Helpful Holidays (Facebook Ads & Google Ads)

Find out how One PPC helped Helpful Holidays get better advertising results from Google and Facebook.

Reporting

Launched Facebook as a new sales channel

ROI

Increased online conversion rate to over 1% for high-value products

Sales

Increased sales from a few hundred thousand to over millions

HELPFUL HOLIDAYS

Back Story

Helpful Holidays is an award-winning holiday cottage company based in the small market town of Chagford, on the edge of rural Dartmoor. With nearly 40 years experience in holiday letting in the South West are ideally placed to help you find your next getaway.

Helpful Holidays were advertising on Facebook, however, they wanted to use Travel Ads and had not been able to get this to work. Facebook had mostly been used for brand advertising and top of the funnel marketing. 

During our initial in-depth analysis, we identified three key weaknesses/opportunities:

  • The Facebook Ads campaigns were getting very few conversions over a long period of time. 
  • The datafeed and catalogue and event tracking tagging of the website would need to be completed using an advanced Google Tag Manager set up. 
  • An inconsistent strategy across campaigns making it harder to follow a standardised approach.

Goals

The goals were very much direct response, with return on ad spend for each holiday above 6.0 (600%).
Facebook had just launched Travel Ads and very few companies within the Travel sector were using it. Facebook ads had been used extensively in the past- but just top of the funnel strategies had been applied. 

 

Helpful Holidays

Solution

Facebook/Instagram Advertising

In order to address this challenge, we initiated researching competitor ads on Facebook as well as their landing pages. We also took care to learn the business offering of Helpful Holidays and their target personas. We also utilised Google Analytics to gain an accurate insight into Facebook traffic with their website. 

Next, we created reporting for Facebook Ads using Google Data Studio (GDS): This is an instant/live report of Facebook Ads using Data Studio that updates daily. After looking at this 30-page report, we were quickly able to gain insight into account performance at different levels. 

Next, Google Tag Manager was set up for event tracking specific to the travel industry, along with other standard events like page view and sales revenue.
We also advised on Improvements to the data feed for the travel catalogue before submission and started with remarketing using Travel Ads (Dynamic Ads).

Dynamic Remarketing

We started Facebook with a dynamic remarketing campaign targeting anybody who had viewed a holiday page on Helpful Holidays website in the last 14 days but had not purchased. We then re-targeted this warm traffic with ads showing a site visitor the exact holiday packages they looked at when on the website of Helpful Holidays. 

This campaign immediately improved the conversion rate of past website visitors and quickly delivered ROAS over 7.0, and increased over time to above 10.0. 

To continue our success of Facebook advertising we also needed to reach a wider audience at the awareness and interest stages of the marketing funnel. The goal was to bring all the campaigns under the Travel Ads format as this advertises the exact holiday with pricing with the specific landing page.   

Other Targeting Options: 

We implemented a range of top and medium funnel campaign objectives and continued testing advert formats and brand assets with varying audience targeting and campaign objectives to increase click-through rate (CTR) and conversions while growing the brand of Helpful Holidays. 

Engagement Audiences: 

Next, we set up an Engagement campaign retargeting anyone who has engaged with Helpful Holidays Facebook page or ads in the last 365 days- while filtering out past website visitors in the website in the last 14 days. This campaign also delivered the required minimum target return on ad spent of 6.0. We used Travel Ads here – but also tested other formats like single images, carousel and canvas.

Cold Traffic/Top of Funnel Marketing:

To really make a success of Facebook – it was essential to reach a much larger audience to scale revenue while growing the brand of Helpful Holidays on Facebook.
We have seen ongoing growth in the number of purchases from both lower funnel and top of the funnel campaigns. We tested a range of advert formats, images and text copy were tested to continually improve ad copy for a higher CTR and conversion rate.

  • Interests Audiences: 

As part of our research and planning, we reviewed Helpful Holidays Page Insight report to understand more about the target audience. Following this, we identified several key audience groups which included interest audiences such as holidays, vacations and more. We experimented with single interest audiences, as well as multiple interests with or/and targeting. Audiences were overlaid with Demographic insights we learnt from Page Insights. 

  • Lookalike Audiences: 

We set up a range of Lookalike audiences using value-based purchases by similarity and reach. We also tested audience ranges in order to continue increasing revenue.  

Google Search

Following on from the success from Facebook Ads, Helpful Holidays asked us to complete a written audit report of their Google advertising.  They had x2 Google Ads accounts and x2 websites, namely West Country Cottages and Helpful Holidays – so we took a look at both to make our recommendations. We compared both Google Ads accounts and scored the setup of each, before submitting a  list of tasks for each one. To achieve the goals of Helpful Holidays, we started with the account that needed the most improvements by rebuilding the ad group structure into themed sets of keywords, which helped improve ad relevance, CTR and quality score. As a result, higher ad positions were achieved, with a lower cost per conversion.  

