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Social Media, Digital Advertising

Written by Kimberly Keyes

Looking for new ways to spread the word about your travel destination? Then Facebook is undoubtedly on your radar (if it’s not, it should be). With billions of users worldwide, Facebook delivers deeper market penetration than any other advertising medium—ever.

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But does it work for destination marketing?

The short answer to that question is: yes! But you need a strategy. Before we dig into the details, though, let’s take a look at a few quick stats:

  • 1.5 billion people use Facebook every day
  • 88% of 18-29 year olds use Facebook
  • 84% of 30-49 year olds use Facebook
  • 72% of 50-64 year olds use Facebook
  • 62% of 65+ year olds use Facebook (!)
  • 83% of adult women and 75% of adult men use Facebook

What does this tell us? Just about everybody uses Facebookeven people we don’t consider to be tech savvy. Unless your target market is under the age of five or living off the grid, they are probably on Facebook.

But not all Facebook ads are created equal.

How Facebook Advertising Ties Into Destination Marketing

What’s the key to reaching a specific audience with a specific message? It’s having a plan. That’s true for Facebook advertising as well. Here are 3 keys to building your strategy.

1. Segment, Segment, Segment

If you have done your homework on inbound marketing, you know that successful campaigns depend on knowing your audience (aka, buyer personas) inside out. Facebook’s advanced advertising platform gives you lots of segmenting and targeting options. You can create segments based on just about anything you want:

  • Location
  • Life events (anniversary, birthday, etc.)
  • Relationship status
  • Financial assets
  • Interests (cooking, music, restaurants, etc.)
  • Purchase behavior

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These are just a few of the categories you can segment for, but hopefully you can see how valuable segmentation can be in the travel industry. For example, you could target people with an anniversary in the next 30 days who make more than $75,000 per year and love exploring new restaurants. Now you have all the info you need to create an ad that reaches them right when they are probably looking for a fun getaway—and you can specifically focus on great places to eat. 

Awesome, right? It’s one of the best ways to boost click-through and engagement rates on your ads.

2. Set Measurable Goals

Now that you have chosen your audience segments, the next step is to set reasonably attainable goals that you can measure. Here are some Facebook-friendly goals:

  • Building awareness—Showcase the unique beauty of your destination with eye-catching photography and engaging content. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website as readers explore their options.
  • Re-targeting website visitors—Create ads that target people who have recently visited your website. This takes visitors a step closer to conversion by re-engaging them and keeping your destination at the front of their minds.
  • Maintain a connection with past visitors—Even if your website visitors aren’t ready to convert, it’s still worthwhile to maintain a connection with them. In six months—when they are ready—they will think of you.

Measure the success of your ad campaigns by tracking metrics like click-through rates, interactions, and conversions. If you don’t see the results you want, go back to your segmentation strategy and make sure you are targeting the right people with the right message.

3. Create Ads That Support Your Goals

The final step is to create your ads. Use your audience segments and goals to determine ad content. For example, if you want to increase bookings, focus on warm prospects such as previous website visitors or email subscribers.

If you want to build awareness, your ads should focus on beautiful photography and engaging content that sparks interest based on what you know about your buyer personas.

Facebook holds tons of potential for destination marketers when you know how to target the right audience. The key is to know your buyer personas and create content that speaks to them at just the right moment.

What are your thoughts on Facebook advertising? Have you seen success with targeting audience segments for your travel destination? Let us know in the comments!

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Kimberly is an Inbound Marketing Consultant at WindFarm Marketing with more than seven years of experience in marketing and project management. She has a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University - Sacramento. Kimberly is passionate about all things rhetoric including content, stories and news. She fulfills her passion through her work at WindFarm and periodically teaches Communication Studies at the university level.
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