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Advising the hotel industry how to increase their online revenue

Search Marketing or Display Ads? Part III

With part 1 and 2 of this series we’ve headed into the following direction: display ads, as we know them, are not such an effective marketing tool anymore. It is more and more about precise targeting and innovative ways of running banner ad campaigns.

How is this for an example?
Travelocity, the popular travel website, is using real-time search data for their display ad campaigns. They use an engine called Teracent which matches the marketing message to their audience on the fly. Messages are based on a host of dynamic parameters such as search intent (e.g. when someone clicks on the star ratings for hotels, this person would only see ads for luxury hotels) and how far people drill down into a certain category.
This strategy has increased Travelocity’s online bookings by 203% !
Chip Hall, senior VP of sales and marketing at Teracent, tells AdAge:
“Display has to change, otherwise it’s headed for failure. If advertisers don’t recognize online is more challenged with the old approaches and needs to be incredibly hyper-targeted, they’re going to fail.”
Source: Econsultancy

Filed under: Display/Banner Marketing, Search Engine Marketing - SEM, , , , , , ,

Search Marketing or Display Ads: the Facebook case

Ok, forget what I said about display ads if it comes to Facebook!

I’ve just seen a blog today saying that Facebook is now the most popular social media site in the UK. Facebook has definitely made a lot of headway if it comes to advertising after much critique about their business model last year. On Econsultancy today the question is asked: Are marketers moving their Google search dollars to Facebook’s display ad business?

While this may be a bit over the top at the moment, the advantages of running display ad campaigns on Facebook are obvious. People voluntarily share information about themselves which enables marketers to target their ads much more precisely. Facebook has increased its market share and manages to engage its users more than other social media sites such as MySpace. Moreover, there is still less advertisers competing with you on Facebook than on Google AdWords and both systems are auction-based.

Research has shown, however that local advertisers are much more successful than large companies. The latter are often seenby Facebook users as being intrusive. People value information about local offers and events while they feel annoyed when they come across the same banner advertising on their community site – which they regard their private space – as they see everywhere else on the web.

For hotels, Facebook could therefore be a brilliant opportunity to advertise to the local market: meeting space, weddings, events and F&B, like those numerous Christmas parties and brunches and lunches coming up. Think about it!

Filed under: Display/Banner Marketing, Social Media Marketing, , , , , , , , , , ,

Search Marketing or Display Ads: that is the question.

I’ve just attended a webinar dealing with this question and the main argument for display ads was the time people spend browsing the web, which is much more than the time people spend searching. In percentages: 95% browsing, 5% searching. Therefore, display ads would still be an effective way to drive traffic and reach customers since search marketing only works when people actually  – search. Kind of sounds logical.

Of course, search engine marketing should be run alongside because apparently click-through rates increased by 22%, related brand searches increased and conversion rates via search ads increased when search and display were run together.

Now, what’s been said here is that display ads actually push traffic and conversion through search. If your site ranks high in the organic search, you are a winner. Otherwise, it basically means that you are paying advertising money twice.

Also, it has become much easier for people to avoid advertising as this blog entry highlights: Has the internet made it easier to hide from adverts? Which in turn makes for a substantial argument in favour of search ads.

Search ads are delivered at a point when people are actually actively looking for something: a solution, product or service, compared to unwanted and irrelevant display ads they are bombarded with while browsing.

Search marketing results are usually predictable, can be targeted effectively and measured to calculate the ROI (Return on Investment). However, it is true that the search market becomes increasingly competitive and text ads such as Google AdWords only contribute to branding and awareness in a limited way.

In my view, display ads are not dead as part of an online marketing mix, and especially not on the Google AdWords content network or in an affiliate programme. But properly evaluate who else you are running your display campaigns with and whether search ads may not be a more (cost-)effective way of driving customers to your site.

Webinar by AdReady and ClickZ, Oct 2009

Filed under: Display/Banner Marketing, Hotel Online Marketing, Search Engine Marketing - SEM, , , , , , , , , , ,

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Corinna Witt : e-commerce, hotel internet marketing expert for hotels and the travel industry

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