How Targeted Hotel ‘Weekend Getaway’ Placements Out-Performed Search Ads

“By proactively utilizing Placed Attribution as a feature in their optimization strategy, GumGum was able to drive 148K guests to the advertiser’s properties at rates that exceeded industry benchmarks,” said Placed CEO David Shim.

The national ad assignment from a “major global hotel chain” that wanted to attract guests for weekend getaways and holiday travel last fall seemed tailor-made for search ads, but image-focused ad platform GumGum believed its alliance with online/offline attribution specialist Placed and its network of popular publishers would prove more effective.

“As we looked at the client’s brief, the challenge for us was that there are so many ways to target ‘leisure-loving consumers,'” said Ben Plomion, GumGum’s CMO. “It was a little broad for us. So we had to define what exactly was meant, and what exactly would be the best audience that would respond to our advertising campaign.”

The Right Verticals

GumGum client success team sat down with the client‘s agency — the company won’t reveal the brand’s name — and analyzed data from previous campaigns across display, mobile, desktop, and search ads in all forms.

“Using channels like in-image, in-screen, embedded video and working with titles like TimeTravel & Leisure, Trusted Reviews, Men’s Health and others we were able to reach travelers fantasizing about or planning their next trip throughout their day,” Plomion said. “We focused on this audience across premium travel, lifestyle and health websites with unique ads relevant to the sites’ content—stoking their wanderlust one site at a time during pivotal moments.”

The results for the campaign, which ran from July to October 2017, drove 148,000 guest stays in the areas the hotel chain wanted to boost, including Fort Myers, Fl.; Las Vegas, NV; Columbus, OH; Colorado Springs, CO; and Buffalo, NY.

Cost-per-acquisition was $4.73 versus a Google Search Average of $60.31, according to Wordstream Travel & Hospitality 2015 Q2 Averages. The campaign’s clickthrough rates were 2.47 percent compared to Google Search Average of 2.18 percent.

“GumGum and Placed’s have been partnered for the past three years, enabling a collaboration where measurement isn’t an end of campaign report, but it is a dynamic set of metrics available throughout the campaign for in-flight optimization,” said Placed CEO David Shim. “By proactively utilizing Placed Attribution as a feature in their optimization strategy, GumGum was able to drive 148K guests to the advertiser’s properties at rates that exceeded industry benchmarks.”

The Targets And Timing For Escaping

When it came to demographics, the most engaged group for the hotel campaign turned out to be men aged 34-54 with household incomes between $50- and $100k. The best times to reach those men seeking a weekend trip tended to be 6pm and 9pm on Mondays and Thursdays — key periods after work when consumers are in a mindset for a quick escape.

“We weren’t surprised that men were a major driver of these hotel visits,” Plomion said. “We were a bit surprised by the verticals that drove the most traffic, however. The best performing websites were lifestyle, healthcare, wellness, as well as obvious ones like entertaining and travel.”

Another surprise, as found through Placed’s attribution, was which restaurant visits overlapped with the weekend getaways. Though, since the primary brand that correlated with weekend hotel visits had the word “Friday” as part of its name perhaps played into the mindset of those consumers, Plomion said half-kidding.

“With Placed, we have a list of hotels that these consumers visit, you have a list of restaurants that they visit, you have a list gyms that they visited, you can tell there is some correlation,” Plomion said. “Which is very powerful to us because in this particular campaign the audience, turned out to be big fans of TGI Friday. Understanding the affinities that people have and what messages they’re open to at different times and places in the real world can make an enormous impact on what ads are successful and which ones aren’t.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.