Programmatic Advertising Guide For Travel Marketers

Programmatic advertising activates your messaging to the right users.

December 6, 2022

Creating strong content around your brand only works if the right people are seeing your message. This is where programmatic advertising comes into play. Programmatic advertising uses machine learning to purchase advertising space across the internet, targeting the right user at the right time.

At Sojern, we use programmatic advertising to put your brand in front of in-market travelers, influencing them across the channels you choose. With a blend of advertising buying strategies like programmatic advertising and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), we can raise your brand awareness and inspire visitation.

How does programmatic advertising work?

Using programmatic advertising in your marketing campaigns starts with identifying what you want to accomplish and who you want to target. Ask yourself questions like–what am I trying to achieve with this campaign? What types of travelers am I looking to attract? What actions do I want them to take?

Working with an advertising partner, they’ll set up targeting for your ideal audience. Once you share your own creative ads or your partner creates them for you, your partner can use real-time information to bid for ad placements on your behalf. For example, when a user visits a website, that ad space goes up for auction. Sojern’s automated technology analyzes each impression to determine if it meets certain parameters and then places a bid on the auction. Parameters could include how interested the user is in your product, the number of competing advertisers, how likely the user is to take action based on the ad, and more.

The highest bidder wins the auction and the process happens within nanoseconds. After the auction is won, your advertising creatives are placed within seconds.

Types of Programmatic Media Channels

Display Advertisements

Display ads are text-based, image, or video advertisements that encourage travelers to take action with your brand online (e.g. book a trip, join a loyalty program, etc.).

Social Media

With social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, you have access to a massive travel audience. You can target them with visually engaging and high-performing ad formats.


Inspire travelers with engaging content in the early stages of brand discovery. Use video to influence travelers before, during, and after their video content.

How does Sojern run programmatic advertising?

When a traveler searches for a flight with one of our global data partners, we receive their search data in real-time. The data contains non-personally identifiable information and the user consents to sharing it. With this data, we know the traveler is interested in your destination and potentially searched for your offering before. Thus, they become an excellent audience for your advertisements, and we serve them your messaging as they browse the web.

‍Prospecting vs. Retargeting  

Utilizing both prospecting and retargeting tactics for optimal success, programmatic advertising can take your marketing campaigns to the next level. With prospecting, you’re getting your ads in front of new customers that haven’t engaged with your brand before.

When a traveler that fits a client’s audience visits one of our data partner’s sites, we immediately receive this data. The traveler might not take action but continues over to a travel magazine to dream about what to do on their trip. On this website, Sojern bids on ad space to serve this traveler an ad for the client’s property or destination. The traveler sees the ads and heads over to their website to find out more.

But you shouldn’t stop there–96% of visitors won’t convert on their first site visit. Retargeting is typically what brings them back to your website, and engaging with users who have interacted with your brand is the best way to get in front of highly-qualified leads.

What are the benefits of programmatic advertising?

Finding and engaging with users who are interested in your brand can unlock many benefits. These benefits include:

  • Opportunities to test and learn from new ideas. When you A/B test different types of ad formats, you can get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work.
  • Delivering awareness and building loyalty. Working towards these marketing objectives will give your business the foundation it needs to drive long-term revenue.
  • Understanding how and when to reengage travelers who visited your site or interacted with your ad. Activating this information could make a significant difference in your marketing performance.

The heart of programmatic advertising is reaching potential travelers with your message during the moments that matter. Not only can you find them where they are online, but you can optimize your campaigns in real-time, all the time. Instead of casting a wide net, you are being strategic and efficient with who you share your message.

If you’re looking to implement programmatic advertising in your marketing campaigns or are interested in learning more, please reach out to one of our travel marketing experts today.

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