G Adventures ramps up customer conversions with remarketing

Travel firm explains how it's using insights about shopper behaviours to deliver the right ad at the right moment in each shopper’s journey

G Adventures is using the power of dynamic remarketing to turn potential travellers’ exploration aspirations into sales, according to its global manager of paid media, Matthew Todd.

The small group adventure travel company was founded in 1990 and has 50 staff in Australia and a dozen tour guides. It’s tapping insights about shopper behaviours via Criteo’s retargeting technology in order to deliver the right advertisement at the right moment in each shopper’s journey.

The ambition is to ensure G Adventures’ local website stays “front of mind” not only when potential customers search for trip ideas, but also throughout their path to purchase. The Canadian-based company offers a range of travel products, from active travel to budget-minded offerings for the 18-to-30-year olds, sailing, river cruising and expedition cruises to the Arctic and Antarctic, and Nat Geo journeys.

“Travel is quite a different purchase path that people take: There are so many different ways that people purchase travel, particularly when they are doing it online and directly. So having that tailored, personalised message was the best path for us as opposed to having very generic creatives that we send out to everyone,” Todd told CMO.

Essentially, the company is working to touch base with potential customers regardless of device, and engage with consumers at every touchpoint.

“Research suggests people don’t just research travel on one device, they do it in multiple ways,” Todd said. “Criteo has been good in terms of helping us target potential customers cross-device – from mobile and tablet to desktop. That’s helped connect a few of the dots that previously a lot of platforms didn’t allow, where you couldn’t have all three platforms working in sync for dynamic remarketing products.”

Todd, who’s from a digital marketing agency background, claimed many companies find success using dynamic remarketing to “tailor and personalise” display creatives to what people have visited on the company website, and how they engage with it.

In the case of the Criteo implementation, G Adventures uses tags on the website to monitor people’s cookies data. “It will examine how long they are on site for, the trips that they viewed while they’ve been on our site, and how much time they’ve spent viewing those trips,” he explained.  

“The learning algorithm will figure out who people are that are most likely to convert to sale, and serve ads based off the tours they’ve viewed or very similar ones closely aligned to what they viewed to give them alternatives. The person can then click through directly from those ads to those specific tours.”  

Tangible results

G Adventures is already seeing tangible results from the Criteo implementation, which took three months to fully integrate.

“We’ve noticed from our internal data that there’s a 25 per cent increase in our onsite engagement, which has been really positive, as opposed to our other display creatives we’d run in the past,” Todd said. “And we’ve seen a 75 per cent increase in our e-commerce conversion rate for that digital display activity, so adding that into the mix resulted in that type of improvement.”

Other results include a 19 per cent increase in revenue, 45 per cent increase in click-through rate, and 88 per cent increase in total impressions.

“Instead of it being a static display, it is now dynamic display, and that helps us go that little bit further to keep people engaged when they come onsite and to actually drive them to actual purchase,” he said.

Criteo was first rolled out in Australia as a trial. Six months later, G Adventures teams followed suit in North America, the UK, and Germany, one of its emerging markets.

“Each market is quite different in terms of how people engage with our brand and how they purchase our product,” Todd commented.

“The Australian market is very much a travel agent market, so from a direct perspective we were getting a great return from Criteo, but the US, which is much more of a direct market than it is an agent market, so they were getting an even better return because the users there are so much more used to purchasing travel online, as opposed to going to an agent.”  

Next Steps

Todd said G Adventures plans to broaden the use and scope of the Criteo technology to other customer demographics. To date, the technology has played a role in lower funnel activity, aimed at people that are ready to purchase. But he wanted to expand it to the middle funnel, aimed at people who are considering travel, but not quite ready yet.

A big brand challenges for Todd is the fact that the company is not well known in the Australia market. He saw the adoption of retargeting as a step in the right direction towards educating the public.

“We’ve been in the Australian and New Zealand market for a little over 10 years now, but brand awareness is quite low for us,” he said. “A big focus for our direct marketing is getting that recognition and awareness in the market and educating people on our product and giving us that brand identity.”

Todd was particularly excited about “new developments” on the remarketing horizon, including creating exclusion lists and in improvements in tailoring the messaging based on audience insight.

“I am all about making sure that when we are engaging with people in the digital space, that we are engaging with them at the right place, at the right time, and to the right people,” he added.    

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