For 2014, Facebook has a clear aim “to woo the travel industry” by doing events, research and also refining ad targeting. This is quite interesting and is also a change of approach for 2014 for the social network. After restructuring and reorganising the sales teams with advertisers on a vertical, Facebook is now aiming to bring in as much sales through the travel sector as through financial or FMCG sector that currently are the biggest ad spenders on the social network. As Facebook is a very popular social network throughout the world, it aims to proof to travel companies that consumers are influenced by Facebook when using it and especially for travel this means great opportunities for ad targeting and increased sales (MarketingWeek 2013).
FACEBOOK AND TRAVEL
Facebook as a social network is being used during the five stages of a holiday which is nothing new, as consumers are looking at social networks before, during and after a holiday, when dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and reflecting. A total of 52% of consumers actually stated that when using Facebook and seeing travel related images, they dream about a potential holiday although they do not have any holiday booked or the active plan to do so. Interestingly, another 95% of consumers using Facebook are actively using the social network for travel related activities when going on a holiday. Although this behaviour and impact of the social network on consumers and travel are expected, for tourism businesses, hard figures are more a proof and a reason to consider ad spending on the social network than no concrete evidence of consumers’ behaviour on the social network and Facebook’s direct influence.
Publishing key figures is a very logical step for Facebook, as the social network is aiming to grow its travel related targeted ads dramatically in 2014. Next year, Facebook has travel as a key sector focus, meaning that travel marketing is at the core of its goals. The social network will actively encourage travel companies to use its tools that aim to segment customers. By this means, Facebook will monitor the effectiveness of its targeted ads in order to see where improvements are needed and what impact consumer segmentation according to their intent to book holidays have when interacting with ads. To achieve this, Facebook will partner with big travel operators in order to analyse the performance of Facebook ad campaigns in combination with other traditional media in order to be able to share case studies and success stories with the wider travel industry. This is certainly an interesting move and the industry can look forward to seeing the impact of targeted travel ads and campaigns on Facebook.
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