Facebook and Instagram Advertising for Travel: Key Trends Revealed

March 26, 2019

Social media advertising represents the largest portion of digital ad spend for travel marketers in 2018 at 30 percent—and that number will continue to grow. As Facebook and Instagram continue to launch advertising products to help travel marketers and address their specific needs, you can expect travel marketers to continue spending on the platform—55% said they plan to spend more this year.  

In The 2019 Report on Facebook and Instagram Advertising for Travel we surveyed more than 600 travel marketers from 46 countries around the world, representing brands across the spectrum of airlines, hotels, DMOs, cruise companies, OTAs, metas, attractions, homesharing, and more, to learn how travel marketers are using Facebook and Instagram. Here are some of the key trends we observed:

Trend #1 Facebook Ad Usage is Increasing Across All Formats

Facebook and Instagram have launched several new advertising opportunities in the past year, such as the ability to advertise on Facebook Stories and new audience targeting options for travel marketers within destinations, hotels, and flights.

On average, over half of all global travel marketers plan to spend more on Facebook and Instagram Ads in 2019—with the largest year-over-year change seen with how many marketers plan to use specifically Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel (now Facebook Travel Ads) and Facebook Stories. This comes as no surprise, especially with Facebook’s continued effort to add new features, like Stories, across their entire platform (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp), creating a more engaging place to share in real time.

SOTI_SocialReport_2019_GraphsCharts_HowTravelMarketersAreUsingAndAnticipateUsingFacebookAndInstagramAds

In 2018, 79 percent of travel marketers used Facebook Ads, and that number will continue to rise with 65 percent of travel markets reporting they plan to spend more on Facebook Ads in 2019. Todays’ travel marketers are becoming more savvy when it comes to travel-specific ads—with 57 percent planning to use Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel in 2019.

Video ads used on Facebook are also a favorite of travel marketers—with 60 percent reporting they plan to use them in 2019.

Trend #2  Marketers Embrace Full Funnel Advertising on Social

Facebook and Instagram ads can be used across the buyer journey—helping to build awareness, consideration, and conversions for travel marketers. In order to fully understand how travel marketers use these popular social channels, we asked about the effectiveness of some of Facebook and Instagram.

Marketers are no longer using social media for brand awareness alone. Today’s marketers are using Instagram Stories in the upper funnel to introduce new followers to their destination. And on the other end of the funnel, they are using Facebook to drive bookings based on bespoke messaging delivered through Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel.

Based on our survey, gone are the days when channels are perceived as only useful for branding or direct response. The results indicate that all channels are now used for both. Notably, Facebook and Instagram pulled far ahead of paid search for both branding and direct response.

SOTI_SocialReport_2019_GraphsCharts_WhereFacebookAndInstagramAreMostEffectiveForTravelMarketers

When it comes to Facebook and Instagram advertising, both platforms are seen as most effective for targeting new audiences, with Facebook seen as slightly better for driving reach, brand awareness, and personalization. Due to its visual nature, Instagram is perceived as better for showcasing a property or travel experience.

On a global scale, both Facebook (30%) and Instagram (28%) are seen as most effective for targeting new audiences. However, only four percent state that both Facebook  and Instagram are effective to engage with loyalty members.

Trend #3 Targeting Travelers Along Their Path to Purchase

Our survey showed that 45% of travel marketers rank targeting travelers during a specific point along their path to purchase as a main challenge. The solution? Executing a full-funnel strategy on Facebook.

Facebook Full-Funnel SolutionIn the dreaming stage, or upper funnel, social media is an influential channel for inspiration, as travelers often search hashtags, follow travel influencers, or scroll through their friends’ Feeds and Stories. Striking imagery and video to help cut through the noise and build brand awareness.

By the time a traveler is ready to book (in the planning stage) they’re only considering a few brands.That is why it is important to find and re-engage travelers based on their preferences and the intent they have shown through previous searches and online activity. Facebook is able to detect travel intent at a destination level and put ads in front of a relevant audience.

At the booking stage, travelers are ready to purchase and marketers want their ads to deliver a direct response. At this essential point, it is important for travel marketers to avoid losing out on a booking, and this is where Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Travel solution comes in—ensuring that ads are relevant to the traveler, while minimizing ad spend waste for the marketer.

The experiencing stage is the perfect opportunity for ancillary spend. Travel marketers can advertise their products and services post-conversion and cross-sell, with complementary or upgraded services based on a traveler’s preferences and previous search behavior.

No matter where a traveler is along the path to purchase Facebook has the capabilities to run a full-funnel strategy and connect them with your brand.

Interested in reading more about how travel marketers are using Facebook and Instagram? Download our 2019 Report on Facebook and Instagram Advertising for Travel.


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About Ryleigh Hazen

Ryleigh is Sojern's Content Marketing Associate. She has an incurable passion for content creation. When not in the office Ryleigh enjoys reading a good book, cooking, and walking her dog.

Ryleigh Hazen About the author

Ryleigh is Sojern's Content Marketing Associate. She has an incurable passion for content creation. When not in the office Ryleigh enjoys reading a good book, cooking, and walking her dog.