Guest Post: Future proof your ad targeting by becoming less intrusive

Guest Post: Future proof your ad targeting by becoming less intrusive

Hailey Brewer, client sales director at Nano Interactive, says understanding your audience and reaching them without relying on personal data will be key to maintaining the effectiveness of digital marketing 

The year so far has already been a massive one for the travel industry. After years of pandemic turmoil, consumers are now flocking to book long-awaited holidays and make up for lost time. 

Many companies have already reported record sales for summer getaways this year as holidays remain one of the few areas consumers refuse to cut back on during the cost-of-living crisis. 

Understanding potential customers and what kinds of advertising messages will resonate with them will be key to continuing this booking momentum across the year. 

Our research reveals what is motivating travellers to book and how brands can reach them at this critical moment. 

Affordability and safety top considerations for families 

UK parents are prioritising affordability above everything else. With the cost of flights soaring to record highs this year, families are still focusing on finding the best value-for-money options available - spending on average £250 to £500 per person.

Alongside affordability, parents consider safety one of the top three most important things they’re considering when planning their holidays. 

This could be a legacy from the coronavirus pandemic, as many might be going abroad this year for the first time since 2020.

Bringing these messages to the forefront of any advertising will help address such concerns, but also thinking about the advertising environments that would help enhance this perception of your brand. 

For example, using contextual advertising to place ads alongside content on how to get a good value holiday or tips for keeping your family safe abroad can support your own brand messages.

One size does not fit all 

We’ve also been able to see how young couples, affluent travellers and parents differ in their travel plans. 

Nearly a third (30%) of who we would consider affluent travellers are more likely to book an international short-haul flight holiday this year, rather than a long-haul flight. Parents, meanwhile, are more interested in domestic holidays (25%). 

And experiences like spa days and days out are the lowest priority across the board – 17% for affluent travellers and young couples, and 13% for parents. 

Think about targeting the right consumers when they’re in the frame of mind to consider these different kinds of trips – such as reading content around exotic destinations for affluent travellers, or the best staycations for families. 

This kind of context can actually improve the performance of your ads as 72% of consumers feel their perception of an ad is influenced by the content surrounding it.

Reaching the unreachable 

While understanding your audience and their motivations is key, once you have this information, the big challenge facing travel advertisers this year is how to reach them. 

That’s because it’s becoming harder and harder to target advertising based on personal data, building profiles based on demographics, which is the way the industry has traditionally operated. 

This is down to a few reasons. Consumers are becoming more concerned about how their data is collected and used and are taking more steps to protect it. 

Many are using incognito mode when browsing online or accessing the internet through a VPN to avoid being tracked online, making it harder for advertisers to reach them.

This is coupled with tech giants changing the way their platforms work. Google is abolishing third-party cookies in 2024, which is the primary way advertisers track and target consumers online. 

And when it comes to advertising within apps, on Apple devices only 25% of customers have reportedly agreed to be tracked. 

This means that huge swathes of people are unreachable to advertisers. Without this data, targeting becomes less accurate and effectiveness suffers.

Travel brands will need to find new ways to reach people online in a respectful way that doesn’t rely on their personal data. 

Contextual advertising is emerging as a way to combat this issue by combining billions of data points about content people are reading online, and using this to build a picture of who they are and what motivates them, without personal data. 

For example, reading articles about family-friendly holiday resorts? They’re probably a parent. Wondering about the best gap year backpacking destinations? Perhaps they’re a student. 

Understanding the billions of non-personal data points like these, with the help of AI and NLP-led modelling by sector, means we intercept not just any, but the right live intents to fit campaigns specific to each client. 

No longer are you constantly building user profiles over time, making guesses about a person’s age or gender - but instead, you’re reaching them live, and in the moment, with the kinds of holidays they’re actually dreaming of. 

Travel brands that get this smarter advertising right in 2023 will be the ones to benefit. It’s time we move beyond people-based targeting to less intrusive, more effective ad targeting today that is future-proofed for tomorrow.