Travel brands turning to paid Facebook as Google prices rise

Paid Facebook search could become more of a focus for travel brands this year as the cost of appearing on Google search results continues to rise, an industry panel has predicted.

Speaking at the Melt Content Digital Breakfast event last week, experts discussed the balance of paid-for content on social media against ‘organic’ marketing, which is not paid for.

Ian Brooks, co-founder of Melt Content, asked whether Facebook was the “new drug” that marketers are getting hooked when they wean themselves off Google pay-per-click.

Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights, said: “We’ve started testing it, we have done some campaigns and I think we can see more of our budget going that way next year.

But he warned that companies need to be “careful” using paid Facebook.

“Increasingly now, all I see on Facebook is adverts now. I’m thinking how far can this go before it becomes far too commercialised? What I liked about Facebook is that it wasn’t particularly intrusive or asking you questions all the time, but now it’s following me. I know if I search for a flight to New York I’ll then get an advert about it and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

“So it’s a double-edged sword.”

Vicky Saunders, director of travel at News UK said the social reach of the Times was around six million.

She said: “Even though the main site sits behind a pay-wall, we actually have a really loyal subscriber base anyway

“We’ve seen airlines come in with advertising briefs of £1 million for a media company because they don’t want to spend that on Google any more. What they want is to buy into audiences. So we tap into the whole network [which includes Fox and National Geographic] now, we say come and look at our audiences and target them. People want to be more targeted and they don’t want it to be a static approach and they are willing to pay for it.”

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