Strategic Targeting with Paid Search Advertising
By Ryan Fitzgerald Co-Founder, Net Conversion | August 03, 2014
Search Engine Marketing or SEM is the process of gaining traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. Over the years, paid search has evolved beyond just paid advertisements based on keywords. Hoteliers can now be a lot more targeted, using behavioral data behind the regular keyword search to target customers. Given Google AdWords' dominance in the area and the proliferation of new marketing options including mobile, banner advertising, video and more, SEM can often include a variety of digital marketing elements.
Paid Search Advertising has evolved beyond the last click, bottom of the funnel sales driver. Today, paid search plays a role throughout all phases of the vacation planning process.
According to Skift report, Evolving Strategies in Travel Ad Tech and Bookings, "Overall, brand spending on data-driven ad technology is up, and key travel verticals are helping to continue that trend. Online travel agencies, airlines and hospitality are deeply invested in programmatic, and many brands within those sectors are spending a significant portion of their marketing budget on not only maintaining their positions [in search results], but also on pushing the instruments of predictive analytics in new directions (1)."
One of the most valuable aspects of search advertising is the ability to understand consumer intent. For hoteliers, consumers self-identify themselves and put themselves into certain segments in the digital space based on what they are searching. Paid search can be used to reach consumers in the "dream phase" with broader keywords while more specific content can be used once the traveler engages with the ads. Consumers self-identify themselves into segments by the words and phrases they use to search. For example, a user searching "luxury hotel deals Miami" is different than a user searching "family hotel deals Miami. While a single hotel can meet the needs of both these users, the single word difference in the queries helps paint a picture of different consumer mindsets and what type of vacation they're seeking. This gives a hotel the opportunity and challenge to connect the consumers' intent with the hotel's products and services in a more specific and relevant way.
By tailoring their marketing to the specific consumer, hoteliers will find that a properly managed paid search advertising campaign can represent the most efficient and effective of all marketing channels. Aside from the valuable consumer mindset based on what they are looking for at that moment, the key drivers of success in this channel are targeting, metrics and pay per click pricing.
Fueled by the volume and availability of Big Data (see our other article ); the amount of info available to marketers about consumers is as robust as it's ever been, and it keeps expanding. This data is at the core of what makes online adverting networks such as Google AdWords so valuable and successful.