An interview with Digital Marketing Expert and Former Google Employee
If you had twenty minutes with a former Google employee, what would you ask? Maybe you’d ask if they’ve met the people who do the Google doodles. Or maybe you’d have some questions about online paid advertising.
There are so many things to learn about the digital advertising landscape. With the help of online advertising on not just Google Adwords but also Facebook, you open an opportunity to greatly improve traffic to your website. What knowledge would you want to gain for your vacation rental marketing strategy? OneRooftop had a very special opportunity to chat with our friend Wyatt, a digital advertising consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wyatt had many tips for how professional vacation rental owners can create targeted vacation rental marketing goals and grow revenue.
Paid advertising is new for many of us. That’s why we went straight to to a digital marketing expert to answer all our questions.
1. What should I think about before I launch my first online advertising campaign?
When planning out an online advertising campaign, whether it’s your first one or you’re a digital marketing pro, the two most important things to consider are your audience and your goals.
Digital ads effectively target an audience that is most likely to be interested in your product. To create well-targeted campaigns, first identify which people are most likely to become customers. Start by thinking about the demographics of your current guests (age, gender, children, etc.). Then jot down activities these guests enjoy when staying at your vacation rental. It could be skiing, boating, golf, etc. Knowing that your target audience is a family with children aged 5-18 who are interested in skiing or snowboarding will give you a great head start towards a successful online advertising campaign.
Next, establish specific goals and a way to track your progress towards them. A campaign to drive direct bookings through your website will look much different from a campaign looking to generate interest in a new property. And even that will look much different from a campaign trying to drive mobile phone calls to your office. An optimal campaign must first decide what exactly the campaign is trying to accomplish. Set a specific goal like “Each month, I want my ads to generate 10 inquiries, directly through my website, at a cost of $15 per inquiry”.
2. What’s the difference between advertising my vacation rental business on Facebook versus advertising on Google?
The primary difference between Google and Facebook is where in the “purchase cycle” the traveler is when they see your ad.
Google ads are triggered when someone searches Google for your keyword terms. The ad shows up when the user has demonstrated a high level of interest, and in the exact moment they are looking for it. For example, if someone searches for “ski cabin rental squaw valley,” you know exactly what they are looking for – now you just need to get them to click on your ad and come onto your site so they can book!
On the other hand, Facebook is great for showing ads to people who are in the “consideration” phase. Facebook ads also consider a user’s interests, demographics, or behaviors. This means you can target an audience that is most likely to show interest in your vacation rentals. If you are looking to generate inquiries on a property in Pebble Beach, you could run a Facebook campaign targeting avid golfers, age 35 – 60, who live within 150 miles of the vacation rental.
3. Is it okay to advertise on both?
It definitely is OK to advertise on both Google and Facebook! In fact, in many cases, strategies that involve both generate the best results.
Try thinking about it this way. Google is great for getting inquiries from people who are looking to book right in that moment. Facebook is great for getting people who may not be thinking about a vacation rental right then, but would be interested if they saw your ad.
4. How should I determine my budget?
Your initial budget on your first campaign should be an amount that you are comfortable spending, but will also allow you to get enough data to assess your success and to make improvements going forward.
I typically recommend a lower budget to start off. Establish one that gives you a meaningful amount of clicks to the website and then assess if you are targeting the right audience, such as if users respond positively to the website and the landing page, or which ad copy generates the most interest.
What’s nice about Google and Facebook is that you can change your daily budget at any time, so if your ads are performing really well you can always invest more. Similarly, if they’re not doing well you can decrease spending on them or shut them off altogether.
5. If you decide to advertise on Facebook, you can start a campaign at just $5/day. How many inquiries can someone expect to get from a budget like that?
If you have very well-targeted ads towards a relatively inexpensive audience, and peak season is coming up for your area, you may be able to get 1-2 inquiries per day from a $5 budget. However under normal circumstances, my estimate would be less than 1 per day.
6. What’s the best way to optimize my website to convert guests that click on my ad?
In optimizing your website or landing page for conversions, it’s important to think about maximizing user experience after they click on your ad. This means a few things.
First, be sure that your website has relevant content that is consistent with what is in your ad. If your ad says “book a 5-month ski lease for the winter,” then users should land on a page that only lists the ski lease options. Relevant content performs much better than “all listings” page.
Next, have a clear call-to-action. Make it easy for someone to convert once they are on your site. It should be very clear where someone can submit an inquiry or how they can contact you.
Last, make sure that your website looks good and functions properly on both desktop and mobile. In particular, making your inquiry form mobile-friendly can be the difference between getting a lead and having someone get frustrated and drop off your site.
7. What goes into creating the perfect copy for an ad?
Writing great ad copy is all about testing and refining your message over time.
Both Google and Facebook offer reporting based on your ad’s creative. As your campaign runs over time, a clear picture emerges about which messaging users respond the most positively to. This means you can constantly A/B test your existing ads and make minor tweaks. Eventually, you settle on the perfect ad.
Just getting started? Taking copy from your own website can be a great place to start.
8. Should I hire an expert or can I set up a campaign myself?
Unless you’re very familiar with Google and Facebook’s advertising solutions and have additional time to manage them, I suggest hiring an expert. An online advertising professional will be able to target and structure your campaigns so that they perform well right off the bat, and then they can optimize it over time through active day-to-day management. While this obviously adds an additional cost, it will almost certainly pay for itself over time in more efficient ad spent, and ultimately in more bookings!
Wyatt is a digital advertising manager and consultant. Prior to starting his own business in April of 2016, he worked at Google in a variety of customer-facing roles on their AdWords team for over three years.