Maximising Retargeting ‘Windows of Opportunity’ in the Travel Space.

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Travel is wonderful. Travel planning is stressful.

It’s difficult, occasionally frantic, causes you to pull your hair out, and a long time can pass before you see any success.

The same can be said for Travel Marketing, but on both sides of the coin, it’s worth it. The customer gets to lie on a beach with a Mai Tai, and you get to look over your revenue reports with a smile on your face.

You may of course, also enjoy a Mai Tai (depends on which motivates you more).

But before we break out the cocktail shaker, we need to understand how to earn it.

What is a ‘Window of Opportunity’?

A ‘window of opportunity’ might sound like just another fancy term for retargeting your users… Well, it is, but I think it deserves its fanciness. I see a window of opportunity as a time when you’re able to retarget users when virtually nobody else is. The tricky bit of course is working out

a) When that is
b) How to take advantage of it

Identifying a Window of Opportunity

The first part is by no means the easiest, unfortunately. Taking a look at your Time to Purchase section of Google Analytics will likely present you with something that looks like this:

The bars might vary in size, but (particularly for Travel booking) it’s very likely that you’ll see most purchases happening in the same day. This blog isn’t going to focus on that bar. The zero-day purchase is a bit of a bull run, and everything that can affect it takes place well before that “day zero” – SEO, Brand Awareness, etc...
Today, we’re focusing on everything that comes after, and before.

The most traditional method of retargeting is via RLSA, Display remarketing, E-Mail and Social PPC audience targeting, and is most effective at bringing ROAS when applied to the immediate days following “day zero.” However fundamental they may be, it’s worth remembering some vital best practices for this.

Window of Opportunity: After “Day Zero”

Users spend a few days looking over different travel providers before deciding to spend their hard-earned cash on one. Just because a user has dropped off of your landing page, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested in your flight or hotel... It likely means that they weren’t ready to pull the trigger just yet, or they wanted to shop around.

This is where you give them a reason to stop shopping around and go with you.

  • Use remarketing lists to retarget visitors to your website
  • Enhance that list by using engagement stats to determine what behaviours your best customers exhibit
  • Remarket to those users and pull out the big guns with your ad copy: Offers, USPs, Discounts…

Whatever you’re prepared to offer to make them consider you again. This might be your last chance, after all.

If you’re not already using Remarketing Lists for Search ads, they’re a great place to start. However, more and more Marketers are already taking advantage of RLSA opportunities. If you really want to maximise on opportunity – to really stand out and be rewarded for it – you’re going to need to work on some more advanced, daring stuff…

“Be There, and Be Useful”

Being there, and being useful, is a mantra Google loves to repeat, and it should be the aim of all Digital Marketers working in the Travel space. Here’s why:

Unlike simply purchasing a kitchen appliance, going on a trip isn’t as simple as buying [thing] and enjoying [thing]. It requires a great deal of planning, and decision-making occurs at every step, for every facet. While most of these decisions involve making a purchase, some are non-monetary…

Look how little time is spent actually booking a flight, hotel, or car rental in comparison to searches based around what Gina will be doing when she arrives… What are the cultural norms in my destination? What events are taking place while I’m visiting? How can I identify a genuine taxi and avoid being scammed or put in danger? What linguistic quirks are there that I should be mindful of? These are questions that holidaymakers and “experience”-craving adventurers are going to be asking, and they’re going to be asking them online.

What they’re going to find, is content: Content that is there at the right time, and useful for their situation.

To create content that is useful, you simply need to understand what questions are being asked in relation to the destination your customer is thinking about. There are numerous methods for finding out what these questions are, but this research will inform what the topic of your content will be.

Once the useful content is created, and able to be discovered, the next part is figuring out how to be there for your customers are at the right time.

There are numerous ways of doing this, and utilising Remarketing Lists to target people who have already visited your site is one of these, as we’ve already discussed. However, this is dependent on a customer having already visited you once, and for that reason, its limited. How do you be there for the people who have never visited your site?

 

Before Retargeting Begins: Riding the Wave of Emerging Trends

No matter where they’re travelling, your customers are using the web to refine their trip. Sometimes it’s used to find the best place to go, but sometimes it’s used simply to make travel less stressful. From learning how best to pack luggage efficiently, to catching some shut-eye on the flight, to making it to their hotel easily, customers are searching for ways to make their trip easier.

This is just one window of opportunity for Travel brands looking to be there for their potential customers. All that is left is to create some useful content that caters to this topic, and make sure its seen by the right people.

As for finding more windows of opportunity? Facebook, Twitter and Google in particular regularly provide insights into emerging trends to assist their advertisers. Keep a close eye on what they’re putting out, and if it you can create useful content to suit it, do so, and customers will reward you with their interest.

Alternatively, you can always jump on an emerging tech trend and provide something entirely un-useful for a laugh, as Contiki did with their Virtually Unlimited offering.

One Last Thing: Experiment with Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

You may have just undergone a whole new website re-launch, but don’t take your jump in conversion rates as the be-all-and-end-all of success. There may be a few more drops of cash you can squeeze out of it once your customers navigate from your content to your landing pages.

Recently we’ve been conducting experiments with our client’s websites. By altering small parts of any given landing page, we have been A/B testing each variant to see which is more successful, and we’ve seen surprisingly different results in some places.

These changes can be as simple as making the “Buy” button a little bigger, or a different colour. They can also be more advanced, such as tweaking the payment process to make it smoother, or personalising your landing pages to your users (we’re a big fan of this one). Basically, the only way to know for sure if your landing pages are as strong as they could be, is by running Conversion Rate Optimisation tests. We’re excited to see what else we can learn from these experiments, so consider trying some of your own.

You just might be deserving of a few Mai Tais by the time you’re done.

Check out our videos on CRO below, or take a few moments to read more about how we can help you with your CRO success story:

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
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Sagittarius

12 Oct 2017 - 8 minute read
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