Connect with us

SEO

5 Tips For More Engaging & Impactful Branded Travel Content

Published

on

5 Tips For More Engaging & Impactful Branded Travel Content

Branded content is a term that is thrown around quite a lot in marketing circles, but many people struggle to understand what it actually means.

It’s likely that you’ve come across and engaged with plenty of pieces of branded content before without realizing it, both as a consumer and in a professional context.

In the travel industry, in particular, branded content is frequently used as a way to appeal to certain customer demographics who prioritize the integrity and values of a brand over the specifics of their offering.

Branded content can take a wide variety of forms and approaches, which means that it can be tricky to figure out the best way to make the strategy work for you.

The struggle ends here.

What Is Branded Content?

Put simply, branded content is any piece of content that builds brand awareness by associating a company with the values it communicates.

To really understand where this approach comes from, you need to understand the context from which it emerged.

Traditional advertising has the intention of selling a product or experience at its core. Whatever method is used to do this, it is often explicit enough that the customer is aware that they are actively being sold to.

Many of the techniques used in traditional marketing are very effective, but the consumer landscape has changed drastically over the last decade or so.

Potential customers are wise to the classic methods used to catch their attention and subtly manipulate their behavior, which has led to a distrust of brands who use obvious advertising methods to explicitly push what they are selling.

On top of this, what modern consumers want from the brands they support has also changed in recent years.

In fact, 83% of millennials, in particular, prefer to spend their money on products or experiences from businesses whose values align with their own, and actively seek out companies with missions or goals that they also support.

This is particularly relevant in the travel industry as it is in line with many customers’ concerns over the social or environmental impact of their holidays.

Instead of looking for the cheapest deals, many consumers now prioritize booking trips with brands that share their priorities when it comes to travel.

Branded content is the product of these key changes in the marketing landscape.

To appeal to this new generation of consumers, and to avoid the distrust that comes with explicit methods of advertising, branded content focuses on creating all kinds of content that potential customers will enjoy and illustrates the values of a company, instead of its offering.

This could be videos, blog posts, publications, and podcasts that are produced by a brand but not directly related to its product or service.

Branded content taps into the topics that potential customers are interested in to catch their attention and then builds affinity by regularly sharing other engaging content so that the brand becomes synonymous with certain positive values or ideas.

The benefits of this approach are clear: Branded content strengthens brand image, which helps you to stand out from your competitors, improves recall, and increases the number of potential customers who hear about your brand.

Targeting potential customers whose values align with your brand also means that conversion rates are higher and that you’re more likely to gain long-term customer loyalty.

Branded content is an inbound marketing strategy; it attracts new customers by focusing on creating an appealing brand image.

There’s a lot of overlap with other marketing techniques and formats, which makes it easy to integrate this approach into your existing marketing plan.

It should be noted that the term ‘branded content’ is now also used to refer to a kind of collaborative marketing approach on social media platforms such as Instagram, where a creator indicates that a post has been sponsored or inspired by a business partner.

Influencer marketing can involve kinds of branded content, but in this article, we use the term to refer to the wider style of content creation.

How To Make Branded Content Work For Your Travel Business

Now, you understand what is meant by the term branded content and can see the benefits of adopting the approach for your travel brand, you might have been left wondering how to put these ideas into action.

1. Establish Your Values

Company values are a key part of establishing a unique brand image. They’re more than just your business goals and culture.

They dictate the kinds of travel experiences you offer, the way you approach your marketing content, the way you use your profits, and the kinds of consumers who support you.

At the heart of any branded content campaign should be what your company stands for and the impact you want to make in the travel world and beyond.

The whole point of this marketing approach is to highlight brand values that the audience will respond to, so you need to get this straight before you go any further.

If you already have a clear set of company values, fantastic. Identify the ones that you think your audience will relate to most, and go from there.

If you feel your values are lacking, think about issues or trends in the travel and tourism industry that you care about or feel that you could make a difference to.

Cast the net wider and reflect on any social issues that you think your business could support or impact, and consider if there’s a way to work these into your values as well.

2. Identify Audience Interests

Understanding the audience you are marketing to is the backbone of any successful marketing scheme. Branded content is no different.

However, instead of just tapping into what your audience wants from a travel company, you need to dig deep and research into the interests and values of each demographic in your customer base.

Branded content works by catching the attention of potential customers who are going to want what your business offers, and building up a trusting relationship with them through the content you share.

In order to grab this attention in the first place, you need to have a clear idea of what your target audience cares about.

