Seeking high volume, low-cost reach with cruise rookies
A salty sea breeze and a ship gliding through deep blue waters are just a couple of the things that bring veteran cruisers back to Carnival Cruise Line. Every year, Carnival’s fleet of 25 ships carries 5 million people from across the US, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Canada and Europe. Their “fun for all, all for fun” motto appeals to cruisers of all ages and backgrounds.
Since they started advertising on Pinterest in early 2016, Carnival has used an always-on marketing strategy. Since 62% of Pinners plan future travel on Pinterest, there’s a big audience for Carnival to reach.1 Always-on campaigns ensure that Carnival reaches in-market travellers, all year round.
In early 2017, Carnival worked with their media agencies, Resolution Media and PHD, to develop a campaign that would help them reach new cruisers. Carnival tested ads targeted to search so they could capitalise on Pinners’ planning mindset and align campaigns to people’s unique search patterns on Pinterest.
“Pinterest has given us the opportunity to expand beyond plain text with images in search, which is not usually available in a traditional search landscape.”
A search strategy tailored to Pinterest
Pinterest insights showed that searches for cruises trend up in Q1 and peak in March, at the tail end of “Wave Season” – the cruise industry’s biggest season for bookings. Armed with that knowledge, Carnival developed a robust keyword strategy to ensure they reached people as they planned future holidays and booked their trips. Their goal focused on sending qualified traffic over to the Carnival site.
Working with Arnold Worldwide for the creative, and Resolution Media and PHD on the campaign, Carnival used Pinterest data to inform both creative and keyword strategies. For example, “beach” is the most popular search term on Pinterest, with more than one million queries in 2016 alone.2 Carnival used that insight to repurpose content from their “Away We Go” site into Promoted Pins. Their keywords included trending cruise and travel topics such as “packing tips”, “travel style” and “top 10 lists”, as well as specific destinations like “Bahamas” and “Jamaica”.
Increased traffic with lower cost-per-click
Pinterest delivered on Carnival’s goals with strong results and great efficiency. Since Carnival started running ads targeted to search, they’ve seen an up to 71% lower cost-per-click compared with similar tactics on other platforms. Their clickthrough rate on Pinterest increased 14% in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the previous quarter, as they optimised their search terms. Qualified traffic from Pinterest increased 28% over the same period.
Carnival also took advantage of the high volume of upper funnel search terms on Pinterest such as "travel tips" and "fun holiday spots", driving greater efficiencies and developing a full funnel strategy that expanded their reach amongst newbie cruisers. “Pinterest has definitely proven successful to extend our search strategy into more upper funnel advertising” said Julie Lubin, Associate Director at Resolution Media.
“Pinterest has given us an opportunity to capitalise on searches for some high-volume terms such as ‘beaches’ that are very competitive within a traditional search landscape.”