“Advertisers in the travel industry need to increase their online footprint in order to keep up with this ever growing audience,” wrote the online ad team at Yahoo! Their 2011 data revealed that travel-related searches begin climbing in May and peak in July, suggesting now is the time to optimize online ad accounts for the season. Yahoo! offers these tips
Yahoo! offered some specific tips from its search-ad experts:
- Ensure your keyword coverage: Analysis of travel keywords used by adCenter advertisers reveals that the highest click-through rates (CTR) are found in longer keyword entries that include the destination and an offer (e.g., "Hawaii all inclusive vacation packages"). Even if the destination was not included, terms like "all inclusive vacation" or "last minute vacation" still have strong CTRs.
- Book Insurance for your Ads: Like travel insurance, a robust list of negative keywords will, for example, prevent your ad from being shown for searches related to cruise ship accidents or other such incidents.
- Know what's popular: Yahoo's Search Query Performance Report shows exactly what queries a Bing or Yahoo! Search user entered in relation to a keyword. The report helps you identify additional keywords to bid on and provides a list of potential negative keywords to exclude unwanted traffic.
- Go Mobile: Analysts estimate that the number of U.S. mobile users booking via mobile will nearly double from 2010 to 2012, from 8.7 million to 15.1 million. Duplicate your search campaigns to target mobile devices, and reach these searchers while they are on the road.
- Plan ahead: In a 2011 survey commissioned by the Mark Travel Corp., 19% of respondents booked trips six or more months in advance, compared with 16% in May 2010. That type of traveler has already made summer plans, but are booking their fall and winter trips now.
“The Brand USA,” the new tourism marketing entity responsible for promoting the United States to world visitors, unveiled the USA’s first-ever comprehensive marketing campaign today during a press conference at International Pow Wow, the largest U.S. travel trade show held this week in Los Angeles. The campaign showcases the diversity of experiences available in the United States in a fresh and unexpected light, inviting visitors to “Discover this land, like never before.”
“Our goal is nothing short of rekindling the world’s love affair with the USA – the place, the spirit and the dream,” said Brand USA CEO Jim Evans. “We want to spread America’s message of welcome around the world and invite travelers to experience the limitless possibilities the United States has to offer. So we asked ourselves, ‘how can we best speak to multiple countries, across countless languages and cultures?’ We found the answer lay in the only truly universal language—music.”
The Theme Song
Rosanne Cash, daughter of American music legend Johnny Cash and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, has composed an original song, “Land of Dreams,” to serve as the heart of the campaign. Initial advertisements feature Cash playing the song under New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, accompanied by musicians from around the world. As part of its marketing efforts, Brand USA will extend invitations to musical artists from around the world to come perform their music in their favorite U.S. cities and towns, profiling their trips and favorite things about the USA online and through social media. A YouTube channel is live already, with just two in-house videos, but visitors will be invited to upload their own.
Brand USA, which created the campaign in partnership with JWT, the organization’s agency of record, will employ a fully integrated marketing strategy, using a mix of 60-, 20- and 15-second television spots, as well as digital, billboard and print advertisements and a robust online presence and social media strategy to reach potential visitors. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages will showcase country specific promotions and engagements and the newly re-launched website DiscoverAmerica.com will act as visitors’ information portal for trip planning. The YouTube channel is live, with just a few videos, including the promo spot
“Other countries around the world have prioritized tourism efforts for years, yet in the 236 years since the United States of America was founded, this country has never had a nationally coordinated effort dedicated to inviting travelers to come visit us,” said Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman of Brand USA’s Board of Directors. “That changes today. This new campaign will tap into an incredibly valuable economic resource – the millions of visitors who want to experience all that our great country has to offer.”
The first wave of advertising launches in-market May 1st in the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, with a budget of $12.3 million for the first three months. A second wave will follow in Brazil and South Korea, with several other markets to follow.
