In today’s post, we will look at how hotels can enhance their holistic digital marketing strategies by using email marketing lists for paid search campaigns via Google’s Customer Match product. Read on to learn how you can take your hotel’s PPC strategy to the next level.
What is Customer Match?
Customer Match is a form of RLSA (“remarketing lists for search ads”) that allows advertisers to reach their highest-value customers when the moment is exactly right. This Google Adwords product allows advertisers to upload lists of opt-in email subscribers, then serve tailored ads to those specific users when they are searching on Google.
What Does This Look Like In Action?
Step 1: Collect email addresses when potential guests opt in to hotel’s email newsletters
Step 2: Send your hotel’s email newsletter to that subscriber and track whether or not that person opens the message
Step 3: Upload your hotel’s list of email subscriber addresses into Adwords (we’ll learn more about how to segment this list in just a bit)
Step 4: Create Search Network text ads that will display to your email subscribers
Step 5: Subscriber logs into their Google account and searches for a keyword that your hotel is targeting via PPC
Step 6: Google displays your hotel’s PPC ad to that subscriber
Step 7: Subscriber recognizes your name/brand, clicks your PPC ad, and (hopefully) books a room at your hotel
Benefits of Customer Match for Hotels
We know that consumers who give businesses their email addresses are, in general, genuinely interested in hearing from those businesses. Since Customer Match ads will only display to folks who have actively shown an interest in your hotel, these ads tend to result in very strong CTRs (click through rates) and conversion rates.
After you scrub your email list, you can upload separate lists on Adwords. Next, separate your Customer Match lists into two different Adwords “Audiences” based on your email marketing insights. Upload one list of subscribers who have opened your marketing emails in the past, and a second list of subscribers who have received but NOT opened your emails. Since people who have opened your hotel’s emails are even more engaged than those who have not, you will want to prioritize your “Opened Emails” Audience.
The beauty of PPC is that advertisers can customize just about everything. Since you will have two different Customer Match Audiences (Opened vs. Unopened), you should create different ad copy to appeal to these different users.
For example, if your hotel sends out an email newsletter featuring a Valentine’s Day Romance package, you should create PPC ads about that same special offer. Then when the subscriber searches for a related topic on Google (keywords / phrases like “Valentine’s getaways in CITY”) you can show different ads to the different Audiences. The ads that display to people on your “Opened” Customer Match list may have copy saying something like, “Reminder: Book Your Valentine’s Getaway! Use Code XYZ For An Extra 10% Off!” Alternately, the ad copy for the “Unopened” list might say something more general, like “Introducing Valentine’s Day Packages. Book Today And Save.” This way, your email subscriber Audiences will have first heard about your package via email, then will be reminded to book when they see your PPC ad in the Google search results.
This one-two punch approach to digital marketing doubles your hotel’s online exposure and serves as a relevant reminder that can help improve your booking conversion rates.
Since Customer Match ads only show to highly qualified users, advertisers are often willing to pay more per click for those website leads. Why? We can safely assume that these email subscribers are more likely to convert than a new website visitor or someone being exposed to your brand for the first time. Considering this, many advertisers will increase their PPC bids for Customer Match ads given the likelihood of a very strong return on ad spend (ROAS). Set your bids slightly higher for your “Opened” Audience vs. your “Unopened” Audience, since those “Opened” Audience subscribers are even more qualified and likely to convert.
Think about it like this: let’s assume your hotel’s usual CPC is $2.00, but you are are willing to pay up to $4.00 per click for leads from Customer Match ads. If that click that cost you $4.00 turns into even one booked room night (let’s call that $150 in revenue), that’s a $37 : $1 ROAS! Worth the bid increase? I would say so!
Limitations of Customer Match for Hotels
Subscribers Must Be Logged Into A Google Account
In order for Google to identify the subscribers from your email lists and serve them your PPC ads, those people need to be logged in to their Google accounts when searching for your targeted keywords. Even though your email list may have 100,000 addresses, there is no guarantee that all 100,000 of those people are using Google email accounts. Believe it or not, many folks still use email providers other than Google (think AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.). In these cases, Google can not identify the users as they search online. Therefore, when you upload your list of email addresses into Adwords, you are likely to see only a portion of the total addresses appear on your final Customer Match Audience list.
Blue Magnet has been testing Customer Match ads for the past few months. One of our hotel partners has an extensive opt-in email subscriber list. After we scrubbed the list and segmented it into “Opened” and “Unopened” groups, we uploaded the two separate lists into Adwords. Ultimately, only 52% of the thousands of email addresses we uploaded were eligible for Customer Match advertising.
Strict Requirements for Customer Match
Ultimately, there are four very specific criteria that must be met in order for Customer Match advertising to work:
- Customer must have opted in to your email list
- Customer’s email address must be connected to a Google account
- Customer must be logged in to their Google account when searching online
- Customer must search Google for one of your targeted PPC keywords in order to see your ad
What’s the Takeaway?
In short, Customer Match advertisers need VERY large email lists. Given the requirements of this form of advertising, your hotel will need thousands of email addresses on your subscriber list in order for Customer Match PPC to drive strong results.
At the end of the day, Customer Match advertising can be a cost effective way for hotels to reconnect with highly qualified potential guests online.
Want to learn more about how you can build your email marketing lists in an effective, sustainable way? Contact our team today!