This goes further than just understanding what kind of holidays they enjoy and what they seek to get out of travel experiences, although this is still quite useful.

You need to find out what other interests intersect or align with their identity as a consumer.

  • What kind of hobbies do they enjoy?
  • What other brands do they support?
  • What are their values?
  • What social issues do they care about?
  • What topics do they enjoy reading about in their free time?

Complete this research for each of the different groups that make up your target audience, the more segmented the better.

Then, identify the areas and topics that have some overlap with your brand, and start seeking branded content inspiration here.

For example, say that you’re a travel brand that specializes in wellness holidays to tropical destinations.

Your target audience may have general interests in things like healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness, and also care about their environmental impact on the planet, for example.

As a travel brand, it doesn’t make sense for you to share content offering health or nutrition advice, but you could create content that discusses sustainability in travel or the benefits of activities like yoga or meditation on mental wellness.

There doesn’t have to be an explicit travel focus on the branded content you create. As long as it aligns with your overall business values and benefits your brand image, it will attract the right kinds of customers.

3. Choose Popular Formats

A key part of ensuring success when it comes to branded content is choosing a format that your target audience is going to engage with.

There’s no point in spending a huge portion of your budget on an elaborate video marketing campaign if your target audience actually prefers to read content instead of watching it.

Alternately, if the majority of your customers enjoy social media content above all other formats, creating a print publication will get you nowhere.

Branded content makes a big impact because it genuinely engages and excites the people who see it, which prompts them to share and grow the content’s reach.

If you’re not using a platform or a format that your audience is familiar with or want to share content on, you won’t get the desired impact.

Another feature of branded content is that it tends to respond to popular trends.

There’s no point in trying to create something relevant if your audience has already lost interest in the format you use. If you’re going to take inspiration from what’s popular, you need to ensure you act fast.

This is one of the simplest pieces of branded content marketing advice, but it’s an essential part to make the approach work for your travel brand.

Do your research to make sure you’re creating something that potential customers will want to engage with, and then start brainstorming.

4. Create Immersive Content

Branded content seeks to catch people’s attention and make an impact, even if they’ve never interacted with your brand before.

Tapping into consumers’ emotions is one of the best ways to do this, which is why creating immersive branded content is such an effective approach.

Video and audio formats are particularly successful for travel brands, as they can immediately transport a potential customer to a new destination or experience.

You shouldn’t use this tactic to promote your brand offering (or at least, not in this approach to marketing), but instead, focus on crafting an experience that is so engaging, it will stay in a consumer’s mind afterward.

The worlds of VR and augmented reality are opening up more possibilities than ever before when it comes to immersive content, but even if you don’t quite have the budget for such formats, you can still effectively hook your audience in an instant.

Consider audio content that speaks directly to the listener, visual-heavy social media posts that inspire instant wanderlust, and description-rich written content that your reader can’t help but get lost in.

5. Be Unique

There are plenty of instances in a marketing strategy where it pays to play it safe.

Branded content isn’t one of those.

This is definitely the time to do something quirky and creative that will get your brand noticed and your content shared.

A partnership with an unexpected brand on a series of social media posts? A response to a hot topic that clearly illustrates your stance on the matter? A venture into an unusual format, such as producing a music video?

The best examples of branded content are the ones that have gone viral, usually due to their unique or unexpected nature.

Communicating your values is important, but you need to catch consumers’ attention first so that they actually listen to what you’re saying.

If there was ever a time to take a risk and try something new, this is it.

Conclusion

It’s possible that your travel business has already dipped its toe in the branded content waters, or you’ve been pursuing similar results with your marketing efforts without knowing the technical term for what you’re doing.

You might also be a total newcomer to this approach, in which case this article should have given you a good idea of the best ways to make branded content work for you in the travel sector.

The nature of branded content is likely to change over the coming years in response to fluctuating consumer interests and priorities, as well as the introduction of new marketing techniques.

What is unlikely to change however is the positive impact of promoting your brand by finding common ground with your target audience, leading to high levels of customer engagement, trust, and loyalty.

More resources:


Featured Image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock




Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

Google’s AI Overviews Shake Up Ecommerce Search Visibility

Published

on

By

Google's AI Overviews Shake Up Ecommerce Search Visibility

An analysis of 25,000 ecommerce queries by Bartosz Góralewicz, founder of Onely, reveals the impact of Google’s AI overviews on search visibility for online retailers.

The study found that 16% of eCommerce queries now return an AI overview in search results, accounting for 13% of total search volume in this sector.

Notably, 80% of the sources listed in these AI overviews do not rank organically for the original query.

