Klara Stover


Help Your PPC Ads Take Flight During This Winter Travel Season

Help your ads take flight this winter travel season

The onset of winter evokes different emotions, typically dividing people into two camps – the winter embracers and the winter escapers.  Winter embracers love breathing the chill in the air, seeing snow in the street lights, and wearing layers of sweaters.  Winter escapers dread the rain and the snow, instead preferring to dress lightly for the heat, feel the sun on their skin, and spend time outdoors. 


Whether travelers are searching for the perfect powdery slopes, or for sun-kissed white-sand beaches, more than half are using a search engine to plan their upcoming winter travel.[1]

The winter travel season is second in spending only to summertime vacations.  According to eMarketer, 128 million people, or 63 percent of internet users, will research travel online or through their mobile device this year.  Approximately 106 million people will book.[2]  That’s a staggering 83 percent.  Let me repeat.  83 percent of people who research travel online or through their mobile device will book.

Effectively reaching these travelers is key.  Fifty-one percent of travelers book their winter travel more than 31 days in advance.[3] 



This long lead time for travel bookings gives you plenty of time to capture searchers with the right ad copy.  The researchers at Bing Ads recently looked into the best word combinations for pay-per-click (PPC) ad copy in the high winter travel season and this is what they found.

Airlines and flights

  • PC/tablet searchers are putting together travel packages when they search for airlines and flights, as “Hotels” in the ad title with “Online” in the description get high clicks. Mobile searchers, on the other hand, are looking for last-minute deals and discounts.



Car rentals

  • Car rentals are very specific to location and ads with the name of a city in the title instead of in the description get more clicks.
  • When booking travel, car rentals appear to be one of the last items a traveler will schedule, as evidenced by high clicks on ads with “last minute” in the title and “save/savings” in the description.



  • For both PC/tablet and mobile, “Discounts/deals” in the ad title and “Exclusive” in the description make an ad highly clickable. Here the ad combines incentives (deals!) with fear (exclusive – don’t miss this!) to generate a response from searchers.


Cruise Ships

  • Oddly, “Quality” in the title or description is not favored. Is the search audience for cruises jaded?
  • “Last minute” in either title or description cues clicks, owing largely to the industry trend of offering deep discounts on last-minute cruise bookings to fill boats.


For more trends, insights, and best performing ad copy to help your ads take flight, read the full winter travel insights presentation.  Happy traveling!

Questions? Comments? Leave them below, or ping us on Twitter.

[1] Source: Yahoo and IPSOS OTX Media CT, “Holiday & Winter Travel”, Dec 2013. *: % of respondents.

[2] Source: eMarketer. The US Travel Industry Digital Ad spend forecast and trends 2014

[3] Source: SOJERN 2014


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Higher Education Insights to Help Reach Prospective Students with Bing Ads

Recessions affect most industries adversely, but in any recession, there are always industries that not only carry-on, but thrive.  Discount retailers benefit from shoppers looking for quantity rather than quality.  “Sin” industries benefit from people looking for a quick escape.  And notably, from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the education industry emerged as one of the winners.  During this time of economic down-turn and high unemployment, students elected to return to school to ride out the unemployment wave and return to the job market with a competitive edge. However, with an increasing number of high school graduates remaining in school and growing demand from adult students, traditional colleges became more selective. [1]  Prospective students looked for an alternative, thus igniting the increase in popularity of the for-profit university.

In the five years leading up to 2014, for-profit education revenue is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 4.0% to $27.5 billion.1  This explosive growth has been attributed in part to the Great Recession – but the Great Recession did not propel this growth alone.  It was joined by the far-reaching force of education moving online.

The impact of digital on the education industry largely began in 2006, when a law known as the 50/50 Rule was lifted.  In effect since 1992, the 50/50 Rule dictated that schools could not enroll more than 50% of their students in online courses.1  After 2006 and the removal of the rule, universities no longer had to rely on physically expanding campus facilities in order to expand enrollment, but instead, only had to improve their computer infrastructure.1  This new online flexibility opened the way for more adults and distance learners to return to school.

Fast forward to 2014 and the education landscape post Great Recession and 50/50 Rule has significantly changed.  Today, online courses are commonplace.

  • 74% of students have taken at least one course that includes online components.[2]
  • 34% of students have taken at least one course completely online.[3]
  • 15% of students are studying fully online.[4]

Moving beyond online courses, digital has also impacted education in other ways. In today’s online world, almost all prospective students have used the Internet to research higher education institutions.[5]  And you can say goodbye to the 10lb application envelope.  85% of colleges now receive their applications online.[6]

Once students are in the classroom, if they’re not learning virtually, then they’re bringing their devices and using them for academic purposes.  86% of all students now own a laptop and of those 86%, 91% use their laptop for academic purposes.2 Mobile is also gaining popularity in the classroom.  62% of students own a smartphone and of those 62%, 42% use their smartphone for academic purposes.2 

Despite this explosive growth, for-profit universities have come under scrutiny over the last few years.  A myriad of issues have dogged the industry – graduates unable to find employment, high loan default rates, and questionable marketing practices.  These issues, among others, are contributing to a projected slower annualized growth rate of 1.2% to $29.3 billion over the next five years to 2019.1

So how does education’s digital evolution translate into reaching prospective students?  Firstly, don’t ignore the power of mobile. Nearly 60% of students have performed more than 10% of their higher education research on a mobile device.5  In developing your search strategy:

  • Keep in mind searchers use their smartphone differently than tablets/PCs. Consider creating a mobile preferred ad; Bing Ads makes it easy to customize ads by device.
  • Mobile users are very specific in their education searches.  They already know what they’re looking for, so choose your keywords and ad copy accordingly.
  • Mobile users respond to words that convey a sense of urgency, like “learn more.”

To learn more about how to reach prospective students with Bing Ads, including who is searching, when they’re searching, what they’re searching for, plus tips on winning word combinations, check out our latest Fall Semester insights deck:

NOTE: The information contained in this blog post is intended for agencies and advertisers that are self-managed or supported by Microsoft.  If you are an agency or advertiser managed by Yahoo, the details therein may not be applicable, and you are encouraged to contact your Account Representative for more information.

Comments? Questions? Leave them below, or ping us on Twitter.

[1] IBISWorld Industry Report 61131b, For-Profit Universities in the US, Sally Lerma IBISWorld, March 2014

[2] ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, September 2012

[3] Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States, Babson Survey Research Group, 2013

[4] Defined as 80% or more of study online. Source: Eduventures

[5] Online Prospect Expectations: A Study of Prospective Student Experiences Online and Where Schools Fall Short, Velocify/PossibleNOW December 2013.

[6] State of College Admission, National Association for College Admission Counseling, 2012;

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