Brand USA was created as a result of the U.S. Travel Promotion Act, federal legislation passed in March 2010 which established a public-private partnership between the travel industry and the U.S. government dedicated to increasing international visitation to the U.S. through marketing and promotional efforts to drive job creation and spur economic growth. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average overseas visitor to the United States spends $4,000 per trip, and 35 incremental overseas visitors supports one new U.S. job.
International Pow Wow, which is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from April 21 through April 24, draws more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations and 1,200 international and domestic travel buyers from more than 70 countries. Together, these buyers and sellers will negotiate business that will generate an estimated $3.5 billion in future USA travel.
Travel Channel has greenlit three pilots and announces the development of two original travel series to augment the Network’s programming slate for 2012.
New pilots include “Barn Finds” (working title), featuring antique car expert Corky Coker, who travels the back roads and small towns of the Deep South searching for priceless, rare American cars and automotive memorabilia; “Kevin Michael Connolly Project” (working title), which follows the author, photographer and self-proclaimed thrill-seeker – who was born without legs – as he travels the globe exploring new adventures; and “Power Trip with Jason Harper” (working title), featuring a travel, car and lifestyle writer who travels the world writing about his adventures from the driver’s seat.
The two new series in development explore new destinations and take viewers on a journey, whether it’s around the world or around the block. The first series, “Coffee Hunter” (working title), spotlights businessman and adventurer Todd Carmichael as he travels the globe, often in dangerous locations, hunting for the highest-grade coffee in the world. “City Swappers” (working title), follows the adventures of two couples who have swapped homes, cars, friends, favorite restaurants, and culinary tastes in order to experience an alternative to the typical vacation.
“Our programming mission is to continue to provide a myriad of travel perspectives that not only entertain and inspire, but will take viewers beyond the guidebook,” said Travel Channel CEO Andy Singer. “We’re excited about our new shows in development which feature a group of new talent who each weave their own personal experiences and stories through each show’s unique travel lens.”
NEW GREENLIT PILOTS:
“Barn Finds” (working title) (two half-hour episodes)
Produced by BCII with Travel Channel’s Sean McKnight as Executive Producer. This half-hour series follows antique car expert Corky Coker, and his team, on a freewheeling road trip through the back roads and small towns of the Deep South. A man on a mission, Coker is on the hunt for barn finds – automotive diamonds-in-the-rough that have been hidden away or just forgotten for years. When he’s on target, Coker is wheeling, dealing, shucking and jiving, all to get the best price on the right car to restore and resell at his shop, Honest Charley Garage. When he’s distracted, Coker hits the scenic routes, roadside attractions and down-home restaurants – all the things that make for the kind of journey most of us no longer have time to take.
“Kevin Michael Connolly Project” (working title) (one hour pilot)
Produced by Crazy Legs Production with Travel Channel’s David Gerber as Executive Producer. Kevin Michael Connolly is an author, photographer and self-proclaimed thrill seeker who was born without legs – but he’s never let that get in his way. Connolly is on a mission to discover all this world has to offer – new cultures, meeting remarkable people and tackling difficult physical challenges. Getting around with only his hands and his skateboard, viewers will experience what makes Connolly an inspiration to us all.
“Power Trip with Jason Harper” (working title) (one hour pilot)
Produced by Departure Films with Travel Channel’s Patrick McManamee as Executive Producer. Jason Harper – travel, automobile and lifestyle journalist, has the best job in the world! He travels the world writing about his adventures from the driver’s seat of the world’s most interesting vehicles. From burning up Italy’s autostrada in a $300,000 Lamborghini, to a midnight Vespa cruise through a medieval Tuscan village with 80 of his newest friends, “Power Trip with Jason Harper” offers a unique and fresh perspective to the people, food, festivals, and cultures of different locales around the world. It’s cultural anthropology from the driver’s seat. This show offers fun, adventure, excitement and laughs around every turn.
SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT:
“Coffee Hunter” (working title)
Produced by Nancy Glass Productions with Travel Channel’s Bill Howard as Executive Producer. Would you risk your life for the perfect cup of coffee? Todd Carmichael would. As owner of La Colombe Torrefaction – a premium coffee company based in Philadelphia, he travels the globe, sleeping under his car, avoiding warlords and bodily-harm, risking it all to bring back the perfect cup o’ joe. His business focuses on the best – coffee so rare it’s sought by the world’s top chefs and restaurants. Carmichael seeks out the most exotic, fascinating and dangerous places to find the perfect seed in the coffee plant. There’s an amazing story behind every cup.
“City Swappers” (working title)
Produced by Stone Circle Films with Travel Channel’s Patrick McManamee as Executive Producer. “City Swappers” follows the adventures of two couples that have swapped homes, cars, friends, favorite restaurants and culinary tastes for their vacation. From the moment they arrive in their new home away from home, the traders will be challenged with a list of tips and tasks created for them by each other with one goal – to give the visiting couple a true insider’s perspective on the best, the wildest, and the most awe-inspiring facets of their hometown.
Forbes Media announced the relaunch of its lifestyle title ForbesLife last November, and has just released its April issue. While for 22 years it was polybagged to 800,000 of Forbes' 900,000 subscribers, it will now be offered on newsstand, and available in replica form for Nooks, Kindles and iPads, providing cross-platform access to what Forbes calles “the best in luxury journalism.”
It will have to be, to stand out. As Women's Wear Daily observes, "It’s only March and four luxury titles have revealed they will launch (or relaunch) to tell the tales of billionaire bachelors, fine Parisian restaurants and the latest antiaging skin procedures." February saw the launch of Bloomberg Pursuits, aimed at its Bloomberg Terminal clientele with their median household income of $452,000, 90% male. Jason Binn, founder of Niche Mediam, will publish Du Jour magazine in September, targeting readers with a net worth of more than $5 million and an average home value of $1.5 million. And Time has resurrected its Time Style & Design after a three-year hiatus. Advertisers include Harry Winston and Bulgari, and the magazine is delivered to 500,000 affluent subscribers.
ForbesLife and Time Style & Design of course share strong journalistic parentage. Forbes has easy access to the world's luminaries, which is the value proposition of ForbesLife. “With personality-driven covers, the new ForbesLife offers personal connections to the world’s tastemakers, with a focus on putting power in the hands of the consumer,” said the company in a release. “The magazine was re-imagined for the social world we live in." The April issue boasts a new modern look, photo-driven editorial content, first-person storytelling, and “unprecedented access to the most important people in the world...focused on giving candid glimpses into the biggest names in business, showing how the rich and ambitious really live."
“In integrating ForbesLife with its parent and introducing a dazzling design courtesy of the great Robert Preist and his associate, Grace Lee, we are amplifying our nearly 22-year-old founding mission of celebrating the rewards of success with flair and style,” said Robert Forbes, President of ForbesLife. ForbesLife readers represent elite influencers, spending more on travel, apparel and accessories, fine watches and jewelry, consumer electronics, home furnishings, and luxury vehicles than readers of any other business publication.
In the newest issue, Warren Buffett writes about his decision to invest on his own at age twenty five, a choice that ended up netting him over $50 billion dollars. The cover story takes readers inside the home of bachelor billionaire Elon Musk, South African tech-genius responsible for PayPal, Tesla, Space X, and supposedly was the inspiration behind Iron Man. (A dubious claim: the first “Iron Man” comic was released in 1963, Musk born in 1971, but perhaps ForbesLife is talking about the films.) John Paul DeJoria, cofounder of Patrón and Paul Mitchell hair products, takes ForbesLife for a ride on luxurious private train car, The Patrón Tequila Express. Jay Leno gives a tour of his $20 million garage, equipped with the most sought-after vehicles in the world. Also showcased in the issue are the lives of philanthropist Susan Dell and car magnate Charles Royce; a wine tour of Paris by world renowned wine writer Robert Parker Jr.; and a satire by P.J. O’Rourke.
