Cheap Tickets Kicks Off Yearlong Ad Blitz

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Cheap Tickets, an online and offline seller of discount travel products, purchased 500 million ad impressions this week on the DoubleClick Network to expand its online direct marketing reach. It is Cheap Tickets' largest online buy to date, the company said yesterday.


Cheap Tickets will begin placing banner ads, text links and buttons on the 200 sites across the network in two weeks. The ads will run for one year. Half the impressions will be dedicated to run-of-network sites, while the remainder will be directed to travel-specific sites such as SkyAuction.com, Epinions.com and Roughguides.com.


"The Cheap Tickets buy is among the largest targeted buys within our travel category," said Jane Butler, publisher of the DoubleClick Travel Network. The network is made up of nine exclusively held sites and six other sites that can serve ads from other ad servers.


"We have been buying online for about a year and a half, and this is the largest buy we have done so far. We are looking to achieve a broad-scale reach," said Evans Gebhardt, vice president of marketing at Cheap Tickets, Honolulu, HI.


The company is targeting well-traveled Americans with an average annual household income of $90,000, a secondary education and an average age of 40, Gebhardt said. Gebhardt would not disclose how much the company is spending on the campaign.


"We develop new banners every week and like to rotate the banners to get the best response," Gebhardt said. "Our online buys are performance buys vs. branding campaigns, because we are trying to get clicks to occur." He said Cheap Tickets has achieved an average click-through rate of 1 percent on past targeted online buys.


Cheap Tickets currently has banner ads on travel-related sites and portals such as www.goto.com and www.travelweb.com. The company also advertises in the travel sections of major metropolitan newspapers, such as The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and on national television networks.
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