Travel marketers are a lucky bunch. Not only are they marketing the best beaches, ski slopes and historic locales around the world, but their digital marketing data is incredibly rich. Less than 5 percent of Americans book with a travel agent, and whether it’s a one-night business trip or a month-long getaway, there simply aren’t many offline bookings (i.e. in person or via phone) for travel brands to track. Nearly every other industry is busy struggling to capture, reintegrate and make sense of offline data, but hoteliers, airlines and resorts are stewards of a buying journey that happens almost exclusively online.

This makes travel marketing sound pretty easy, but in fact, it’s potentially more difficult than any other industry as targeting is essential and the elements for personalization are endless. The product is the destination, and nothing helps an audience visualize themselves there quite like video. With sight, sound and motion, video has the power to connect with consumers in a way that display ads just can’t.

However, that doesn’t mean that just any video will do. If you are United Airlines flying to 186 different cities around the globe, you can’t use creative featuring Seattle’s space needle when your customer is considering a trip to Bangkok and still remain relevant. The same goes for hotel chains and destination resorts—spring breakers and families with young children require equally varied messaging.

This need to deliver highly personalized messages in an emotionally evocative way has led the travel industry into a new frontier of video marketing.

Personalizing the Travel Ad

Digital video technology now allows travel marketers to target, localize and personalize videos for different audiences, which is ideal for promoting travel bookings for specific audiences. And more marketers are starting to use video for sales objectives, as evidenced by Sequent Partners new research, Digital Video at the Inflection Point, which found that 87 percent of marketers had a positive, measurable ROI experience with digital video in the past year. Couple that with the fact that 66 percent of people are watching travel-related video content before taking a trip, and video becomes the ultimate advertising medium for travel and hospitality brands.

On the surface, booking sites are pretty utilitarian as they primarily focus on facts around booking a trip: when, where, cost, etc. But travel is an an emotionally-driven industry and, in the age of the experience economy, where stories outweigh possessions, personalized video that can combine booking call-to-actions with storytelling create the perfect combination for delivering outcomes.

DoubleTree by Hilton saw wild success with this approach. “The personal touch has always been a key part of DoubleTree’s brand personality,” reports Google, in a deep dive into DoubleTree’s digital video efforts. The hospitality that greets new guests when they receive a freshly baked cookie at check-in, translates to their digital footprint as well.

The DoubleTree team created DTours, a series of campaigns around a YouTube channel full of user-generated videos. DTours invited travelers to share their story, get inspired by others’ ideas and build their ideal trip. In the process, this data was captured through browser cookies that then showed visitors increasingly personalized travel video marketing recommendations on other sites and ended in a booking call to action.

“It really serves as a bridge between our social network and our growing booking engine on,” said John Greenleaf, global head of DoubleTree. The DTours campaign has netted the company nearly 5 million views and counting.

Where travel brands use to leverage display ads for their targeting and personalization, they’re now turning to digital video. Caesars hotel brands in Las Vegas recently executed a targeted, personalized video campaign for each of their properties, such as Caesar’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood (among others). The campaign theme was to “extend your summer” with a trip to Las Vegas. The ads each had the same content to start, showing the city’s most popular highlights, and then halfway through, they switch to hotel-specific information, photos and videos based on the consumer most connected to the specific hotel brand.

Both examples show how travel brands are using video features to create ads that are personalized to their brand and their target consumers across markets.

New Frontiers for Travel Video Marketing

As a medium, digital video provides opportunities beyond just standard online video ads. There are cutting-edge platforms and methods of delivery that present new and interesting ways for marketers to connect with potential travelers.

Addressable TV

Vacations are typically household decisions, but as a travel marketer, you typically only have data to reach the person who did the research and not the entire household. Addressable TV is an emerging platform that allows you to target entire specific households with personalized video messaging. As an example, let’s say that a mother researches Disney cruises on her mobile device or desktop for a potential family vacation. Later that night as the family watches TV, a relevant ad for the cruise and destination in question plays. It’s no coincidence: This ad was targeted based on the past search from someone in that household, sparking a family conversation that leads to a decision on that specific package. In this way, extending seamlessly from online video into the living room, can help travel marketers capture increased bookings.

