Marketing For Tourism

5 Ways Tour Companies Can Maximize Gallery Ads

Google is rolling out a new ad format that feels like it was made for tour operators. The new gallery ads are mobile only, and allow you to showcase multiple images at once. So you can serve up action shots from all of your best excursions, right in the search results page. Finally! How was this not a thing until now?

Travelers book most of their activities on their phones, (check out our previous post on Google’s stats for the details), and we know that they rely heavily on visuals to make purchase decisions. So you need to start planning your gallery ads now, and steal up every eyeball and click from your competitors the day the new ad format launches.

But before you start tapping out those headlines and scrolling through your saved photos, take a few minutes to read our 5 tips for tour companies to maximize your gallery ad potential.

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First, The Basics:

Each gallery ad will consist of 4 – 8 images users can swipe through. You can write a tagline for each image, and the ad will display with one main headline (Google allows you to test up to 3 headlines to see which one gets the most engagement). Advertisers will pay either by the click, or after the user swipes through 3 photos.

And don’t worry, nothing will change with your existing ad campaigns.

The new format should be available to all Google Ad users by the end of this year. (Oh, the waiting game!)

Pretty straightforward, right? Now on to your tips!

1. Use all 8 images.

Travelers who are researching their activities, hotels, and even transportation, want pictures before they shell out for a reservation. And the faster you can capture their attention, the better. So use all 8 image spots in your carousel.

Since you have some time before gallery ads are available, be strategic about selecting your groups of images. Try to choose photos that look visually cohesive together, and do your best to showcase a range of different tour offerings or features. This gives new visitors a feel for your overall brand and services before they even click to your page.

If possible, try to choose photos with people in them. It’ll make it that much easier for potential customers to picture themselves in the action.

travel marketing

2. Use a CTA in your headline. 

The headline will be clickable, so use verbs that invite customers in. “Start your adventure,” “Check availability,” and “Reserve your spot” all compel your new customer to take that next step after they swipe.

For each gallery ad, you’ll have the ability to test 3 headlines against each other. Take full advantage and write out three different headline options now; then let Google do the work of determining which one is most effective.

3. Write appealing taglines.

Whether they’re researching their trip in advance or trying to snag a perfect tour that same day, travelers often value the experience itself over dollars or efficiency. So appeal to the senses in your writing.

Tell potential customers what they can expect, whether it’s a relaxing break from the city, an invigorating boat ride, or a creepy haunted house tour. Let them worry about the price point and specifics later.

But be concise. Each tagline is limited to 70 characters. Make every one count!

4. Plan a fast, mobile-first booking path.

Gallery ads are mobile only, so your booking path has to be easy to navigate on all screen sizes. And of course, since you’re an informed and savvy travel professional, it already is! But keep looking for ways to improve the user experience.

Make sure your mobile navigation is clear, and test the load time for every page. (Think your site is fast already? Check again. One study found that 47% of users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less.)

5. Launch your campaign before your competitors do.

The early bird gets the clicks. The first businesses to leverage gallery ads are likely to get more engagement at a lower cost, since you’ll have less competition. (At least at first.)

That’s why we’re planning ahead! Now that you’ve chosen some stellar images and written out all of your witty taglines, hang onto it all until gallery ads are live. Now all you have to do is keep a close watch on your Google Ads account, and do some copy and pasting when the big day arrives.

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Which CTA’s and headlines worked best for you in the past? Share your success on your social platform of choice and tag Von Mack. We’d love to hear it!