Our Marketing Blog

Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

AMP Agency Partners with Lotame to Achieve 455% Return on Ad Spend for a Travel Campaign

OBJECTIVE: As a full-service digital agency, AMP Agency is constantly developing custom audience segments for specific campaigns for its advertisers. Working for a premiere travel client, AMP’s goal was to target specific travel ads to consumers who were in-market for an upcoming trip to increase conversions. The client’s primary KPI was measuring Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), so AMP was focused on driving inbound leads and lowering the cost per acquisition. STRATEGY: To achieve the targeting and scale needed for a recent travel campaign, AMP began by building a “travel” audience of users who had exhibited interests in travel via data they had collected with Lotame’s DMP. Next, they partnered with ShareThis to enrich this behavioral data with ShareThis’s real-time social intent data, to understand the prime time of day and particular devices they should target for their ad campaigns. AMP also combined this data with paid search data inside Lotame’s DMP to expand the pool of high-value target customers. The travel audiences they built were then pushed out to multiple DSPs and other social targeting platforms such as Facebook. “This partnership directly proved the value of utilizing 2nd-party data within media campaigns. It allowed us to identify users who were in the research and planning phases of their travel, thereby being able to present them with offers that were timely and relevant. To enhance the 2nd-party data, we were able to use paid search data and incorporate those keywords to identify users, expanding the pool of high value target customers for our client and reaching them across multiple channels and devices.” Samantha Weinstein, Director of Programmatic Media, AMP Agency RESULTS: Combining these many sources of high-quality data allowed AMP to exceed their campaign goals by hitting travelers who were in the planning and research stage. AMP was able to achieve the following results: • 455% Return On Ad Spend (the client’s primary KPI, which they exceeded significantly) • 30% lead conversion rate (typically, lead conversion rate is about 23%) • ShareThis data, onboarded into Lotame’s DMP, was the highest performer across all prospecting data lines that were tested. Want similar results? Get in touch- info@ampagency.com ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ABOUT AMP AGENCY AMP Agency is a full-service integrated marketing agency with over 20 years of experience employing an “Insights Inspired, Results Driven” approach to conceive, develop and implement innovative marketing solutions which span all media channels and formats. With of ces in Boston, LA, Seattle, Austin and New York, we’re a 250+ team of intellectually curious individuals who are eager to solve your business challenges. Meet our team and see some of our innovative work at www.ampagency.com. ABOUT SHARETHIS ShareThis, the Sharing Intelligence Company, has been collecting and synthesizing social share data since 2007. ShareThis is the trusted pioneer of sharing data that spans the social platform walled gardens, transforming authentic human sharing behavior into actionable data outputs at scale for marketers and publishers. ABOUT LOTAME Lotame enables companies to use data to build stronger connections with their consumers. Lotame is proud to be the leading independent data management platform (DMP) and offer the most widely used, trusted and comprehensive data exchange in the industry. Committed to innovation, agility and – above all, customer success – the Lotame team aims to continuously nd new and meaningful ways to help its clients harness the power of data to fuel more relevant and personalized experiences across screens and devices, online and off. Lotame is headquartered in New York City, with resources around the world, including Sydney, London, Singapore, Mumbai and San Francisco. *written in partnership with Lotame Data Solutions and ShareThis

Travel Brand Opportunities

Across the evolving travel landscape, hospitality, airline, and booking brands are looking at a variety of opportunities to better activate their brand voices, use technology for competitive advantages and make investment decisions based on travelers' unmet needs. Our research had uncovered three significant areas of opportunity for travel brands: 1. Prioritize Social Strategy Social media represents the dominant force for inspiration in their new landscape. There is potential to create greater brand affinity and distinction by operating social channels differently. 2. Behave like a Simplifier The planning process is time-consuming and overwhelming, but travelers ultimately enjoy it. Booking engines have an opportunity to provide consumers with time-saving experiences and better management of multiple trip components. Niche providers are already effectively replacing data tables with simplified and conversational interfaces. 3. Balanced Tech and the Human Touch Even in a connected world, travelers have a strong desire to connect in person when they need help at their destinationHotelses, tourists attractions and excursions shouldn't be too quick to replace service personnel with digital kiosks, but should carefully consider the right moments for digital interactions. To learn more, download our newest Whitepaper, ‘Targeting Moments of Need in the new Travel Landscape’ – here.

