It’s the holiday season. If you are in the UK, you are probably looking to have a nice break on a long, white sandy beach.
Mapping the customer journey of a travel booking is long and complicated. Understanding the difference between a casual flight search and a search with an actual real intent of buying a ticket is something very tricky in this business. And there are many more questions marketers need to understand – Who is going to travel? Where would they like to go? When is the right time to engage with these users?
It goes way beyond just booking a flight as it includes hotels, transfers, cabs, uber, museums, shops, restaurants, and much… much more.
Facebook has addressed this challenge by releasing a toolkit that can help marketers unlock their audience travel intent, and therefore, target them with the right creative at the right time. So, let’s get straight to the point.
Dynamic Ads for Travel
Last year, Facebook launched Dynamic Ads for Travel, to help businesses deliver personalised hotel options to users that had shown an interest in a trip. It also gives you the ability to promote relevant flights to people that have searched something similar in the past, or upsell to travellers based on flights that they have recently booked.
Facebook can convert travel intent into bookings and automatically serve ads with date-specific availability based on their interests. The other great feature about Facebook dynamics ads is that you only need to set up your campaign once, with all your inventory, without having to create each ad separately, and automatically enable cross-device promotion.
Broad Audience Targeting
To capture more users than just recent website and app visits, Facebook has allowed broad audience targeting for dynamic ads for travel. By selecting this feature, called “broad audiences”, businesses can promote relevant hotel offers to more people who are likely to book lodgings and grow their business at scale.
Trip Consideration Optimisation
Still, on the audience subject, Facebook has unveiled a Trip Consideration optimisation option, that aims to benefit advertisers to reach people identified to be in the initial stages of looking for a travel destination based on behaviours exhibited on Facebook or Instagram. This is only available for Conversions campaign.
Facebook drives the ads to people that have the likeability to end up booking for lodgings, allowing hotels to grow their business at scale. It also helps to target people based on their location in the consideration stage of the sales funnel. In other words, trip consideration optimises ads to people who have any travel intent in general, they haven’t decided on destination or dates yet and unlike Dynamic Ads for Travel – where ads rely on a feed (catalogue)- Trip Consideration allows advertisers to use static creative (image, video, carousel or Collection).
Don’t confuse Trip Consideration with Lookalike or Interest targeting. It is an optimisation feature, meaning that Facebook will try to deliver to the right people. Therefore, it is recommended to use a broad audience, so Facebook has scope to work its magic.
New Creative Solutions
Going further and beyond, Facebook introduced new creative solutions to help advertisers stand out in the newsfeed and inspire the user to finally book their trip. From a social context, overlays and collection format, advertisers have a hand-full of options to optimise their campaign results.
- Social contexts make dynamic travel ads to feel more relevant to people, by showing them to users that friends have visited a certain city. When they see people that they know and trust who have taken a -hopefully awesome- trip somewhere, this can then inspire them to plan their own adventures for the near future.
2. Overlays are a new feature for creative edition that allows you, as a marketeer, to add information on prices and promotions on top of your media. This is an easy way to capture attention and feature enticing information on top of your creative.
3. Collection ad formats are not new for Facebook advertisers, but when applied correctly on the travel industry, it can really help you achieve your goals. From showcasing an engaging video or image, pairing it with specific -and interesting- offerings, this could be the final push for your user to make a booking!
Successful Stories to Inspire You!
Dynamic Ads + Overlays
To increase ticket sale conversions, Air France needed to find online visitors who had shown interest in flights on its website but hadn’t yet booked. The strategy was to place a Facebook pixel on the Air France website and then create an audience of those who had searched for a flight and/or initiated checkout but did not purchase. The company used dynamic ads for travel to retarget this audience and further segment the audience into people who had visited within 0-2 days and 3-30 days.
Air France used the dynamic ads to appeal to travellers’ imaginations and promote enticing getaways, displaying images, information and recommendations, from its inventory of available flights. The ad creative included flight and destination photos with text overlay in French with messaging such as “Are you ready to travel?” and offers of deals to locations like Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Amsterdam. Along with this, appealing photos of picturesque South Africa and a plane leaving for Brazil, with date-specific pricing and a “Book Now” call-to-action button.
“Facebook’s dynamic ads for travel allow us to reach our customers based on the destinations they are interested in and up-to-date pricing without creating thousands of individual ads. This level of ad personalisation allowed us to achieve 12X the conversions at a 57% lower cost per booking.”
Florence Estra, VP Digital Marketing, Air France (Facebook Success Stories)
Work on your creatives! Engage your traffic!
Trentino Marketing used different ad types during its 6-stage campaign. The first few phases focused on building brand awareness, generating leads and inspiring people to visit the scenic Trentino landscapes. Short, eye-catching video ads were the perfect way to show off the valleys, mountains and landscapes of the Trentino region and grab attention.
In the next phases, Trentino Marketing retargeted carousel ads to people who had shown an interest by either watching the video for a set amount of time, or by clicking through to the main website. The carousels showcased the different types of holidays that would-be travellers might embark upon: biking, hiking, Italian lifestyle and water activity holidays. Because this ad format can host up to 10 different images or videos in a single unit, people could see all 4 options in one place and click through to dedicated landing pages for each holiday.
“We got straight to our real new customers—going hand in hand down the marketing funnel with an interested target audience.”
Marketing team, Trentino Marketing (Facebook Success Stories)
Don’t forget to Build for Mobile
The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), with its media agency 360i, partnered with Facebook Creative Shop to build a mobile-first campaign.
With a clear objective—to encourage people to visit “the other side” of New Orleans—the teams developed ads specifically for mobile News Feed. Facebook Creative Shop worked with NOTMC to create a series of videos to appear on their own, as well as in carousel format. The short videos used text overlays, so people could still understand when watching with their sound off.
The team first targeted the video ads to a broad audience of 25- to 39-year-olds residing outside New Orleans interested in travelling and vacations. Then, they retargeted an engagement Custom Audience of people who viewed the video from the first part, showing them a video ad in carousel format to spark further their interest in the city.
The results? Between March 6–30, 2017, NOTMC’s awareness campaign reached more than 17 million people. A Facebook brand lift study also revealed that it had successfully boosting ad recall by 3 points and people’s intent to visit New Orleans by 8 points.
Using these tools to promote your product can really increase your ROI by the end of the month.
Starting from broad audience and trip consideration, and from there applying dynamic ads to whoever engaged to your ad is a simple, yet powerful Facebook marketing strategy. These tools not only frees up your time managing ads but allows you to quickly scale your performance.