Facebook is changing how brands connect with travelers throughout the path to purchase

Sponsored by Adphorus.

The nature of Facebook is indeed different from other advertising channels, including search engines. Apart from behavior or interest targeting, Facebook has been changing the rules of the game with cross-device, people-based tracking, and cross-platform targeting.

While navigating the intricacies of this channel poses a challenge, it is also a huge opportunity for travel brands. Our experience as a Facebook and Instagram Marketing Partner, working exclusively with travel clients, has revealed that adopting a full-funnel strategy is essential.

Why a full-funnel strategy is essential for travel

The complexity of the traveler’s path to purchase has become ubiquitous, with an increasing number of channels for inspiration, validation, planning, and booking. We know that travelers visit travel sites more than 120 times in their journey from dreaming to booking. For advertisers, this implies serious competition when engaging with travelers. If your brand is not there at every step of the traveler’s journey, another brand will be.

Other research shows that only 9% of US travelers “always” know which brand they want to book with prior to researching. Therefore, being present is key. And because there are so many touchpoints, understanding each unique traveler’s path to purchase is even more taxing.

Advertisers must be able to identify individual travelers as they jump across websites, devices and verticals in order to target them with the most relevant content. ​Sojern’s Path to Purchase Report​ illustrates exactly how unique each path is and how marketing to an “average” traveler is a great way to miss them entirely.

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.

A full-funnel strategy is the answer to personalizing your marketing to actually assist and cater to travelers. It is the only way to truly understand and influence the path to purchase for travel.

At Adphorus, we define the funnel by four main stages:

  • Developing brand awareness
  • Driving consideration
  • Delivering conversions
  • Building brand loyalty

However, what’s more important are the activities that fill out the funnel. In order to optimize for more relevant marketing, each stage should be informed by the activities higher up in the funnel.

Navigating the data-driven landscape for travel advertisers

This is where Facebook has a real edge as a travel marketing platform. As the largest social platform in terms of logged in users, Facebook is unique in its ability to target travelers (not cookies) across devices and platforms. Campaign objectives and targeting options for each stage of the funnel enable marketers to understand the individual path to purchase.

As Facebook has developed the platform, it has been mindful of leveraging this data across the Facebook family of apps to serve travelers. Each new feature impels advertisers to deliver value to their users.

The launch of multiple travel-specific products over the past year has strengthened Facebook as a platform that inspires, enables, assists, and connects travelers.

  • Dynamic Ads for Travel

The first of the suite of products for travel marketers allows advertisers to engage with users lower in the funnel who have already visited their website. It focuses on driving conversions and pushes advertisers to use relevant information to reconnect with website visitors.

  • DAT for Broad Audiences

This extends the scope of dynamic ads for travel, offering advertisers a solution to reach users with travel intent who had not yet visited their website.

  • Trip Consideration

The latest travel product, introduced just last month, is an upper funnel solution that targets the dreamers who have not yet selected a destination.

(Click on the image to view a larger version)

Facebook’s three new travel marketing products offer advertisers a holistic marketing solution. The upper funnel products add a layer of optimization to Facebook’s traditional targeting options. They enable advertisers to show relevant ads at scale to travelers in any stage of the planning process.

By leveraging Facebook’s products across the funnel, travel advertisers can both increase campaign performance and boost return on ad spend. Advertisers generally spend time and budget on first figuring out the targeting for campaigns higher in the funnel. Facebook’s DAT for Broad Audiences and Trip Consideration products essentially offer a fast-track to testing and learning to ultimately target users with intent.

Testing and learning faster is invaluable. Travel advertisers should constantly be running a multitude of experiments to determine what works for your brand, in each market, on each channel, and at each stage of the funnel.

As you test, you should be executing on a cohesive full-funnel strategy that avoids overlap at all costs. Each stage should be informed by the preceding stages, in order to optimize most effectively and derive meaningful insights. In the case of Facebook’s Ads for Travel, Broad Audiences and Trip Consideration together drive higher quality traffic to the advertiser’s website which then helps fuel the Dynamic Ads for Travel retargeting campaigns.

We’ve been happy to see Facebook investing in features and products that support marketing across every stage of the conversion funnel. Not only does Facebook’s host of solutions for travel target users across the funnel, but more importantly it leverages travel intent data to benefit ​both the advertiser and the traveler. It encourages travel brands to put more thought and care into the content that they are delivering. And, in turn, it puts that content in front of users with travel intent who are in fact seeking inspiration, searching for destinations, open to recommendations, and interested in the alternatives.

This article from Volkan Cagsal, founder and CEO of Adphorus, appears as part of the tnooz sponsored content initiative.

 

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About the Writer :: Sponsored Content

This is the byline under which we publish articles that are part of our sponsored content initiative. Our sponsored content is produced in collaboration with industry partners. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of tnooz, its writers, or partners.

 

Comments

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  1. Dean Horvath

    I just received this back from Facebook support:
    “This is Rodolfo with Facebook Ad Support. Thank you for your patience with me during this time. After further research, I have discovered that the option to define a broad audience is no longer available for dynamic ads. This was an intentional change to the way you are able to target your audience.”
    It looks like DAT for Broad Audiences is gone. Is this your experience as well?

     
    • Ciaran

      Hi Dean,

      I have never been able to use Broad targeting for destinations but can still do so for Hotels. For that reason I have set up the pixel / catalog for hotels even though I am a destination marketer. My thinking was that Facebook would use the same signals for the targeting for both. The only additional information that is required in the feed is the hotel address and I have just selected random city center locations of destinations as the addresses.

      The results have been great since I started using Broad targeting, outperforming lookalike audiences considerably!

       
      • Dean Horvath

        Hi Ciaran, I just tried with hotels as you suggested and it seems I’m not able to use the Broad targeting with hotels either. It allows me to use pixel events, just not Broad. According to FB, it’s just a very recent change. I wonder if you’re grandfathered in because you’ve had them up and running already?

         
        • Ciaran

          Hi Dean,

          Well hopefully that is the case! I can’t understand why Facebook would dis-continue them though because anyone I have spoken to have said they are the best performing (non-retargeting) ad type. Reckon it could be due to privacy concerns? (Facebook anonymously sharing users browsing data with advertisers?)

           
  2. Ciaran

    Is there any way to ensure there is no overlap between lower/mid/ and upper-funnel campaigns given that Facebook has control over the audiences and recommends not excluding any audiences in order to help the algorithm optimize?

     
  3. Ian R. Clayton

    Very relevant to the entire digital media landscape and I particularly relate to how the increasing complexity of the journey has travelers overwhelmed with options and content. Their is a dyer need for personalization and assistance along their journey. But few system are in place that really carer to the personality which is the ultimate differentiation. Matchmaker.travel has pioneered in building system that match travelers with experiences based on moods and character!

     
  4. Dean Horvath

    Thank you, this was very informative!
    I’ve read about DAT for Broad Audiences before and seem to recall it was limited to Hotels. Is that still the case? Or can Destinations use that type of advertising now as well?

     
    • Ekin Eris

      Hi Dean, thanks for reaching out.
      DAT for Broad Audiences was first launched for Hotels but has since become available for Destinations as well. Feel free to contact us at hello@adphorus.com if you have any other questions.

       
 
 

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