Adam Singolda, founder and CEO at Taboola is a strong believer in the power of storytelling. The trick is delivering the right story to the right audience in the right platform at the right time. That’s where Taboola’s technology steps in.
One of the content discovery company’s most recent projects was the launch of Passenger 6A (P6A), a native travel inspiration content site for TUI, which aims to give traditional consumer travel publications significant competition in the destinations, travel tips and rankings areas.
P6A features stories from real travelers who share their perspective on holidays, destination activities, food and even fashion, accompanied by attractive photography and videos.
The format of the site is simple, elegant and inviting, encouraging the reader to explore at a leisurely pace, and nothing about it—except perhaps a well placed TUI ad—makes it feel like a corporate content site.
Nuria Cabot, global marketing director for P6A, said of TUI’s objectives for the new title:
“Across several markets, we wanted to start selling travel packages directly to customers online. We created the P6A editorial brand to educate consumers about our offerings.”
We asked Adam Singolda to share the development process for this site and his views on the importance of engaging customers through well crafted tales.
Tnooz: What can you tell us about TUI’s P6A, and how that type of publication may be developed for other travel brands?
Singolda: We believe every company in the world has a story that needs to be discovered and the travel industry has been one of our fastest growing markets. As I wrote last year, storytelling or content marketing is a huge driver of growth for travel brands alongside search and social as it allows travel companies to reach consumers much earlier in the journey before users actually go and search for it, which is usually “too late” (or too expensive).
The six-month campaign with Taboola drove more than 317 million impressions that resulted in 250,000 visits to stories on P6A and TUI India. P6A converted its readership with inspirational photography, video, and articles based on real trips, often containing links to TUI products and services. The aspirational travel experiences brought to life on P6A resulted in customers booking more than 600 overnight stays.
After successfully reaching relevant prospects, and analyzing hundreds of real-time signals to show people content they actually want to read, I’m happy to say TUI has shared with us that they’ll be exploring expanded opportunities with Taboola to continue to grow and scale in other countries.
Would you say that travel brands should prioritize storytelling content? What’s the best way to make it effective?
I think it’s a meaningful opportunity and brands should consider adding that to their search and social mix.
People (especially millennials) want to know more about brands they interact with —why they do what they do, and what value they can create—which means people don’t want to be initially bombarded with promotions, but rather they want to hear brands’ stories. Many travelers are as concerned about ethical tourism as they are about the destination itself. Storytelling is a massive opportunity for brands to be discovered or rediscovered and to build a long term, lasting relationship with the consumer.
TUI’s P6A campaign, for instance, features real travelers from all walks of life who offer a journalistic perspective on holidays, providing an immersive experience for users, enhanced by inspirational photography, articles, videos and trip packages.
Like TUI, travel brands need to create stories that are engaging. It’s best to avoid words like “top”, “must have” and “best”. A headline that sparks curiosity should lead to an article that is objective and educates the reader. It should not be self-promoting; comparisons work well where the brand is mentioned, rather than the primary focus. At the end of the article, there is an opportunity to offer users an invitation to subscribe to a newsletter or follow on Facebook, so a relationship can be developed built on trust, without a hard sell.
What’s the ideal way to target travel-brand publications to ensure that it gets in front of the right eyes? What control do brands have over where their content is placed?
Data can be used to segment audiences by profile, behavior or intent. You can even target by keywords to surface a recommendation next to an article speaking about a certain topic. While we don’t support specific site targeting, it’s actually not needed, and all of the above—alongside our deep learning technology automatically optimizing campaigns—is helping brands reach the right person effectively and drive results. Additionally, to make data something CMOs and brands can more easily turn into an action and gain value from it we developed the Taboola Data Marketplace, empowering brands to pick and choose which data provider will work best for them and to layer data on top of their campaign to unlock loyal customers they never reached before.
What’s the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of a storytelling campaign?
We have high touch teams around the world that are experts, and are there to help brands succeed from the strategy level, to launch and all the way to ongoing optimization.
As with any campaign, the first task is to be clear on what you want to achieve and how you might measure your success. Choose a specific and tangible KPI to provide a compass by which you can later learn valuable lessons about which tactics work best against different kinds of goals, and adjust. Higher-funnel brand awareness campaigns may choose to focus on engagement metrics such as time-on-site or pages-per-session, while performance advertisers often track actions like completed form fills, downloads, or purchases.
Next, you need to choose the content that best matches your goal or KPI and is most likely to persuade your audience to take that desired action. Content discovery platforms can drive users to any piece of content across the web, including company websites, blogs, YouTube videos, customer reviews, quizzes, earned media, personalized landing pages, and more.
At the end of the campaign period, compare results against original goals and KPIs, and make a plan to re-invest accordingly. If the campaign worked, look for ways to make it even more efficient, targeting audiences by more granular variables like time of day, site, and device type. If the campaign requires reconfiguring, look at the data to see where and how users dropped away, and form some hypotheses for what might have happened.
The header image is by Mario Carvajal and was used in a P6A article entitled "The River Where The Rainbow Drowned".