The Best Tactics for Using Paid Social Media for Travel Advertising Success

When it comes to the best travel advertising platforms, social media is at the top of the list in the new digital age. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet frequent algorithm updates, oversaturation, and shortened attention spans are all challenges that advertisers must face on social media when trying to gain momentum with organic posts alone. According to Hootsuite, the average organic Facebook page post nets a subpar 0.07% engagement rate and reaches only 5.5% of followers.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on organic posts. Organic posting remains a smart online travel advertising tactic to build relationships, inspire customers, engage at different buying stages, and provide personalized customer service and support. However, advertisers will face challenges using organic posts alone to drive conversions, promote new deals, or generate leads. That’s where paid social media advertising comes into the equation.

Paid social media advertising compliments organic social media posting because it picks up where organic posting drops off. This is why travel advertisers need to leverage both components to ensure their advertising efforts are worthwhile.

Tips on How to Advertise on Social Media

If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of paid advertising on social media, consider the following seven best practices to help set up your advertising campaign for success.

1. Divide posts into “organic” and “paid” buckets.

Although advertisers enjoy many benefits when investing in paid social advertising, not all posts should be turned into paid advertisements. Posts that are most likely to be enjoyed and shared by followers (based on your historic engagement data) might do well to stay organic. On the other hand, if you believe paying for a post will help achieve a KPI objective, investing dollars to flip the post from organic to paid could make sense. Consider which posts should fall into “organic” and “paid” categories based on what makes sense for your business and your audience.

2. Repurpose successful organic posts.

Take a look at your organic posts. Which drove the most conversions or brought in followers? Compile a list of your top performers. Then, repurpose those posts by boosting them into paid versions to see more exposure and breathe new life into campaigns that may not have performed as well the first time around.

3. Use your current followers to target new ones.

To better understand the behavioral, social, demographic, and occupational statistics of your audience, start by conducting a deep dive into your organic post followers. You can use the information you gather to target audiences for your paid social media posts through lookalike targeting. That way, you’ll be able to get in front of more users who are likely to become followers, too.

4. Vary up your paid posts.

In some instances, it can be difficult to know what type of paid social media travel advertising posts will work best for your business. To offset potential roadblocks, consider testing a host of creative varieties. Play around with different CTAs, swap visuals, and conduct A/B tests. Not only will you see what works best, but you’ll be more likely to figure out what your audience prefers and what is most cost-effective for you.

5. Explore retargeting.

As you become more comfortable with paid social media advertising, don’t be afraid to experiment with retargeting. A retargeting campaign can woo back people who checked out your social page, e-commerce store, or site. Done well, retargeting can encourage re-engagement in a big way.

6. Strive for automation.

Even in the digital world, time is money. The more time you can save, the more efficient your team will be. Therefore, look for ways to automate your organic or paid posts — or both. An example of this would be creating and scheduling all your organic travel posts weeks in advance. Once done, you can concentrate your day-to-day efforts on their paid counterparts.

7. Prepare for the end of third-party cookies.

Third-party cookies are on their way out the door, as we explain in our latest whitepaper. Paid social media posts don’t rely on third-party cookies, which means you can try strategies that will be useful on other channels as well once all third-party cookies are gone. Even if it takes time to see substantial success from your paid online advertising campaigns, you’ll have more knowledge about how to navigate advertising in a cookieless world.

Social Media Platforms to Try

Are you eager to try your hand at paid online social media advertising? Below are some of the sites that are most appealing for travel advertisers to find the right audiences.

  • Facebook: More than one-third of the global population is on Facebook, making it a social media hot spot. You can share just about any kind of content on Facebook, including videos, reviews, events, and more. Perhaps best of all, Facebook’s advertising setup makes it simple to get started and track your advertising efforts.
  • Instagram: With its visual leanings, Instagram is a travel brand’s go-to social site. Roughly 4 in 10 Millennials rely on Instagram to help them pick their next vacation locations. Be sure to make use of hashtags on Instagram: They’re essential. Also, feel free to springboard paid ad content from user-generated content from your biggest fans.
  • Twitter: When people want to rave about travel experiences, they head to Twitter. Social Insight research shows that about half of all travelers were influenced by Twitter recommendations and rants. Similar to Instagram, you’ll want to keep tabs on trending Twitter hashtags and use what you learn to ultimately better inform your paid social posts.
  • Pinterest: Travel imagery is all over Pinterest. If you want to inspire people to be curious about a brand or destination, Pinterest is the place to be. Another benefit of advertising on Pinterest is that it’s not as saturated as other social media sites.
  • TikTok: As the newest member of the social media scene, TikTok has a growing audience and evolving advertising platform. You’ll have to be comfortable engaging through imaginative, buzzworthy videos as part of your organic and paid TikTok advertising. Fortunately, the potential to go viral makes it worth a try, particularly if you’re targeting Gen Z, Millennials, or under-50 Generation X.

