By Margaret Mastrogiacomo
This month, the latest digital innovations include Facebook Automated Ads to streamline ad setup, new Google display opportunities announced at Google Marketing Live, and custom graphics and illustrations making a statement in website design. From SEO to design, find out the top five things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing.
1. SEO: Accessibility should become a bigger priority on search engines.
With nearly 1.3 billion people living with some sort of vision impairment, accessibility across channels grows in importance to hotel brands. While there’s no magic way for search engines to make your images and videos accessible, there are a few things you can easily incorporate into your content development and online advertising strategy to make sure everyone understands the content they discover.
- Add alternative text to all images. Alternative text (alt text) provides a textual alternative to non-text content online, such as images, graphics, and infographics. Alt text not only provides more context to web crawlers – complete alt text descriptions provide context to screen readers and increase the accessibility of your web content to those with vision impairments.
- Optimize and create friendly URLs, image titles, and file names. Your file name will help search engines and screen readers understand what the image is and if it’s relevant. Before you upload the image to your CMS, make sure the file name is simple and describes the subject matter of the media, and use it as an opportunity to include target keywords. The same strategy applies to URLs and image titles: Be sure to include relevant keywords that provide context to what the content is about.
HEBS Digital ensures that all alt text, image titles, file names, and URLs are optimized with the most relevant keywords in its ongoing SEO services.
2. SEM: Google announces Discovery ads and Gallery ads at Google Marketing Live.
Google announced several new ad units designed to address upper funnel marketing needs, including Discovery ads and Gallery ads. These new ad formats are highly visual and appear across multiple Google feed environments.
Discovery ads Available later this year, the new Discovery ads are visually rich, mobile-first ad units. They use the power of intent derived from consumers’ past site visitations, app downloads, video views, and map searches. These are the same signals Google uses for its In-Market audience targeting.
Discovery ads appear in the Google Discover feed (iOS/Android Google app and mobile Google.com) on the mobile YouTube feed and in Gmail (under the social and promotions tabs).
Gallery ads Gallery ads are visually compelling units that will appear at the top of mobile search results. They offer a scrollable gallery with between four and eight images and up to 70 characters available for each image. Advertisers pay for these on a CPC basis, either when a user clicks through to a landing page or swipes to the third image in the sequence.
According to Google, Gallery ads saw 25% more interactions than other search ad units. These ads will compete with other search ad formats for placement at the top of mobile results. However, if these units generate more engagement, they may achieve higher-quality scores – giving the ad unit priority in mobile results. Gallery ads are currently unavailable on desktop.
As upper-funnel initiatives become more and more important to fuel the booking funnel and reach potential guests early in the travel planning journey, it’s important to keep these new visually rich advertising units top of mind to test post-launch.
3. Display: Parallel tracking goes live for Google Display Ads.
Google began rolling out parallel tracking for Google display ads starting May 1. Parallel tracking is designed to enable landing pages to load faster after users click ads, as long as marketers are using third-party click measurement. It does this by separating the processing of tracking parameters appended to an ad URL from the landing page. This way, the user is directed straight to the landing page while the tracking functionality loads separately.
For optimum performance, HEBS Digital will ensure this new feature is implemented for all Google display campaigns.
4. Social: Facebook launches new Automated Ads.
Facebook Ads Manager recently launched a tool that will automatically create up to six different versions of an ad that can run across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network. The tool will lead advertisers through a series of questions about their business and the goals of the ads, and then suggest call-to-action buttons, text, and creative details based on the business’ Facebook Page.
Facebook will also offer ad targeting recommendations and budget suggestions based on the goals of the ad. If an advertiser sets their own budget, Facebook will provide estimated results and the Automated Ads platform will optimize the ad campaign once it’s live to deliver the best performing ad for optimum campaign performance.
5. Design: Custom graphics and illustrations.
Custom graphics and illustrations are the perfect way to help your hotel brand stand out and make a visually engaging impact on website visitors. Subtle, custom accents that highlight unique brand attributes or property features will help bring your brand aesthetic and hotel experience to life.