Paid Media Trends During COVID-19: Wedding Campaigns
- Posted by John Killian
- On April 14, 2020
Planning a wedding or honeymoon can be one of the most exciting times in someone’s life. But, it can be stressful – especially if you have to do it twice.
With “stay inside” and social distancing mandates in place due to COVID-19, couples across the world are finding themselves forced to reschedule everything from venues to vendors to travel accommodations.
While many hoteliers have scaled back or paused digital media, consumers are spending considerable time on the internet and social networks, now more than ever. This includes soon-to-be-wed couples scrambling to reschedule their big day.
While most will try to adjust previous contracts with their already booked vendors, some will have to change venues and need to start scouring the internet for new ones.
Are users still searching for weddings?
Yes! Using social media listening tools, Pinterest, and Google Trends, we can see users are searching wedding-related keywords and hashtags at similar rates prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our listening tools, we noticed that while the hashtags #weddingvenues, #beachweddings, and #mountainweddings are being used less, their reach is up nearly 200% compared to the previous three weeks.
On both Google and Pinterest, monthly searches have remained consistent through March into April. This makes sense given that recently engaged couples are most likely looking for dates in 2021, and couples affected by COVID-19 are looking for dates later in the year (or beyond).
But is it actually working?
Here at Screen Pilot, several of our clients kept their wedding-focused campaigns live, and we are seeing positive trends regarding both cost and engagement.
One of our newest advertisers—a large resort in central Texas in the pre-opening phase—kept its wedding search campaigns live and has had an influx of brides calling to reschedule, as well as new potential couples calling about availability. For the couples rescheduling due to COVID-19, the resort is offering to match costs from their previous vendors, instilling the early seeds of guest loyalty before the resort even opens.
Weddings have become such a critical part of their pre-opening strategy that we are adding a Pinterest campaign to their wedding media mix.
Additionally, a collection of upscale boutique hotels in top destinations across the US continued running their wedding Pinterest campaigns after news of COVID-19 began to escalate.
Across all four properties, we saw increases in engagement rates and decreases in CPCs after March 13th (the day the US officially acknowledged the current pandemic), a trend that continued until we paused the campaigns due to scaled-back media budgets.
Finally, one of our largest advertisers—an independent family resort located in central Florida—kept their wedding search campaigns live and have seen YoY decreases in cost, as well as increases in engagement rate and website RFPs driven compared to the same time last year.
What does this mean for you?
In all of these examples, users are engaging at higher rates than pre-COVID times. A possible explanation is the stay-at-home mandates causing users to spend more time online. The decrease in costs indicates there is less competition on these platforms, and the increase in engagement rates tells us users are still planning weddings and looking for venues.
If you’re able to dedicate a portion of your budget to wedding campaigns, now is a great time to test the waters. Whether through search or social, start small with a campaign targeting newly engaged users in your historical top markets for driving Wedding RFPs.
If funds are tight, take this time to improve the wedding pages on your website. Whether it’s by refreshing photos, improving site speed, or adding reviews or new content, now is a great time to make these improvements, so that all couples will want to say “I do” at your resort.
If weddings were a major source of revenue for your property prior to COVID, they will continue to be a source of revenue after.
Potential brides, grooms, and their families are still searching and planning their big days, so let’s make sure we’re present where and when they are searching.
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