It keeps users engaged and, in many ways, motivated to invite more friends or follow those up who haven’t signed up. Great job. If we refer back to this sense of community and how deep-rooted it is in Airbnb’s values, I think they are missing an opportunity to share more stories that focus on this aspect of their brand – this happens between people. Their campaigns have not always been popular and they are not strangers to admitting when they were wrong. Or just looking to make a little extra cash? Book a real home in [Location] for less than a hotel room . Airbnb does a good job at community management on Facebook, and I expect that they have a dedicated team managing this. But as a marketer, you never want to discount the impact of SEO and keywords. Through the section “Connect Locally”, you come to this particular page. What is also interesting as an observation is the amount of posts that date back almost 2 years ago. Their main objective with Instagram content is to generate engagement & awareness and, where possible, they will try and prompt users to click through to their website, either through the link in their bio or by using the ‘swipe up to learn more’ option in Stories. As far as I can see, nothing is actually personalised yet. Although our first content strategist, Vero Maldonado, was hired in 2014, it took us a few years to reach critical mass. What’s even more impressive with even more incentive to share? Now, this is an ok result, but that’s less than 1% of their overall Followers engaging here, and I think that alone could definitely be improved upon. Having built and scaled a startup to millions in revenue per year, Dan truly understands the crux to marketing and growth success – understanding the motives and characteristics of customers inside and out. Brendan brings both an analytical and creative mindset to his portfolio and is always ready for a challenge. It has a feeling of Wanderlust and makes me want to travel. But the following examples illustrate not only how they market their services, but represent a conscious expression of who they are. Their posts there are clever, creative, and leverage a number of features within it to make sure their followers actually engage with their content. Ultimately, we see ourselves as the voice of Airbnb within our products, and in keeping with our company’s mission and values, we try to be great hosts, guiding people through our experiences with clear, friendly instructions and reassuring them if anything goes wrong. “Can earn up to $3,401” this month. ‘browse homes’. Here’s a summary of each: A well-rounded and entrepreneurial individual with more than 10 years experience in working with and launching startups, Tam is skilled at managing multiple products simultaneously. What’s clear to me is how much value they put on understanding their users, both guests and hosts, and building a strategy that speaks to them directly. So for example, if they are a travel site, they would target all the destinations they service and also add landing pages for [destination sub name] + [activity name] and sometimes even go beyond that. Even the button with the CTA of “explore homes” is just a bit dull. Incentive – I instantly see the value that I will receive if I take an action by accepting the invitation. From 2014 Airbnb experienced a consistent growth trajectory until December 2015, when over a two month period (Dec 2015 – Feb 2016) traffic grew by another 96% from 257,640 to 505,165 visits. Over the past several months of settling into my new role, I’ve had the chance to reflect on how far the team has come, what makes our blend of content strategy unique, and the opportunities we’re most excited about. I’ve seen/heard of some properties that haven’t been kept very well, are lacking basic holiday features, or don’t look very good. If you’re going to need to pay to get your content out there to audiences, using the “quality over quantity” approach is best. By offering more information and support, they will attract, convert and retain more home and experience hosts on their platform. The blog doesn’t follow a set template for articles and there are several broad categories such as “Wanderlust” and “Hospitality”. We’ll come back to this shortly, but this is a great example of message-matching at scale. As a production designer, I keep a “master” folder of … Then we second-guessed ourselves and asked questions like, Why would we come across as spirited in an error message? The form itself is also very simple. As a general rule of thumb, I think your imagery/posts should fit into at least one or more of these criteria: But how many of the above are Airbnb actually achieving with their current strategy? I think one great way of doing this is by sharing content that is unique and not the same content that you’ve previously shared on your Facebook Page or Instagram feed. It informs the decisions we make every day, from our overall approach down to every word we use. The “Local Lens” segment of the blog puts the spotlight on hosts and experiences by featuring individual stories from their users, similar to Community Stories onsite. In this section I’ll be looking at how they use Facebook (both paid and non paid), Instagram, and Twitter to promote themselves, attract new guests and hosts, and keep existing users engaged. One thing I did notice in my research is that many of the listings they share in posts do not feature people (see Feed example above) – there’s lots of empty chairs, empty beds, and generally untouched settings. As is the case with most two-sided marketplaces, without supply the entire thing falls apart. Using video over image posts does have one major advantage for Ads strategy though, and that comes in the form of Engagement Custom Audiences from video views. A large part of Airbnb’s success can be attributed to their website. Looks pretty unique, wouldn’t you say? In the mobile app, we can see “Invite Friends” which stands out. From an organic search perspective, there are two primary competitors of Airbnb: The Competitive Positioning Map above is a data visualisation