When you hear the term ‘mobile marketing’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For those who’ve never dabbled in this area, I’m guessing something along these lines:
“How can we do mobile marketing? We don’t have an app!”
“Everything you do on desktop is now available on mobile...right!? We don't need a mobile marketing plan."
"We just want to get the basics right—if we get the resources later, we'll look at it."
While the term ‘mobile marketing’ might sound intimidating, the reality is that it doesn’t have to cost your business a huge amount of time, effort or resources. You can master the basics with little to no budget and the majority can be done by an in-house team, or even one person, with minimal technical knowledge.
To show how easy it can be, we're setting a challenge for any travel brand who has yet to try mobile marketing: achieve these five mobile marketing quick wins in five days.
Over the next five days, try out the following tactics that your travel brand can implement quickly to get your mobile marketing strategy going—whether you have an app or not. By focusing on these key areas, you can open your travel business up to new customers, reaching them through the channels they’re using most, on the device they carry through every stage of their journey.
Before we dive into the first of our five-day challenge, let’s look at some statistics that show why you should be using mobile marketing.
- The average American smartphone owner checks their phone 47 times a day.
- 52.2% of worldwide online traffic came via mobile so far this year—and that is up from 44% just two years ago.
- The number of m-commerce transactions will overtake e-commerce transactions in 2019 for the first time ever. This is an incredible statistic: mobile searches overtook desktop years ago, but for the first time, more people are predicted to buy on their mobile than on desktop.
- People today have twice as many interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere else—that includes TV, in-store or in print.
You get the picture: mobile’s not going anywhere and it’s growing quickly. Travel brands who ignore mobile in their marketing strategies risk losing potential customers to mobile-first competitors.
So how can you make an impact with mobile? Let's start the challenge.
If you only take one thing from this blog post, let this be it: sort out your site speed.
Site speed, or how quickly your website pages load, is the single most important factor for your mobile marketing strategy. When it comes to search engine rankings, Google takes site speed for both desktop and mobile seriously, as it affects the overall user experience.
Globally, 70 percent of mobile network connections occur at 3G speeds or slower. If your site takes around 10 seconds to load, you increase the chance of visitors bouncing from your site by 120 percent.
Google’s free tool testmysite allows you to test your page loading time and recommends fixes you can implement to increase your site speed. For travel, the industry average is four seconds site speed.
Run your site speed test today and implement the suggested fixes. Small changes like compressing images or making tweaks to your CSS could make a significant difference to your site loading speed.
Your second quick win is to optimize for mobile-first search engine optimization (SEO).
In July 2018, Google made a ‘speed update’ to its SEO algorithm and began rolling out the much rumored ‘mobile first’ indexing it had been threatening for years. Google’s rankings now prioritize sites that are mobile-friendly or responsive, as well as sites that have a quick loading speed (luckily, you’ll have that covered in day 1 of our challenge).
If you haven't got a mobile ready site or you've not optimised it for SEO (worse, both!) then Google will start rank your 'business page' first in search results, which pushes links to your organic home screen further and further down the screen—and maybe even off page one. One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is by getting organic sitelinks.
Organic sitelinks can increase click-through rates to your site by 65 percent, but Google doesn’t show them for every website.
Access your Google Search Console for tips on how to increase the likelihood of Google giving you organic sitelinks. Some tactics might include:
- Creating an XML sitemap
- Tidying up your page titles and navigation
By implementing these changes, you can expect to see an increase in site traffic in a relatively short space of time.
The travel industry is no stranger to Apple Wallet, which supports boarding passes, loyalty cards, hotel stays and discount vouchers, as well as event tickets. One of the best things about it is you can start using without having to create a single line of code or having any technical knowledge.
Using Apple Wallet gives you the chance to send push notifications to iPhone users, without needing to have your own iOS app. For example, here’s a test example we created that shows how a travel brand or agency could send push notifications using Apple Wallet.
- The push lets the user know that check-in is open.
- When the user opens the push message, they see their hotel stay pass for their trip.
All of this was done with existing Apple Wallet functionality—no coding required. The following sites will help you to get up and running:
The next quick win requires some development effort, but the returns on this investment can be huge: web push.
While many brands use email newsletters or website pop-ups to push offers, a few lines of code added to your site will allow you to move to web push notifications. Here is an example of how Singapore Airlines is using web push:
There are lots of benefits to using web push.
- You don’t need an app to use it. A few lines of code added to your site will allow you to start sending push messages directly from your website.