There’s no doubt that paid social media advertising belongs in your travel advertising toolkit. So jump in and get started. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll find what works for your brand. At Digilant, we’re here to help. Contact us here to begin your travel advertising journey.

Brand Safety and Contextual Advertising: 4 Key Considerations

Right or wrong, we tend to judge people by the company they keep. Remaining skeptical allows us to put our trust and support into people, products, and brands that best fit our standards. Digital advertising efforts experience the same treatment — consumers judge brands, whether knowingly or not, by the content they surround themselves with. That’s why, as a business, it’s so critical to make sure you protect your brand’s safety online by updating your contextual targeting strategies.

What is contextual targeting? It’s the placement of your advertisement next to material that correlates to your product or service, therefore, increasing the likelihood to be seen by the audience you’re trying to attract. For instance, if you’re selling to new parents, you would want your ad to be placed next to an article written for first-time moms and dads. This solidifies your advertising strategy and helps consumers stay aware of your brand’s message.

Contextual targeting in digital marketing works well — most of the time. When it doesn’t, it tends to backfire spectacularly. Case in point: In 2017, a raft of giant brands left YouTube because their ads appeared next to extremist, inflammatory videos. Two years later, the problem recurred. In response, Google unveiled enhanced contextual advertising in 2020. However, the enhancement isn’t perfect. Plus, Google doesn’t control all the sites where brands advertise.

So how can you protect your brand online when investing in digital advertising? The answer is to prioritize brand safety. Remember that 80% of American consumers say that seeing a brand’s ad next to harmful online content would sway their brand sentiment and purchasing behaviors. Accordingly, you need to make sure that you’re doing all you can to construct a brand-safe environment when advertising online. And that means making sure that your brand’s content never appears next to unsafe, insensitive, compromising, or otherwise unwelcome and unwanted material with next-gen contextual advertising solutions.

Contextual Advertising Vigilance Promotes Brand Safety

It’s not enough to let publishing sites set contextual advertising guidelines. To get the biggest impact and benefits of contextual advertising, you must play an active role in keeping your brand reputation safe online. When you do, you can gain several advantages, starting with a positive brand sentiment.

Consumers quickly turn on brands that appear in risky environments. Conversely, they embrace brands surrounded by positive, relevant information. This naturally leads to higher levels of engagement because consumers are more apt to stay engaged in brand-safe environments. That means a stronger chance of a robust ROI from your advertising campaign.

Below are four key considerations to ensure your contextual advertising investments are brand safe and impactful.

1. Craft your own “brand safety” definition.

It’s hard to engage in brand-safe advertising if you don’t have any rules to follow. As such, your organization must outline a definition together and build a framework to set brand safety parameters that everyone can agree on.

A good starting point is to check out industry-standard definitions of what online content is generally deemed unsafe or riskier. You can also use existing definitions as a springboard and adjust your business’ rules accordingly. What’s important is that the guidelines are in place to help your advertising campaign stay on track.

2. Build a map of blocklist sites.

Blocklists are sites where you don’t want your ads to run. A blocklist is sometimes referred to as negative targeting, blacklists, or exclusion lists. No matter what you call it, you need to have a running, evolving document that contains your blocklisted sites. When you do, you can easily exclude any topic, content, or specific website you’d rather not have your brand associated with.

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to build your blocklist from scratch. Your strategic programmatic partner should be able to share a list of sites they block for all their campaigns. Their list can serve as the foundation for a more customized one to better fit your specific brand goals.

3. Find a programmatic partner that puts brand safety first.

Ensuring your brand remains brand-safe is tough if your programmatic partner doesn’t emphasize brand safety. At Digilant, our three-prong brand safety strategy is designed to combat most brands’ online advertising concerns.