Balancing Tech + Human Touch

While some travelers feel that vacations are time to disconnect from technology, or take a “digital detox,” most people don’t actually unplug. When we asked travelers about their wish list for their hotel stay, the majority of people said “free WiFi.” In fact, millennials will choose a hotel based on “Instagram-worthy” de?cor, pointing to their desire to be connected to social networks while vacationing. This need for connectivity also speaks to continued planning during a trip. Travelers frequently use navigation apps while traversing a new city, or apps like Yelp and OpenTable to figure out where to eat. The dependency of technology has removed spontaneity from travel - open-ended exploration has been replaced by people moving through destinations based on their popularity and share-worthiness. But research and anecdotal stories show that spontaneity is good for us. There is still nothing that quite compares to the thrill of discovering a gem by happenstance. However, travelers have conflicting feelings about spontaneity. We found that 47% of travelers said they wish they were more spontaneous, while 30% said they wish they were more of a planner. Most will accept a nudge to be more impulsive – as 73% of individuals said they would be willing or very willing to receive text messages about unplanned excursions, dinners and other experiences while on vacation. So what kind of useful tips can brands provide travelers? Well, family-friendly activities to start. But surprisingly, travelers ranked food experiences as their second most memorable moments. When it comes to communicating with travelers at a destination, the best medium depends on context. Our research revealed that 84% of travelers are open to receiving text messages from hotels with check out time, WiFi usernames and passwords, menu specials, etc., while 67% are likely or very likely to use chat services or texting with airlines or hotels. For transactional conversations like these, a text, chat or emoji will suffice. However, a whopping 76% of surveyed individuals believe that human interaction throughout travel- provided services is important or very important. While the majority of individuals (55%) have used a concierge when at their destination, the remaining 45% who did not felt they didn’t need one or that they could find the information they needed on the internet. Of those who have used a concierge, most prefer to have conversations in-person, not digitally. When we spoke to travelers, many of them reflected positively on the times they had one-on-one conversations with their Airbnb host and received local – not touristy – recommendations. It’s important for travel brands to understand when they can interject during a trip, when to emphasize in- person conversations, and when a text will be more well- received. Key Takeaways: Travelers welcome useful suggestions fro brand that prompt them to be more spontaneous. For transactional communication, digital will suffice. However, for personalized concierge servies, most travlers perfer in-person. To learn more, download our newest Whitepaper, ‘Targeting Moments of Need in the new Travel Landscape’ – here.

A New Type of Travel Agency: AI Meets Human Expertise

Over the last two decades, OTAs and direct-supplier ticketing websites have revolutionized the industry and forced many brick-and-mortar travel agencies to reinvent themselves, find their niche, or close their doors altogether. Many of the travel agencies that remain standing serve a wealthy clientele. When Travel + Leisure wrote about the importance of travel agents in May 2015, they cited trips like a 32-person, two week, six city trip across India as an example that highlights a travel agent’s indispensability.2 While one may appreciate the services provided to make this trip possible, it is not a relatable scenario to most travelers. Yet, according to IBIS World, the travel agency industry is growing once again and showing signs of a broad turn to experts to help plan travel.3 We see four trends that will increase demand for travel agents in the near future: OTAs that serve endless choices, not solutions The possibility for better, more personalized recommendations powered by big data and artificial intelligence (AI) A new generation of travelers who have come of age on mobile devices The ongoing premium placed on 'authenticity' When it comes to booking, our study showed 79% of individuals want customization and ease. The majority (56%) of those surveyed have used a travel agent in the past, citing deals, time savings, and expert advice as the best reasons to use a travel agent. Of those who had not used an agent, 30% didn’t do so because they enjoyed the planning process and 25% found it to be too expensive. Another 21% said, “I trust myself more.” Importantly, frequent travelers value an agent’s expertise and ability to save time, whereas infrequent ones value an agent’s ability to save money and stress. While 85% of individuals are willing to have another party help plan their trip, agencies need to help consumers understand more clearly how they offer personalization that demonstrates desirable ROI. Traditional travel agents should also be warned of new services like Lola, which fuse a chat interface, AI and human expertise to generate trips. Lola offers a glimpse at the future of travel agencies – personal, immediate and delivered through a chat interface. The brand deliberately avoids the data tables that plague almost all other booking experiences. It is the only travel experience we know of that is built for an audience who has come of age conversing through mobile intermediaries. Key Takeaways: A combination of AI and human expertise is about to disrupt the travel agency industry. Travelers are receptive to planning assistance for an agent provided there is demonstrable ROI (time saved, money saved, expertise, or personalization). To learn more, download our newest Whitepaper, ‘Targeting Moments of Need in the new Travel Landscape’ – here.

