[Guest post by Vaishali Sharma]
The Facebook Advertisingslogan states, ‘Find your customers before they search’.With all the rage going on about Facebook Advertising there is a surprising lack of use of this advertising medium amongst hoteliers.
Facebook states that it offers:
A dynamic environment where people exchange
information regularly and share their opinions on everything
from politics to pop culture — even your products.
In Facebook Quarter 4, 2016 earnings report, the company stated that, “More than 1.86 billion people use Facebook to connect with what matters to them on a monthly basis and 1.23 billion are active daily users.” Facebook has become the force in the social media space.
The numbers are impressive,with Facebook offering something that Google Adwords doesn’t. The numbers using Google far outweigh Facebook, but Adwords works on the principle that someone is already searching for what you offer. Facebook doesn’t rely on this, thus letting your advertising target a far wider audience. Remember that many sales are made at the last minute, with a large proportion of those being to customers who had no intention of buying that particular product.
What are Facebook ads?
Theseare ads that appear on the right hand side of Facebook pages. Ads can be created using the business’ own Facebook page and targeting users’ profiles and interests.
Ads are created by two choices to bid, cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
Based on Facebook’s algorithm, only three ads can be displayed depending on the performance of the ad and bid. Some advertisers run multiple ad sets at the same time of up to 30 days in advance with a start and end date or a rolling advert until the budget has been used up. Facebook’s impressive reporting system enables you to track the performance of your ads.
Why should Hoteliers use Facebook Ads?
The objective of Facebook advertising is to engage with your customers early and creating an interest in your brand or product.
It works incredibly well as a direct response-advertising platform. For Facebook ads to work, accurate targeting, copy message, design, testing and tracking are a must to running a successful Facebook ads campaign.
How can Hoteliers benefit of running a Facebook Ad campaign
Whether the goals are to increase brand awareness or generate more leads, here are some essential points that hoteliers need to know before launching a Facebook ad campaign.
1. Setting your campaign objectives
Before running a Facebook ad, it is important to outline the objective or goal of the campaign. Goals typically include from promoting your page (as in encouraging people to ‘like’ your page) to increasing conversions on your website or increasing reservations on your booking engine. Other goals could also include sending people to your website, getting people to claim your offer via a voucher, promoting your page or reaching people near your area of business are some of the options offered by Facebook.
2. Understanding your customers’ needs
Facebook amasses personal data from users profiles and interest and when running a Facebook ad campaign, it will be displayed to people that resemble the criteria of your ad specification. This is ideal for hoteliers with more than just rooms to sell.
For example, Hotels with spa facilities will run Facebook ad campaigns that targets audiences that are specifically looking for offer of such facilities and these will differ from an ad campaign that targets a business traveller with a need for a spacious room and an onsite restaurant.
3. Targeting your Audience
If you are considering running a Facebook ad campaign, a huge plus is the advantage in targeting niche groups and individuals interested in your hotel. According to a Nielsen OCR study, “compared to the average online reach of 38% for narrowly targeted campaigns, Facebook is 89% accurate.”
Create your ad set by specifyingthe target audience’s age, gender, (use guest history statistics for age and gender) geo-target, profession, relationships, languages, interests, demographics, life events, types of travellers, connections as well as friends of these connections for each ad campaign.
One of the interesting features of Facebook Ads is the ability to create a Custom Audience. There are categorised as
- Custom Audiences- people who have visited your website.
- Lookalike Audiences- new people who resemble the audiences that you are trying to target. In order to create a Lookalike Audience, you need to have one Custom Audience.
- Saved Audiences- saving the commonly used targeting options for future campaigns.
By incorporating the Facebook pixel which is a code you place on the website, you can run campaigns targeting customers who have visited a specific page of your website.
4. Messages must be targeted and relevant.
Once you have narrowed down your target audience, the next step is craft your ad message which is relevant to spark prospective customer’s interest. By delivering messages that resonate with your guests, you also pave the way to building a relationship with your guests.
5. Frequency of your Facebook Ad campaign
How often should Hoteliers run their Facebook Ad campaign? There are two options depending on the objective of your campaign. One -time campaign types are ideal for promoting events, room discounts or promotions. The consistent ad campaigns are ideal for leisure travel and for targeting business travellers by ensuring the brand is consistently in their line of sight when making the decision to book.
As with all Facebook ads, hotels need to clearly indicate their call to action by directing the customers to book directly on to the website.
6. Budget – How much should you spend?
You will need to set your budget as to how much you want to spend based on your objective of the ad campaign. Facebook will offer two options and that is daily budget or a lifetime budget.
Daily budget is when you run your ad set throughout the day. Facebook will manage the spending per day. The minimum daily budget starts as low as $1 and must be at least 2X the CPC. You can set the parameters to run your ad set even during specific hour or days of the week.
Lifetime budget is when an ad campaign runs for a specified time with Facebook monitoring your spend over the customised time period the campaign is meant to run for.
After targeting and filtering your audience, decide whether the bid should be based on the objective, clicks or impressions. This has impact on how the ad will be displayed and how much you will have to pay. Depending on the bid, the ad will be displayed to your target audience that has the higher propensity to book your hotel and Facebook will decide what the maximum bid will be.
Facebook will recommend an optimal bid but always opt for manual bidding instead. Opting for manual bidding allows you control over your spend for the actions that get completed. If however you opt for Facebook to optimise the bid, then reduce the budget and track the campaign closely daily.
The rule of thumb suggests starting with a small daily budget of $1to $5 per day and measuring the results to track the effectiveness of the ad campaign. Increase your budget when the ad performs well but always test, test and test.
7. Tracking results
Facebook Ads Manager enables you to analyse the data from your campaigns and obtain various metrics, such as:
- How many people have seen your ad?
- How many people have engaged with your ad?
- How much have you spent on your ad?
- What is your ad schedule?
Besides the metrics mentioned above, there are two other ways to track campaign results. One of them being Page Insights, a function of Facebook which tracks user’s activities such as likes, reach visits, page views, posts, videos and people. The second is an external valuation called is A/B testing.
Ultimately, the metric that counts the most is the number of room reservations received. Depending on its results, you can either modify the campaign to improve bookings, discard or start-afresh. You can also integrate with Google Analytics to enable you to track conversions on the website.
Whether you are a budget hotel or a 5 star, proof of whether Facebook Ads work for your hotel is to simply try it. It is a treasure-trove of data and a powerful marketing tool. The targeting set out in Facebook Ads is nothing short of remarkable. It provides the marketer to play and test with the various data configurations based on the goal of their campaign. Facebook ads work on the premise that it exposes the brand or product to people who might not have a need or heard about the product or brand. So when your potential customer who may not be consciously looking for a hotel stay, seeing one advertised when they did not expect it, itmight tempt them to book it.
Facebook Ads help to boost the brand, reach potential audience and have an indirect impact on sales. It provides an avenue to reach potential guests that you wouldn’t get through other marketing verticals.