How to Use Data to Drive Content Strategy? | Podcast S02E05

When people think of content, most think about creativity. But in reality, content marketing is a combination of creativity and data. The value of data for any business or any agency operating online cannot be overstated. In building a content strategy, data is instrumental in understanding how content is connecting the audience. Also, it can be a guide in the content creation process. 

In this episode, we talk to the author of Content Chemistry (an illustrated handbook on Content Marketing) and co-founder of the digital agency Orbit Media Studios, Andy Crestodina. Andy shares with us the importance of data to drive content strategy, a framework on what to look for in your data, and the tools that are available to get the data you need. 

"Data-Driven Empathy"

Data can give you empathy. Fundamentally marketing websites and the value of digital to a business is to answer questions of what are there prospects and visitors coming to their site. The data online can give you knowledge about what pieces of content are doing well, which content is getting people to share or buy the product. All of this information is answerable in seconds. A business can also start from the pages then get more information by contacting your leads offline to obtain qualitative data needed to create and improve content. All content is measurable. 

"How do you get better in life without feedback or insight?"

 A good feedback process for a business running online would be survey monkey or even a callback. If you are a service company, you can talk to your audience and find out what they care about in regards to your business. As a result, you'll learn what your real value is to them. Then you can create a better content strategy for your brand by using the language that your audience uses. The more you know, the better. Google Analytics is very helpful in analyzing content performance. An example would be that if you have a product page, you can look at which products visitors are looking at more and how much time they are spending on the pages. Another excellent tool is Hotjar.

"The analysis is always more valuable than reporting."

Go into analytics when you are trying to answer a question or an idea and then find the answer in the data. If you go in there to answer your question, you gradually improve your analytical skills and the question/answer action. Looking at a Google Analytics report won't help you to understand what the data means — the best way to find insights that are valuable to you is by having a question. 

"There are no tools that will take away inspiration."

Going back to the case of creativity vs. data; There are no tools or artificial intelligence that can take way pure inspiration. Google Analytics shows you information from the past, and it can give you clues on what has been working, but it doesn't tell you what will work. The best marketers are experimenting and seeing what works. Data can support you in getting the content ideas. Data-driven empathy can also make you a better writer or content marketer by using the internet data to mine topics ideas from different angles. An excellent example of an online place of data and inspiration would be Quora. Quora is a well-indexed database of the questions people want to know, in which you can get content ideas based on discussions, and also find out what people are saying about topics related to your product or service. 

S02E05 Guest: Content Marketing Guru & Co-Founder for Orbit Media Studios, Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina is a co-founder and CMO of Orbit Media, an award-winning 38-person digital agency in Chicago. Over the past 18 years, Andy's guided 1000+ businesses. He speaks at national marketing conferences, writes for big marketing blogs, and hosts a little podcast. Andy has written hundreds of articles on content strategy, SEO, influencer marketing, conversion, and Analytics.

 

 

  • Top 10 Online Marketing Experts, Forbes
  • Top 50 Marketing Influencer, Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Top 25 Content Marketers, Express Writers/Buzzsumo
  • Top 10 Social Media Influencers, Social Media Explorer

He is also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.

 

 

A SCOOP OF INSPIRATION

Don't skip this bit. 

  • We are in a world where art and science can be combined.

  • Through a scientific method, you can test to determine if your experiment is worthwhile. But you can also do things for the love of it.

  • Inject chaos in the system and try new things!

  • We should be more intuitive to feedback.

  • Research, research, research!

LISTEN NOW


Google Hotel Ads: The Future of SEM for Hotel Brands

Over the years and across all markets, researching and booking on mobile hotels is as common as shopping for clothes.

Image Source: How Smartphone Usage Is Shaping Travel Decisions - Think with Google,2018

According to Google, across all markets and devices, users say the price is the most crucial factor when it comes to booking a hotel. Easy search functionality and simple booking process is also another critical factor. If the process or the site is complicated, the user would most likely try another site. 