Hey Travel Brands, Here's How to Stand Out in the Planning Phase

Anticipation and Information Overload Consumers are spending more time planning and researching their vacations, and they’re using multiple devices to do so. Online research typically starts 45 days before booking, with most individuals devoting 2-3 hours to research. Our study showed that 16% claim to spend 6 or more hours planning. While travelers still rely primarily on their laptops, millennials are increasingly using their smartphones to conduct research. The number of websites visited by travelers while planning a trip is on the rise. Hotel websites and apps are the most frequently used, followed by airline websites and apps. Our survey showed that 38% of respondents claim to spend at least one-hour reading travel reviews, while another 30% spends two hours. Still, most of travelers’ time planning is spent looking for the best deal - especially when it comes to flights and hotels. Consumers will check multiple sites on multiple days to ensure they are getting the best price, yet even then fear they are overspending. However, with so much information available, travelers feel confident in planning their own itinerary, with 78% claiming to enjoy the research and planning process. Despite the depth of research, many consumers still suffer from FOMO - fear of missing out - if they skip a particular activity, restaurant, or attraction at their destination. In fact, even though they profess to enjoy the process, 72% of individuals said they feel overwhelmed or sometimes feel overwhelmed when planning a trip. Once travelers arrive at their destination, many continue their research process. However, at the end of the day, most individuals (79%) said they felt they had spent the right amount of time planning their trip once they’ve arrived. While consumers overall seem relatively happy with the planning process, there is ample opportunity for travel brands to better serve them. We found that 39% of travelers felt personalized recommendations would make trip-planning more enjoyable, while another 31% stated they would want recommendations that come from a real person (i.e., not automated). The most frequently requested service for which travelers turn to booking engines is the ability to book multiple travel elements (flight, lodging, excursions), followed by the ability to see all of their itinerary details in one place. Very few existing booking experiences perform either of these tasks well. Existing online travel agents (OTAs) face threats by new services that can better aggregate and bundle multiple trip components – services that behave like a simplifier, not just an aggregator of data. Meanwhile, brands are also atomized in this planning process. They live as micro-moments across myriad devices and touchpoints. Brands that uphold strong and consistent behavioral guidelines will have an easier time building meaning across so many small interactions. Key Takeaways: Hotels and airlines should invest in their websites and apps as they are the most used resources for travelers during the planning phase. Start acting as a simplifier to meet the needs of travelers who are overwhelmed when planning a trip. To learn more, download our newest Whitepaper, ‘Targeting Moments of Need in the new Travel Landscape’ – here.

How to Improve Your Look-To-Book Ratio: Converting Selfies Into Sales

Advocacy + Inspiration in the New Travel Landscape When tourists aim to compose the perfect vacation selfie, they’re creating more than just travel envy – they’re creating copycats. Our research revealed that 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are likely or very likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s vacation photos or social media updates. And, while traditional word-of-mouth is still the most prominent source of travel inspiration, Facebook follows a close second, especially among millennials. In fact, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube each beat out traditional sources of travel inspiration like TV, movies, and magazines. Travel destination brands should consider ways to make their experiences “share-worthy” – incorporating wit, unique visuals, and selfie opportunities, as well as rewarding brand engagement. "84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s vacation photos or social media updates." 1 Corporate America Under Pressure From Consumers' Rising Expectations, Lithium, June 2015. We found that 59% of individuals and almost 70% of millennials follow travel brands on social media. Uber and Airbnb, both of which are categorically closer to tech, are the most-mentioned brands that travelers follow. Although each has struggled with corporate optics, they both stand out for their ability to use shared media to their competitive advantage. While Uber is promotion and stunt-driven, Airbnb uses social tools to highlight destinations that are purposely unlike any hotel. Each has its own clearly defined voice and deliberately ignores its category’s previously defined “swim lane.” Both offer lessons about the possibilities to inspire consumers by earning engagement with a larger audience in ways that traditional travel brands have not. Key Takeaways: Since advocacy is the biggest driver of inspiration for travelers, align advertising strategy accordingly. Use a unique brand voice and be aware that the standards for engagement are being set by technology brands. To learn more, download our newest Whitepaper, 'Targeting Moments of Need in the new Travel Landscape' - here.

Presidential Election Causes Search Interest Drop in Real Estate and Travel

This year’s presidential election grabbed the attention of the country at historic levels. According to Nielsen, over 71 million people watched the results during prime time on Tuesday, and it was the most-watched night of programming in the history of both CNN and Fox News. During this historic event, search queries for real estate and travel plummeted, while queries related to the economy spiked. Searches for “mortgage rates,” “interest rates,” “stock market crash,” and even “how to move to Canada” dominated the web as the election unfolded. So why is interest in real estate and travel suffering so much during this election? Here’s our theory: significant changes in leadership often cause uncertainty. A new president may mean new economic policies and any number of unknown measures to come. Anxiety for the future of the US economy has caused people to temporarily pause their pursuit of travel and real estate. The good news is that search interest has already begun to recover over the days since the election, and will hopefully soon be back to pre-election volumes. Our team will be watching these trends closely and reporting on the behaviors of a more cautious search audience in the days and weeks to come.

