Successes in Facebook Advertising: How We Increased Direct Bookings by 16%
- Posted by Arielle Rubenstein & Gabe Hoffman
- On January 24, 2018
There is a pervasive myth in the digital advertising industry that Facebook ads have little effect on overall revenue. Hotels tend to spend large portions of their marketing budget on search ads (where they see an immediate return on ad spend), which often means only a small percentage of overall digital marketing budgets (if any) are allocated towards advertising on Facebook. At Screen Pilot, we strive to constantly challenge the status quo – so our search and social marketing teams worked together to tackle this myth head-on.
We knew in our gut that Facebook ads had a positive effect on direct bookings, but we wanted to prove it.
We decided to test our hypothesis for our client The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando, an all-suite family-friendly resort located five miles from Disney World. A true destination resort that attracts families from the world over; it made an excellent candidate for a test that could span the United States.
The first step to determine the effect social media ads have on direct bookings: find a way to separate a control audience from our test audience.
We separated the U.S. population into two groups that had an equal likelihood to book (based off of our historical data) and tested the audiences against each other.
- Test Audience: this audience received ads on both platforms
- Control Audience: this group only saw ads on Google
For four months, we evenly rotated which group of ads the two audiences received. This segmentation allowed us to accurately determine the lift that Facebook ads provided to our search campaigns without changing our overall search strategy.
We developed a cohesive strategy across both channels by promoting the client’s best offer and used consistent messaging and imagery across all platforms. This allowed us to develop highly targeted audiences that would be familiar with our client’s brand and the promoted offers.
To measure the results of this experiment, we developed a list of users who had visited The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando’s website and then returned via a Google search ad. Among that list, we saw that those users who also received our remarketing ads on Facebook had an:
- 117% increase in conversion rate
- 230% increase in Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)
- 224% increase in overall revenue
- 122% increase in direct bookings
In terms of overall website traffic to The Grove Resort & Spa’s website, the test group that was served Facebook and Google ads also outperformed the control group that only received ads from Google. Users in the test group were 14% more likely to book which resulted in:
-16% increase in overall direct bookings
-14% lift in revenue over the four-month period
The increase in direct bookings supported our theory that running Facebook ads in conjunction with search ads increases the overall effectiveness of our advertising strategy. Here are a few takeaways you can use moving forward in your own adventures with integrating your digital advertising campaigns:
- Depending on your budget and/or audience, these results may vary. Work with your agency partner to determine what testing strategy would be most effective for your brand.
- Diversification is crucial – if you’re investing in search ads you should also be investing in paid social media to maximize your digital presence.
- Make sure your agency partner has tandem search/social advertising campaigns in place to serve your message wherever your audience is.
- Continue to optimize, test, and report on campaign performances.
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