The 5 key characteristics that make a good ad

What makes a good travel ad? Designing travel ads is an exercise in competing priorities. The ad needs to grab attention, but not at the cost of a potential conversion or click-out. It must provide a positive, beneficial experience, one that provides relevant information and reflects well on the publisher. Finally, a travel ad must play nice with browsers, regulators, devices and different geographies.

After years of user testing, and campaign optimization for travel brands around the world, we’ve found five characters that are vital to making good ads.  

1. Targeted/personalized

Showing the right ad, at the right time, to the right user is crucial. It optimizes the balance between conversion opportunity and media opportunity. 

<intent> predicts what users are likely to do on your site so you can provide them the right experience. Sometimes that means showing an ad, sometimes it means ensuring you don’t. A user highly unlikely to purchase may be best served with an advertisement enabling them to continue their search.  A user close to purchase would receive a clean user interface or incentive to purchase.

57% of travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors. 36% would pay more for their services if a brand tailored its information based on personal preferences.

2. Seamless and useful

It is increasingly difficult to capture and hold a user’s attention in travel. Once a user is on your site, travel ads must be fast, responsive, and asynchronous to your sites core performance. Anything that distracts from a potential conversion should be avoided. 

<intent> Media ads provide a thoughtful UI, appearing only when a user should see them, and in a manner that fits your sites aesthetic. An obsession with positive user experience is what makes our media campaigns sustainable for your entire user base.

No user wants to be presented with a cluttered, invasive, or distracting ad. <intent> placements are built to be a useful tool to users, one that is harmonious with our partner’s site. Our design team conducts extensive user testing to find the experience that delights users while also providing the native, seamless search functionality they crave.

3. Relevant

When considering user empowerment, travel ads must provide a seamless experience from initial search through booking. Featuring search intents, and tailoring the ad unit around these intents, facilitates this. A user conducts a search and whatever media placement they are presented with is relevant to the intent of their session. 

search compare ad

Our comparison ad placements are extremely relevant and purposeful because they’re targeted to people who are actively comparison shopping. This relevance allows us to create bespoke experiences, driving increases in interaction rates, clicks per interaction, and drastically boosting performance by 30x versus traditional display advertising.

4. Compliant

The Coalition for Better Ads has set an industry standard for what constitutes a user-friendly experience. This standard is becoming increasingly important for browsers as they determine how to shield users from negative ads. <intent> placements are built to be user-centric and fully in line with the Coalition’s best practices. When our product team kicks off development of a new concept, the first question we ask is where it lies on the spectrum of Better Ads and how can we optimize for user-friendliness.

Check out this post to learn how <intent> Media follows best practices for SEO and SEM.

5. Device-friendly

The move towards mobile in trip research, planning and booking are increasing every year. In 2018 mobile booking rates were 85%+ in numerous APAC regions, and 48% in the US, up 20% YoY (Phocuswright, U.S. Online Travel Overview).

Mobile is expected to account for 1 in 3 online transactions by 2021. 

In order to best serve this increasing segment, we must have a mobile-first mentality. Placements must be as useful and user-friendly on smaller devices as they are on desktop. 


<intent> has become the market leader in mobile travel, building placements around how users interact with these devices rather than retro-fitting desktop-first thinking to an entirely different UI.


In conclusion…

Gone are the days where a lucrative media campaign meant bold, attention-grabbing ads that distract a user from the reason they’re on your website. 

The <intent> placement suite provides a clean, functional and visually appealing experience. We continue to conduct extensive market and user research. Our goal is to provide value to all sides. For publishers, finding the best way to monetize users without affecting your core transaction business. And a thoughtful experience for users that allows them to deepen their search without interruption.