Travel Market and Paid Search

At the Travel Technology Show, Eric also attended a talk on PPC and the travel industry. Neil McCarthy of the Latitude Group explains that PPC is an integral part of building a successful SES campaign.

PPC Pay Per ClickLet’s start with the basics. What is PPC? Pay Per Click is an Internet advertising model used on search engines, advertising networks, and content sites (blogs, social networking sites, etc.) in which advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked. Most commonly used in search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. A business listing is guaranteed to appear in response to particular search terms, with higher ranking typically obtained by paying more than other advertisers.

In 2009, the trend for PPC is moving from “max bid” to quality score . McCarthy’s major points include:

  • Broad match is no longer evil; Broad match can be very effective if you want to get the most visibility possible. (But, relying too much on Google’s broad match results in a lower quality score)
  • Landing pages are twice as important: Make them clear, optimized and quick-loading
  • CTR (Click-through rate) is almost as important as price. A CTR is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions).

He goes on to say that in buying a quality score, your company should:

  • See PPC as a long term investment (not just a strategy to employ until organic search rankings kick in)
  • Combine PPC with offline ad schedules

Emphasizing the importance of landing pages, McCarthy notes that targeted landing pages boost conversion and are essential for quality scores. Check load times. Quick loading means a better user experience and a higher quality score from Google. Make sure the landing page is optimized, as proper search engine optimization can improve your conversion rate by up to 20%. SEO is an essential component of effective PPC marketing.

On a final note, McCarthy explains how the PPC game is changing. More and more companies are looking to PPC with images, which increase click through rates. Video, an integral tool in building brands, is also becoming part of smart PPC campaigns.

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