- Users don’t even need to have your website open to receive the push.
- Click-through rates of web push far outperform those of emails and are four to eight times higher. The average click-through rate is well above 50 percent.
- The immediacy of mobile push is so powerful. Emails can sit in inboxes for hours where push is actioned almost immediately.
Our final quick win is something that many travel brands are already doing: social media marketing.
Social is growing in importance every day—in fact, some companies like the flight prediction app, Hopper, spend 100 percent of their marketing budget on social. Other than App Stores, social media is the single most-used platform where you can talk to your users on mobile (and an added bonus, it’s free to set up).
Here’s an overview of how you can strengthen your social media marketing across three of the world’s largest platforms: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world and hit one billion monthly average users this year. That being said, a lot of businesses don’t use Instagram in their marketing efforts, as there is no clear way to turn viewers into customers (although easyJet has come a step closer with their Look&Book feature).
If you’re unsure if Instagram is right for your business, just take look at these stats:
- 80 percent of accounts follow a business on Instagram
- 500+ million Daily Average Users (DAU)
- 1 billion+ Monthly Average Users
- Instagram users have 10x the interaction with a brand than Facebook does
Instagram business profiles are also a lot less cluttered than Facebook business pages. Contact details like phone numbers, emails and even maps to your business are all clearly displayed.
Once you’ve set up your Instagram page, you can ramp up your mobile marketing by running geo-targeted ads in your local area.
There are four different types of ads you can choose from.
- Photo ads
- Carousel ads
- Video ads (time spent watching video on Instagram increased by 80 percent in 2017)
- Stories ads
Instagram ads are mobile-only so they are perfect for location targeting. You can add addresses or postal codes to your target ad or drag and drop a pin on a map so that you only show ads to users as they walk past your agency.
Instagram is an incredibly powerful way to target potential customers using location, context and social. Have a look at Disruptive Advertising’s article for more on location targeting with Instagram.
Next up is the world’s biggest social media platform, Facebook.
Facebook users spend five times more time there than on travel apps, sites and searches combined and 68 percent of millennials found ideas for their most recent trip on Facebook.
That being said, social media marketing on Facebook is becoming increasingly more difficult. Organic reach is limited and there is an overwhelming variety of ad types that you can run. When you’re starting out, you should focus on these four core ad types to get up and running.
- Video ads
- Canvas ads
- Multi-product (Carousel)
- Facebook pixels
Case study: Travel Department
A good example of Facebook ads in action is from the Travel Department in Ireland. They wanted to branch out from their usual ad channels of newspapers and radio, so they launched a three-step Facebook ad campaign.
- Step 1. They posted eye-catching videos to showcase the destinations available
- Step 2. Next, they ran carousel ads, which showed 10 destination images to people who had interacted with the videos.
- Step 3: They used a Facebook pixel on their site to track users who clicked through from those ads but didn’t make a purchase. They then used a custom audience list to show another ad to those exact people on Facebook, resulting in a huge uplift in conversion.
You can read all about it and find inspiration for your first Facebook ad campaign here.
Finally, we move to Twitter. Although 80 percent of Twitter users access it on mobile, which would make it a perfect channel for mobile marketing, it has nowhere near the reach of Facebook or Instagram.
If you couple that with the fact that the cost per acquisition is much higher, and conversion is lower, Twitter is not as cost effective an option as Instagram or Facebook.
However, research shows that travelers who use Twitter are looking for certain things from travel brands on this network:
- 46 percent of travelers want exclusive discounts
- 27 percent of travelers want travel ideas and stories
So, if you’re going to use Twitter, you should to tailor your content to these travelers for maximum impact.
Over to you
Getting started with mobile marketing doesn’t have to be an intimidating task, or one that costs your business an arm and a leg. Our five day mobile marketing challenge involves relatively small changes to your day-to-day, but can have a big impact on how your business reaches new and existing customers.
While these quick wins will allow your travel brand to start experimenting with mobile marketing, your opportunities to engage with travelers are limited if you don't have a mobile app. Travelport Digital research found that travelers prefer mobile apps to search and book flights and accommodation. Apps also allow travel agencies to enhance their brand presence, reduce service costs and keep travelers engaged post-booking. Download our eBook Getting started with your first mobile app to really see how mobile can transform your travel brand.
In the meantime, start our five-day challenge, measure performance and start reaping the rewards of mobile marketing.
You might also be interested in our free online course: Travel App Marketing