#15 PPC Na Stojáka: PPC Automation for Travel Agencies
Early in March, we attended the 15th PPC na stojáka. Unlike the usual events in this popular series held in Brno, this one had a slightly different format. There were more speakers and the talks alternated with workshops. The overarching theme was “No two conversions are created equal”.
Because PPC Bee isn’t just a tool for standard e-shops, we decided to show the participants how travel agencies can use the app to effectively automate their PPC campaigns. Now, we’d like to present to you the most important points of the presentation we gave there.
Mostly, we talked about non-brand campaigns, though PPC Bee allows you to easily automate your standard brand search campaigns, using Google Sheets for example. To learn more, read our blog on Google Sheets as a data feed. But let’s go back to the issue of campaign structure. Travel agencies frequently work with a country, a particular region or city, and ultimately with the name of a hotel. Essentially, it’s sort of a funnel—the more specific a search query, the closer to a complete tour reservation on the part of the user. At the same time, though, this type of user is the rarest which is why it isn’t a good idea to leave out the other stages of the purchase cycle.
Agencies can easily solve the hotel issue by a standard product—or as is the case here—“hotel” feed. To cover more general keywords, you need to have a category feed created. Or you can use the above-mentioned Google Sheets.
For example, a product (hotel) feed can be structured thusly: This, however, is just the basic structure, sort of a required minimum. Naturally, the feed has other attributes as well, such as “availability”, but even that tends to be the basics of PPC campaign automation. The whole thing can be done much better, because:
“Whatever you include in your data feed, can be automated in PPC Bee.”
In the case of the feed above, there’s too little information and your automation options would be very limited. In the real world, though, most travel agencies use relatively detailed feeds. In this regard, e-shops should sit down and listen to what travel agencies can teach them. Very often, e-shop clients go for feeds that don’t contain enough interesting information to allow automation. Here’s one curious example of one such “hotel” feed: Targeting
If your feed contains information on discounts, the earliest available date, destination, or whether the offer is first or last minute, you can use these attributes to structure your campaigns. Meaning, you can build your campaigns by taking these options into account:
Targeting only last, or first-minute hotels (depending on the current season);
Dividing campaigns into hotels, depending on individual countries;
Creating campaigns for hotels in a specific price range;
Having a separate campaign feature only high-ranked hotels;
Dividing campaigns into hotels vs. bungalows, etc.
Naturally, campaign structure is always based on the travel agency’s current goal. If your goal is to achieve the best effectivity, and thus revenue possible, it’s a good idea to always test your chosen structure (i.e. hypothesis), using your data. It still holds that having a condition for available hotels is key.
Ads and using Ad Customizers
The attributes which PPC Bee copies to the feed can also be easily copied to your ads, bringing PPC automation to another, more advanced level. This is what setting ads in PPC Bee looks like. Everything that’s rendered in grey or between underscore characters is a feed attribute. Thanks to feed attributes or custom variables you can easily create in PPC Bee, most of the ad text can be automated.
Our presentation also introduced a new feature—ad labeling. Currently, this feature is in the beta testing stage, but over time should be available to all users. If you’re interested in testing it, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labels are nothing new for a PPC ad administrator. In PPC Bee, though, they can be of great help when it comes to evaluating ads. As automation progresses, the process of evaluating ad messaging has taken a back step. Ads contain much more text than ever before. Responsive search ads, for instance, can be a particularly hard nut to crack where their evaluation is concerned. But if you label individual versions and ad messaging in PPC Bee, you can easily evaluate your ads.
The beauty of a fine-tuned data feed lies in automating campaign structure, ads, and even keywords. The following slides from the presentation show two different keyword generators. Generator 1 works with the _hotel_name1_ and _country_ attributes. These two attributes combine such keywords to eliminate, among other things, the possibility of a hotel with the same name appearing in the country the travel agency doesn’t sell to. In generator 2, keywords combine the name of the hotel and the current offer (either first, or last minute). Unfortunately, not everything that was presented at PPC na stojáka could be included in this blog, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to your imagination and advanced strategies regarding your PPC campaigns. The only limitation can be posed by your data feed. That’s why we recommend you to optimize it and pay great attention to its improvement—it will pay off in the final results and time saved by automation.
Automation requires appropriate input data;
Optimize your XML feed;
Don’t do manually what can be done faster and in a higher quality;
Don’t forget to evaluate;
Nag the IT guys;
Use enough diverse conversions.
Many thanks to the Besteto agency for inviting us. The whole event was filled with interesting information and fans of PPC weren’t the only ones who had a field day. We’re already looking forward to going back! :)
In the past, PPC Bee automatically changed your capitalized words. Because of them your ads can be rejected (primarily by AdWords). There are, however, several clients whose brand name is comprised of uppercase letters, and there was no way for them to keep this in their ads. Thus we have decided to meet their needs and now we have enabled capitalized words in ads.