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Netting more revenue with broad match from Microsoft Advertising

June 2019

  • Article
  • Success stories
  • Travel

Searching for a broad audience

Whether you’re searching for a serene beachfront condo for a quick weekend getaway or a rambling villa for a monthlong stay in the heart of Tuscany, chances are you can find the perfect accommodation with FlipKey.

Founded in 2007 as a house-swapping and vacation rental listing website, the Boston-based company was snapped up by TripAdvisor just a year later. Today, FlipKey helps travelers in 190 countries find vacation rentals, including villas, apartments, condos, cottages, houses, lodges, cabins, chalets and more.

Since the beginning, FlipKey has relied on search engine marketing (SEM) platforms like Microsoft Advertising to reach searchers in the United States who are looking online for their next adventure abroad. According to Kevin Tang, VR SEM manager for TripAdvisor, the marketing team had a lofty goal for its latest campaign: Win market share from competitors, including a category leader in its market space. “We really wanted to expand our reach as well as increase leads and conversions,” says Tang, “while staying within our target efficiency, of course.”

FlipKey also wanted to reduce the amount of time it took to convert a customer. Travelers, especially those with families, spend more time researching their vacation plans, leading to a longer customer decision journey. Plus, FlipKey was interested in finding an easier and less time-consuming way to manage its massive number of keywords. As a result, the company was open to suggestions from its Microsoft Advertising account team.

We’re definitely going to continue to invest and expand on Microsoft Advertising. We’re very happy with the support we get, and of course, we see results!


Testing the limits

A business analysis of the company’s pain points led the account team to identify broad match as a potential solution. “The Microsoft Advertising account team is consistently giving us new ideas to test,” says Tang. “And they provide great ongoing support.”

Tang and his team had already seen great success with Remarketing, so combining it with broad match seemed like a natural next step. Broad match would not only make it easier to manage huge keyword lists but also help increase search term coverage. And with Remarketing, FlipKey could target searchers who were more likely to convert. Used together, the features were ideal to achieve the company’s specific goals.

Microsoft Advertising set up a two-month test period for FlipKey. “Throughout the campaign, the account team provided impactful suggestions, and we’re usually quick to implement their suggestions,” says Tang.

More impressions, more revenue

And the results? According to Tang, “We managed to achieve a much higher volume of traffic than anticipated.” Without any campaign optimization, broad match accounted for 50% of total impressions, 36% of total clicks and 35% of total revenue. Broad match also provided a boost in search term coverage, helping to improve brand awareness for FlipKey — all while keeping within the company’s return on ad spend (ROAS) target.

To say that Tang and FlipKey are thrilled with the performance of broad match is an understatement. “The Microsoft Advertising campaign has considerably exceeded all expectations and has now been implemented across our VR brands and even other TripAdvisor verticals,” says Tang.

Thanks to the success of broad match in its Remarketing campaigns, FlipKey has decided to expand to using it with In-market Audiences as well. The company is also looking at employing negative keywords and bid adjustments to improve performance even more.

“We’re definitely going to continue to invest and expand on Microsoft Advertising,” says Tang. ”We’re very happy with the support we get, and of course, we see results!”

Download the infographic to take the FlipKey success story with you.