To maximize sales, a large Google Ads account was set up to build campaigns. Not just for thousands of keywords, but to build the other targeting options such as YouTube Ads, Google Display Network etc. Display Targeting including in-market, contextual targeting, topics, management placements and similar audiences. 

The first rapid increase in sales revenue was due to planning which improved communication, testing and review. Next, we refined our plan to incorporate new business opportunities and feature upgrades of Google Ads. The introduction of these changes has, at a stroke, generated a dramatic and rapid improvement in the ROAS for Helpful Holidays, and it is now consistently averaging 7.0, from 4.0 since we began our partnership, and is driving millions of sales per year.

Google Search

Our next step was to create standard search campaigns targeting people searching in Google with keywords and text ads. We configured settings for each specific campaign to increase return on ad spend and set up a range of campaigns including:

  • Each product category has its own Search campaign with an extensive list of keywords grouped into themed ad groups with relevant ads and landing pages. 
  • Competitors Search campaign for targeting known competitor names and their brand terms with specific ads & landing pages. 
  • RLSA (Remarketing for Search): Targeting past website users as they search again in Google, often with wider keywords that are not part of the main keyword list for increasing traffic. 
  • DSA (Dynamic Search Ads)- Combined DSA with search remarketing to increase the qualified audience. 

Bidding Strategies: It was important to achieve the required return on ad spend while increasing the number of leads. During the period of the project we tested, analysed and applied a range of bidding strategies to get to the optimum approach for each campaign. 

  • In-house Google Ads script with bidding rules for achieving a target cost per lead(CPA), combined with bid modifiers. 
  • Adjusting bids manually to maintain top ranking for all keywords.
  • Subsequently we also tested smart bidding such as target CPA). 

Keyword match type search- Introduced Modified Broad Match to combat the large numbers of irrelevant search terms which broad match was generating.

Fixed conversion tracking in Google Ads by importing from Google Analytics
The ad groups were found to have too many keywords. These were split into narrower/tighter themes to improve ad relevance and CTR.

Negative Keywords
Using single word negatives for irrelevant words reduces the size of the negative keyword list. (e.g the word buy as a negative keyword)
Duplicate Negative keywords, attached at different levels of the account. One account no conversion tracking Negative Keywords- consolidated this using audience targeting for Search: We set up campaigns with audiences such as demographics, as well as interest targeting such as past website users, in-Market Audiences and Similar Audiences to achieve a better ROI.

Google Display Network

Following the ongoing success from the Search Network campaigns, Helpful Holidays was keen to explore Google Display Advertising in more detail. The goal was to grow brand awareness by reaching a much larger audience while achieving ROAS of 600%. 

This campaign worked well, however, to really make a success of Google, we wanted to get the Display network driving more conversions. To complete the sales funnel we launched campaigns that targeted cold traffic with a much wider audience than just Google Search and Facebook.. 

Connecting with people at all stages of the marketing funnel would enable much faster growth in sales than just using Google Search. So we researched, planned and then instituted campaigns at different stages of the funnel such as:

Google Ads Dynamic Remarketing: We created a remarketing funnel with tailored audience bids and ac copy. Dynamic creative was applied by linking to the holiday data feed, as well as standard Display Ads and uploaded banner ads. 

Contextual advertising: Using website topics and keywords to show on relevant websites to the travel industry and display ads that are relevant and topical. 

Managed Placements: Ads were run on all the UK online newspapers as placements. We also tested this combined with contextual (keyword) targeting to focus more on the target persona of holidays, and more specific types of holidays. 

In-Market Audiences: Next, our focus was fixed on audiences with interests such as holidays and travel. This immediately multiplied impressions and reach into the millions. Subsequently the campaigns demonstrated continuous improvement and easily outstripped the original required ROAS. 
Similar Audiences: We set up and tested narrower audiences that are most similar to conversion tracking purchasers and ran ads across the Display Network combined with topics, management placements and in-market audiences. 

Results

  • Managed ad spend across Google and Facebook.
  • Consistently achieved profit target of 600% ROAS (Spend £1, get £6 back. Also written as 6.0%). 
  • Increased conversion rate over 1% on big ticket travel holidays
  • Achieved an immediate return on investment with consistent growth in sales.
    Setup Google Display Network using all targeting options.
  • Created a consistent and effective ad creative that focuses on key USP and brand messaging.
  • Worked closely with the client, and internally throughout the duration of our campaigns

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