Boosts Revenue and ROI with Data-Driven Attribution and Automated Bidding

Like most online tourism companies, Walks of Italy’s busiest season is summer. With more than 70 available tours and services led by an international team of guides, they were focused on maximising its number of tour bookings going into the crucial summer season.

The Brief

Knowing that many of its customers shop around online before booking their tour tickets, we had primarily used search ads to engage with potential travelers as they began researching their options. However, 34% of the brand’s conversion paths involve two or more touchpoints, and optimizing across the entire search path has historically posed a challenge.

The reality is that a lot of travelers start their research with more general search queries, such as “rome tour” or “florence tour guides,” and then narrow their options with branded searches like “walks of italy rome tour” before booking a tour. In the past, last-click brand searches like these accounted for 48% of the brand’s tour ticket sales. But that approach to attribution failed to account for all of the searches, impressions, and ad clicks that led to a final conversion.

To make the most of its search ad spend, we needed to make sure it accounted for impact across the click path to optimise its generic campaigns.

The Strategy

We saw an opportunity to move the brand away from last-click attribution and take a fresh, data-driven approach. We set up a DDA model in DoubleClick Search (DS) to give Walks of Italy a clearer view of its entire customer journey - from the first generic search to the final ad click - and assign credit to each online checkpoint.

DDA uses machine learning to analyse online users’ interactions before they book a Walks of Italy tour, and just as importantly, when they don’t book at all. This allowed us to measure the impact each online touchpoint had on driving overall tour ticket sales.

After analysing the DDA data, we saw that Walks of Italy's generic search campaigns were generally being undervalued in favor of last-click brand searches.

With a fresh set of insights in hand, we applied the model to a ROAS automated bidding strategy to optimise the brand’s bids toward high-volume, generic keywords. This allowed Walks of Italy to increase its online visibility and engage potential travelers in their early online research moments.

The Results

Compared to 2016’s summer season, Walks of Italy’s DDA bidding campaigns led to a 33% YoY revenue increase as opposed to just 6% for its other non-brand campaigns. The DDA campaigns also boosted ROI by 25% YoY, and ultimately led to a 69% increase in tour ticket sales.

Success from using DDA and automated bidding strategies inspired us to continue exploring how we can adopt a similar approach to drive even better results in the future.