Image Source: How Smartphone Usage Is Shaping Travel Decisions - Think with Google,2018

As a result of this data, Google's Hotel Ads platform has given hotel advertisers opportunities to be part of the traveler's decision making journey. With the competitive hospitality industry of today, as a hotel brand, you need to get more traffic from Google as part of a strategy to attract more direct bookings. Apart from helping you decrease your OTA dependency, it also enables you to save on commission. And to achieve this, you must increase your hotel's presence on search. 

What are Google Hotel Ads?

Google Hotel Ads allows brands to create hotel campaigns that display your hotel prices, which appear when a traveler searches for a hotel on Search, Maps, or Google Assistant. The ads are displayed across all devices. An important note is that potential travelers can see your hotel prices in direct comparison to OTAs on their Google search page. If your prices are attractive enough, they will book directly with you.

According to Google, in the first six months of 2018, this has helped its hotel ad partners across the globe receive 65% more leads year over year.

Why are they important?

Around 4.5 billion searches are made on Google per day, accounting for about 77% of the world's total search traffic. Even though searches for hotels are just a small percentage of the overall search volume, this still significant. 

So now consider the fact that Google Hotel Ads, distributes hotel prices in real-time, which represents 65% of hotel bookings coming from search engines. Also, in 2018, with a 150% growth compared to the 26% penetration in 2017, Google Hotel Ads has now emerged as the most profitable search platform for the hotel brand, above Trivago and others.

How do they work? 

When a traveler searches for a hotel on Google search, they will see a combination of text ads and an organic list of hotels that appear with photos, ratings, prices, and a map. See the image on the left. 

If the traveler wants to see more hotels, they will click "More Hotels," this will take them to the full view, which includes a comprehensive view of the hotels, prices, and ratings. In this view, the traveler can further filter by specifying the check-in date, check-out date, number of occupants, and, most importantly, the price range they want. Plus, guest ratings and amenities. See example below.

Image Source: How Travelers Find Hotel Ads - Hotel Center Help
Image Source: How Travelers Find Hotel Ads - Hotel Center Help

After finding a hotel that suits all of their criteria, the user will click on the hotel. Which then sends them to the "Hotel Ads booking module." (see example below).  The booking module shows the traveler details about the hotel, such as photos, reviews, addresses, highlights, etc. Travelers can also adjust prices by check-in and check-out day, as well as the number of guests. The module also has "Book A Room," which takes the user to the hotel's booking site so they can complete the booking. 

Image Source: How Travelers Find Hotel Ads - Hotel Center Help

Travelers can also see and compare prices shown from your website with OTA. Ultimately, if a hotel offers lower rates and additional amenities, they will most likely click on the hotel website. 

What are the benefits of using Google Hotel Ads?

INCREASE BRAND VISIBILITY 

You can attract travelers who are looking for a hotel that matches your destination; this also helps increase your brand's visibility on search.

GET YOUR MONEY’S WORTH

You pay for the ad only when someone books a hotel. You can also set your bidding by factors such as travelers' country, or length of stay. 

INCREASE SALES

Generate more bookings on your website or even on Google with less commission pay-out. 

PAY LESS COMMISSIONS 

More revenues earned through Google's Hotel Ads compared to OTA's. Google Hotel Ads Commission Program runs on a CPA (cost per acquisition) model. The booking commission is around 10% to 15% per confirmed booking, which is less if compared to OTA's commission. 

 

Look to the future with Google Hotel Ads 

OTA's and price comparison are now becoming popular with travelers. But combine this with the amount of global traffic Google has and their continuous investment on the platform to improve user experience; you can bet that Hotel Ad's will be the future for travel booking. Cost is minimal, but profits are significant. 

 

So if you are interested to know more about what Google Hotel Ads can do for your hotel brand, email our team at contact@wavemakers.co. 


How to Effectively Run Facebook's Hotel Ad's Campaign

We've already established the importance of Facebook's Hotel ads and how it can be useful for Hotels in our previous blog . In this post, we'll share with you what you need to run hotel ads and how to manage them throughout different stages of a consumer's journey. 

But before we get to the steps, below are a few things an online business should have. 