Understanding the Price-Oriented Shopper on Pinterest

How Understanding the Price-Oriented Shopper on Pinterest can Humanize Your Brand Pinterest, a visual discovery tool to find ideas for projects and interests, is one such opportunity for brand-consumer engagement and understanding. By fully utilizing a social medium that is literally dedicated to creativity and personal voice, brands will be able to connect with current millennial users on a personal level and attract potential consumers. The Target Audience Many millennial Pinterest users consider themselves DIYers, meaning they enjoy 'Do-It-Yourself' projects. This is a target audience in itself. These folks are crafty, creative, thoughtful, and mindful of expense. They aren't trying to look 'cheap' in any way; they just enjoy the process and sentimental value of adding personal touch. They put in a little bit of extra work in order to achieve the best possible outcome, creating a memento that derives personality as well as the pride of a job well done. Millennial DIY users will gain confidence in a brand through Pinterest engagement, thus partaking in conversations and amplifying product sales as well as overall awareness. Pinterest users spend on average 89 minutes at a time on the site, compared to the 21 minutes on Twitter and 8 minutes on Facebook (IDG Research). By targeting this millennial DIY audience via Pinterest, creative ideas will not only be shared and discovered, but brand engagement and activation will be boosted significantly. How to Successfully Target Using Pinterest Millennial users want to engage with brands that are fun, personable, and up to date with current trends, not stiff and seemingly inhuman or behind on the times. A humanized page layout and voice will allow consumers to interact with a brand as if it were a friend. The projects these DIYers take on are individualized and original. This bargain aspect is where travel brands can utilize Pinterest in order to target the DIY demographic. DIYers aren't always looking for a bargain, but the best possible personalized choice never hurts. Brands can take advantage of this concept by removing the 'shame' in searching for the best bargain. Adding DIY projects to the brand's Pinterest board will allow millennial consumers (both current and potential) to see that the brand recognizes and engages in similar activities and holds similar interests. Promoting individuality through creative projects and ideas enables millennials to see that the brand has a personal voice and isn't afraid to show it. The humanization of a brand lets users see that they can relate to the brand on a personal level, which produces a higher likelihood of purchase as well as an overall increase in brand awareness. Being conscious of and improving brand health is immensely important; just as a person is conscious of healthy choices and maintenance, a brand needs to be aware of its surroundings while prioritizing its wellbeing. Millennials come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak; so targeting individuals through creative and personalized means allows millennials to see that a brand can be human, too. Integrating a personalized feel into the marketing and execution of vacation packages could attract DIY attention. Instead of buying travel packages, DIY consumers might prefer to mix and match the flights, hotels, and activities of their trip. DIYers look to discover the 'best' of everything: the best airline paired with the best accommodations. This trip personalization could allow consumers to mix and match flights, hotels, and transportation, or even give consumers the ability to pose a price to the seller to take into consideration in order to create this personalized trip. DIYers want to see originality and creativity in the way a brand functions and sees itself, similar to how DIY millennials see their own personal projects. A hotel stay can be bought easily at full price, or can be a more personalized and boutique-feel experience by putting in a tad bit more effort for the best possible outcome. Connecting with millennial consumers on the personal and creative level adds an air of confidence to the brand itself, but also to the consumer when deciding whether or not to choose the hotel. Humanizing a brand allows millennials to see a professional brand in a new light. Users will not only see themselves in the brand, but will also see a relatable and personable friend within the brand, with whom they can connect, interact, and share experiences. Pinterest gives brands the unusual opportunity to not only focus solely on marketing and branding, but to have a little fun and get creative with their audiences. Adding this originality to a brand's style and voice will attract the plethora of creative millennial users who admire individuality and take pride in being original. Taking risks in marketing can be challenging, but engaging an audience that prides themselves on originality and being different can be beneficial. By targeting this creative and mindful millennial demographic on Pinterest, users will engage with the brand through continued awareness and stylized engagement. Revisit our site next week to understand how millennial Twitter users utilize the medium to post opinions and reviews.