Hilton Hotels has an active Instagram presence that combines photos and videos of the many places you can travel and stay at one of their properties.


Another excellent, targeted platform for personalized video engagement is Instagram. According to an eMarketer report, consumers are increasingly sharing travel brands’ content on the photo-centric social platform, and it ranks as the second-most shared platform behind Facebook. It’s also growing much more quickly than other networks, at 15.1 percent last year compared to the industry standard 3.1 percent, which is laudable given that it already boasts 1 billion users. Much of Instagram’s appeal for travel marketers lies in the fact that it’s a primarily visual platform. Users flock here seeking stunning images, videos, and a sense of “awe” which are precisely the emotional elements that travel marketers are hoping to convey. As a discovery tool, it presents fantastic opportunities for travel brands to engage with their consumers through video.

Final Thoughts

Personalized video advertising lies at the confluence of consumers’ twin desires for deeper personalization and emotional connection to the experiences that travel offers. As marketers continue to leverage new technology to deliver on these expectations, travel video marketing will become an increasingly important player in any travel and hospitality marketing strategy.

See how video drove 6X ROAS for a leading travel brand.

Until very recently, TV advertising was the brand marketer’s domain. They used the mass-market medium to introduce a brand to the widest possible audience, and then measured the impact by the campaign’s gross-rating point (GRP). Splashy brand-awareness campaigns debuted on national TV and weren’t meant to achieve tactical goals, such as driving foot traffic to a particular store or encouraging wireless customers to upgrade their services.

TV is one of the most expensive branding and engagement tools, and marketers use brand-recall surveys, which take an entire business quarter to complete, to measure effectiveness.

Now we live in a world of ad optimization and digital data, which means branding is no longer the bright shiny object for marketers. Advertisers want real results that can tie directly to sales while using the same emotional triggers that get them the brand recognition. Because of the marketing measurement shift, television grew up in the past 10 years to become accountable for performance.

TV Enters the World of Performance Marketing

The world of TV began to change for marketers beginning in 2005 when TRA (now owned by TiVo) opened its doors for business. TRV aggregated set-top box data from numerous multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), allowing marketers to pinpoint audience segments that over-indexed for their target audience. It was the first shot fired over the GRP bow. Today, TiVo offers a simple interface that marketers can use to select their target audience. Set-top box data is updated continuously and scale is easier to achieve.

Facebook TRPs

In fall 2015, Facebook made a splash when it introduced its target-rating point (TRP) for purchasing inventory. It was the social media giant’s way of helping marketers compare apples (traditional TV) to oranges (digital video campaigns run on social media).

Facebook wanted to provide a way for TV buyers to coordinate their TV efforts with video ads for more effective measurement. As Christopher Heine explained in AdWeek, “A target-rating point, by definition, is a specific consumer audience within a gross-rating point (GRP), which has been a key metric for TV ad measurement since the 1950s.”

Advanced TV Measurement

Although measuring reach of traditional TV is still based on broad-based GRPs and Nielsen panels, the good news for marketers is that more and more viewers consume TV via advanced channels. All of these advanced options allow for far more nuanced measurement.

• Addressable TV. With addressable TV, marketers can measure household-level exposure. Brands can determine real outcomes by using control groups (comparing conversion of households exposed to an ad to a group of households that were not).
• Programmatic TV. Programmatic TV allows for DMA-level exposure by demographic. In other words, you can measure the number of households that meet your exact targeting criteria who saw your ads. Similar to addressable TV, business outcomes are measured via test and control.
• Connected TV. Offers opportunities for richer measurement, as they rely on consumers interacting with an app. Measurement ranges from impressions to demo-level data.

Linking Ad Exposure to Business Outcome

Once you know how many people saw your TV ad, you can begin the process of calculating return on ad spend (ROAS). This begins by measuring the business outcomes—typically the products or services sold. Rather than rely on vague metrics to cobble together ROAS, third-party measurement leaders can verify offline sales results to track the exact impact of a video campaign.