“Ranking #1-3 gives you only an 8% chance of being a source in AI overviews,” Góralewicz stated.

Shift Toward “Accelerated” Product Experiences

International SEO consultant Aleyda Solis analyzed the disconnect between traditional organic ranking and inclusion in AI overviews.

According to Solis, for product-related queries, Google is prioritizing an “accelerated” approach over summarizing currently ranking pages.

She commented Góralewicz’ findings, stating:

“… rather than providing high level summaries of what’s already ranked organically below, what Google does with e-commerce is “accelerate” the experience by already showcasing what the user would get next.”

Solis explains that for queries where Google previously ranked category pages, reviews, and buying guides, it’s now bypassing this level of results with AI overviews.

Assessing AI Overview Traffic Impact

To help retailers evaluate their exposure, Solis has shared a spreadsheet that analyzes the potential traffic impact of AI overviews.

As Góralewicz notes, this could be an initial rollout, speculating that “Google will expand AI overviews for high-cost queries when enabling ads” based on data showing they are currently excluded for high cost-per-click keywords.

An in-depth report across ecommerce and publishing is expected soon from Góralewicz and Onely, with additional insights into this search trend.

Why SEJ Cares

AI overviews represent a shift in how search visibility is achieved for ecommerce websites.

With most overviews currently pulling product data from non-ranking sources, the traditional connection between organic rankings and search traffic is being disrupted.

Retailers may need to adapt their SEO strategies for this new search environment.

How This Can Benefit You

While unsettling for established brands, AI overviews create new opportunities for retailers to gain visibility without competing for the most commercially valuable keywords.

Ecommerce sites can potentially circumvent traditional ranking barriers by optimizing product data and detail pages for Google’s “accelerated” product displays.

The detailed assessment framework provided by Solis enables merchants to audit their exposure and prioritize optimization needs accordingly.


FAQ

What are the key findings from the analysis of AI overviews & ecommerce queries?

Góralewicz’s analysis of 25,000 ecommerce queries found:

  • 16% of ecommerce queries now return an AI overview in the search results.
  • 80% of the sources listed in these AI overviews do not rank organically for the original query.
  • Ranking positions #1-3 only provides an 8% chance of being a source in AI overviews.

These insights reveal significant shifts in how ecommerce sites need to approach search visibility.

Why are AI overviews pulling product data from non-ranking sources, and what does this mean for retailers?

Google’s AI overviews prioritize “accelerated” experiences over summarizing currently ranked pages for product-related queries.

This shift focuses on showcasing directly what users seek instead of traditional organic results.

For retailers, this means:

  • A need to optimize product pages beyond traditional SEO practices, catering to the data requirements of AI overviews.
  • Opportunities to gain visibility without necessarily holding top organic rankings.
  • Potential to bypass traditional ranking barriers by focusing on enhanced product data integration.

Retailers must adapt quickly to remain competitive in this evolving search environment.

What practical steps can retailers take to evaluate and improve their search visibility in light of AI overview disruptions?

Retailers can take several practical steps to evaluate and improve their search visibility:

  • Utilize the spreadsheet provided by Aleyda Solis to assess the potential traffic impact of AI overviews.
  • Optimize product and detail pages to align with the data and presentation style preferred by AI overviews.
  • Continuously monitor changes and updates to AI overviews, adapting strategies based on new data and trends.

These steps can help retailers navigate the impact of AI overviews and maintain or improve their search visibility.


Featured Image: Marco Lazzarini/Shutterstock



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Published

on

By

Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Published

on

By

New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

A keynote at Google’s Marketing Live event showed a new AI-powered visual search results that feature advertisements that engage users within the context of an AI-Assisted search, blurring the line between AI-generated search results and advertisements.

Google Lens is a truly helpful app but it becomes unconventional where it blurs the line between an assistant helping users and being led to a shopping cart. This new way of engaging potential customers with AI is so far out there that the presenter doesn’t even call it advertising, he doesn’t even use the word.

Visual Search Traffic Opportunity?

Google’s Group Product Manager Sylvanus Bent, begins the presentation with an overview of the next version of Google Lens visual search that will be useful for surfacing information and for help finding where to buy them.

Sylvanus explained how it will be an opportunity for websites to receive traffic from this new way to search.

“…whether you’re snapping a photo with lens or circling to search something on your social feed, visual search unlocks new ways to explore whatever catches your eye, and we recently announced a newly redesigned results page for Visual search.

