Learn how to implement a strategic pay-per-click (PPC) campaign that minimizes costs and maximizes ROI.
There is a plethora of digital channels where travel shoppers can find properties—from social media, to reviews, to OTAs, to natural search. One that should never be overlooked, and one that properties can customize to their needs and budgets, is PPC. And PPC is offered beyond search engines like Google and Bing. You’ll find PPC ads on online travel agencies like Expedia and social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. In this article though, we’ll focus on the channel with the most traffic – Google.
Pros to having a PPC campaign:
- Stronger, higher search engine presence—a new website can appear “above the fold” in search results on day one
- More control over which search results you appear in
- Control and customization of your message in search results
- Increased traffic to your site
- Increased direct online bookings and revenue
- Ability to measure the effectiveness of your ad and continuously improve it
In July, McKinsey & Company and Google cited a 7:1 ROI as the norm for search marketing-based investments—primarily PPC and search engine optimization (SEO). In addition, NOT appearing in search results gives your competition the opportunity for more exposure. Here’s a quick breakdown of just how much a hotel can benefit from PPC, when not accompanied by and accompanied by a natural search result:
|Taken from Google||PPC ad, no natural||PPC ad and natural|
|Competition’s Mind Share Lost||63%||75%|
Another study by Google measured the effects of pausing a paid search ad, finding that 89% of paid search traffic to an advertiser’s site is lost and not recovered by organic clicks when an ad is paused. So if you’re debating whether or not to begin a PPC campaign, or already have one that you’ve paused, the verdict is in: PPC gives you an edge, and is more than worth the investment.
Now that we’ve reviewed why PPC is so vital to hotels, let’s delve into how to make it produce…
Maximizing the Effectiveness of your PPC Campaign to Improve ROI
So how can you make PPC drive traffic and revenue? With either an in-house PPC analyst or a professional hotel Internet marketing company to handle your paid search needs, there are a myriad of things that can be done to maximize the effectiveness of your campaign and still operate within any budget. Here are a few items that can be tweaked to improve PPC:
Improve Your Quality Score
Quality Score is a keyword rating system that Google AdWords uses to determine keyword relevance. The higher your Quality Score, the lower your cost-per-click, and the higher your ad ranks.
Google doesn’t reveal all of the factors it considers to determine your Quality Score, but there are a few things a seasoned PPC analyst can control in order to improve it:
- Selection of optimal keywords
- Relevance of ad copy
- Relevance of landing page
Improve Clickthrough Rate
Your clickthrough rate is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (called impressions). Analysts can improve your clickthrough rate by targeting the most relevant travel shoppers, and by keyword selection or exclusion (called using “negative keywords”).
Ensure Consistent Presence
An effective PPC ad needs to have a consistent presence in search results. For instance, if you allot $50 a day for an ad, and your ad is clicked on enough times in the morning to use up the entire $50, travel shoppers will see only your competitors’ ads for the rest of that day.
Savvy PPC analysts can ensure that your ad is being shown as much as possible in only the most relevant search queries. This improves what is referred to as your Impression Share, which is simply your market share of the search results. The more Impression Share you attain, the less your competitors have.
Optimize Bidding Strategy
Top positions equal top dollars, but if you’re looking to control costs, one strategy is to sacrifice the top PPC position in the search results for one of the top five PPC positions (any position in the top five keeps your ad above the first page fold). This can be accomplished by slightly lowering your bids on keywords. With a lower cost-per-click, you can afford more clicks per day, and still appear in a prime area.
With any budget, hoteliers can increase brand exposure and get a leg up on the competition with a strategic, properly managed PPC campaign. In addition, PPC effectively supplements SEO, giving your property larger overall real estate in search results pages, which further boosts your brand and eliminates space for your competitors. Whether you use an in-house PPC analyst or a hotel Internet marketing firm, now is the time to utilize the expertise of a professional to lift your brand, drive traffic to your site, and ultimately, increase bookings.