How Travel Companies Can Double the Effectiveness of their Online Advertising

Research released this month by Eyeblaster based on a global study of online airline advertising makes interesting reading for all travel companies as it tackles not only what types of ads are most effective but which environments those ads are most likely to work harder in.The ‘easy win’ comes creatively – replacing standard banner ads with rich media (i.e. interactive ads) increases the click thru rate 2.7 times and doubles conversion rates. Rich media is not only more likely to attract people’s attention on websites, its interactive and often dynamic nature also promotes increased recall and relevancy.In addition, synched ads – two or more ads on the same page with a synchronized creative – were observed to increased Dwell Rate (the proportion of users that interact with an ad in some way) by 54%.Conversion Rate on Online Airline Ads by PlacementBut it’s in terms of ad placement strategies that Eyeblaster’s research is the most revealing. By analysing not only ‘post click’ conversions (i.e. conversion that result from a click thru from an ad) but ‘post impression’ conversions (i.e. conversions after viewing an ad but not as a result of clicking on the ad) they’ve found that the most effective sites to advertise direct response campaigns are news and finance sites. Travel sites produce a high ‘post impression’ conversion but a poor ‘post click’ conversion, particularly compared to news sites.For campaigns where branding is the primary aim, news, finance and lifestyle sites performed best on the metrics of Dwell Rate and Average Dwell Time. Finance sites in particular were mentioned as being particularly fertile ground for brands targeting upmarket customers. Travel sites performed well for Dwell Rate but poorly for Average Dwell Time.To date, it has made sense for travel advertisers to advertise in travel ‘spaces’ online as user interest is aligned with ad content. What these figures suggest is that the ‘competition’ in these spaces mean that users are less likely to click on their ads immediately and likely to engage with them for a shorter time. Hence, advertisers need to make more effort to stand out from the crowd by using rich media, dynamic content, synching and simple increased frequency (Eyeblaster found 4 impressions was the optimum).But the research also suggests other perhaps new and less competitive environments, such as news, finance and lifestyle, to drive more prospects into the conversion funnel.

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