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Sarah Wharton

How cruise brands can sail in the right direction with programmatic display

Hit Search blog programmatic display real time bidding rtb cruiseThese days, no cruise provider can be without programmatic display and Real Time Bidding (RTB) as part of their arsenal to ensure best value out of their marketing spend. Right now, it’s even better as not all cruise providers have opted to use it yet, so those that do are staying head and shoulders above their competition.

But what is programmatic display and RTB and why are they so important to cruise providers? Well, rather than simply pushing marketing messages out there and hoping they find the right people, programmatic display targets potential customers based on their intent to buy a particular product – in this case, cruise holidays. So it finds the exact people who are interested in cruises based on their online browsing and shopping habits and then puts your cruise packages in front of them.

Isn’t this narrowing the net of potential customers?

One crucial fact about cruise holidays is they simply aren’t for everyone. Some people don’t like boats, some people don’t like water, and some people simply suffer seasickness. Now that’s fine, but if you put an ad in front of those people, they’re not going to suddenly change their minds so you’re wasting your time – and money. Programmatic display means you’ll only be targeting people who have shown an interest in, or have booked, cruises before – therefore increasing the chance they’ll convert and getting the most out of your marketing spend.

Let’s break this down and say you put an ad for your cruise business out to 100 people at random and it costs you £1 for every person who sees the ad. Out of those 100 people, 10 do visit your site but 30 don’t like boats, 30 don’t like water and 30 get seasickness. Now say you get £5 for every person who visits the site. That means you’ve made £50... But you've spent £100, of which £90 was not particularly useful as those people were never likely to engage with your brand in the first place and won't in the future.

Using programmatic display meanwhile means that the 100 people you target will be carefully chosen based on their how interested they’re likely to be in your cruise holidays. Perhaps they’ve booked a cruise before, or maybe they’ve been considering one and perusing relevant sites. This means that out of those 100 people targeted, perhaps 10 won’t be interested (maybe they’ve not long got back from a cruise or already have one in the pipeline) but 90 visit your site on the basis of seeing your ad.

Using the same financial model as before, this means you have made £450 against a £100 spend – all of which was useful because even those who didn’t visit your site on this occasion were in right the target market and so now are aware of your brand for another time.

So why do cruise providers need programmatic display and RTB?

Real Time Bidding means that you get to put your cruises in front of your audience before any competitors do. It also means that, depending on how much you’re happy to bid for that mention, you can beat your competitors every time without over-spending.

Say you set your maximum bid to £1 as a guide. If no one else is bidding for this mention, you may only spend 20p in order to let people know about your cruise packages – imagine the profit margins! However, if a competitor bids at 40p then the system automatically ups your cost to 50p so you keep your head nicely above water and continue to make a profit.

So programmatic display is finding the right audience for your cruise adverts, while RTP sets your limits for what you want to pay for getting those adverts in front of that audience in real time. And since this is all automated, it gives you more time to produce cool creative content that’ll really grab your audience’s attention.

Programmatic display is a must-have for cruise providers. Without it, and by manually setting up your bids, you could be spending time and money targeting people who simply aren’t interested and, at the same time, missing those who would be keen on your brand if they knew about it. Since RTB changes the parameters as needed, you’re more likely to get your cruise holidays in front of audiences who want to go on them – plus it will keep targeting more of your core audience as time goes on.

And all of this without over-spending. Now that’s plain sailing...

If you would like more information on how we can help your business with programmatic display and Real Time Bidding for a better ROI, you can contact our cruise marketing experts at Hit Search on 0800 011 9715.

If you have a business in the financial sector and would like to up your marketing game or receive some expert information about digital marketing for financial services, then get in touch with a member of our team!

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