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Pathmatics Blog
Travel, Facebook |


Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Travel Advertisers Take on Digital in the UK

December 06 2019 by Roy Patel

The debate about digital advertising being an effective medium to engage consumers will rage on for years.  However, with the large sums being spent and volume of impressions being served across the marketplace, investment will continue and social platforms are an influential component for many brands. 

Looking at some of the major travel brands that UK consumers use for booking flights and trains, we can see how important Digital advertising plays in the marketing and communication mix.

Pathmatics UK data highlights some of these trends. We can see from below the importance of using digital ad formats for British Airways, Easyjet, Eurostar and Virgin Trains.  Creatives are used across all brands to promote new routes, special offers, seasonal promotions and once-off targeted messaging around specific brand communication.   

In terms of spend and impression volumes Facebook plays a major part in driving brand messages to consumers.  Combination of link, carousel and video posts playing a major part in driving home emotive posts around global and local destinations. Be it city breaks, beach and secluded resorts, or wintry snow escapes.

Easyjet for example in the UK has increased its digital spend across all formats, but Facebook spend outstrips other formats and with the Winter Ski season upon us the spend has increased with this in mind and the festive holiday period.

Volume of impressions being served are also higher across the FB platform with the majority link and carousel posts, with a call to action to the Easyjet site.

Even when you look at major airlines. You see the importance of Facebook as a platform and this is probably at a loss for Pre-Roll Video as many brands have not adopted video as a format. This is driven by a lack of video play and watching video formats in full. Whereas, FB posts allow you to convey your message quickly, instantly, effectively and to large scale audiences.

When you look at some of the major car rental players. There is a different picture in terms of what we see in the UK for use of Facebook Social or digital as a whole. Use of Facebook advertising has been adopted by Europcar, whereas adoption by likes of Hertz, Avis and Enterprise is very limited. In fact, overall investment in digital by Car Rental brands is still considerably below Train and Airline Travel. 

In the US these brands are all active on Facebook.

(US Facebook Ad Formats by Major Car Rental Brands)

(UK Car Rental Brands use of Digital Advertising Formats)

Is there an opportunity for more co-branding advertising opportunities between the different transport brands? Reinforcing messages around use of each other’s transport, use of each other’s transport, offering joint promotions and incentives? Probably there is an opportunity, but joint initiatives will need to take into account the formats that work best and using a concise and effective messaging strategy.

With Christmas and New Year upon us I am sure we will all be using these modes of transport to see family, friends and work colleagues!

To learn more about Pathmatics digital advertising analytics data and how we work with brands, agencies and publishers please visit www.pathmatics.com/why-pathmatics

*All Data is based on UK & USA Pathmatics Explorer 1/1/2019 - 04/12/2019

About Author
Roy Patel

Roy Patel has over 25 year worth of sales experience, in selling and managing sales operations globally from $5M - $100M. Over the last 3 years he has primarily been executing Pathmatics European Sales and Business Development strategy. Roy has worked and at some of the most pioneering research companies including MediaMetrix (part of Comscore), Nielsen//NetRatings, MetrixLab and Lightspeed Research (part of Kantar) in Senior leadership roles. Having worked agency and supplier side, selling everything from market research, software and technology solutions and digital services.

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