Additional highlights of the new ForbesLife include sections on the best in travel, auctions, charities, high-end sporting events and luxury goods as well as party pictures from exclusive Forbes branded events.
Is now the time to launch a luxury title? Absolutely, observes WWD, which observes that year-to-date, luxury title W is up 63 ad pages (20%), and Departures kicked off 2012 with a 22% rise in revenue and 10% hike in paging during Q1.
- Travel Channel has released the network’s first travel guide application, available now on iTunes. The app, entitled the “Travel Channel Layover Guide With Anthony Bourdain,” “weeds through the cluttered digital travel space,” says the network. The app combines the curated tastes of the network’s Emmy-winning host, Anthony Bourdain, with practical tools to help users create their own Bourdain-inspired excursions in one of 10 major cities, including Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York and Rome, among others. For $1.99, users can customize a trip, from an afternoon pub crawl to a week-long immersion of food, drink and fun.
- ESPN is claiming its most-watched men’s college basketball season, both on cable and online. Throughout the regular season, college basketball content across ESPN.com, the ESPN mobile Web and ScoreCenter delivered 1.6 billion total minutes and 283 million visits, up 16 percent and 5 percent respectively compared to the previous season. Additionally, college basketball regular season games on ESPN3 and WatchESPN across computers, smartphones and tablets logged 455.9 million minutes, up 56 percent compared to ESPN3 on computers the previous season. During the season, it logged its most watched college basketball game ever on February 8 with 4.4 million minutes generated across computers, smartphones and tablets for the March 3 Duke vs. North Carolina game.
- It seems that Facebook “F” or Twitter “T” makes us feel watched, and influences our online shopping. So found researchers from the University of Miami School of Business; Empirica Research; and Stylecaster Media Group, as described in BizReports. The researchers found that buyers who felt proud to be associated with a brand were 25% more likely to make the purchase with the icons present; the subtle message is “Look at me! I’m buying luxury goods!” or eco-friendly goods, and so forth. Conversely, shoppers are 25% less likely to make a purchase they deem embarrassing (perhaps cheap goods, “marital aids” or medications at an online pharmacy) with the icons present. The shoppers presume less privacy.
- The U.S. Justice Department plans to sue Apple and five of the biggest U.S. publishers in an antitrust suit, reports the Wall Street Journal in an exclusive. The Department charges those publishers with colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter. The defendants include Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group, and HarperCollins Publishers. Several of the parties have held talks to settle the case and head off a court battle. The WSJ speculates that the result of this case will be less electronic books.
- AllTwitter, the “Unofficial Twitter Resource” run by MediaBistro, has released a compelling infographic on the influence of social media in the beauty industry. Consumers spend an estimated $59 billion on beauty products annually, and engage with or shop for the brands through Facebook and Twitter. The Sephora brand (both cosmetics and its retail stores) has, for example, more than 2.7 million Facebook followers, and lead the cosmetics industry in Twitter fans and followers. No speculation as to just how much the social media presence drives sales.
Digital measurement thinktank comScore, Inc. has released its monthly analysis of U.S. web activity at the top online properties for January 2012, based on data from the comScore Media Metrix service. Tax sites (including IRS.GOV), travel sites like Kayak.com and educational sites all saw strong gains.
“In January, the average U.S. Internet user spent a record 36 hours online, reflecting the growing importance of digital media to Americans’ daily lives,” said Jeff Hackett, executive vice president of comScore. “Among the biggest category gainers in this heavy month of Internet usage were Travel and Career sites, which posted double-digit gains, and of course Tax sites as the non-procrastinators among us decided to get an early jump on getting their refunds.”
