Should airlines and their travel peers be investing more in social versus search?

Recently, I read a news about Facebook expands their dynamic ads for travel to airlines. Airlines such as Cathay Pacific airways have the post says explore more fan in Asia, Hong Kong etc.


Facebook is rolling out new Dynamic Ads for Travel on its platform as well as on its Instagram brand, “It’s fundamentally the same,” said Christine Warner, Facebook’s head of travel.

“The only thing that’s different is that we’re able to allow our partners to optimise against route and schedule, which is unique to flights versus hotel remarketing.” For either Facebook or Instagram. the process is the same for advertisers.

Warner noted that one of its pilot airline partners, Cathay Pacific, has seen reductions in cost per acquisition of 15 percent using Dynamic Ads for Travel, and has increased its booking volumes 16X.

The new dynamic ads for flights have taken complex nature of fluctuating airlines prices and flight availability into consideration.

For pricing, they did two ways.  The first is they can either capture through the pixels the price that was last searched by the individual to then remarket to them against that route schedule with that price. The other way that we allow our partners to do this is by them sharing a ‘price from’ and they can update that every 15 minutes and generally, it is a price from $99 for the next two days.


Given this early feedback, however, is there good enough reason yet for airlines and other travel brands to be looking more at Facebook and Instagram for their ad spend? That’s the bigger question at the heart of this new advertising push from Facebook, especially as it tries to take away market share from Google.

Although Google reaps the benefits of massive ad spend from the likes of the big online travel agencies like Priceline and Expedia, and have the upper hand — for now — products like Dynamic Ads for Travel are making Facebook and Instagram more desirable among travel brands who want to reach the social networks’ more than 1.8 billion monthly users

“What makes Facebook a lot different from using Google Flights, for instance, is that Google Flights is more of a metasearch product,” said Nicholas Ward, president and co-founder of Koddi, a company that assists advertisers with managing hotel price ads and other metasearch advertising. “You can take your structured data and put the best offer in front of the consumer, and the consumer can decide from there, using all the available tools that Google has available.”

Facebook, on the other hand, Ward notes, is much more targeted in its approach to reaching consumers.

“For example, if American Airlines were to push their data to Google today, there are capabilities to sort out experience. If American makes that connection with Facebook they have the ability to say, ‘With this segment of users we want to have this experience, etc., based on the customers who have been to our site and we want to treat them differently.’ You can slice and dice the audience in a much more granular way and even offer different deals. The targeting of the user is that much more refined.”

Another reason why Facebook hopes more travel brands will consider upping their ad spend with the social platform versus other providers has to do with increasing usage of mobile, something Warner has spoken of at length previously with Skift.

Warner said that data from summer 2016 showed that 93 percent of conversations on Facebook and Instagram were taking place on mobile, with travel being one of the top topics discussed. Facebook IQ research has also demonstrated how 85 percent of travel is planned on a mobile device, and when people start planning their trips, 50 percent reach for their phones first.

“Consumer behaviour and travellers’ behaviours have shifted to mobile,” Warner said. “They’re going to 56 travel-related touch points, but during that same timeframe, they’re also spending five times more time on Facebook and Instagram than they are with anyone travel-related site. We, at Facebook and Instagram, are with people one out of every five minutes, every single day, on their mobile device.”

As for what travel brands should be doing to leverage the full capabilities of mobile advertising on social, Warner said, “It’s imperative to not only retarget people but to actually go and meet travellers where they are, to inspire them to take their next trip through mobile-first video. Don’t forget about the creative.”


3 Comments Add yours

  1. darcyhills says:

    Hi Miracle, I definitely think ‘social’ is much more effective than ‘search’, however the travel industry is a really interesting one for this topic! A lot of potential travellers search for destinations, accommodation, flights, transfers, travel insurance, etc. so I think Google ads are still quite relevant for this industry, however social ads provide that little bit more reassurance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Darcy,I agree with you and i also think both of them are quite effective thesedays. Thus,Its hard to say its should be more focus on social or search. In my point of view,I definitely agree with social and it will have huge future potential. haha.


  2. blogwithmegb says:

    The relevance and appeal of Facebook and Instagram is quite clear through the increased capacity to target and capture a unique, niche set of consumers. I can understand why travel agencies are utilising these social platforms as opposed to Google, and like the final quote about utilising video to really build-on and develop that customer relationship and experience!

    Liked by 1 person

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