Welcome to the Travel Marketeer, a weekly series where we examine data, insights and ideas around marketing, creative testing, and ways travel brands can improve the online customer experience. In this week’s installment we help you to unpack unnecessary verbiage from your travel ad creative.

To have an enjoyable vacation, there are items you absolutely must pack, such as a toothbrush and several pairs of socks. Then there things you pack but never use, like that slinky pool coverup on your trip to New York in winter.

Writing travel ad creative is a little bit like packing a suitcase. There are some things you must have, such as a strong call-to-action. Then, like that swimwear, there are some words that you could do without. We will talk about which words to unpack from your travel ad creative.

Words That Take Up Space

“I don’t know if I’ll use this, but it’s small and lightweight,” you say while adding an extra pair of flipflops to your suitcase. The problem with packing small things you don’t need is that they add up quickly and you are left with less room for the things you need.

In ads, there are short, innocuous phrases that are unnecessary, take up space, and add no value. They win and lose in equal measure against other ads in the same ad group that do not contain these phrases and either way, they win or lose by a small margin contributing little to performance.

According to a Boost study of thousands of travel ads, “available”, “online save big”, and “get the” are like those sandals you might wear a little but you probably wouldn’t miss if you didn’t have them. These phrases simply take up space, but don’t contribute to significant gains or losses in ad performance. Plus, they can add up to take up a lot of space in your ads. “Get the best deals available online. Save big!” Is a phrase chock-full of filler words with little room remaining for performance-enhancing terms.

Unpredictable Words

Packing a pair of gym shoes on a trip might be a good decision if you wind up taking a long walk. Or, they might annoyingly take up a lot of space in your bag because despite good intentions, you don’t work out during vacation. It’s hard to predict whether or not you will find the shoes to be useful.

Similarly, there are unpredictable words in travel ad creative that win big as often as they lose big in contests against other ads in the same ad group that do not contain these phrases.

According to the Boost study, words like “great”, “compare,” and “cheap” are prime examples of this. Put them together with something like “compare great rooms with cheap rates” and you have an unpredictable ad that is as likely to perform well as it is to perform poorly.

There is a big potential upside to including these words in travel ad creative. But there is a 50/50 chance on average that using these words will negatively impact performance. So what should you do about it?

Test and Optimize

These insights are based on aggregate data from thousands of ads across numerous advertisers. To understand what truly works in your travel ad creative, you must test extensively. Just because on average, people find it useful to pack flannel pajama pants in their suitcases doesn’t mean that this is the case for everyone in every context. Aggregate data is useful in that it informs where and what to start testing: like a packing list based on things other people bring. But until you get out there and test, you won’t know which words to pack into your travel ad creative.



About Boost Media

Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale.

The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.