How does our safety strategy work? First, our system crawls all web traffic received and classifies it to determine the safety of content based on brand-safe whitelists and Deal IDs. Next, we analyze data for patterns to identify fraudulent traffic sources and botnet locations. Finally, we negatively target impressions with insufficient data to better measure accessibility. These measures work time and again to keep our partners’ brands clean.

4. Monitor your campaigns.

When you advertise on digital channels, you can monitor results in real-time. You can monitor brand safety at the same time. Then, if you spot an issue, you can quickly change or adjust the settings of your campaign. A keen eye also will enable you to catch potential bot traffic or fraud detection.

If you notice that you’re having a lot of hits or your brand safety concerns extend way beyond industry standards, consider buying premium ads. Premium ad buys give you access to specific, pre-approved site lists that ensure your content is only shown on those pages. You’ll still want to monitor your campaigns, but you’ll be less likely to find your brand advertised alongside unacceptable content.

Unsafe online environments pose huge risks for advertisers. At Digilant, we can help you mitigate this risk. Contact us here to learn more about finding a better contextual advertising solution for your business and top-notch brand safety practices.

4 Key Strategies to Launch Your Podcast Programmatic Advertising Campaign

Podcasts have been around for quite a while, though it wasn’t until recently that their popularity skyrocketed. Audiences are continuously increasing across all demographics: Edison Research found around 177 million Americans over the age of 12 will listen to a podcast in 2022. Additionally, Neilsen’s poll found that 56% of respondents report listening to more podcasts more frequently since the onset of the pandemic.

Due to these increasing audio trends, advertisers have followed suit to get their messages in front of a captivated audience. Research has discovered that 81% of consumers are more receptive to podcast ads over radio and TV commercials, billboards, or even sponsored social posts. More consumers are listening to full episodes, with 65% of loyal listeners staying through to the end.

Although the shift to remote work and school was an initial contributing factor, it’s likely that the popularity of audio advertising will only grow further. Currently, about two-thirds of the market is held by two key players: Apple Podcasts (40.7% of podcast listeners) and Spotify (25.3%). More companies, like Alphabet, Amazon, and even Twitter, are poised to get their foot in the door soon, which will continue to boost the popularity of podcasts. After all, we listen to podcasts at home and on the go; that’s why it’s time for your business to dedicate a budget to programmatic podcast advertising.

Digital audio advertising trends will inevitably draw competition like any other channel, but the unique demographic targeting with this over-the-top (OTT) advertising strategy can’t be ignored. If you’re unsure how to advertise on podcasts, keep reading to learn more about the benefits, drawbacks, and how to get started.

Does Podcast Advertising Work?

Consumers have voiced that they love the authenticity and personalization that comes from hearing their favorite podcast hosts put unique spins on ad reads. As such, it’s no wonder that advertisers continue to embrace this ad type and invest more dollars into them. However, this ad format does have a few drawbacks:

  • They can be expensive to produce because you are paying a premium to have the host read the ad.
  • They cannot be edited if they are incorporated directly into the audio file when uploaded to a platform.
  • They can date themselves quickly. While some podcasts (such as timely news shows) have shorter shelf lives, there are a whole host of podcasts that users listen back to months, if not years, down the road.

As a business, you will get more run time from the ad because it won’t change no matter when or where the consumer listens. However, this does run the risk of dating an ad. On the consumer side, you may have experienced this if you’ve gone into the archives of one of your favorite podcasts. Maybe you’ve heard a holiday special promo in the middle of July, now being served an ad with an expired promo code.

As more podcast hosts incorporate unique creative ad formats that enable dynamic insertion, the risks outlined above disappear. However, it does rely on the podcast host, or the hosting platform they use, to set time stamp markers within their content that would then be used to automatically insert an advertiser’s organic, curated, customized ad. When adapting this process and ad form, podcasters can reap the following rewards:

  • Cuts down on the work required by the podcaster
  • Allows podcasters to focus on the content by offloading ad placement
  • Avoid ads becoming stale and irrelevant
  • Much more automated process
  • Still remains a brand-safe environment for both podcast hosts and advertisers
  • You can still insert host-read or prerecorded ads into these spots.

