National Academy of SciencesDriving Open House Attendance through Social Media & Digital Advertising


The National Academy of Sciences came to us with a goal to drive at least 2,000 attendees to its Open House in April 2019, which was a chance for families and friends to participate in a hands-on science day that showcased the work of the National Academies in ways that were fun, creative, and engaging.


Utilizing custom targeting and keyword search advertising in a campaign that ran a little over two weeks, we sought to attract impromptu attendees who were also attending the Cherry Blossom Parade that was held on the same day and along the same route as the Open House. We developed and implemented the social media advertising strategy with custom creative to reach people online and worked with a public relations partner to reach traditional media outlets.


Custom audience targeting

Interest + behavior targeting


Lookalike audiences


Keyword search advertising

Collage of children enjoying the NAS open house


To our delight, we were able to drive about 12,500 users to the NAS website, resulting in 3,841 tickets reserved. Digital advertising helped to exceed the goal of 2,000 attendees by 216% and accounted for 60% of overall tickets sold. People reserved 3,841 tickets from social, and 6,312 tickets overall. On average, it cost just $1.65 per ticket reserved through social ads, and $0.63 per link click. These results significantly outperformed the industry average, which is $1.00 per link click.

Of Total Ticket sales attributed to social campaign
Below Average Cost Per Click
Tickets sales attributed to social campaign

Paid social media advertising led to the most ticket sales.

60% of overall tickets reserved were as a result of paid Facebook ads, which were just one component of the full campaign that also included a public relations efforts through a partner agency. The detailed targeting and measurement available for Facebook ads allowed us to fine-tune the audiences that we reached to maximize the return on investment.

Young girl looking through microscope
Young bow interacting with projector

Facebook’s lookalike matching was very effective.

We leveraged Facebook’s matching algorithm to target users similar to those who had already registered. This audience was by far the most responsive to ads promoting Family Science Day, resulting in 96% of the ticket reservations from social for this event.

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