Several Travel subcategories were among the top-gainers in January, including Transaction sites which grew 28% to 3.7 million visitors. TravelPN.com led the category with 798,000 visitors (up 11%), followed by Viator.com with 642,000 (up 9%), WWTE.com with 442,000 (up 86%) and OneTime.com with 278,000 (up 48%).
Car Rental sites jumped 22% to 6.2 million visitors during the month, led by Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company with 3.2 million visitors (up 14%). Avis Budget Group ranked second with nearly 2 million visitors (up 19%), followed by Hertz with 1.3 million (up 21%), CarRentals.com with 793,000 (up 30%) and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. with 790,000 (up 27%).
Hotels/Resorts also ranked among the fastest-growing Travel sites. The category attracted 33.2 million visitors in January, representing an 18-percent increase. Marriott secured the #1 position in the category with 5.1 million visitors (up 30%), followed by Disney Parks & Travel with 4.8 million (up 36%), Hilton Hotels with 4.6 million (up 25%) and Expedia Hotels with 3.3 million.
Career and Education
As the new year began, Americans turned their focus to career services and education. Traffic to Job Search sites grew 27% in January to 24.2 million visitors. Indeed.com Job Search ranked as the category leader with 13.7 million visitors (up 33%), followed by CareerBuilder.com Job Search with 9.8 million (up 27%), Monster.com Job Search with 5 million (up 28%) and SimplyHired.com with 3.5 million (up 42%).
Training and Education sites also gained traction, with a sizeable increase of 23% to 14.7 million visitors. LiveCareer.com topped the list with 1.2 million visitors (up 58%), followed by AesopOnline.com with 940,000 (up 44%), FastWeb.com with 736,000 (up 30%) and Learn4Good.com with 599,000.
Tax Sites Spike as Season Begins
Visitation to Tax sites swelled in January as millions decided to get a jump on filing and hopefully getting a refund check from Uncle Sam. More than 30.7 million Americans visited a Tax site in January, up 359% to rank as the fastest growing category.
Top 50 Properties
Google Sites ranked as the #1 property in January with 187.4 million visitors, followed by Microsoft Sites with 179.2 million and Yahoo! Sites with 177.2 million. LinkedIn.com jumped 8 positions to rank #29 with 36.8 million visitors, while Everyday Health, which helped many fulfill their New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, leapt 10 positions to #38.
Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Google Ad Network led the January Ad Focus ranking with a reach of 92.9% of Americans online, followed by AOL Advertising (85%), Yahoo! Network Plus (84.8%), ShareThis (82.4%) and AT&T AdWorks (82.3%).
Travel bimonthly Departures gained 43% in ad pages in 2011, year-over-year (YOY) and rival title Afar gained 110%. That according to minOnline, which has just released iits 2011 boxscore report of bimonthlies. “No matter what is going on with the economy, people are still getting married and traveling,” said minOnline.
Of 22 magazines, Departures led in page difference, gaining 230 pages. Afar was second with 146. Rounding out the top six were Martha Stewart Weddings, Handguns, Weight Watchers and Bridal Guide.
Disposable income drove ad sales at Departures, which is published by American Express. Editor in Chief Richard Story attributed the growth, in part, to “the strength of the luxury economic resurgence.” Departures attracted new advertisers lilke Barneys, Christian Dior and Versace in 2011.
Content drove gains at Martha Stewart Weddings, said Publisher Amy Wilkins, who credited editor-in-chief Elizabeth Graves and editorial director Darcy Miller. The book plans its first-ever special issue devoted to real weddings in 2012, versus the usually staged pictorials.
Market shifts helped Handguns to its 52% page gain. Publisher Chris Agnes noted a strong market environment “spurred by steady growth in self-defense handgun sales.” The FBI fielded about 16.5 million background checks from firearms sellers in 2011, up 15%, according to a Reuters story.
The bimonthly list is in step with industry-wide figures for 2011. Luxury apparel monthlies and bimonthlies gained 11% in ad pages in 2011, while luxury monthlies Architectural Digest gained 9.1%, and Power & MotorYacht climbed 24.9%.
