How much should I spend on Facebook Ads and Google Ads?… And other common Tourism Digital Marketing questions answered.

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You’ve been thinking for a while now that you should be doing more to advertise your tourism business and bring in more opportunities.

But the thought of tipping money into digital marketing channels like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram or anywhere else frankly worries you.

Thoughts go through your mind.

  • Technically how does it even work?
  • How will you stay on top of spend and make sure it doesn’t blow out where you end up with a bill for thousands of dollars?
  • Who do I even target ads to, and how do I reach them?
  • How will I know if it is working?
  • How much should it cost me, and how will I know if it’s working?

Let me put it to you; your thoughts are understandable. But they are not justified.

They’re understandable because they are shared.

I’ve been working with Tourism businesses for nearly a decade, and questions around advertising on social media and Google search are some of the most common.

Unfortunately, commonly tourism business owners and tourism marketers just like yourself do nothing rather than try something.

I want to dispel some of the myths you’ve created in your mind to give you some confidence to start advertising your business. I know how powerful targeted ads can be and what a missed opportunity it is to learn what your ideal customer responds to and grow your business.

Firstly, if you go into advertising with the mindset that you don’t have it right the first time, but you’re going to learn from what you do, you are already more likely to succeed.

Most small business owners turn on ads and expect them to start driving business from day one. But that doesn’t happen. So they turn the ads off, blame the platform and never return.

Like Gary Vaynerchuck says, don’t blame the platform. Facebook ads aren’t working for you because you’re shit at Facebook ads. You wouldn’t pick up a basketball and say it’s not working if it wasn’t going into the hoop when you shot. You’d admit you need practice.

The good things about digital marketing (digital advertising in tourism) are that you can see what’s working and what’s not to a very granular level. If you want to run two versions of an ad side by side with only a tiny difference in the heading, you can.

Which worked better will be reasonably apparent in the analytics for any of the major platforms.

Forget about getting the ad right the first time you write it. The best copywriter in the world can’t guarantee that, and you’ve had next to no experience writing compelling copy.

Lesson one: it’s constant learning, and that’s part of the investment.

If we agree on that premise, what’s next? Let’s answer each of the questions we posed earlier.

  • Technically how does it even work?
  • How will you stay on top of spend and make sure it doesn’t blow out where you end up with a bill for thousands of dollars?
  • Who do I even target ads to and how do I reach them?
  • How will I know if it is working?
  • How much should it be costing me and how will I know if it’s working?

Technically how does digital marketing even work?

This doesn’t matter. If this stops you from using the various ads platforms you might as well shut up shop and choose another gig. The platforms change. Facebook isn’t going to be around forever. New marketing channels emerge. There’s always going to be something technical to learn and that’s just something you have to get your head around.

How will you stay on top of Facebook Ad spend and make sure it doesn’t blow out where you end up with a bill for thousands of dollars?

All of the ads platforms make it easy manage budgets. They do so at various levels as well. For campaigns, audiences and individual ads in some cases. Even limits on the entire account if you want that level of peace of mind. In every case I can think of right now (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook Ads, Google Search Ads) I can’t imagine how you’d ever get to the end of the process and not have complete peace of mind that you’ve set the spending control you need. It’s just not possible to get through the process without making that decision AND confirming it.

Who do I even target ads in my tourism business ads, and how do I reach them?

How you target depends on the platform. For example, in Google Search, you might target Geographic and search terms. In Facebook Ads, you might target interests and behaviours, and in LinkedIn, it might be a job title. In any case, you already know your customer.

You may not have experience articulate them, however. The key here is to define your customer as precisely as possible wherever you advertise. The more you specify whom you want to reach, the better your content (what you sell) will appeal to them. Assume you know your customer’s wants, needs and aspirations, that is.

How will I know if my digital marketing is working?

Don’t over-complicate this step. Every platform has analytics (data showed in an easy to understand view). It’s very straightforward to compare variations of ads to see what is working better than another. What should you be looking for depends on the platform.

For example, in Google Search ads, you’re not just trying to get impressions. You want people to click. So Click Through Rate (CTR) matters to you. If you’re running variations of similar ads, this is the metric you want to look at.

If your tourism business is running social ads on Facebook or Instagram, you might be more interested in Cost Per Thousand (CPM). An indicator of how engaging your ad is to your target audience.

A higher cost per thousand (in general) usually suggests your ad isn’t that interesting. Because when more people engage with it, the ad will go further, for less. So the CPM comes down.

How much should it Facebook Ads and Google Ads cost me, and how will I know if it’s working?  

Ahhh, my favourite question! The answer is whatever you like. Don’t be concerned about investing $5 per day in any of these digital marketing ad platforms. All you are trying to do is learn and improve.

If you don’t see a result, you know you need to change something. If you do see a result, there’s an opportunity to increase your spending, reach more of the right customer and accelerate more results.

The best thing you can do is just get started. Let me share this with you as well; most so-called digital marketers (working specifically in tourism or otherwise) will have had bugger all experience running ads. Very few will also be great at it.

I know this because I’ve met many more than you’ll ever come across in my ten years in the industry.

Get this; if you asked me today to refer you to someone to help with your digital marketing ads, I could count on one hand the people I may refer you to. I’ve probably met or crossed paths with a hundred in that time, though.

That is how rare finding good digital marketing help is.



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