Research conducted by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) gives an interesting insight into the travel purchasing methods of British travellers, while¬† research conducted in America paints an interesting picture on the effectiveness of online advertising.
Delegates at the annual ABTA travel convention were told earlier this week that a survey conducted on behalf of the association has revealed that 57 per cent of British holiday makers booked their last international holiday online, with a further 19 per cent doing so by telephone.
According to ABTA, which represents more than 5,500 UK travel agents and a further 900 UK tour operators having almost 7,000 association-registered websites between them, only 35 per cent of Britons traveling abroad booked through a travel agent, with 21 per cent booking directly with an airline.
Interestingly however, an Ipsos MORI poll conducted on behalf of ABTA showed that 45 per cent of 16 to 24-year-old British travelers, more than any other age group, booked their international travel though a shop-front travel agency.
The same survey showed that British travelers aged between 25 and 44-years-old were the most internet aware, with more than 68 per cent booking their last holiday online.
Across the Atlantic, iPerceptions one of North America’s leading web-focused attitudinal analytics providers was releasing online advertising response figures that should cause web designers and internet advertising consultants to sit back and take stock of how and where they spend their online advertising dollars.
IPerceptions analysis of user generated feedback from 14,000 visitors to leading media sites during August 2008 showed that online video advertisements are unpopular, with consumers more likely to click on traditional text or banner advertisements instead.
While online video content and meta tags on photographs might be great for improving search engine results, online video advertising left people cold.
The study found that despite the internet advertising industry‚Äôs buzz about online video advertising, it is not necessary to spend large amounts of money on glitzy online advertisements to reach consumers.
The survey found that 25 per cent of consumers are most likely to click on simple text advertisements, 20 per cent on right banners, and 12 per cent on top banners.
Only 11 per cent of consumers said they were likely to watch online video advertisements, with those in the 25 to 34-year-old age group just as likely to click on a right or top banner as an online video advertisement.
The highest viewing audience for online video advertising was found in the under 25-year-old age group who accounted for one-third of the online video advertising viewing market.
The iPerceptions study also unearthed some important data about how income level and frequency of visits impact consumer online advertising preferences.
On average 40 per cent of consumers are likely to click on any online advertisement have an annual income of less than $US50,000 a year, with only 15 per cent earning over $US150,000 a year.
For those clicking on online video advertisements only 13 per cent had an annual income of $US150,000 or more, with 49 per cent earning less than $US50,000.
Jonathan Levitt, iPerceptions vice president of marketing, said, ‚Äúour research clearly shows that media sites that offer consumers compelling content and features – encouraging repeat visits – generate much better ad click-through rates than less engaging sites.
The results of the IPerceptions survey would appear to be directly at odds with so-called online advertising gurus who are actively encouraging their clients to spend big on online video advertising, as traditional advertising areas are cut-back due to the current world-wide economic climate.
There is little argument that online video helps when in comes to placing websites further up the list in organic web search results.
However, claims that the expense involved in producing online video advertising is recovered due to greater consumer appeal and higher click-though appear to nothing more than a myth perpetuated by those in the business of making online video advertisements.
As has always been the case, a well balanced advertising or communications campaign comprising a mix of different methods will always bring the best results.
¬© John Le Fevre, 2008
A more detailed report on the ABTA survey can be found at Travel Mole, the online community for the travel and tourism industry here: More than half booking online – survey
Internet ‚Ä¢ Internet marketing ‚Ä¢ Website design ‚Ä¢ Internet advertising ‚Ä¢ UK travel booking trends ‚Ä¢ British travel agents ‚Ä¢ UK travel agents ‚Ä¢ Online advertising
He is currently deputy editor and Thailand / GMS region editor for The Establishment Post
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