Marketing | 03 MIN READ

How Lonely Planet creates display advertising in-house

Ever since its founding in the 1970s Lonely Planet has adapted to an ever-changing travel industry landscape. As an online publisher, they work with both internal and external clients to produce engaging and attractive display campaigns.

As part of our Travel marketer’s guide to mastering display advertising e-book, we talked to Zach Keller, lead UX/UI Designer, and part of the Client Services team at Lonely Planet. Read on to find out how Lonely Planet’s in-house team produces and manages its display advertising with Bannerflow.

What aspects of display ad design are critical for travel advertising?

“Strong imagery and a decisive CTA text are a must. The goal is to grab the viewer with the imagery and then appeal to their emotions. We love gorgeous photography at Lonely Planet (LP), and our favourite clients are the ones who provide us with jaw-dropping location photos.

After you’ve got the user interested with a great photo, it’s important not to overwhelm them with too much text. We like it when a CTA is short and sweet; and hopefully, one that helps put the viewer’s mind into the location the ad is selling.”

What practices have you implemented since using a creative management platform?

“File sizes are a huge concern when building HTML5 rich media ads. It’s our job as advertisers to make sure our ads load quickly, and without using up too much mobile data. We always try to use HTML5 type instead of an image file whenever possible. Plus, we always optimise our image sizes via Bannerflow.”

How has the shift to mobile impacted your ad designs?

“Like everyone, we have to be mobile first. This can be difficult when displaying rich media ads. In Lonely Planet’s case, we often show videos of travel destinations and experiences too. Guaranteeing a mobile video view is a tough thing, so we have learned to keep up-to-date on popular browsers and their autoplay policies. As well as ensure our video file sizes are small enough that a mobile user doesn’t accrue too much data per view.”

Any particular campaigns you are proud of that you have produced in-house?

“We’ve done some really cool ads lately in partnership with Adobe Stock and Nikon. These type of ads are a joy for us because the client provides us with fantastic creative assets that we get to put our own spin on.”

What have you learnt from working in-house?

“Like most agency settings as well as in-house settings, timelines are always shifting. Proper budgeting and estimation are key to making sure you stay profitable – while at the same time, keeping your co-workers happy and productive. Working in-house is a huge benefit because we get to make sure that the LP brand stays true to its roots. This way we also protect against anything that would be out of line for what our readers and users expect out of us, and our policy of journalistic impartiality.”

How do you see travel display advertising evolving?

“We can definitely see travel display advertising using existing APIs more. Being able to tap into Google’s Assistant API, for example, would allow a user to set a reminder across all their devices to “look into booking that trip to Greece, etc”, right from
the ad.

In this case, the advertiser would get one ad view and click, as well as a virtual ad display later when the user is reminded of what they saw earlier in the day. Integrations are powerful tools that businesses in the travel industry could leverage dynamically within their CMP built rich media ads.”

Find more best display advertising practice now

Want to produce display advertising campaigns as easily as Lonely Planet in-house?  Then download our exclusive e-book for travel marketers.

Discover exclusive creative strategies and read about how Iberia, Kayak, and other travel brands, use display ads by downloading our free e-book: The travel marketer’s guide to mastering display advertising.

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