based on Airbnb and its competitors’ organic traffic, as well as the number of keywords that they rank for in Google’s top 20 organic search results. By creating different and distinct sections, they are able to keep the conversations relevant to the user, which should improve the experience for everyone involved. After I decide to learn more, I come to this landing page specifically personalised to me and, more impressively, my location. Now let’s take a look at Airbnb’s active ads in Australia…. On the right, I can see the credit I currently have, and what I need to do in order to get more. This makes sense given how closely it aligns to their service offering, but they don’t rest on their laurels. The top-down approach. Airbnb’s Brand Strategy. Clear & succinct messaging focused on value certainly helps those wanting to share. Airbnb are doing a great job on this in many ways (they ranked 47 out of 50 in the same study), but I firmly believe that a brand’s social channels should also be used to enhance their customer’s experience. Living on the domain of atairbnb.com, the Airbnb blog covers a plethora of content ranging from tips for hosts and guests, information on partnerships, and updates on business initiatives. However, the generic accommodation terms are generally located low on Page 1, whereas search terms that include ‘Airbnb’ or ‘air bnb’ or ‘bnb’ are generally in the top 4 performing positions. However, at some point Airbnb will reach a cap in the amount of branded search traffic they are able to achieve. This case discusses about San Francisco-based hospitality Service Company, Airbnb, Inc., and its growth with the adaptation of a concept called ‘Design Thinking’. By offering a guarantee on insurance they took away the biggest fear that their hosts (and potential hosts) have, ensuring that they feel comfortable renting out their property. But why are they so important? This content truly differentiates Airbnb from the big hotel booking sites, highlighting interesting places in different cities. I’ll bring them up next to each other so it’s easier to see. While it’s important to speak from an authoritative angle through blog content, mixing it up with Q&A styled posts shows that community members are heavily involved in the conversation, illuminating Airbnb’s core growth strategies around encouraging consumer advocacy. It seems as though that previous history doesn’t seem to influence the options I’m presented with. They utilise imagery well (especially with user generated content), and share articles regularly, but could be doing more on video given how much Facebook prioritises it in their algorithm. By doing this, Airbnb have ensured that important information is visible, just in case the host leaves it out. Now let’s look into what the recipient receives via email once a user press ‘send invites’. If they were a service business, they would target [city name] + [service A] and then [city name] + [service B] and so on.”. High level of technology integration into various business processes. I think they would benefit from providing that information on the home page itself. They just considered it rude to start making a terrarium without an invitation. There are few industries bigger than travel, and it’s hard to find other industries that provide such a huge opportunity in relation to organic search. As previously stated, Airbnb understand the importance of maintaining a healthy supply of properties. I see social media advertising, particularly Facebook Ads, playing a major role in this strategy and being one of the best channels for Airbnb to: These two stages of the Host journey feature in what Airbnb refers to as the List Your Space (LYS) flow: Airbnb’s concept of multi-touch attribution for a hypothetical user journey. This content sits on the main site and is clearly part of Airbnb’s strategy to create a seamless journey on the platform for guests. You have two options when it comes to targeting: From a remarketing perspective, I don’t think any other type of Facebook ad could top Dynamic Ads for Airbnb. This is a great way to achieve higher ad rank by ensuring great alignment between your ad copy, landing page experience and most importantly, the user’s search query. Given the saturation of online paid media & costs to acquire new customers, Airbnb identified that building an engine to create more word-of-mouth from those who had experienced Airbnb was crucial to finding a solution. They use previous bookings and keyword searches to curate their Facebook content. What I like most about it is that the right hand side of the page is reserved for it. What’s effective about these sections is how they leverage social proof, both in terms of ratings (supports logical decision making) and testimonials (supports emotional decision making) to reinforce their home recommendations. Openness and belonging are at the heart of Airbnb – it’s at the core of what we do every day. Then we narrow down our recommendations and make sure our partners and stakeholders are in agreement. Airbnb showcase four 4.5 star homes in Santa Monica that have availability for the dates I selected. The experiences section speaks to Airbnb moving horizontally to become a one-stop shop for travellers. Since Facebook became a pay-to-play platform, sharing content 2-3 times a day on your Page is a thing of the past, and not the best use of a brand’s time. We debated countless words that could describe our voice, asking ourselves whether they sounded like us and whether they could be applied to every situation we write for, whether it’s a moment of excitement or frustration. Airbnb does not own any real estates it lists, not does it host events and experiences it offers. With the introduction of Stories, Neighbourhoods, and Guidebooks, we see how the brand is not only revolutionising the way travellers discover unusual rooms and memorable activities in every pocket of the world but encouraging users to stay on the platform to plan and book their trip. It’s quite an extensive sheet, but one of the best paid search competitor analysis tools