With nearly 7 million advertisers on the Facebook platform, it’s safe to say that Facebook has done a great job at building an extensive advertiser ecosystem. But as the opportunity on Facebook continues to grow, gaining a competitive advantage becomes more difficult. Not only are there billions of active users on its family of apps, Facebook naturally lends itself to travel inspiration and planning. In order to target travelers with the most relevant content, advertisers need to understand the traveler’s path to purchase, which means identifying individual travelers as they jump across websites, devices, and verticals. So how can travel marketers find success on Facebook?
Adphorus, a Sojern company, has looked at industry research around how the ad landscape is evolving, the tools that Facebook offers travel marketers, and trends among marketers who have achieved success to find out.
What Success on Facebook Looks Like
When we refer to success, we’re talking about how to effectively use Facebook to power your marketing efforts, tell your brand’s story, and achieve your objectives. At the end of the day, you need to make sure that you are maximizing the impact of your marketing budgets and that you are doing so on an ongoing basis.
Execute an Integrated Full-Funnel Marketing Strategy for Facebook Success
In order to target travelers with the most relevant content, advertisers need to understand the traveler’s path to purchase, which means identifying individual travelers as they jump across websites, devices, and verticals. We tend to talk about the “travel vertical” as a whole, but really, every subvertical within travel is unique in and of itself. An airline’s business and path to purchase is quite different from that of a ridesharing app or a cruise line, and so forth. The ideal campaign setup, optimization strategy, and creative best practices may vary across business models, which means advertisers must plan accordingly.
Facebook is an effective channel for travel marketing because it can be used to move travelers through your marketing funnel. Executing an integrated full-funnel marketing strategy ensures that your marketing efforts are coordinated and that your ad dollars are being spent wisely.
The increasing complexity of the journey has its implications for travelers as well. Travelers are overwhelmed with options and bombarded with content, resulting in a growing demand for personalization and assistance along their journey.
Tracking on Facebook helps advertisers understand traveler intent and guides travelers down the funnel. Is a traveler browsing multiple locations? Have they already booked their flight? Have they looked at your hotel? Answers to such questions will help determine whether you first promote a certain destination to them, or jump right to an offer for a business class upgrade or a double room over Valentine’s weekend at your seaside hotel.
You should also be thinking about how the different Facebook apps can serve your objectives. Instagram is full of travel inspiration. Messenger can support your loyalty program through chatbots. And Audience Network works really well for mobile app install campaigns.
Test Everything from Bidding to Creatives to Targeting
Many of the travel brands Adphorus works with are really looking for incrementality. They cannot afford to spend on tactics that do not perform. Therefore, it’s quite unlikely that any travel marketer is actively driving their marketing efforts with a “spend and hope for the best” approach. However, unless all of the decisions that you make every day are backed by data, the end result is not far from it.
Test everything across the funnel, from creatives to bidding to targeting. Then, use your learnings from these tests to scale the best-performing campaign setups and derive insights that inform subsequent decisions.
Test Automatically with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies can do this automatically and at scale. They have the power to be “always on” while making intelligent decisions. Whether it’s automation, optimization, insights, or reporting, artificial intelligence enables advertisers to achieve a level of scale that is otherwise impossible.
Adphorus’ AI-powered marketing assistant, Marvin, helps travel brands execute a scientific framework and ensures that your marketing is truly data-driven. While you focus on getting the strategy right, Marvin takes care of the operations. He automates optimization, maximizes the return on your campaigns, keeps an eye out for bottlenecks and monitors the tests you are running, and delivers insights to keep improving performance. He then makes it easy to act on results and scale learnings across campaigns.
Interested in learning about Facebook advertising for travel marketers? Read more in the comprehensive Adphorus eBook, Travel Marketer’s Guide to Success on Facebook.