As a discount hotel search engine, goSeek finds competitive rates for its travelers. But getting consumers to visit the startup’s website can be a challenge. Search engine marketing is the easiest way for goSeek to drive web traffic and acquire new customers. So, the company started using Yahoo Gemini in late 2015 to serve search-based ads within the global ad platform’s native supply.
When consumers type search queries into Yahoo’s network, Yahoo Gemini identifies the keywords within those queries and serves ads within its native inventory that reflect the intent of those consumers. So, when a consumer searches “San Diego hotels,” for instance, Yahoo might serve that consumer an ad that links to a San Diego hotel landing page on goSeek.com. Consumers could see these ads across a number of Yahoo properties, such as Yahoo News or Yahoo Finance, regardless of whether they’re on a desktop or mobile device.
Sarah Bartlett, director of marketing and analytics for goSeek, says the brand can personalize these ads even more with dynamic creative, such as by showing an ad with a picture of San Diego’s cityscape for the aforementioned query.
“Native is always a little bit tricky to get to work because you’re starting high funnel,” Bartlett says. As a result, she notes, marketers are forced to come up with creative ways to target people among this broad audience.
Because goSeek is targeting people based on their intent, as indicated by keywords, Bartlett says the brand is able to show native ads to people who are more qualified to visit the brand’s website and convert. And while goSeek runs ads on Google and Bing, as well, Bartlett says that she’s able to use more specific keywords to better define target audiences with Yahoo.
“The conversion rates [with Google AdWords] weren’t necessarily good because the targeting is a lot less defined,” she says.
After looking at data from goSeek’s Q3 2016 campaign, Bartlett saw that consumers who clicked on keyword-based native ads were 10 times more likely to make a booking than those who clicked on native ads that didn’t take search activity into account. And while she says she faced a few challenges early on, mainly being unable to separate search ad performance from native ad performance on her own, she says that Yahoo has since resolved this issue.
In terms of future improvements, Bartlett says she hopes to make the experience more targeted, such as by creating more customized landing pages for more destinations. As she puts it, “There’s always room for making things more granular.”