The CPG category remains the top online video ad spender in Q1 2011 at 28%, according to the "Q1 2011 Video Advertising Metrics Report," from YuMe. Share of spend by second-ranked telecom advertisers increased significantly from an average of 6% in 2010 to 11% in Q1 2011.
In terms of formats, the report found that pre-roll continues to be the most utilized format, representing 92.4% of YuMe's volume in Q1, and mobile video ad impressions made up nearly 2% of impressions served.
In measuring video completion rates, the report found that for Q1, the male audience has a higher video completion rate at 79% vs. 65% for females. Comparatively, for 2010, the female audience had a higher video completion rate at 74% versus 67% for males.
AT&T Interactive has launched in-app ads on its mobile local ad network, an extension of the company's YP Local Ad Network. Earlier this year, AT&T Interactive piloted in-app advertising on its mobile local ad network and it said that it generated over 750 million local ad impressions in three months.
In the ongoing state-by-state battle over tax collection on affiliate website sales, Amazon warned thousands of affiliates their revenue streams would be shut off if a tax bill would be signed into law. Governor Jerry Brown then signed the bill, signifying tough times ahead for many online business owners, according to The Highland Marketing Group.
TripAdvisor has acquired Where I've Been, LLC, a travel website and social platform with an interactive world map that lets users share where they've been, lived, and want to go. Its Facebook application has been accessed by 10 million people in order to create color coded travel maps, "pinning off" close to half a billion places, the companies said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
LivingSocial Instant Deals will launch $1 lunch deals from more than 100 local merchants in San Francisco on July 13. Once the lunch day is done, the Instant Deals will continue in the city, the company said.
GroupM announced the launch of Xaxis, a global audience buying company that combines the demand-side data and technology resources of WPP, and the trading leverage of the GroupM agencies into a single resource. The solution aims to offer advertisers the ability to target specific audiences directly, independent of website, app or media platform, using a database of audience profiles. In forming Xaxis, WPP brings together a portfolio of audience-buying capabilities including B3, targ.ad, GoldNetwork, GroupM DSP and the GroupM Marketplace. In 2010, the businesses that have combined to form Xaxis executed approximately 4,000 campaigns for more than 400 GroupM clients.
LivingSocial Families has launched in six new locations: Metrowest Boston, Mass., Waco, Texas, Des Moines, Iowa, Huntsville, Ala., Cardiff, United Kingdom, and Paris, France. With the addition of these sites, LivingSocial Families has extended its reach to 135 markets worldwide, and its members are getting discounts of at least 50% off on local experience, according to the company.
- The Ritz-Carlton has launched World Concierge on Foursquare -- a first for a luxury hotel brand to extend exclusive services to a mobile public audience, according to their statement. Tips will be populated regularly by concierges from Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world. Foursquare users are able to find local information by visiting the profile of The Ritz-Carlton or by checking in to locations of interest.
Automated Media Services (AMS) has launched its new media platform, 3GTV Networks, into nine Bloom grocery stores in the Washington D.C., area. The AMS pilot program is the first test of its media platform which allows brands the ability to communicate in the retail store. Some leading household CPG's, including PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Nestle Purina, have signed on for the pilot, the company reports. The platform has an in-store digital communications backbone that allows for digital messaging at the shelf-edge, two-way communications, shopper tracking and measurement tools, and other activities in development.
Specialty display solutions, Planar Systems, has partnered with NBA franchise, the Portland Trail Blazers, in the installation of the Planar Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System to boost fan engagment, brand loyalty and sales of season tickets at the Rose Garden Arena. The 132-square-foot Clarity Matrix LCD video wall features information about exclusive events with players and alumni, highlights season ticket holder discounts, and provides high-resolution videos and images from Trail Blazers games. The nearby 30-square-foot Clarity Matrix Wall of Fame depicts life-sized images of players, writes Digital Signage Expo.