Flight advertisers can now reach new customers more effectively using Facebook’s Flight Ads for prospecting solution. As Facebook is releasing it, we wanted to give you an overview, list best practices, and provide learnings from early customers.
Flight Ads for retargeting (previously called Dynamic Ads for Travel) have already been available for a while and travel advertisers have seen positive results from them. However, prospecting options haven’t been available for flights – until now. With the new Flight Ads for prospecting solution available via Smartly.io, travel marketers are now able to show flight ads on Facebook to potential customers based on travel intent shown outside their website or app. The solution also introduces other unique benefits that ensure more efficient ad spend.
How Does It Work?
Similar to Hotels Ads for prospecting (aka Dynamic Ads for Travel Broad Audiences), Flight Ads for prospecting is a great solution for travel marketers as the flights shown are customized based on the travel intent shown by individuals. This works even if the person hasn’t visited your site or app at all, or visited your site such a long time ago that the route information they looked at is no longer relevant. This ensures that once a person starts to show travel intent, your ads will be there to show them the right content at the right time.
To give a more concrete example, let’s say Jane is planning a vacation to Paris. She hasn’t visited your website or used your app, but has been engaging with content related to Paris on Facebook and done some searches on different websites. Based on these behaviors, Facebook will show Jane your catalog inventory for Paris.
What Are the Key Benefits?
- Leverage both catalog-based and static creatives
Flight Ads for prospecting offers creative flexibility by leveraging both catalog and static creative. Facebook will automatically select the most relevant creative from either the catalog or from the Universal Creative (static image) provided by the advertiser. This means that Facebook will promote the most relevant flight inventory to people who have shown intent to travel to specific destinations if the creative is available in the catalog, or show the default (static) creative when appropriate.
- Optimize content based on intent automatically
Flight Ads for prospecting allows advertisers to reach users with travel intent, even if those users have never engaged with your brand. This solution spans the flight booking funnel, so advertisers can reach both people who have not yet decided where they want to travel as well as people who have a specific destination in mind.
What Best Practices Should I Keep in Mind?
- Test multiple ad formats and templates
Currently, the solution supports using carousel and link ads. Remember to test with both ad formats and a few different designs to find what works best for you. Easy things to try are for example showing prices in creatives vs. not showing them and using overlays to make creatives more eye-catching. Creative versioning is easy to do at scale using Smartly.io’s Image Templates.
Example creative from CheapTickets.nl
Example creatives from Hopper
- Provide a Universal Creative with an attractive offering
When exactly match routes/destinations cannot be found in your catalog, the Universal Creative (static image) will be used instead. Therefore, it’s important for you to make the Universal Creative (static image) as attractive as possible, e.g. by including a promotional offer.
- Combine with retargeting to maximize results
For best results, you should use the prospecting solution in combination with Flights Ads for retargeting. This ensures once you increase the traffic from new potential customers to your site, you’ll reach them again based on what they search for and maximize conversions.
- Use large audiences & flight sets
As with the other Broad Audience solutions, it’s important to give Facebook a large enough target audience so the optimization algorithms work in the best possible way. Start by targeting based on country and demographics – you don’t necessarily need to narrow the audience further.
In addition to using large audiences, it’s also important to use large enough flight sets so the system can recommend the best options to people. You can prioritize routes as mentioned, but keep flight sets large for best possible recommendations.
- Start with lowest cost bidding
To maximize delivery and results, start the campaign with lowest cost bidding (without a bid cap). If your campaign is delivering well after a week, you can start testing with specific bid targets if the cost per conversion is above your target.
What Are the Results from Early Testers?
Hopper, a travel booking app, also tested Flight Ads for prospecting with Smartly.io and saw very promising results. Compared to earlier prospecting campaigns, CTR increased by 70% and Cost Per Booking dropped 23%.
CheapTickets.nl, an online travel company, previously used static prospecting campaigns and performance improved considerably when they adopted Flight Ads for prospecting:
"We have tested Flight Ads for prospecting and the results have been outstanding. We reached a more relevant audience and new users that are in the market for booking flight tickets. We were able to cut our Cost Per Search more than 50% vs. static prospecting campaigns, and have seen improvement throughout the funnel. We are now planning to make Dynamic Ads Prospecting for Flight as an always-on tactic in our Facebook and Instagram marketing."
– Helene Ledergerber, Senior Online Performance Marketeer, CheapTickets.nl