Understanding Your Shopper on Social Media Outlets

How Understanding Your Shopper on Creative Social Media Outlets can Humanize Your Brand Millennial travelers are the target opportunity in the travel industry. Making up 27% of the US population and 25% of the labor force, millennials will account for half of the US labor force by 2020 (Skift). By 2030 they are predicted to outspend baby boomers. But where is all that spending power going? As work experience is gained and a steady income acquired, millennials will put that spending power behind their restless passions of wanderlust. Why Is This Important? Social media outlets serve as some of the most utilized mediums through which travel brands are able to connect with the millennial demographic. According to AdWeek, millennials spend on average 18 hours a day with media, with 71% checking social media at least once a day. Excelling in social media communication can be a difficult feat because of the disconnect between buyer and seller, therefore making the understanding of an audience a high priority. By using social media outlets to humanize a brand, understanding habits and connecting successfully with millennials will become simple and familiar through these personalized interactions. As users become more familiar with the brand's voice and creative presence, a sense of trust will be gained between brand and consumer as marketing goals are achieved. Mediums Brands Should Focus On There are a myriad of social media sites utilized by millennial travelers around the digital world. Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram are three mediums utilized by millennial consumers of all sorts, traveler or otherwise. While specifically targeting travelers will directly affect current consumers, attracting a wider range of users across these social mediums boosts awareness and credibility. Expanding a brand's consumer demographic is important for awareness, but attempting to successfully target every millennial is impossible. By catering to a specific demographic, new followers can be gained, consisting of the specific millennial demographic as well as other interested millennials. Having the ability to reach all millennial audiences, while targeting a single millennial demographic, can be effective and conducive to a brand's social strategy. Demographics are tough to target. Millennials are even tougher. By focusing on an identified persona within a specified social medium instead of an entire widespread demographic, branding can become creatively diverse in a personalized and original way. Here are a few examples of social mediums through which brands should become familiar with their specified audiences: Pinterest, with followers who enjoy DIY projects, allows brands to engage with consumers on creative and conscious projects and ideas. Twitter allows brands and millennials to directly interact, enabling amplified activation and brand voice while gaining insight into consumer opinions and trends. Instagram gives brands the opportunity to visualize consumer mentalities and inspirations, opening an interesting window to reminisce and engage in a creative way. So What?? Utilizing these social media sites in order to individualize a brand's style and voice will help brands understand consumer habits and engage with their target demographics. This understanding of both the target and general millennial audience will then guide the brand strategy. Check-in next week on how understanding the rationale of the price-oriented millennial shopper on Pinterest can help humanize your branding. Learn more about our social media marketing service.

A "Mission Critical" Holiday Gift

Travel - trav·el, [ trav-uhl]; verb, -eled, -eling 1. To move or go from one place or point to another. Over the last four weeks my travel schedule has been as follows: Boston - Ireland - Boston - New York City - Boston - Puerto Rico - Boston - St. Louis - Boston - St. Louis - Boston - Chicago - Boston Give or take, that amounts to about 35 airborne hours over the past month. Now, depending on who you ask, this could sound like a nightmare, but to some (myself included) its not so bad. Those of us in the latter group don't mind traveling, and some even enjoy it whether its a business trip or pleasure. One of the main reasons my outlook has remained this way I owe to my Dad. During the holidays four years back he bestowed upon me truly one of the best gifts i have ever received to this day - Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. If you are not familiar, noise-canceling headphones reduce unwanted ambient sounds which make it possible to enjoy music without raising the volume excessively or even sleep in a noisy atmosphere. Bose, an audio industry leader, arguably makes the best noise cancelling headphones on the market. Dr. Amar Bose (founder of the Bose Corporation) began work on his noise-cancelling headphonesin 1978 on board a noisy international flight. During the flight, he was provided with a set of headphones from the airline and almost immediately realized how dissatisfied he was with their quality. His realization gave him an idea about how it might be possible to achieve active noise reduction in headphones ' and he sketched out the math for the technology right there on the plane. After nearly a decade of research, Bose released their first noise-canceling headphones under very special circumstances... In 1986, plans were being made for history's first non-stop round-the-world flight. But the pilots were at risk of losing 30% of their hearing. When Bose engineers learned this, they submitted a noise-reduction headset prototype for consideration. This headset was evaluated and deemed "mission critical" for the pilots' safety. The test was a success ' the pilots did not lose any of their hearing. Thanks to Dr. Bose I can easily survive 35 hour of flying without listening to the loud talker in row 5, the woman on her cell phone at the end of my row, or the crying 9 month old baby in the row in front of me - all i hear is what I want to hear. Sometime that's music, sometimes its silence. But the fact that i can make that choice is why i deem these headphone "mission critical" for everyone, not just pilots. So with the Holidays right around the corner, consider gifting these to the traveler in your life just like my Dad did - if they are anything like me, they will be forever grateful...even if they are going to St. Louis on business.

  • 3 min read
  • November 23, 2010

    Related Posts