  1. A Facebook page (obviously)
  2. A Facebook ad account - this account lets you create, edit, and run ads on Facebook for your page.                              Image:  Facebook Ads Manager page
  3. A Facebook catalog - a container that holds information about the products in your inventory. In this case, it would be information about your hotel rooms. Catalogs are complicated, but they can also be done with the help of a developer of your site.                                         Image Above: Facebook’s Catalog Manager 
  4. A Facebook pixel installed on your website - code on your site that collects data to help you track conversions and other actions from Facebook ads. Pixels can be added to your website manually or with the help of a Developer or expert Facebook marketer.  

 

Image Above: Facebook Events Manager- where a pixel is recording live events. 

             

 Image Above: Active Pixel on a website (tip: Download facebook pixel helper to detect and see if a pixel is working on your website or to see other website’s pixels are active). 

So now that you know what you need, here's how you can create different campaigns using hotel ad features throughout various stages of a consumer's journey. 

Stage 1: Intention to Travel

In this stage, Facebook's Trip Consideration tool allows you to reach out to a broad audience who have the intention to travel to your specific destination. The tool uses machine-learning to prioritize those who are most likely to travel; or those who are planning on a trip to a particular destination. The good thing about this tool is that it doesn't require your catalog to be set up on Facebook ads. You can run brand awareness or one-time sales promo campaigns to get people to convert or recall your brand. Take a look below the different types of campaigns and the KPI's you will have to measure for this stage of the journey. 

  • Brand Awareness Campaign - Reach people more likely to pay attention to your ads and increase awareness towards your brand. Main KPI's: Impressions and Ad Recall Lift
  • Video Views Campaign - Promoting videos of your products or hotel promos that will increase awareness. Main KPI: ThruPlays (views that are least 15 seconds)
  • Website Traffic - Sending users to the landing page of your promo.  Main KPI: Landing Pageviews

Stage 2: Planning and Booking a Room

In this stage, you can use Facebook's Hotel Ad's Prospecting tool, which allows you to promote relevant hotel inventory to the audience who have an intent to travel towards a specific destination in mind. The ad creatives are based on the hotel inventory, so this means in this stage, your hotel catalog must be already set up on Facebook. There is only one specific campaign you can run at this stage, and that's a Catalog Sales campaign. The campaign uses a carousel collection, and the main KPI's are landing page views or website conversions. The benefits of this tool are 

  1. You only have to set up your campaign once to promote all of your inventory, without having to create each ad separately. 
  2. Your campaigns are automatically set to reach people with the right inventory at the right time, based on their hotel and destination intent, their likelihood to take action, and your inventory matches.
  3. You can reach people on multiple devices. 

Stage 3: Convert Past Website Visitors

In this stage, we are retargeting past visitors from your website who've visited specific pages from your site using the hotel ads retargeting tool. The ads that we'll be retargeting them with are catalog ads from your inventory. Based on how you installed your website pixel, you can also optimize the ads to retarget consumers who are different stages of the funnel, such as "initiate checkout," "add to cart," etc. 

         Image Above: Example of Custom Conversions from Facebook Pixel

The benefits of this tool resemble the Hotel Ads prospecting tool. You only have to set up the campaign once and won't need to create specific ads for specific inventory. The ads will reach the right people at the right time based on the actions they've taken on the website. And finally, you can reach people across different devices. 

Facebook has a goldmine of data

With their capabilities of targeting new or existing audiences at different stages of their journey, one can say that Facebook is a goldmine of data. And with the catalog feature, you can automatically create ads that are relevant for your specific audience without the need of the designer. Facebook ads are effective and can help you expand any travel or hotel business to new audiences.  

To summarize the stages below is an infographic for you to refer to when starting a Facebook Hotel Ad's campaign.

If you are interested to know more about what Facebook Hotel Ads can do for your hotel brand, email our team at contact@wavemakers.co. 


Using Cognitive Dissonance to Compete with Bigger Brands | Podcast S02E02

Have you ever decided to buy something like a computer or phone and then look at the reviews or prices online afterward to convince yourself that you made a smart purchase? The "buyer's remorse" you have after the purchase is known as Cognitive Dissonance. By definition, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person's beliefs, thoughts, or decisions contradict each other. Brands have worked to tackle dissonance using ads, stories, and any type of communication to hook consumers into buying their products.