Cutting through the Noise with Digital Audio Advertising

Today’s digital audio ads should ideally have audience targeting or insight layered behind them to ensure that each message is targeting the right consumer. As mentioned, digital audio and podcast advertising is quickly growing in popularity so creating personalized experiences for your consumer based on where they are in the customer journey is increasingly important. Two ad experiences we recommend to accomplish this and create a seamless customer experience are dynamic digital advertising and sequential messaging.

Dynamic advertising and sequential targeting differ in whether the content adapts to align with the consumer or vice versa.

These specific audio advertising techniques add an extra layer of personalization that more “traditional” digital ads do not have. While both unique solutions offer great benefits for digital audio and podcast ad campaigns, the advantage of digital audio advertising don’t stop there.

When working with a strategic digital advertising partner, these ad experiences can be taken across the customer journey to multiple channels such as mobile, desktop, tablet, TV, social, digital out-of-home (DOOH), and beyond. Using strategic targeting, advertisers can retarget audio listeners based on their individual customer experiences.

Dynamic Digital Advertising

Dynamic digital advertising in audio marries dynamic content with programmatic ad buying. This means your digital audio advertising content — text, audio, video, visuals, etc. — changes based on user behavior, preferences, and quantifiable data.

In the case of dynamic digital audio, each ad can change and adapt content and promotions as necessary to specifically fit each user. This ensures that each consumer is exposed to an ad that most aligns with their interests and specific customer journey. Ultimately, this increases personalization and allows for more clicks or consumer actions.

Sequential Targeting

Sequential targeting transforms the typical single ad experience into a more robust storytelling experience targeted at a consumer, based on their individual behavior. Advertisers can base their stories on tangible data, such as exposure and click history, through a sequence of ads served in real time.

Think of digital audio sequential targeting as storytelling rather than advertising. It is a simple story told via ads likely used to increase brand awareness and keep the listener engaged. To keep the format authentic, some advertisers even choose not to incorporate a CTA until the final message of a “series” in order to maintain a feeling of storytelling over advertising.

How to Advertise on Podcasts in 4 Steps

Now that you understand the problems, solutions, and benefits, it’s time to get your OTT advertising strategy podcast-ready. It’s the only non-visual form of marketing within mainstream channels, so that means you need to focus on four key areas.

1. Invest in Effective Technology and Data

The data required for a targeted campaign like this is available, and powerful technology to collect, manage, and analyze this information is essential. Without a strategic cross-device or device mapping platform solution and a strategic data management platform, the data cannot be used effectively enough to maintain a data-driven campaign like this.

There are multiple ad formats, different channels, multiple audiences, and audiences at different stages of the customer journey. Additionally, all the insights needed to run these campaigns are updated and, in turn, need to be implemented in real time. To execute this process successfully requires resources — both personnel and technology-wise. It’s no easy task, but with the right strategies, you will reap the rewards of your efforts.

2. Focus on Strong Storytelling

If you’re going to invest time and resources into an ad format such as this, ensure that you have a strong, captivating story to tell. If you simply want to express different features your brand has or promotions you’re running, a more traditional ad format will be more than sufficient.

Programmatic podcast advertising is a unique format and, as such, the story you tell and the interactions you have with consumers need to be unique to that of your other digital advertising efforts.

3. Identify the Right Channels for Your Business

As mentioned before, these tactics can be used simply within podcast advertising or can be taken across the full scope of your digital advertising efforts. Understand which channels make the most sense for your brand to use this style of messaging and then which channels make the most sense for which parts of the story.

Do you want your initial impact to happen within a podcast? On social media? Once a consumer is moving down the funnel, how can you ensure an ad with a specific CTA happens on a channel that most likely will produce said action? These are questions and areas to focus on as you begin to ideate on unique ad formats such as these.

4. Know Your Target Audience

Before you start any digital advertising initiative, understand your target audience. This will help ensure that you know where and when your message needs to go. Taking it a step further within the realm of sequential and dynamic ad formats, consider which of your target audiences this type of ad campaign is best suited for.

It is possible to reach all your audiences; however, this might also be a great opportunity to home in on a particular audience you’ve struggled to reach. This could be one who is stuck in the consideration phase and won’t make the leap to conversion, or a segment that you know would be most appreciative of a storytelling consumer experience.

Because you’re putting extra time and attention into this ad journey, knowing your audience arguably is the most important step in your OTT advertising strategy. To learn how Digilant can help you create audio advertisements specifically for your desired audience, get in touch today.

