At this time of year, Google is all about pushing new ad innovations for Christmas advertising campaigns. No surprises here of course; this is the time of year for retailers to shine and formats like product listing ads take centre stage.

Not all of the latest AdWords features are limited to retail shopping campaigns though. In fact, we’re already getting good results from some of the most recent feature additions for our travel customers.

Using promotion extensions for travel brands

Using promotion extensions for travel brands
Source: Inside AdWords

Last month, Google unveiled a new kind of ad extension designed to help retailers highlight special promotions over the Christmas period. So, yes, promotion extensions were built with retailers in mind but they’re also ideal for promoting winter getaways during the festive period.

You’re not limited to Christmas either.

Promotion extensions come backed with fixed dates for key events throughout the year:

Key events throughout the year
Source: Google Support

Aside from the winter getaways over Christmas and the New Year, you can already see opportunities for Valentine’s Day trips and last-minute family holiday deals before the kids go back to school – plus the Easter half-term break, which is also a popular time for family holidays.

You don’t have to use these fixed seasonal events though. You can set your own terms and run a promotion across the entire summer or whatever timeframe you desire.

The key thing about promotion extensions is you don’t need to create new ads every time you want to run a promotion. You can create new campaigns, of course – and sometimes you’ll want to – but promotion campaigns mean you can simply add discounts to existing campaigns or ad groups and they’ll stop running at the cut-off date.

Promotion extensions also make your ads more prominent without taking up valuable space for ad text or calls-to-action.

Test new ideas with ad variations

Ad variations
Source: Inside AdWords

Last month, Google also introduced a new feature called ad variations to AdWords. This is only available in the new AdWords experience, which is now available to all advertisers – so check that out, if you haven’t already.

The idea with ad variations is that you can apply small changes to large volumes of text ads at once. For example, if you want to reference Christmas in your ads across a wide range of campaigns, you can quickly apply and test these changes across as many campaigns or ads as you choose.

Agoda is among the travel brands currently boosting campaign management and ad performance with this new feature.

“With ad variations, we’re able to test ad copy changes across our entire account in just a few minutes, which previously took hours of manual work. This means we get to quickly test ad copy and make improvements that result in better ad performance.” – Robert Tayon, Head of PPC at Agoda

Source: Inside AdWords

You can find ad variations in the new AdWords experience by heading to Drafts & experiments and selecting the Ad variations tab at the top of the dashboard.

Pinpoint travellers with custom intent audiences

Our final ad innovation for today is something called custom intent audiences. This is a new feature for the Display Network that allows you to target people who are looking for specific products. Once again, it’s not limited to retail products though. Here’s an example from Google itself that highlights the use case for travel brands:

“For example, if you’re a travel agency offering holiday getaways, Google could automatically create an audience of people shopping for “all-inclusive ski resorts” or “flights to Palm Springs.” We’ll then show you reach and performance estimates for each audience, so you can plan your campaign with precision.”

The difference between this and other targeting options is you’re not reaching people based on things like demographic info or general interests. You’re targeting people who have specifically shown an intent to buy specific products or services you’re selling – like hotel rooms in those bucket list travel destinations.

A lot of what Google says and does with AdWords at this time of year revolves around Christmas and retail shopping – we have to expect that. But this doesn’t mean that all of the new features coming to AdWords are limited to shopping campaigns. All of the ad innovations we’ve looked at today can help travel brands in a big way – and they’ll keep doing so long after Santa’s done his rounds.

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