In this episode, we talk about how upcoming brands can use cognitive dissonance to learn more about their audience and create relevant content that will drive them to their brand. When creating content or brand strategy, it involves some psychology, wherein you learn more about your audience, their beliefs, and the reasons behind their buying decisions. In this episode, we speak to brand strategist, Jasmine Bina, about the science behind this theory and the framework she uses to help brands learn more about why their consumers make the decisions that they make and how they can use that knowledge to create an effective brand strategy.

"All decisions are emotional."

More often than not, people will make choices based on their emotions. Logic helps in analyzing and getting closer to the decision, but in the end, your emotional trigger makes the final choice. So overall, marketers will need to create brand strategies that will evoke emotions from their consumers, and this can lead to brand loyalty.

"People are not just buying products; they are buying stories."

Like doing any science project, research and data are vital. Learn more about what your customer's beliefs, inspirations, or the type of content they are consuming; gather sentiments online; conduct face to face interviews. Find out what your customers are willing to spend money on because the fact is people are not just going to buy the product they are going to buy into the story behind the product. Once you've gathered all insights and the emotional triggers, you can then create an effective brand strategy.

"Look into Trend Data"

When researching into a market, look into the trend data and how consumer or brand stories change over time. During this stage, Jasmine uses a framework called The Emergent Story Arc. She uses the framework to map out stories that have touched the consumers and how they have changed over time because of either political, socioeconomic, environmental, or even cultural impact. Through the changes, one can then see a trajectory on where the stories are going and how people's beliefs are changing.

"If you don't have empathy for your customers, you are going to miss important things."

If you are an SME and want to address cognitive dissonance with your customers, start to change your mindset as an organization and listen more to your customers. Regularly read on what's going on in and outside of your industry. Once you've opened your ears to them, develop and share an opinion (that can create tension or spark conversation) on whats going on in the industry. In that opinion is where you can address cognitive dissonance. Companies should be willing to take a risk on how they can make an ideal reality for people. Ask yourself what role you can play to solve a cultural, economic, or even environmental task. With this in mind, you can then develop a narrative or content that will engage your customers.

S02E02 Guest #2: Founder and brand strategist at 'The Concept Bureau.' Jasmine Bina.

Introducing Jasmine Bina, brand strategist, and founder of the Concept Bureau, a brand strategy agency based in California. She and her partner work with companies across all industries who are looking to refresh or launch a new brand. The agency also works with startups who are looking to own or create a new market in their industry.    

 

A SCOOP OF INSPIRATION

Don't skip this bit. 

  • When you create content, create it with purpose.
  • There is a science in brand strategy.
  • A brand is successful if they change the narrative.

LISTEN NOW


How Facebook Hotel Ad's Work

In today's digital age, people turn to social media to find trip inspirations. According to Adweek, 30% of US travelers go on social media to find inspiration. Also, social media is where many travelers hear about new brands and destinations for the first time. They might not be searching for specific information, but they see the content on their feed. Knowing this, brands can capitalize on the popularity of social media to inspire future travel.

When making travel decisions on social media, the behavior is primarily driven on mobile. Today, smartphones serve as the gateway to travel information for many consumers, with 42% of consumers use their phones to research trips. However, it's not just research that is done on social, but also bookings; of the travelers who've researched their trips, 38% have booked on mobile.  Travelers who booked on mobile liked that it saved time and they can do it anytime and anywhere. 

With this in mind, Facebook & Instagram are the platforms where it can reach consumers on all stages of their travel decision making journey. According to a Facebook study, travelers spend 5x more time on Facebook than on travel-related apps, sites, and searches.

This level of exposure represents an essential opportunity for hotels and other businesses to engage potential guests with relevant content during their research period; an opportunity further boosted with Facebook's Hotel Ads. 

What Are Facebook Hotel Ads? 

Facebook Hotel Ads offers hotels a way to reach different audiences at various stages in their booking process with customized messages, helping to drive early attention and boost direct bookings. The ads can deliver a higher ROAS (Return on Ad Spending) than standard retargeting, making them an invaluable resource for all hotel marketers.

