Miikka Holkeri

Dynamic Ads for Travel – Facebook’s New Solution for Hyper Relevant Travel Offers

By Miikka Holkeri on May 10, 2016

For a year now, advertisers have been able to achieve unparalleled performance with Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Products, the retargeting solution built especially for eCommerce. To better serve the specific needs of the travel industry, Facebook is launching a new product – Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT). We are thrilled to be offering DAT for Facebook and Instagram through Smartly.io right from the launch.

With Dynamic Ads for Travel, advertisers will be able to list their hotels with dynamic availability and pricing information, and advertise them intelligently to users based on their behavior, improving campaign performance in three ways:

  1. Better user experience, increasing the probability a person completes her action after clicking an ad.
  2. Intelligent recommendations, ensuring the ads users see are more relevant.
  3. Versatile targeting options, enabling advertisers to build the most suitable campaign for each business and use appropriate bids and budgets based on user value.

Better user experience with up-to-date prices and deep linking

Prices in the travel industry are calculated dynamically based on such factors as dates, availability, demand, promotions and packages. This results in huge price lists that change very frequently. To avoid disappointing customers by showing misleading prices, advertisers have had to resort to “starting from” prices or leaving them completely out from the ads. Dynamic Ads for Travel solves this problem by giving advertisers a way to constantly synchronize their price data with Facebook.

Another major improvement to user experience is enhanced deep linking. If you’ve ever clicked a great travel offer in an ad, only to be brought to the site’s home page, you know that the experience can kill your interest in the offer. With DAT, advertisers can define a schema to build links directing to search and content pages with the destination, dates and other parameters pre-filled specifically for the user.

Intelligent recommendations based on travel plans

The great performance of Dynamic Product Ads is based on retargeting users with products they’ve already seen, making the ads more relevant to them. Taking this focus on relevance a step further, Facebook has also implemented an intelligent algorithm that also recommends products based on user behavior, user demographics and product popularity.

Recommending travel offers is different from recommending products. The purchase decision for a trip usually consists of many linked components such as hotels, flights, activities and car rentals. Adding the destination and dates to the equation results in a vast number of permutations, each priced differently. To make it possible for Dynamic Ads for Travel to recommend the right offers to the right person at the right time, the advertisers supply Facebook with data of each user’s travel plans based on details provided while searching and browsing travel offers. Using this data, Facebook will recommend specific properties viewed by the user as well as nearby similar hotels, capturing the price and availability for the specific travel dates and destination of the user.

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Plenty of control over retargeting rules

As with Dynamic Ads for Products, retargeting audiences in Dynamic Ads for Travel are defined with event-based inclusion and exclusion rules: whether a person has searched, viewed, initiated checkout or purchased a hotel or a flight. The rules can be further enriched with the following parameters:

  • Booking window – i.e. time before planned check-in date
  • Length of stay
  • Number of times a destination has been searched or viewed
  • Number of travelers
  • Whether the user is traveling with kids or not

There are various ways to leverage these events and parameters. Here are a few examples:

  1. Use the appropriate bid and budget for each segment based on its value. For example, a higher bid can be used for users who are planning to travel within the next seven days.
  2. Promote offers from other categories (also known as cross-selling). For example, when a person has bought flights to a destination, she can be retargeted with offers from top hotels there.
  3. Exclude some users from the audience completely. For example, exclude people whose planned travel dates have already passed.
  4. Customize the message shown to each segment. For example, highlight kid-friendliness for those who are planning to travel with children.

Why work with a Facebook Marketing Partner to get started with DAT?

DAT is one of Facebook’s most advanced features. Prices and availabilities need to be updated frequently and at scale, meaning advertisers will need push changes to Facebook in real time according to a set of specifications. This requires technical configuration advertisers will have to either build themselves or they can collaborate with a Facebook Marketing Partner such as Smartly.io.

Adapting to the specifications can be a burden to advertisers who’d like to move fast and stay up-to-pace with all the latest features. Luckily, many online travel advertisers are already using Google Hotel Ads or have an existing API that contains the information DAT requires. Smartly.io can readily utilize these interfaces and convert the data to Facebook’s format so that little or no additional configuration is required from the advertiser. Smartly.io’s highly technical account managers and responsive 24/5 real-time support will speed up the implementation process and help setting up the best possible campaigns.

Naturally, as a Smartly.io customer, you’ll get access to many value-adding features. You can create millions of high-quality images for your hotels with Dynamic Image Templates and use Predictive Budget Allocation to maximize your campaign performance by finding the optimal budgets for your ad sets automatically.

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