PREPARING FOR TAKEOFF
Travel consistently ranks among the most competitive industries when it comes to digital marketing, right behind financial services, legal services, and other digital marketing heavyweights. As a result, in order for Flights Services—a relatively smaller, newer entrant in the space—to remain competitive with industry powerhouses, a thoughtful strategy was critical.
Facing sky-high cost-per-click bids driven up by established, multinational competitors with deep pockets, guerilla marketing tactics would be necessary to level the playing field and allow Flights Services to compete with its comparatively limited resources.
Already familiar with the brutally competitive nature of their industry, Flights Services knew that they would need to focus on results-driven marketing channels in order to keep their advertising efforts in the black.
However, this was easier said than done—the cutthroat levels of competition seen in the travel industry meant that new customer acquisition costs were extremely high, and that Flights Services would need to focus on both sides of the ROI equation in order to guarantee profitability.
As a result, the campaign sought to not only leverage the most cost-effective channels possible—minimizing expenses—but also aimed to drive as many leads as possible to the Flights Services call center.
Using a pay-per-call affiliate model, our team designed a campaign that prioritized generation of inbound leads to call center agents over online bookings. This approach gave Flights Services the opportunity to upsell add-ons and upgrades, extracting as much revenue as possible from each customer—and maximizing campaign ROI.
ON A BUDGET
As a global travel agency, Flights Services aims to reach a large target market comprised of adventure-seeking leisure travelers, business-focused road warriors, and everything in between. However—the company’s broad addressable market notwithstanding—the high cost-per-click bids found in the travel industry meant that rolling the dice on an equally broad paid search audience would be a surefire recipe for disaster.
Instead, the constraints imposed by the industry’s intense competition called for precisely curated audience segments; these would ensure that advertisements were served only to the most qualified leads available, leading to higher conversion rates on advertisements and superior returns on ad spend.
Utilizing search retargeting and in-market audiences, our paid search experts created a campaign that placed a premium on users who had either previously visited the Flights Services website, or whose browsing behavior indicated that they were likely to be actively seeking travel deals. These techniques yielded a 37% quarter-over-quarter decrease in CPA
Long-tail keywords afford advertisers the opportunity to reach beyond the low-hanging fruit of their respective industries, inexpensively growing the reach of a given campaign. Unlike common keywords that are reliant on heavy search volume—and are typically over-bid as a result of their popularity—a long-tail approach aims to compensate for the low search volume of its individual constituent keywords by encompassing a large variety of keywords. This is possible because the highly specific nature of long-tail search terms leads to countless possible variations.
For example, the keyword “cheap flights” commands millions of searches each month, and is highly competitive; even something more specific, such as “cheap flights to nyc” is bid on by countless advertisers, driving up CPC bids. However, long-tail keywords such as “things to do in new york city,” “visiting new york city,” and “what is there to do in nyc” are much less competitive, and their low individual search volumes are offset by the search volume of all possible variations in aggregate.
Long-tail keywords are an important aspect of any SEM strategy, but are more critical than ever for smaller players using guerilla-style tactics to face off against industry behemoths. Kobe Digital’s marketing experts employed this approach when designing the Flights Services campaign, utilizing over 62,000 keywords to help the company maintain strong visibility in searches while avoiding bidding wars with their large, deep-pocketed competitors. The result: a paid search campaign that delivered new customer acquisitions at a 14% lower cost than industry average.