By Margaret Mastrogiacomo, EVP StrategyAs we continue to ramp up our 2020 digital strategies, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve with the latest changes in the digital landscape. This month’s updates include changes to featured snippets, key points to consider when deciding to leverage the social platform TikTok, and the rollout of video ad blocking in Chrome. From SEO to design, read on for the top five things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing.
SEO: Changes to featured snippets may impact organic search traffic.
On January 22, Google rolled out a significant update to the first page of search results that resulted in webpages in a featured snippet position no longer being repeated in regular organic results. Previously, it was not uncommon for webpages to appear twice on the first page of search results if they achieved a featured snippet position. Based on this update, the big question on every hotel marketer’s mind was whether this update would impact organic traffic for webpages that used to appear in both positions on page one of search results. However, according to a recent 14-day study from seoClarity, there has been no impact on organic search traffic for webpages that used to appear in both positions. NextGuest will monitor SEO impact on any websites that were previously appearing in both rich snippets and page one organic listings.
SEM: Google Ads enables bid simulator for Target ROAS and budget simulator for maximizing clicks and conversions.
Previously, the bid simulator was available only for manual and Target CPA bidding. It’s now also available for Target ROAS campaigns. The projected impact of a change in bidding is based on your auction data from the past seven days and assumes all other influencers, such as your ads, landing pages, your competitors’ ads and bids, and other factors. Similarly, Google Ads enabled a budget simulator for maximizing clicks and maximizing conversions. Both of these bid strategies aim to spend your entire budget in pursuit of maximizing the number of clicks or conversions the campaign can generate on a daily basis.
These new indicators can be helpful tools for hotel marketers in understanding the future impact on performance when making bid or budget adjustments. NextGuest will test these new simulators as part of its ongoing optimization strategies.
Display: Chrome’s coming changes to video ad-blocking could impact YouTube.
Google Chrome’s ad-blocking efforts will soon extend to “intrusive” video ads in short-form videos. The browser will adopt the latest standards for video ads from the Coalition for Better Ads. The changes will apply to certain pre-roll, mid-roll, and non-linear display ads — and could affect advertising formats on YouTube itself.
There are three types of video ads targeted. The Coalition for Better Ads has identified three ad experiences for short-form video content (videos under eight minutes) that are now included in the Better Ads Standards:
- Mid-roll ads of any duration
- Pre-roll ads or ads longer than 31 seconds that cannot be skipped in the first five seconds
- Text or display ads that appear in the middle third of a playing video or are larger than 20% of the video content
How this will impact YouTube:
YouTube could be affected by the elimination of mid-roll ads in shorter videos and the change to the look and feel of display banners on YouTube videos. YouTube TrueView ads won’t be affected.
Hotel marketers that are utilizing any of the video ad formats that will be soon be blocked by Chrome should adjust their video advertising strategy to stay within compliance.
Social: Exploring TikTok for hotel brands.
With more than 500 million active users, TikTok is a mobile video-sharing app that launched in 2018. Users can create and post short, looping videos set to music or sound bites that are up to 60 seconds long — often with humor as the focal point. Like the other social platforms, TikTok features a personalized discover page, a home feed, user profiles, and a built-in suite of video editing tools. It’s important to note that about 60% of TikTok users are under the age of 30, so this platform appeals mainly to a younger audience. When considering TikTok for your hotel brand, there are a few important things to consider:
- Explore content for your destination: When exploring a potential TikTok strategy for your hotel, monitor what content is being created and shared with a hashtag specific to your destination. How much content is being created around your destination? Is the content relevant to your brand and audience?
- Determine if the audience of the platform aligns with your customer personas: With TikTok having a primarily younger audience (Gen Y and Gen Z) and a very playful platform, it’s important to consider if TikTok is right for your target audience and brand identity.
- Research how travel brands are already utilizing the platform: Travel brands such as Contiki Travel Tours are utilizing TikTok to host contests and engage their target audience. Identify travel brands present on TikTok that align with your hotel brand and explore how they are successfully leveraging this platform. Are they receiving engagement? Is the content compelling? Would these strategies potentially work for your brand?
Design: “Dark mode” design is more than just utility.
As “dark mode” becomes popular in user interfaces due to being easier on the eyes and better for OLED screens (by saving power and extending screen lifespans), it is also becoming a budding design trend. Dark mode web designs not only look ultra-modern, but they make colors and design elements pop. Consider dark mode design schemes in your digital strategy, especially for marketing initiatives like email that are often viewed on mobile devices.
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