I’ve found for larger accounts, as it unpacks exactly what search terms are driving users to what landing pages. And think about it for a second … would you share referrals like this via email? This review has been completed using publicly available information on the internet. Airbnb is actively social on all of the most used social networking sites. Another potential reason for the spike in organic traffic could be the other marketing efforts Airbnb were actioning toward the end of the 2017 – for example, it’s common for organic search for a brand to increase following targeted online and offline campaigns, such as TV commercials, radio ads, and increased digital marketing budget. Community discussion – forums/discussion portals, Tips can be shared easily from host to host, “Featured posts” which read like blog posts with relevant hosting content, Gamification of system – ‘top contributors’ get points for every comment they give + like they get – small leaderboard of contributors, The Airbnb admins don’t post often nor reply to other people’s posts regularly – an opportunity to get more discussions trending. It usually best to do this when someone has committed to making a purchase, but it doesn’t hurt to get them thinking about it at this stage of the process and see what activities are available. Without a look at Airbnb’s marketing calendar and a review into their campaigns, it’s hard to determine exactly what other efforts Airbnb may have actioned at the time to result in such an increase. On average, Humans of New York are achieving an engagement rate of 3.35% and this engagement isn’t only coming from Likes, it’s from comments too, which means there’s more conversation happening. Next we have some information about the host. For example, the below is a very basic diagram of what a site structure might look like as an organisational chart for a site like Airbnb: What this translates to on the website looks like this: And when the breadcrumb structured data of the website is optimised correctly, it can pull through the breadcrumb structure to show the hierarchy in a simple and clear way for the user. (It could just be that beach destinations are the easiest to categorise, or the most popular generally). Booking.com offers commercial accommodation to users, such as hotels, resorts etc, which means the link opportunities are much greater. Airbnb’s tend to be cheaper than hotels, and so the cost-conscious traveller would prefer to pay less and go without some of the frills and security that you get with a hotel. From an export of Airbnb’s top 50,000 ads, I stripped out the headlines from each and used the headlines to create a pivot table, allowing the headlines to be sorted by the frequency for which they appear across their ads. To make the most of my paid search strategy analysis, and to ensure we’re focusing our attention on their most important messaging, keywords, ads and landing pages, I used a few different tools in conjunction to extract as much of this information as possible and then classify it. The host-only fee is a new optional fee structure on Airbnb which … As a result, almost all of the local hotel rooms had been booked up, and prices were sky high for lodging. They have a huge site so it wouldn’t be easy, but there are a number of on-site optimisations they would need to make if they want to compete against the likes of booking.com or Wotif. I believe their inclusion of the Superhost is to give the post added credibility, as Superhosts have an average user rating of 4.8 or more out of 5. Safeguard lost work with a “master” folder. As this action could mean swiping left to the next Story, why not try and encourage a click-through to your website or app earlier, if that’s one of your objectives with the Story? I thought it was great back then, it got straight to the point and helped me get to where I needed to go while still looking aesthetically pleasing, but it’s evolved a lot since then. Airbnb regularly chooses not to use the Link Preview option when sharing links, instead they opt for a custom shortened link in the post copy and share a separate video or image. I do think that these ads are missing something here though, and it’s to do with the creative. Next, I’ve clicked on “Food Scene” and then “Cafe and Coffee Shops”. The next section makes a lot of sense – jump into the upsell. Even if this is not done on purpose, I think this is clever, as it allows the user to imagine themselves there. To do this, Airbnb ensures there is a close alignment between their user’s search queries as well as their ads and landing pages. It genuinely makes me consider wanting to explore more through these actions, even if I don’t start a conversation. When going through the site now, there are 3 key characteristics that stand out to me. The location is pretty interesting too; it evokes a feeling of adventure, of doing something different. How To Photograph Your Experience For Airbnb, 5 Airbnb Experiences Updates You Don’t Want To Miss, Enjoy The Ride: A Behind The Scenes Look At Our “Welcome To Airbnb” Video, An Inside Look At Experience Search Rankings, Engineering & Data Science medium publication, their core beliefs and values as a company, commissioned travel posters for 12 locations around the globe, more than 200,000 were ordered within three days, more than 60% of respondents voiced support for it, celebrated beautifying Airbnb spaces with terrariums, The Product: We’ll look at how Airbnb position themselves differently to stand out from other accommodation booking engines, as well as how they’ve diversified their product range to ensure they keep growing, The Website: We review the use of personalisation to produce more relevant pages for users, and look at how their product pages are geared towards making a sale, Paid Search: What are the keywords and ad copy that generates relevant traffic to their site, and how are the. And if you don’t know much about the person doing the searching, I would say this the perfect word to use. We’d identified voice principles that worked well for us in the past, but some of