Soon, instead of just visual matches, you’ll see a wide range of results, from images to video, web links, and facts about the knowledge graph. It gets people the helpful information they need and creates new opportunities for sites to be discovered.”

It’s hard to say whether or not this will bring search traffic to websites and what the quality of that traffic will be. Will they stick around to read an article? Will they engage with a product review?

Visual Search Results

Sylvanus shares a hypothetical example of someone at an airport baggage claim who falls in like with someone else’s bag. He explains that all the person needs to do is snap a photo of the luggage bag and Google Lens will take them directly to shopping options.

He explains:

“No words, no problem. Just open Lens, take a quick picture and immediately you’ll see options to purchase.

And for the first time, shopping ads will appear at the very top of the results on linked searches, where a business can offer what a consumer is looking for.

This will help them easily purchase something that catches their eye.”

These are image-heavy shopping ads at the top of the search results and as annoying as that may be it’s nowhere near the “next level” advertising that is coming to Google’s search ads where Google presents a paid promotion within the context of an AI Assistant.

Interactive Search Shopping

Sylvanus next describes an AI-powered form advertising that happens directly within search. But he doesn’t call it advertising. He doesn’t even use the word advertising. He suggests this new form of AI search experience is more than offer, saying that, “it’s an experience.”

He’s right to not use the word advertisement because what he describes goes far beyond advertising and blurs the boundaries between search and advertising within the context of AI-powered suggestions, paid suggestions.

Sylvanus explains how this new form of shopping experience works:

“And next, imagine a world where every search ad is more than an offer. It’s an experience. It’s a new way for you to engage more directly with your customers. And we’re exploring search ads with AI powered recommendations across different verticals. So I want to show you an example that’s going live soon and you’ll see even more when we get to shopping.”

He uses the example of someone who needs to store their furniture for a few months and who turns to Google to find short term storage. What he describes is a query for local short term storage that turns into a “dynamic ad experience” that leads the searcher into throwing packing supplies into their shopping cart.

He narrated how it works:

“You search for short term storage and you see an ad for extra space storage. Now you can click into a new dynamic ad experience.

You can select and upload photos of the different rooms in your house, showing how much furniture you have, and then extra space storage with help from Google, AI generates a description of all your belongings for you to verify. You get a recommendation for the right size and type of storage unit and even how much packing supplies you need to get the job done. Then you just go to the website to complete the transaction.

And this is taking the definition of a helpful ad to the next level. It does everything but physically pick up your stuff and move it, and that is cool.”

Step 1: Search For Short Term Storage

1716722762 15 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows an advertisement that when clicked takes the user to what looks like an AI-assisted search but is really an interactive advertisement.

Step 2: Upload Photos For “AI Assistance”

1716722762 242 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above image is a screenshot of an advertisement that is presented in the context of AI-assisted search.  Masking an advertisement within a different context is the same principal behind an advertorial where an advertisement is hidden in the form of an article. The phrases “Let AI do the heavy lifting” and “AI-powered recommendations” create the context of AI-search that masks the true context of an advertisement.

Step 3: Images Chosen For Uploading

1716722762 187 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows how a user uploads an image to the AI-powered advertisement within the context of an AI-powered search app.

The Word “App” Masks That This Is An Ad

Screenshot of interactive advertisement for that identifies itself as an app with the words

Above is a screenshot of how a user uploads a photo to the AI-powered interactive advertisement within the context of a visual search engine, using the word “app” to further the illusion that the user is interacting with an app and not an advertisement.

Upload Process Masks The Advertising Context

Screenshot of interactive advertisement that uses the context of an AI Assistant to mask that this is an advertisement

The phrase “Generative AI is experimental” contributes to the illusion that this is an AI-assisted search.

Step 4: Upload Confirmation

1716722762 395 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

In step 4 the “app” advertisement is for confirming that the AI correctly identified the furniture that needs to be put into storage.

Step 5: AI “Recommendations”

1716722762 588 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows “AI recommendations” that look like search results.

The Recommendations Are Ad Units

1716722762 751 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Those recommendations are actually ad units that when clicked takes the user to the “Extra Space Storage” shopping website.

Step 6: Searcher Visits Advertiser Website

1716722762 929 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Blurring The Boundaries

What the Google keynote speaker describes is the integration of paid product suggestions into an AI assisted search. This kind of advertising is so far out there that the Googler doesn’t even call it advertising and rightfully so because what this does is blur the line between AI assisted search and advertising. At what point does a helpful AI search become just a platform for using AI to offer paid suggestions?

Watch The Keynote At The 32 Minute Mark

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending