Retargeting for Hotels (Part #2): Bye-Bye OTAs.
As you know, retargeting means of marketing to people who have already interacted with us, meaning they have already visited our website or have interacted with our Facebook page or Instagram page.
To do so, technically speaking Facebook needs a so-called Facebook pixel, which is nothing but a piece of code that needs to be installed in your website and booking engine.
With this pixel now Facebook is capable of recognizing and tracking those who visited your website, but not only that, how much time did they spend on a website, which pages did they visit it exactly, and so on and so forth.
So far be it from me to get into the technical aspects re how to install the Facebook pixel.
Eventually you can ask your webmaster to do so. It’s a one-off thing and therefore it shouldn’t require much of your time, nor resources.
Otherwise, if you want to do it by yourself, I would place a couple of links under this video, so that you can learn how to do it by yourself.
As a matter of fact, it’d be kind of useless for me to simply repeat what many other people and marketers have already said and you can freely have access to.
The real focus of this video is to show you the endless and terrific possibilities that you can play around with, in order to target in the most specific way, based on how people interacted with your webite.
If you remember last time I told you that not all webiste visitors are the same.
As a matter of fact, you might have user A who visits your website only once for 10 seconds and then bounce, and user B who maybe visited your webiste three times and spent an average of five minutes.
Even though user A user B didn’t make any bookings, the way they interacted with your site is totally different.
And today I’m gonna show you how we can create this custom audience meaning including user A for example and all those users will behave as similarly to him in one pool, and user B and all those users who behaved similarly to him in another pool.
This is the Facebook business manager.
I’m not gonna talk about how to set this one up, but this is essentially the extranet of Facebook advertisers.
In here, you can see of course a lot of menu options, but the one that we are looking at today is under Assets and then Audiences.
I am already here and the goal is now to create a Custom Audience. So, let’s select Create Audience >> Custom Audience.
Now, we are talking about people who interacted with our webiste and therefore were going to select Webiste as the source our Custom Audience will be based upon.
As you can see this is very simple, very self-explanatory, there’s nothing technical. It’s simply strategical and logical.
Let’s create an audience that includes all webiste visitors and simply excludes that those visitors who already make a booking.
And this is extremely easy, because Facebook already already provides us with the options of all webiste visitors as the first option.
We can eventually change it the time span. By default, it’s set to 30 days, but we can change it to 7 days, 10 days… that really depends on the volumes that you have.
As said though, now we want to exclude those visitors who have already made a reservation.
So, we select Exclude People, and rather than All Website Visitors, I’m going to select Purchase, in the past 30 days.
Simple as that. The very last thing that we need to do in order to create the custom audience is to give it a name. In my case, I just name it All Visitors | Exclude Bookings.
Like I said before, this is very generic custom audience, because it includes All Website Visitors, but we are not differentiating between those who actually made or didn’t make a booking search.
We can select Include More People, and first of all we need to change the value from ANY to ALL, in the dropdown menu on top of the window.
By doing so, the conjunction OR becomes AND, meaning that all the conditions we are creating need to be matched.
As a matter of fact, in this Custom Audience we want to include all those visitors who visited the website AND all those who also made a booking search.
Same as before, we are now going to rename our Custom Audience, in this case I give it the name All Searches | Exclude Bookings.
Pretty cool, uh?
But this is just the beginning, as we could go way further.
I’m going to show you the one example I’ve already mentioned in my previous post.
Let’s say, in fact, that you want to push more sales and direct bookings, by giving an advantage, like an additional 7% discount to those users searching for 3 or more nights.
Make sense, right? The greater the number of nights searched, the more appealing that user is, if will turn into customer.
A 3-night reservation through the OTAs may be quite expensive, in terms of commissions, right?
On the flip side, you do not want to make this discount publicly visible, because you might need to make it available through all the OTAs, making your distribution costs skyrocket.
Therefore, we would want to keep this discount as a sort of opaque bidding.
So, how do we do that?
We can create an ad that targets to those visitors who specifically made a search for at least 3 nights.
And this is how we do it.
Having already included those who made a search, in our Custom Audience, you can now click on Refine by >> URL/Parameter.
By doing so, an extra line becomes visible, in which the first dropdown menu asks us to select either the URL or Parameter that we want to include in our filter.
Some of these parameters are self-explanatory, for example check-in date, city, country, number of adults, children etc.
However, with a bit of customization in the setup of the Facebook Pixel, I have now the possibility to choose from a variety of custom parameters.
Being custom parameters, the value in each of them, is anything I want to feed them with.
In my example, custom_param2 is the one that stores the number of nights shopped in each and every booking tentative.
So now, creating my custom audience becomes a piece of cake.
You see, this is just an example, but you can do sooo many great things and be so much detailed, that possibilities are endless.
Again, this is one of the best ways to use opaque biddings and drive more direct bookings by showing certain deals only to certain users who previous interacted in a specific way with your website and booking engine.
In the next post, I’m going to show you the next step: creating the ad, in which the CTA (call-to-action), meaning the Book Now button included in the Ad, will point users to the booking engine, including the discount we are offering.