ROAS from TV ad spend can be scaled by combining all of the TV advertising solutions—addressable, programmatic, and connected—with data and measurement solutions. Connecting these disparate pieces allows marketers to go beyond reach and frequency and start seeing real return on their TV investment. And I think we can all agree that it’s about time we started seeing it.

Dive deeper into advanced TV in our guide.

A few years back, Forrester made waves by predicting that US advertisers will spend more on digital advertising than they do on TV in 2016. Digital certainly has a lot of advantages, such as superior targeting and tracking capabilities. However, it’s premature to declare TV a thing of the past. Although audience numbers have dropped, people still watch. On top of that, TV is a lot more digital and a lot more outcome-based through what is now called Advanced TV. Marketers can now buy TV programmatically, pinpoint ads to specific audiences, present ads customized to the viewers who see them, and even tie in-store sales to ads shown.

Advanced TV comprises three primary categories: addressable, connected, and programmatic. These terms are relatively new as the technology itself is relatively new. To bridge the knowledge gap, here is an overview of each and which version fits best with brands’ objectives.

Addressable TV

Addressable TV refers to ad inventory available through cable (set-top box) providers, such as Time Warner and Comcast, who present a brand’s messages through their linear programming or video on demand (VOD) inventory. Advertisers can target individual households using first- and third-party data. Online and offline outcomes, such as site activity, brand life, and sales, are the primary reporting metrics.

Scale is a bit of a challenge with addressable TV. Many of the set-top box providers are regional or focus on a particular demographic, making it difficult to launch campaigns to national audiences. Purchasing audience from multiple cable providers may increase the sample size, but it does not guarantee that it will be any more representative than a Nielsen panel.

That said, eMarketer predicts that addressable TV advertising will grow almost 120 percent this year, with marketers spending $890 million.

Addressable TV allows a marketer to target households within a DMA based on specific criteria. Marketers can target households with children or ones that have at least one member who has an affinity for, say, fly-fishing. It’s still mass marketing in that all households that match the criteria will see the same ad in the same programming and dayparting. However, advanced TV drives overall efficiency by suppressing households that aren’t a good fit for the advertiser.

Connected TV

Connected TV is television delivered via over-the-top (OTT) devices (Roku, Apple TV, etc.) or Smart TV sets (TVs connected to the Internet). Connected TV offers advertisers targeting and measurement capabilities similar to digital channels. It has a reach of more than 50 million US households with geotargeting at the ZIP code level. Device-level targeting is also available for OTT.

Connected TV is ideal for products in which the entire household may participate in the purchasing decision—family vacations, car purchases, home improvement, family calling plan—and are often used in conjunction with campaigns on other devices. Let’s say a dad looks at a video ad for an SUV on his smartphone. With cross-device identification, that auto brand can deliver a TV ad for the same SUV, influencing the entire family all at once. Conversely, if a mom views a display ad for a cruise, that can trigger the display of a TV ad from that cruise line.

Programmatic TV

Programmatic TV refers to advertising that’s purchased through an automated platform and delivered via set-top boxes (e.g. addressable TV described above). Marketers bid on inventory through sell-side providers that work directly with participating networks. Traditional TV metrics (daypart, network, GRP) inform the targeting and reporting, but marketers use a variety of data points to select the programs, dayparts, and networks to bid on. Programmatic TV reaches approximately 100-plus million households and more than 80 DMAs.

Brands like programmatic TV when they know that a particular program or daypart over-indexes for their target audience. For instance, a cooking show may attract more moms with young children, making it the perfect opportunity for a diaper manufacturer.

Where Does This Fit in Your Marketing Plan?

So, should you make the jump to these new platforms with your brand’s marketing strategy? It depends on what you’re offering.

Generally, advanced TV is more appropriate for products and services you want to advertise using more granular targeting and measurable results. Although traditional TV is a top-of-funnel channel, advanced TV’s greatest advantage lies in its lower-funnel consumer activation. It more closely mirrors digital ads.

