Insight from RAMetrics
Our early ancestors travelled by foot, their successors took to the seas, then came the railway and eventually we took to the skies. Whether we’re going on holiday, migrating in search of new homes or embarking on gap years, it is clear humans have an innate curiosity. We have a desire to explore that has kept us moving throughout history, crossing frontiers and discovering new environments.
Taking time off is what most of us look forward to the most, with Google searches for flights peaking in the first week of January according to Google Trends. The Future of Money, a new study from OMD and News UK shows that people’s growing uncertainty over Brexit, particularly the spectre of No Deal, is starting to change spending patterns. The latest TGI data shows that holidays remain a spending priority for Britons, in fact 60% of the population say they took a holiday in the last 12 months, with over half of the holidaymakers spending more than £1,000 on their trip
In the age of bloggers and online reviewers, travel editorial is a key part of news brands and readers rely on them for inspiration, tips and ideas. According to TGI, a quarter of holidaymakers aged 18-34 say that newspapers and magazine articles on holiday and travel influenced their choice of holiday. Of the £82 billion spent on holidays and short breaks, news brand readers spent £63 billion. Latest PAMCo data shows that 61% of people who visited any travel websites also read news brands that same day. This shows the ample opportunities that exist to influence and reach holiday-goers by using news brands in the marketing mix.
News brands have long been a popular and fruitful advertising space for travel brands and campaigns that include news brands are considerably more effective than those that don’t. We know from ‘Planning for Profit’, our research that analyses travel purchases as part of the ‘Grown up stuff’ super-category – essentially fundamentals and necessities you’d associate with adult life. If average digital news brand investment was doubled (from only 2% to 4%) and average print news brand investment was increased from 5.2% to around 8%, brands could unlock an incredible £318 million in potential additional profit – that’s a lot of plane tickets!
Analysis of RAMetrics data shows that, from a creative perspective, travel ads could be involving readers just a little bit more (ad recall: 64% vs 66% for all ads) and as a result they score on or just below par across all brand measures. They are marginally less appealing and interesting as all ads (appeals to me: 29% vs 30%, interesting: 30% vs 32% for all ads) and when it comes to attention and recognition metrics, they fall even shorter (branding: 27% vs 31%, familiarity: 36% vs 42% for all ads). What ads in the travel category are good at is getting engaged readers to take action (engagement to action: 94% vs 89% for all ads), which can translate to more website visits and encourage readers to make recommendations.
Lumen eye-tracking shows that readers’ viewing is biased towards right-hand pages of a spread and adverts on the right are seen more: 94% see full-page ads on right-hand pages, 89% view when on left-hand pages. RAMetrics confirms these findings for travel advertisers, readers are more likely to remember ads on the right-hand side (68% vs 62% for left-hand ads). Taking a closer look at some engagement metrics, we find that both sides have something different to offer and marginally out-perform each other against various measures. Readers find left-hand side ads more beneficial (16% v 14% for right-hand ads) and interesting (31% vs 30% for right-hand ads), whereas they find ads on the right-hand side to be more informative (new information: 33% vs 31% for left-hand ads).
Image-based advertising tends to have more of an emotional impact, whereas price-based advertising is more effective at prompting action. For the travel sector, price-based ads are more common than image-based ads, despite image-based ads being significantly more impactful (ad recall: 70% vs 57% for price-based ads). Image based ads demand more attention (28% vs 16% for price-based ads), score higher for familiarity (40% vs 27% for price-based ads) and readers find them to be more emotional than price-based ads (21% vs 6% for price-based ads).
So what happens when we start thinking about different income groups? How do readers earning below £30,000 per annum (low earners) and readers earning above £30,000 per annum (high earners), respond to travel ads in newspapers? Although both groups are equally likely to notice the ads (ad recall: 66% for both), high earners score significantly better across recognition measures: they are more likely to pay attention (26% vs 22% for low earners) and more likely to be familiar with the brand or product being advertised (branding: 31% vs 26%, familiarity: 41% vs 33%). Low earners tend to be more engaged, they are more likely to think that the brand has taken a fresh approach (31% vs 30%).
When it comes to age, young people (18-34s) score better than the over 35s across all brand measures. They’re more likely to remember looking at
a travel ad (75% vs 65% for 35+) and they tend to like them a whole lot more too (like ad: 42% vs 26%, benefit: 27% vs 13%). When it comes to taking action, young people are more likely to look for new information (28% vs 12%) and they even create conversation around the brand (discuss: 23% vs 10%).
So how do young peoples’ responses to travel advertising in print stack up against their responses to print ads in other categories? When compared against all the category averages, travel print ads have higher impact for 18-34s than ads across all categories (75% vs 72% for all ads). They provide the reader with new information (48% vs 46% for all ads) and evoke a more emotional response (34% vs 32% for all ads). However they are underperforming when it comes to attention, recognition and action metrics (branding: 30% vs 31%, familiarity: 42% vs 47%, recommend: 33% vs 37% for all ads)
Looking specifically at digital, it’s interesting to note that ads for the travel sector are almost as noticeable as any than digital ads for other categories on newspaper sites. Their strength lies in driving hard metrics which are more action orientated, such as prompting visits to the advertiser (13% vs 9% for all ads) and urging consumers to look for more information (11% vs 10% for all ads).