Hotel ads let's travel and hotel companies automatically show ads across Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network to people who are likely to take a trip. If someone was browsing on your site but didn't make a booking– travel ads let the hotels target them with relevant ads based on their specific dates, destinations, and other trip details. And if someone hasn't visited a hotel site, but have shown interest in a destination through their web browsing, travel ads let you target them as well.   

The Travel Ads uses dynamic retargeting ads that are different than standard retargeting as they let hotels target users with ads based on the actions they've taken on their site, their stay dates, room types, and other more specific details that they may have provided. Hotels can even offer upgrades or different related experiences to people who have already booked a hotel.

The ads pull in copy with dynamic values using real-time data from the hotel site (such as the daily rate, number of visitors, and stay dates) because these ads feature highly relevant information, which means higher conversion rates and more ROAS for the businesses. See an example of an ad below. 

How Hotel Ads can generate efficient hotel bookings?

Maximize the impact of your ad spend 

A hotel's budget is spent more efficiently as the ads are only served to people who express a high intent to book. Because you can target users based on their booking window, ads were also prevented from reaching people whose desired check-in dates are in the past — thus making ad spend more efficient unnecessarily and reducing unnecessary ad spend. 

Target the right audience at the right stage of the booking process

Refined tracking (using Facebook Pixels) allows the marketer to determine which stage users are in the booking process based on the actions they'd taken on the hotel website. With this capability, marketers can create ads with tailored messaging based on each user's stage. 

For example, one could separately target users who had landed on the available rooms page and left the site, and users who had made it to the payment page but left before completing their booking. By differentiating these two audiences and targeting them with different ad copy based on their actions, you can see more conversions. 

Upsell and Cross-Sell opportunities

The Hotel Ads targeting capabilities lets marketers set up rules for automatically upselling and cross-selling after the user's initial purchase, helping them drive higher revenue per traveler. For example, if someone books a room with a hotel during a peak season, the marketers can serve the guest with personalized messages for room upgrades, spa packages, or any other offering. 

By serving personalized offers with unique user-specific details, Hotel Ad’s can generate a higher number of conversions than a standard ad. 

 


Picking the right influencer, Instagrammer vs Youtuber | Podcast S01E06

Which is a better influencer for your business, an Instagrammer or Youtuber? IGTV is trying to ramp up its usage within the Instagram community by adding the feature where IGTV clips would start appearing in people's feeds. Moreover, as recent in July, IGTV is getting another boost of exposure where anyone can watch IGTV videos on Instagram, in the standalone IGTV app. When someone you follow posts a new video to IGTV, you'll get a notification in the native Instagram app. Along with that in mind, this gives influencers to expand its content strategy towards IGTV and even possibly convert Youtubers that are on Instagram to use this feature. In this episode, we highlight how Instagram and Youtube influencer is different from each other, and how you can use each one to your advantage for your business.

"I can't even say they've got the same audience."

There's an overlap of viewers between Youtube & Instagram. However, if you view the user behavior and audience persona of a person who converts through Youtube vs. Instagram, you will see they are different. For starters, 62% of Youtube users are male, and the content that people are browsing for on Youtube are mainly product reviews, vlogging for travel, or longer form of stories from influencers. Users spend roughly 40 minutes a day on Youtube, Instagrammers use the channel twice as less than 18 minutes.

"How you convey the content on both channels is quite different."

Youtube stands as a domain for more creative, sophisticated, and entertaining content, which takes up more concentration from users. Most of the videos are of higher quality and cinematic format. So for influencers to produce this content its more of a challenge and more costly because they need to find a form or theme to stand out from others.

With Instagram, it's all about lifestyle — what people do and how they spend their money. Videos have to be quickly digestible as you have a couple of seconds before a user switches their attention to the next video, and it's quicker to produce and less costly. With the evolution of IGTV, allowing both horizontal and vertical videos, this works excellent for creators who want to be up-close and personal with their audience, i.e., travel or cooking videos. As well for those creating content such as dance and sports, which are high motion and often feature a handful of people in the frame.

"What is the product you are trying to sell?"

