data Scientist, Web Summit

The Solution

Finding an Automated Solution

Facebook’s Solutions Engineering proposed that Web Summit use Facebook’s Marketing API to build an ad automation solution that would allow it to seamlessly evolve its ad activity without missing a beat. Because the Marketing API provides programmatic access to the ads platform, this integration gave Web Summit the ability to automatically generate hundreds of versions of each ad from predefined parameters such as country, age, location, interest and ad creative.

The API also makes ad statistics readily available, allowing the team to monitor performance in real time and optimize campaigns at any point. Solutions Engineering helped Web Summit get maximum benefit from this tool and showed how to run split testing on ad creative. It also helped merge Facebook’s stats data with Web Summit’s data to help the team accurately adjust campaigns based on performance metrics.

Having defined the right campaign approach, Solutions Engineering provided further strategic support throughout the integration process:

  • Strategic Consultancy - Automation options, advice on how to get the best from the API, integration best practices for specific marketing needs
  • Education - In-depth API education and ongoing technical support, Facebook ad platform and bidding 101s to enhance in-house knowledge
  • Integration support - Working sessions to kickstart the process, integration roadmap, troubleshooting and diagnostics, incremental improvements once up and running

A Pioneering Approach

The Web Summit’s Marketing API implementation was up and running after just a few weeks of work with Facebook’s Solutions Engineering team, allowing the company to start reaping the benefits of a fully automated advertising solution.

Web Summit is now able to scale, optimise and easily control event advertising, allowing it to achieve its attendance goals. The integration process has helped its teams build on their existing API knowledge and integration experience, enhancing their expertise and honing their marketing approach. Web Summit is now able to run parallel campaigns for multiple events and can run more ads, more efficiently, than ever before.

After launching its API activity in September 2015, Web Summit has achieved:

  • Over 10,000 ads created per week
  • 3X as many ads run with the same size team
  • 24% decrease in cost per click
  • 30% increase in click-through rate
  • 24% increase in ad investment

Learn more about how businesses like yours are growing with Facebook Marketing Partners.

The Results


as many ads run with the same size team

10k +

ads created per week


decrease in cost per click