Case Study

16%

Cost Per Install

18%

Install to Booking Conversion Rate

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Summary

HotelTonight, an app that focuses on last-minute hotel deals, has a dedicated user base (13.5MM downloads) and the highest ratings of any hotel booking app, but the company wanted to increase market awareness. Previously, HotelTonight had seen low ROI on their mobile install ads on Google search due to intense competition and low conversion rates. By using Branch links in their ads, HotelTonight removed several steps from the purchase funnel, resulting in an 18% increase in install-to-booking rate and a 16% decrease in cost per install.

Goals

  • Increase click to install rate
  • Decrease time from install to first booking
  • Decrease cost per install

Approach

  • Implement deep linking from mobile web ads to app with Branch SDK
  • Deep link from mobile ads to destination city in app

Results

  • Increased install to booking conversion rate by 18%
  • Decreased cost per install by 16%
  • Increased confidence in ad spend led to a 94% increase in bookings, 80% increase in installs, and 99% increase in revenue, month over month.

Background

Currently, the campaign is focused on HotelTonight's top 50 U.S. cities. Their mission? "We want you to plan a little less, and live a little more."

Geographic and demographic ad targeting was possible through AdWords, but the existing AdWords App Install ad format has fundamental limitations. The ads have to drive users to the App Store, rather than to the company's own landing pages. Adding to the broken experience, users who already have the app installed are taken to the app store to download the app, but then taken to the market page for their current location instead of the market page relevant to the ad that incentivized them to install the app in the first place.

In a crowded market, innovation is a differentiator

The Problem

As HotelTonight enables people to find and book great deals on hotels from seven days in advance up to the last minute, their goal was to reach travelers as they began their search for room rates in a destination. The company needed an innovative strategy to improve conversion rates on expensive city-level keywords like "seattle hotel" and "hotels on the vegas strip" in order to remain competitive with OTA's and hospitality brands with 100x their budget.

Travel is a difficult vertical for advertising especially for mobile PPC campaigns. Newer companies like HotelTonight have media budgets that are much smaller than their competitors - companies like Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com. To compete, HotelTonight has to be more innovative and efficient when it comes to their advertising strategy.

The Solution

In order to innovate, HotelTonight used deep linking technology from Branch. The deep links shortened the long conversion flow that had previously made mobile campaigns unprofitable.

With Branch links, a single link can be placed anywhere (in this case, it was the destination URL of a mobile AdWords campaign) and the link will figure out where to send the potential customer.

Before Branch, users had to take multiple actions to convert. They had to click on the ad, download the app, open it, click the "search" icon, type in the city name, then load results to see a page that offered hotels they could book. All told, it was six clicks plus a manual in-app search query to book a room - which negatively impacted overall conversion.

94%

Bookings

80%

Installs

99%

Revenue

Conclusion

Without Branch, an ad can't route directly to the content most relevant to the user. Instead of going directly to the advertised content, a click results in a difficult user journey.

HotelTonight was able to use a headline and call-to-action that actually worked for mobile apps. With Branch, an ad for "San Francisco hotels" with a CTA of "Book Now" actually takes the user into an app and shows them San Francisco hotels that they can book immediately.

With Branch links, HotelTonight saw a 16% decrease in Cost Per Install and an 18% increase in Install to Booking conversion rate. This meant they could increase ad spend with confidence, ultimately driving a 94% increase in bookings, an 80% increase in installs, and a 99% increase in revenue, month over month.

HotelTonight is expanding their Branch linked ads from their top 50 US cities to their top 200.