26 Apr 2018

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.