TourRadar brings together over 50k organised adventures from 2,500 operators and is able to provide a list of amazing tours for almost any search.
We wanted to utilise this offering by ensuring that we service a user's search with the most relevant ad copy and landing page.
However, as a global operator, we, therefore, tend to have 10,000s of ads meaning that everything we do needs to be applicable at scale.
We identified 3 core projects we needed to approach in order to scale the account quickly and effectively:
➡️ Creative & Ad Copy
Creative & Copy
We first needed to create a system that allowed us to create new ad copy and manage this at scale. Our existing generic activity was 15k ad groups strong and therefore we needed a solution that automated ad copy creation.
We identified Search Ads 360’s Ad Builder as this solution to build as Ad Builder uses SA360 business data and ad templates to build ads at scale.
The first step in the process was to add structured data, in the form of business data, into our SA360 advertiser. We added details to each campaign and ad group on the travel corridor (Source Market and Destination):
And the main keyword intent:
We then use this data to create relevant copy at scale for worldwide destination searches:
Simply by updating ads to reflect Google’s best practice we saw CTR increase 33% and Avg. CPCs decreased by 12%.
The Implementation of ad builder on our existing activity had an immediate impact on performance.
The next step would be to expand our coverage to more specific and detailed queries, improving our relevancy and increasing volume.
For us to do this manually at scale it was an unrealistic and inefficient use of our time.
However, SA360 has another useful feature, Inventory Management, that allows us to build search activity at scale based on a feed.
Using a URL feed provided by TourRadar, we could create highly relevant campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords. We could also continue to manage activity based on adventure availability using inventory rules:
This would require an up-to-date and detailed feed with specific information on adventures including destination, tour type, and segment.
While possible, and something TourRadar had historically done, capacity was stretched within the TourRadar data team and we needed to prove the value in this before briefing in a complex feed update and management.
We, therefore, approached this in a way that runs through much of our work with TourRadar since partnering: test, learn, iterate.
We knew we could create a manual feed for a select amount of destinations and categories and build a bespoke tool within Google Sheets to upload activity at scale.
We could then utilise the same ad builder functionality as we have above to create ads.
This would allow us to prove the concept of feedbased coverage before investing time into a feed. It would also allow us to launch quickly, capitalising on the increase in search demand as travel restrictions began to reduce.
Using a combination of Google Sheets formulae and SA360 Bulksheet upload we created 65 campaigns focussing on Destination + Category (e.g. Duration, Budget etc) for destinations we expected to be high volume.
In the first two weeks of launch, we saw these templated campaigns add an additional 23% of conversion volume at a similar CPA to existing activity.
Considering the small scope of this launch, this definitely proved there was a lot of value in feed-based activity and a feed was prioritised and true inventory management activity was launched.
Since this, we have now launched 7k campaigns covering almost all travel styles, destinations, and segments, meaning we have highly relevant coverage for almost all relevant searches.
Since the pandemic, adventure travel transactions had been understandably low volume and irregular, heavily influenced by new coverage on the ever-changing pandemic.
Google’s bidding algorithms rely on high volume, predictable and reliable conversion data to make the most out of conversion-based bid strategies.
This was something we didn’t have in abundance when travel demand suddenly increased.
We also knew that the conversion delay period for a service such as TourRadar will likely be weeks if not months.
Throughout the pandemic, manual bidding was used to push spend into constantly changing
travel corridors where travel was allowed.
Despite the increase in demand in 2022, transaction volume remained low. This was paired with a lack of recent historical data, a strong mismatch between pixel conversions vs TourRadar’s internal reporting, and a long conversion delay of 30 days - a poor setup for leveraging automated bidding.
We, therefore, explored the possibility of using micro-conversions (onsite events that would be earlier in the purchase process) to signal to bid strategies of users likely to make a conversion.
Using a micro-conversion would have multiple benefits:
In conjunction with TourRadar, we reviewed a range of micro-conversions on-site and ran analysis on their correlations with transactions. We settled on a specific conversion that:
In the first instance, we wanted to test our hypothesis that bidding to a micro-conversion would result in strong revenue returns.
We saw a strong correlation and removing any outliers continued to result in a strong positive correlation.
As with our approach to building new coverage, we tested our bidding hypothesis before iterating and building more complex solutions.
We used an existing conversion pixel and Target CPA bid strategies for the micro-conversion bidding test. Results were initially positive, with transaction revenue (i.e. Macro Conversions) increasing and efficiency remaining stable.
Now that we had confirmation that this approach was likely to work, we wanted to iterate and improve.
An early concern is that a tCPA bid strategy would be likely to move spend towards lower-value transactions due to a higher conversion rate. However, not all adventures bring the same value.
TourRadar allows you to book single-day tours to epic, multi-day once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Naturally, the price of these organised adventures varies greatly, from low double figures to the €10,000s.
We, therefore, worked with the TourRadar team to implement a new conversion pixel to calculate an estimated revenue at the point of micro-conversion using the following calculation:
We now have a value-based bidding solution, allowing us to implement tROAS bid strategies across the account.