Travel brands must be creative with programmatic

Programmatic advertising – the ability to target infinite audience segments across the web – means that serving the same, generic advertisements to all your target audiences is no longer an effective strategy.

But in order to cut through the clutter and drive conversions, marketers need to match creatives to the unique characteristics of each audience group and test concepts against each other to optimize campaign performance.

Thunder has been working closely with several travel brands and agencies and we have compiled these programmatic creative best practices based on what we’ve learned.

1. Always start from geo-targeting

Whether you are an international travel brand with thousands of properties worldwide, or a smaller national brand with under a hundred locations, the first and most necessary way to vary the creative is by geography.

As each destination and property provides a different experience for customers, so should the creative. Take exotic getaways for example. Use imagery of the stunning natural landscapes and tropical scenery, while for major metropolitan cities, highlight the aesthetic architecture and impressive skyline. Draw customers in with the special accommodations that each property provides, or unique benefits, like how close they are to tourist attractions.

Incorporate intent data from users who have searched for flight and hotel information on travel sites. Target these customers with images of their intended destination in conjunction with your proposed rates for flights or hotels in those specific locations programmatically.

Boost your geo-targeting efforts by showing local customers the allure of nearby getaways, and offering exclusive rewards to local residents. Grab immediate attention with geo-specific events, such as national holidays, weather forecasts, or sporting events including the Super Bowl, Olympics, or World Cup.

Location is the single most significant factor that affects the creative for travel brands. All other tactics should be executed with the location or destination in mind.

2. Layer in demographic, behavioral, and contextual data

Personalize ad experiences further with customer data. Target unique attributes that make up your audiences and customize the creative by tailoring images and copy to what is top of mind for them.

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