Within that lower-funnel activation is the holy grail of advertising: return on ad spend. Advanced TV is appropriate for your product if you are looking for specific business outcomes beyond branding and awareness. Want consumers in a certain area to visit your store? Are you selling high-value items with a long purchase cycle? These are marketing objectives that advanced TV helps to achieve.

As marketers seek more ROI and measurable outcomes across campaigns, interest in and capabilities of advanced TV will grow exponentially in the coming years.

For more information, be sure to see our primer on advanced TV.

by Boaz Cohen | GM, TV & Advance Platforms, Eyeview

Ad spending on traditional TV is declining.

Magna Global’s recent finding that digital ad spending will surpass TV in the U.S. by next year was yet another indicator of the direction the industry is headed in–that is, toward formats that are more targeted, measurable, and geared toward delivering clearer ROI. These formats, referenced in this article as “performance TV,” have emerged as a direct response to this demand, but are still in relative infancy compared to the highly evolved advertising ecosystem that exists on desktops and mobile.

Because performance TV as a category is so new, I’ve noticed a fair amount of confusion in the marketplace: What is it? What is it capable of? How can marketers utilize it? And while we strive to answer all of those questions, another big one arises that we too often ignore every time a shiny new object emerges in advertising technology: Should you be using performance TV?

But first, what is it? Here’s a quick primer.

The Terms Of Performance TV
As I mentioned, performance TV is an umbrella term that incorporates the three primary ways that marketers can buy TV inventory in a more targeted and data-driven way than they would traditionally. These methods can be broken down as follows:

• Connected: The advent of smart TVs, as well as connected set top boxes (STBs) like game consoles, means that marketers can now deliver ads directly to those devices in essentially the same way they would on a desktop or smartphone. While these connected living room devices–like Roku or Apple TV–are functionally different from mobile devices, the real-time bidding process is analogous. Connected TV has a reach of approximately 50 million U.S. households with geotargeting available at the ZIP code level. Advance STBs with device ID, like Roku, allow for device-level targeting.

• Addressable: This refers to specific ad inventory that cable providers like Dish and Comcast work into their linear programming and video on demand (VOD). The advantage with addressable is that marketers can use cable providers’ data to target specific households with ads, but reach is still limited due to the small number of multi-system operators that offer addressable capabilities.

• Programmatic: Programmatic TV combines bidding (similar to the buying of connected TV) with the ad serving of linear TV programming. Marketers bid on inventory through sell-side providers that work directly with participating networks. The key here is using data to select the programs, day parts, and networks one should bid on. Programmatic TV reaches approximately 100-plus million households and more than 80 DMAs.

What’s Your Product?
Should you make the jump to these new platforms? It depends on what you’re offering. Performance TV as a category is appropriate for products and services that want to advertise on traditional TV and are looking for more granular targeting and measurable results. For truly mass market products, i.e. the Coca-Colas of the world, performance TV isn’t yet appropriate because the pure reach of traditional TV is preferable to targeted ads in brand advertising. In fact, while traditional TV is a very top-of-funnel channel, performance TV’s greatest advantage lies in the type of lower-funnel consumer activation more commonly associated with digital ads.

Performance TV is appropriate for your product if you are looking for specific business outcomes beyond branding and awareness. Want consumers in a certain area to visit your store? Are you selling high-value items like cars, where a relatively small percentage of consumers are in-market at any given time? These are marketing objectives that performance TV helps to achieve.

There’s also conversion tracking to take into account. With traditional TV, it’s quite difficult to determine if an ad influences an offline action, such as a visit to a retail location. More advanced offerings allow marketers to combine offline data–like in-store purchases–with TV viewership information to determine the actual returns on ad spend as you would digitally.

The most critical thing to keep in mind is that performance TV, even compared to digital video, is very much an emerging technology. It won’t be right for every marketer, but it can be an effective complement to digital campaigns looking for conversions. As marketers in general seek more accountability and ROI across all channels, keep an eye out for performance TV inventory to grow exponentially in the coming years.

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