Darren Huston, CEO of Priceline Group Inc, has confirmed that Facebook and Twitter ads have not been providing the desired return on their advertising dollars, and that without a doubt Google remains the place to spend your advertising dollars with respect to return on investment.
With an advertising budget which surged 41% last year to $1.8 billion, his comments are sure to fire up the debate over which form of digital marketing is the most effective.
Whilst there is no arguing that social media is a great way to cement branding and communicate with potential guests, it is not the usual forum that potential guests use to actually book.
Spend your advertising dollars with Google
Google remains by far the best source for delivering traffic to the online travel agents, in turn generating revenue, and it accounts for about 90% of Priceline’s digital ad spending – a whopping $1.62 billion annually.
Google search ads are based on keyword searches and can deliver a more targeted vacation or hotel option. Google’s continual refinement of its search functionality has seen it strive to provide a better, more targeted result for the user, and it is certainly now at a standard that would be very hard to come close to matching by any other player.
Google Hotel Finder
Even as Google attracts more advertising dollars from Priceline, the search engine is becoming a bigger competitor. Its Hotel Finder is incorporating property features, room rates, guest reviews and experiences and location into the search algorithm to ensure that the end user achieves the best possible targeted result to their search. Whilst Hotel Finder has been the realm of the online travel agent to date, the last few weeks have seen the major hotel chains link Hotel Finder direct to their own websites and Google is actively encouraging the smaller Hotel operators to also link direct. In Australia, Google is partnering with HiRUM Hospitality Software, amongst others to make this possible.
Not surprisingly, Priceline is looking to diversify the company’s ad spending, tapping in to the likes of Trip Advisor, Trivago and Kayak, its own meta search engine. “You never want to be overly reliant”, said Huston, “But Google has been a great thing”. At a guess, I would suggest that this concern stems more from the potential effects of Google as a competitor than anything else.
Huston, however says he isn’t concerned. “Google of course respects us as an advertiser….they’d like to get more of my money”. Priceline accounts for 3% of Google’s ad revenue. With a pot as big as the potential of online travel revenue , don’t discount the possibility that Google might be setting its sights on getting more of that revenue direct, rather than through the OTA’s.
References to Bloombergs article – Priceline seeks results from facebook as Google wins ads
Read the full article here
By Sally Baumber
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