By Emma Jowett,
Head of Travel and Education, Yahoo
The advance of digital has radically transformed the travel industry. From a time when travel agents used to sit in shops on the high street it is now a world of airline e-commerce sites, travel recommendation sites and social networks that offer inspiration.</>
But with this change, brands have an opportunity to become a part of the consumer’s journey through every step of their trip – encompassing the full spectrum of before, during and even after a holiday.
Digital has developed into the new shop window, a place where potential buyers can browse the wealth of opportunities – be that browsing websites before a trip, updates while abroad, or enviously viewing a friends holiday photos on social media. Travel is heavily researched and viewed online.
Booking a holiday is still often quite a fragmented experience, with consumers going to multiple online destinations to find their inspiration. On average travellers visit more than 18 different websites when planning a holiday. They’re booking their flights with one site, researching the destination on another, taking recommendations from friends through social networks and reading reviews from experts.
Many travellers now do their research on a tablet or mobile device and emotionally a picture is built up of the ideal holiday. As they are browsing across devices it is high quality imagery that catches their eye. In fact 68% of people told us that looking at images was a prime source of their travel decision-making. Part of Yahoo, Flickr is one of the world’s largest photo sharing site where millions of travellers already upload their holiday photos, making it a great place for brands to run picture-led campaigns which showcase beautiful and inspiring imagery or tap into existing communities who are sharing and exploring travel photography.
Although the travel industry leads many other sectors in terms of ecommerce, travel brands are largely yet to capitalise on this wider online experience - the opportunity to engage with consumers at the ‘inspire’ stage. A recent study we undertook saw that only 3% of travel brands are a destination for consumers when they are looking for inspiration. There is a massive opportunity to own this crucial phase in the travel cycle.
While travel brands should ensure their online presence is as inspirational as possible for browsing across multiple devices, they also need to optimise their mobile and tablet sites for bookers. The IAB found that of the 48% of travel brands who have a mobile optimised site, only 6% are specifically designed for tablet devices. For a consumer this means browsing beautiful images and being inspired on your tablet only to then have to log on to a desktop, or go through a clunky mobile experience, to actually book your holiday. My message to the travel industry is get it right on tablet now, not just for browsing but for transactions too.
Timely and contextual advertising can also help brands have a meaningful role at each of these points of this online journey – especially the ‘inspiration’ stage. The travel industry in many ways leads other sectors in terms of acquisition marketing but in a world where the cost of every conversion is scrutinised, it can seem like a daunting prospect to spend ad budget further up the purchase funnel.
With this in mind, 2014 will be the year of native advertising. At Yahoo, we recently revamped the homepage to show news in an infinite stream, allowing contextual ads can sit within the feed. This is just one example of native advertising and we believe this new format is only set to get bigger, and this is particularly true on mobile where traditional banner ads have been less successful. The possibility to also serve contextually relevant image advertising will be the icing on the cake to really inspire the audience.
Together native advertising, optimising sites for mobile and tablet and making the most of images are a huge opportunity for the travel industry. Used effectively, brands can own the whole travel cycle, from inspiration to purchase.
By Piers North, Strategy Director, Yahoo
Native advertising is one of the buzz words of the moment and it generally provokes one of two reactions. Either a sense of confusion, or the feeling that it’s an over-hyped phrase which is just a new way of describing what we do already – creating advertising which is relevant to the editorial experience.
At Yahoo we’re firmly in the camp that native advertising is not just about new terminology but that it’s an entirely new revenue stream which will be the key growth area in online advertising of the future. If we assume the definition of native advertising to be valuable content placed in the context of user experience, then there is often the mistaken assumption that native advertising is all about content marketing. However we see in-stream advertising as the key driver of native advertising, and the beauty is that it’s scalable across screens.
Native advertising is spawning a revolution, and a catalyst for the growth in native is the shift to mobile. This year we will experience platform crossover, where more users will access Yahoo on mobile devices than on PC. Clearly the rise in mobile usage calls for a new form of advertising, more seamless to the user experience.
This move to mobile has been motivated by the habits of the influential 16 -24 year olds age group, the TL:DR generation for whom a summarisation app like Yahoo News Digest is designed. This is an audience who feel more insecure without their phone than their wallet, according to recent Yahoo Generation Z research. Mobile is where they are, and where brands need to be.
So enter native, spawned from the evolution of the digital ecosystem and one which fits in with the need state of users. First came display, then came search, and in a sense you could say that native is born from search. Search now towers over display and native brings these two together, working as a hybrid. As a media player who operates in this space we know all too well the symbiotic relationship they have. The impact of display on driving search is clear and our Rich Ads product which integrates video and imagery into the search results, ties offline creative into the PPC world. Native evolves this offering in a revolutionary way.
To succeed with a native platform, you need three key things. Firstly, the content must be discoverable to give clients audiences at scale which in turn drives performance. Secondly native advertising should provide the same value as any other content. Lastly, we have to get user trust right. Native advertising assets should be clearly labeled to maintain consumer confidence.
Driven by in-stream advertising, and incorporating a spectrum of digital advertising from search through to content, native advertising will be the biggest growth area for 2014. With mobile usage leading this charge, it’s a revolution brands can’t afford to ignore.
Yahoo today announced that it has appointed Jason Talley as Country Commercial Director and MD of its UK operations. Jason will report to Brigitte Cantaloube, Commercial Director for the EMEA region. He will be responsible for Yahoo’s business in the UK, including forging and driving new partnerships, leading a vertical advertising and agency development team and product specialists to help deliver the unified Yahoo Advertising offering to clients and agencies across all screens.
Jason, who joins from Base 79, a Digital Rights Management Company and YouTube’s largest EMEA Multi-Channel Network Partner, will join Yahoo during the course of Q2.
“Jason has a strong background delivering agency and advertiser solutions on an international and local basis. He is an expert in trading strategies and negotiation for agency partnerships and skilled in recognizing and monetising valuable audiences for clients across multiple formats - particularly video. We are thrilled to have him on board,” explained Brigitte Cantaloube.
Talley added: “The Yahoo Renaissance is palpable. That, coupled with its powerful proposition which connects highly engaged daily active users to brands, was a huge draw for me. I am also looking forward to bringing my experience from TV and Video to Yahoo and am delighted to be joining a talented and energetic team“.
Prior to Base 79, Jason held various roles at Channel 5 Broadcasting for fifteen years. Most recently he was Controller of Sales and Head of Airtime Sales & Trading where he worked closely with Yahoo EMEA SVP, Dawn Airey.
Yahoo’s Laura Chaibi and winner of the IPA’s prestigious “Women of Tomorrow” competition is blogging for the IPA from Ad Week 2014