You may have read plenty about how Apple’s iOS 14.5 update would affect Facebook advertisers across all sectors, including travel and hotels.
NB: This is an article from Travelboom
Specifically, how the update would impact user tracking for website remarketing audiences. But unless you haven’t been running Facebook ads lately or experimenting for yourself, you may not have an idea how the update has actually affected website remarketing audiences.
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In this article, we’ll discuss how the privacy update has affected website remarketing audiences for hotels and how hotels can adapt to the privacy update to find success.
How iOS 14.5 has affected website remarketing audiences for hotels
According to AppsFlyer, over 50% of app users are choosing to opt out of tracking when prompted. However, we wanted to see for ourselves how the update has affected Facebook website remarketing audiences for our hotel clients.
We took recent campaign data from late 2021 and compared it to campaign results of similar dates from 2020. The campaigns from 2021 also targeted a similar website audience as in 2020. The results may or may not surprise you.
Last year, iOS users made up as much as 61% of our hotel clients’ website remarketing audiences. This year, however, it’s safe to say those audiences have seen the effects of the privacy update, as that percentage has dropped to as low as 21%. Ouch.
In fact, the decline of iOS users in our website remarketing audiences closely matches the opt-out rate that we can gather from AppsFlyer’s reporting. Some audiences saw as much as a 60% decline in iOS users YoY.
With that said, fewer people to serve ads means worse performance, right?
Yes, and no.
Combining data from each campaign, we see a decline in YoY performance. Overall, the campaigns earned less revenue this year, resulting in a lower return on investment. Having fewer people to reach in a highly qualified audience certainly had its effects.
However, individual campaigns still earned direct revenue this year. The campaigns that earned revenue this year saw returns comparative to previous years. In fact, some campaigns saw more revenue in 2021 compared to 2020!
Where do hotels go from here?
Referring to the data above, there’s still value in advertising on Facebook through website remarketing, at least for now. But hotels certainly shouldn’t put all their eggs in the website remarketing basket.
Facebook is still a great channel for spreading awareness, building demand, and generating leads. In fact, whether you’re optimizing your ads for conversions or reach, we recommend analyzing various demand generation metrics to help determine the impact your ads may have.
With that said, the future of Facebook advertising for hotels will require smarter strategies and stepping out of comfort zones. If you’re still looking for audience alternatives, below are some options we recommend hotels test in their campaigns.
Page fans and visitors
First-party data is unaffected by Apple’s privacy update, leaving plenty of remarketing opportunities for hotels. For starters, people that like your hotel enough to become a fan of its Facebook page are certainly worth reconnecting with.
Anyone that has interacted with your Facebook posts
Take the previous suggestion a step further by reconnecting with your most engaged Facebook page audience. This includes people that have commented, shared, or reacted to posts that you’ve shared on your hotel’s Facebook page.
Anyone that has watched videos on your Facebook page
Posting video content to your Facebook page can also help build audiences for remarketing. You can even choose a percentage or amount of time someone must watch your video to be included in your remarketing audience.
Identify the personas that fit your typical hotel guest to reach new people. While this targeting is typically better-suited for higher funnel campaigns, you can still layer interest-based targeting with demographic and geographic targeting to serve your ads to the right people.
Funnel-focused advertising with first-party data
What makes Facebook so powerful is its ability to work as a conversion funnel. When you combine targeting options listed above, you can successfully move people further down the purchasing funnel without ever having to worry about website remarketing. For example, serving a video ad to an interest-based audience can lead to finding the most qualified users for a video-viewer remarketing ad.
Good ‘ol email lists. As long as you’re taking advantage of hotel marketing strategies that get direct bookings and as long as you’re using a reliable PMS, you should have a growing list of guests that you can retarget. Use your CRM to segment those emails and you have an opportunity to hyper-target a qualified group of prospects.