David Young is Director of Online Marketing at hotels.com.
He recently spoke to AdExchanger.com about data-driven media and his expectations for AdKeeper. hotels.com is one of the initial brands to sign-up for Adkeeper's "keep" product. Read the release.
AdExchanger.com: Thinking about hotels.com marketing, it would seem to be very DR (Direct Response) focused as opposed to brand. True?
DY: Yes, there is a strong DR focus to how we drive our business. But we definitely do invest a significant amount in driving and building our brand as well and differentiating ourselves in a market that, to an extent had some commoditization in play in the travel aggregator space. There is actually a pretty delicate blend of DR and brand building.
What is your expectation about the AdKeeper offering? What do you hope happens?
I hope that customers and prospects find a way to interact with our offers when and how they want to. The reality is that consumers are online to check e‑mail, read news, etc. when they are being exposed to our display ads. I want to make sure that we are respectful of the fact that consumers are initially there to do something else. AdKeeper will hopefully drive stronger conversion and ROI at the end of the funnel.
Do you retarget using display media today and are you finding that effective?
We do, and yes we find it effective. We maximize our effectiveness by not only speaking to that consumer about our brand, but speaking to them about what's relevant to them. Are they shopping for a hotel in New York? Then we'll talk to them about that rather than just blasting them with a generic promotional message.
When you retarget, how important is the publisher where your ads run?
Sure, we do consciously think about the publishers. It's important that the ads runs on quality content. Additionally, it's important to be cognizant of the combination of publishers that you're running on and making sure that from a delivery perspective you are minimizing your audience overlap.
Have ad verification services played a part of your marketing tactics at all?
Sure, Adometry has been a very helpful tool in understanding how our ad network partners are delivering impressions and in terms of verifying the quality of the delivery within the network context. We are able to verify things like delivery in geographies we are interested in, identify double ad serves on a page and how much delivery we are getting below the fold.
What are some of the success metrics or outcomes at which you are looking from your digital marketing plan?
As a brand we certainly have a blend of being brand oriented and direct response oriented. A large portion of what I'm very focused on is distribution and being very direct response oriented.
At the end of the day, ROI is one of the dominating factors for me in the budget that I deploy. Certainly, looking at factors such as 'click through' as well, to understand how driven consumers are to interact with our brand. But at the end of the day, it's really about ROI.
Will you have the AdKeeper logo on all your display media?
It's running right now on a lot of our core promotional ads like spring sale. We will test over time to see if we will expand to dynamic content providers as well.
By John Ebbert