the newer folks on the team were having trouble applying them. When it comes to landing pages, they mostly feature local imagery to help provide a more relevant result, and it would seem they are testing short form pages against longer ones to see which converts better. . It’s particularly interesting that Airbnb’s spend allocated to accommodation-themed keywords significantly outweighs spend on hotel-related keywords. They are so well researched and highly educational. In addition, I found it interesting to see the similarities in style between this section of the Airbnb website and popular travel site TripAdvisor. We’ll encourage them to reach out to their host with questions, and we’ll gently remind them that they’re staying in someone’s home. An important UX feature that is part of these pages is that anyone can ‘Start a Conversation’. On the left, it’s clear what I need to action if I want to share with my friends. Even the description in the sub header is better, mainly because it says who it’s for. A breadcrumb structure comes from the children’s story of Hansel and Gretel, where they leave breadcrumbs as a trail to find their way home. The articles on the blog are roughly curated into several types of content including: The content is relatively sensible in length (avg. The major change in Airbnb’s transformation is a new symbol the company named the “Bélo”. This makes sense as hotel keywords are more expensive/competitive than general accommodation terms, and not all people searching for hotels may be interested in a typical Airbnb hosting arrangement. I also obtained a few values for each search term like average CPC, estimated traffic and average position: You can view the sheet here, as well as the raw keyword data if you’re interested in doing your own analysis. Airbnb have a ton of content on their site, mostly to support the decision of “where shall I travel to?” This is fantastic and helps make Airbnb feel like a one-stop-shop for travel but they could do more with the content they have. This is a smart play from Airbnb – their conversion-oriented messaging helps to prioritise their paid search spend towards people who are ready to book, as people looking to browse are less inclined to click on ads that target people further down the marketing funnel. It’s worth noting that trip information provided in the hero form is stored, such as travel duration or location, if the user bounces but returns to the homepage, their trip details are stored in their browser cookie: I would expect that the majority of users do not purchase in the same session, so prompting returning users to continue to browse available homes in their cities of interest is a nice touch. Here is a breakdown of spend based on other singular words: To be clear, 5% of estimated spend includes phrases that include the word ‘hotel’, not 5% of spend is attributable to the ‘hotel’ as an ‘exact match’. It’s a very similar UI to the desktop platform which is done by design. When we scroll down the page, we see the instructions for the process. Sure, you can visit the Louvre, see Buckingham Palace, and climb The Empire State Building but you can do it as if it were your home town, while staying in a place that has character and feels like a home. Let’s take a look. Airbnb’s instagram page is highly visual (as it should be) and showcases the vast array of beautiful properties they have on their platform to inspire wanderlust in potential travellers, but engagement is relatively low. The rest of it is then up to the host to make sure they have a profile that people feel they can connect to so that they want to stay there. Their job as a business is to promote the properties (and the hosts) so that people want to book them. Even though many different teams work on our website and app, it’s all just Airbnb to the people using it. Airbnb knew early on that good photographs are essential to getting a booking. By reaching out beyond the LGBTQI+ community, Airbnb helped to create a dialogue that showed that Australians supported marriage equality by a wide margin. To see an example of a full brand strategy / positioning case study, click one of the links below: BRAND STRATEGY ANALYSIS . So, what can we learn from how the Airbnb’s referral system mechanics and design work for them right now? For the most part, Airbnb use a hero image that ‘message-matches’ the location the user is interested in visiting: However, this is not the case for all location landing pages. Users are now really motivated to send invites because they know the recipient gets amazing value. Now we come to the sections that really show personalisation in use. Preparing for launch Leading up to the big reveal, Your Majesty got asked to define a creative direction and framework for the marketing content—including website, photography, and video direction. On the flipside, I appreciate that this is sometimes to push a bigger campaign, which means they’ll want to be across as many placements as possible to ensure they’re getting maximum reach for this campaign. “Don’t go to Paris, don’t tour Paris, and don’t do Paris. For example, Airbnb wanted to develop a new marketing video for East Asia. In December 2017, Australia passed legislation to recognize same sex marriage, following a survey in which more than 60% of respondents voiced support for it. Not many businesses go above and beyond in this way. There is an inconsistent ‘breadcrumb’ structure implemented on the Airbnb website, which could also be impacting the websites organic performance. A new typeface that takes us from button to billboard, How Airbnb Concerts connect artists and audience, Design Week Mexico’s Inédito program celebrates work that makes a social impact. One of the biggest benefits of adding Airbnb to your investme… With that being said, I do like their UGC strategy and think they’ve done a good job of leveraging this for content, rather than using professionally shot and polished imagery, which would not suit the platform. Jordie van Rijn, Head of Email Marketing Airbnb. 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