How to Target B2B Customers in a Work-From-Anywhere World

With the shift to work-from-anywhere, B2B advertising has drastically changed. Before, B2B targeting centered on in-office advertising via IP targeting. Now, with many B2B professionals working from home, what’s a feasible and effective strategy to reach the modern B2B consumer?


The simple answer: a B2B digital advertising strategy that leverages an omnichannel approach similar to that of B2C. Why? While B2B decisions affect corporations, the people making these decisions are just that: people. As such, they require a digital marketing strategy that reflects their shopping habits and provides targeting approaches for a seamless buying experience.


Today’s omnichannel consumers no longer rely on one channel to browse and buy products. Whether B2B or B2C, they move along their buyer journeys in a combination of both online and offline channels. Because of this, the advertising experience has to follow them as well.


Blurred Lines


As we enter a new age of remote work, the lines between working and personal life have blurred. Prior to the pandemic, many business professionals left their work at the office. During those times, digital marketers would typically place time restrictions on their B2B ad campaigns as there was no sense in spending money when consumers weren’t in the office or on their commutes. They weren’t in the working frame of mind, so it wasn’t the best strategy for advertisers to place business-related ads in those moments.


Now, in a new age of remote work, many people work in the same setting where they do the rest of their daily activities. Additionally, working hours have become more flexible and diversified to meet employee needs. This new landscape and work style offers a great opportunity for B2B digital advertising. Today’s B2B marketers now have more channels and more opportunities than ever to reach their customers.


This also means that marketers should reconsider legacy tactics that may no longer be relevant to today’s B2B customers. Consider that 60% of all B2B technology buyers in 2021 are Millennials. As such, advertisers need to enlist tactics that speak to this demographic. They’re much more likely to respond to podcast advertising, social media, and email B2B targeting strategies.


Ready to learn how to target B2B customers in a remote work context? You can start by following these steps.


1. Seek out a strategic partner with effective data solutions.


When considering partnering with a B2B digital advertising agency, ensure that they have strategic data partnerships in place to reach your audience. Ideally, find a partner that doesn’t rely solely on IP targeting methods to reach business professionals. In the past, IP targeting saw B2B advertisers relying on a client list of company names and matching IP addresses to company routers for ad placements. Now that remote work is more prevalent, relying on company IP addresses alone is no longer beneficial.


When it comes to data solutions, quality is key. At Digilant, we have an exclusive partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, giving you access to a wide range of professional targeting segments. D&B uses 100% deterministic data, which ensures the accuracy of 240 million-plus business profiles. Bombora, another partner, aggregates a wide range of B2B intent data as well as demographic and firmographic data. It also collects data from a combination of anonymized publisher registration data, proprietary IP-to-company mapping technology, and offline data sources.


2. Match your solutions to your goals.


B2B companies historically looked at digital channels just as an entry point for commercial orders. However, today’s consumers now look to find, interact, converse, browse, and shop for products and services via B2B digital advertising channels.


Consider what stage of the buyer funnel you want to reach with different messages and implement solutions that allow you to do just that. For example, to generate awareness, you might use account-based marketing, behavioral targeting, app ownership, or lookalike audiences. To increase consideration, CRM targeting and search engine optimization are great options. To drive conversions, consider using adaptive segmentation or an algorithmic optimizer.


3. Don’t be afraid to test and try.


Consider implementing surge reports and company surge analytics in your media mix. These options help you understand demand surges so that you know where to best invest your marketing dollars.


There are other “newer” tactics worth trying. Consider advanced audio advertising and LinkedIn advertising. Within LinkedIn advertising, try video ads (at least one for each stage of the buyer’s journey), dynamic ads (hyper-personalized for your audiences), and carousel ads (which give you a chance to tell an interactive, action-inducing story). All these options also offer clear digital advertising performance metrics that allow you to evaluate which aspects of your marketing mix are performing the best.


Digilant’s B2B Digital Advertising Solutions


With more B2B customers working from home than ever, it’s time to start viewing B2B customers as people rather than IP addresses. By targeting them and following them through the buyer’s journey just as you would a B2C customer, you can keep them engaged and interested in your company all the way to conversion.


Interested in learning more about how to effectively reach B2B audiences in today’s new normal? Get in touch today!

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