If the product you are trying to sell or showcase is lifestyle-oriented such as clothes or accessories, then Instagram would be the right channel to use. Using influencers to mention for recommendations or referring a specific product is much more likely to look native and be appreciated than imposing direct ads on Instagram. If you are a lifestyle e-commerce brand driving traffic to your website via Instagram is harder. Even if you put links into stories, users may still feel reluctant to check out your brand.

Youtube would be a better channel to use, only if you want to educate your audience about your products in the first contact; which takes a longer form of video. Also, if you are looking for an additional traffic source, getting your videos to the 'suggested' section on Youtube will give you a tangible boost in terms of impressions and deliver potential customers to your website.

S01E06 Guests: Daniel Woodroof & Brandon Lee

Before they were co-founders of Pandan Social, a content marketing agency based in Malaysia. Daniel and Brandon met when they were both go-kart racers with the ultimate goal of joining formula one. In the business side, Brandon is a freelanced content creator and videographer. While Daniel is an accomplished marketing consultant. With their experience in the global markets, they saw that many brands don't have a dedicated team to run or create content for their social media channels. Their agency Pandan Social fills in this need by providing brands with their dedicated team of content producers, account managers, and social media marketers to create content as well as manage their social media channels.

Daniel Woodroof
 
Brandon Lee

 

A SCOOP FOR INSPIRATION

Don't skip this bit.

  • If you want to be an effective content creator, always be yourself and be confident with your brand.
  • Always keep in trend.
  • Timeline is your life, be selective, and tailor your content to the platform you are using.
  • Leverage on collaborations - work with groups of people to create great content.

How to deal with influencer frauds? | Podcast S01E03

How do you know when an influencer is a fraud? In episode 3 of our Influencer Marketing series, we've heard stories from two business that have worked with fraudulent influencers and what they learned from them.

The Practice of Black Hat Social Media Marketing

There are a number of influencers today who practice black hat marketing on social media, especially on Instagram. The techniques include; buying followers (via spam accounts) on websites in exchange for cash. These influencers use these accounts to rapidly grow their following so they can appear to have a large follower base in order to get higher compensation from businesses. Another practice is using bots to fake engagement.

Influencer marketing fraud is a growing problem in an industry valued at $1 billion dollars. According to data findings from an anti-fraud company called Sway Ops, a single day’s worth of posts tagged #sponsored or #ad on Instagram contained over 50 percent fake engagements and out of 118,007 comments, only 20,942 were NOT MADE by bot followers. This goes to show a lot of influencers nowadays think the use of this software and programs is legitimate; and that it's normal to invest in pods to increase growth. As a result, this becomes a problem for brands to trust influencers to promote their business when their social currency or following is not authentic.

"Create benchmarks and rules"

Before reaching out to an influencer, a business should set a benchmark to what type of influencer is best for their brand. This involves defining the type of audience they have, the number of followers they should have, the type of content they produce and the KPI's (key performance indicators) they should have such as engagement rate. This can help determine between the good vs. the bad influencers, wherein a good influencer would be able to share their stats or KPI's. While the bad would share minimum or none of their KPI's.

"Long term strategies equal long term relationships"

If you've collaborated with good influencers in the past, then it would be ideal to create a long-term influencer strategy with those you trust so that you don't have to look for new ones who maybe frauds. It saves time, money and it guarantee's results for your business. This would mean that you would have to test the waters, but if you've established your benchmarks and rules you'll be able to determine the good vs. the bad influencers.

S01 E03 Guest #1: Mia Ponidjan

On this episode, we have Mia Ponidjan the general manager of Prasanna by Arjani Resort Bali - Indonesia. A stunning property tucked away in Uluwatu Bali that features 21 luxury villas. As a resort, Mia receives a lot of collaboration requests from influencers. In this episode, Mia shares her experience of working with travel influencers who've committed fraud and how it changed her businesses approach towards collaborating with future influencers.

 

S01 E03 Guest #2: Danielle Francis

Our second guest is Danielle Francis the Founder & CEO of Bloom Moda e-commerce retail company that sells, upcycle, and recycles sustainable children's fashion brands throughout the European Union. Danielle has worked with a variety of Instagram influencers known as "Instagram Mom's". In this episode, she shares her experience with working some frauds and what she learned from them.